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2000 Toyota Camry LE 5S-FE engine; A140E transmission
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Discussion Starter #1
Well as required by this shit state I live in I took my car to a state inspection station and they failed the car for lower control arms driver and passenger. The bozos tried to make me believe they were doing me a favor by only charging me $800 to replace only the 2 lower control arms and I told them to stuff it.

I took the car to another station and the technician there told me the control arms could have gone either way but with 278,000 miles on the car and them being the original control arms they should be replaced. I checked Rock Auto and 1AAuto and got a deal on a complete kit (2 lower control arms and 2 ball joints) from 1AAuto for $99 plus free shipping and the box got here this afternoon so first thing tomorrow morning I will be up to my neck in grease and car parts replacing the lower control arms. I have looked at several videos on YouTube and it doesn't look that bad and I am actually looking forward to the results. I have a feeling my car is going to be a bit quieter and handle a lot tighter. I'll post a follow-up tomorrow after I finish up.
 

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Lots of people, esp. JohnGD, gave me a lot of very detailed explanation on this job. This should help if you have similar problems.
 

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No inspector within a State that requires vehicle safety inspections is willing to risk having their certification pulled due to a marginal safety component. Just way to much liability. It's a pretty straight forward R&R. I've done two sets now. Your biggest issue will likely be rusted fasteners on your sway bar links. I'd have a backup plan in the event you literally have to cut them free. Once completed you will need an alignment as your suspension geometry will in essence be reset.
 

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2000 Toyota Camry LE 5S-FE engine; A140E transmission
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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
No inspector within a State that requires vehicle safety inspections is willing to risk having their certification pulled due to a marginal safety component. Just way to much liability. It's a pretty straight forward R&R. I've done two sets now. Your biggest issue will likely be rusted fasteners on your sway bar links. I'd have a backup plan in the event you literally have to cut them free. Once completed you will need an alignment as your suspension geometry will in essence be reset.
@M in KC, I don't think my sway bar in any way connects to the control arms on my car. I haven't seen that sort of connection when I have changed my oil or any time else so I think I got lucky there. The lower control arms I just got have a bracket on each of them for a sway bar link but there is also a note in the box saying that that bracket may not be used on my car and can be removed (it's held onto the lower control arm with 2 nuts and bolts) if desired and I will remove it. I think on my Camry the link goes from the sway bar to the strut. When I did the rear struts on my Camry there was some rust and crud on the link fasteners and I thought I was going to have a problem but I got luck with that as well. I put an impact wrench on them and the old nuts spun right off.

I find it interesting that the crooks who wanted to try and charge me $800 for ONLY the lower control arms never said anything at all about an alignment but this makes sense. Right now money is tight so I'll just keep my eye out for any pulling or abnormal tire wear and if is shows up I'll get the car aligned. Thanks for the info and I'll post a follow up after I finish the job.
 

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2000 Toyota Camry LE 5S-FE engine; A140E transmission
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Discussion Starter #6
so... its your state's fault?

:)
@norm356, this is a shit hole state where I live and yes to an extent it is their fault. The state inspections here do not make cars any safer at all they are nothing more than a ripoff and a scam and a way for repair shops to make millions by extorting and threatening people with a rejection sticker. These same repair shops pay millions in bribes and kickbacks every year to the politicians here to keep the scam going.

When I left the shop earlier this week after they tried to scam me I scrapped the rejection sticker off my car and dropped the pieces in their parking lot. I'll go back this afternoon after I finish the control arms and make them put a valid sticker on my car or I'll call the state police and have them shut down. I am also thinking very seriously about taking them to small claims court to get back the money I have had to spend and also the time I have lost from my job but I haven't totally decided on that part of it.
 

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Camry452, the LCA's for the Gen 3's and 4's are the same part, the Gen 4's in your case do not need the sway bar link bracket, for as you indicated your links connect to the strut assembly vs the LCA for the Gen 3's. You can leave the brackets on the LCA or take them off your call there. Always good to ask questions, good for you.

State required "safety inspections" can be a legislated theft vehicle. I used to live in one State that had them and finally abandoned the program largely due to what you are suggesting above, only to move to another State that still requires them, ugh. Here I have found what I believe to be a legit Indy. He knows I wrench whatever I can on my own vehicles and honestly, I kid him about inspecting, critiquing my efforts when its inspection time. He has caught one thing in 20+ years, on my fleet of 5 vehicles that I simply didn't didn't even think to check, a front wheel bearing. I was thankful and grateful that he did his job and very disappointed in myself for not catching it before hand. I mean, come on who knew an original front wheel bearing, on a 22 year old car would only last 396,000 miles.? It had to be production defect, no way it wore out, right.? Let us know how you end up Brother.
 

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2000 Toyota Camry LE 5S-FE engine; A140E transmission
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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Well, despite a little bit of nervousness on my part the lower control arm/ball joint adventure on my 2001 Camry 5S-FE went off without a hitch. No rusted/frozen bolts, no snapped bolts, no frozen parts, without a hitch and I am amazed. My life is never this simple. I had a friend come over to help me and check over my shoulder as moral support and his presence there was much appreciated. From what he saw the ball joints had been replaced at least once since he said they didn't look OE but the control arms were original and the rear bushing that bolts into the sub-frame had indeed torn a bit on both arms. @M in KC I did take those brackets we talked about off the LCA's and they are now residing in my spare parts bin. The new LCA's I put on seem to be a little heavier than the old ones I took off but I am not noticing any difference on acceleration or handling. The car now does seems quieter and more responsive to inputs from the steering wheel but I will say I do have to get it aligned and will do that once I get paid. My car isn't pulling but now the steering wheel shows I am making a left turn when I am going straight down the road. :-(

Getting the car reinspected was a whole nother story and adventure. I had to take my car to Pep Boys 4 times and the 3rd time they lied to me and blew me off finally I went through the roof. They kept telling me "well we don't have an inspector today" or "the inspector isn't taking anymore cars today (at 1PM in the afternoon)" and a whole bunch of other nonsense. They were mad because I said no to their extortion demands and walked on them. The 4th and final time I went back I went with the State Police and the Trooper told the manager "you have to reinspect his car and you can only reinspect for what the car originally failed for" so an hour later I drove out with a new inspection sticker on my car. At least for now my car is good to go. I have some painting I plan to do when the weather warms up a little and I need to get new hood support struts on the car and of course the alignment but for now I'm just going to enjoy the car. Thanks everyone for all of your help and support.
 
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