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Discussion Starter #1
Just wondering on if anyone had any thoughts on Toyota OEM vs aftermarket struts. I'm getting ready to make an order and I'm heading toward OEM which are fairly pricey, $152 from Toyota of Cool Springs. My experience with struts have been not that great. I put Gabriel on our Sienna a long time ago and we no longer have it. But on my 1999 Camry I put the higher end Monroe full assembly on front and rear. They made the car slightly higher which makes it look a little goofy, at 310K miles not that concerning anymore ;). Otherwise they ride nice although I think the front left one makes noise that I can't figure out.

My gut says to buy Toyota OEM and it will just work and I'll be happier in the long run although a little poorer in the wallet. I would reuse the spring and strut mount (unless I see an issue) and buy a new OEM dust covers as the current ones have disintegrated. Might replace the stabilizer bar bushings too. Then check the sway bar links and if good just leave them be. At 230K miles, I don't think the struts have ever been changed, and if they have it was a long time ago and they look pretty old.

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes. I did see the KYBs on RockAuto and read lots of reviews, etc. I could not tell if the KYBs are the 'exact' same as the Toyota struts. And I've read that the KYB strut mounts are very bad. The car will be going back to college soon so I had to make a decision. I'll write back on my experience with Toyota struts. Thanks for the reply.
 

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There should be a stamp on the OEM struts that might identify the manufacturer of the struts. Wouldn't hurt to look. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Here are the pictures of the strut from Toyota. It does have KYB stamped on it (kind of hard to see). But I don't have a KYB strut to compare. I probably won't get a chance to replace the struts until late next week. I'll report back my observations and findings which hopefully helps someone out in the future. If there is anything specific that someone would be interested in, like a picture of something, let me know and I'll try to get that.
 

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I'm gonna guess they would be identical on the outside. It's the internals that may be the same or different. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I made a new thread about rear trailing arm bushings but wanted also to reply to this thread. I did replace both front struts with Toyota struts, dust boots, and bumpers and sway bar bushings. I don't think I really needed the bumpers, but oh well.

The front right strut didn't have any pressure left at all. The front left did or it seemed too. But after taking it off, that evening I pushed it in and it never came back out. I also found out the left front sway bar link was bad. I figured that out when I was putting the front right strut on the car and was ready to attach the upper sway bar link (yes, I was having good luck getting them off). Pulling up and down on it made it clunk. But it wasn't that sway bar link, it was the one on the other side of the car (driver side). It was still attached to the strut but clunked a lot since the other side was disconnected. I used Moog brand from Advance Auto (they had them in stock) for replacements. Lesson: use a pry bar under the sway bar to check for bad sway bar links.

The strut spring compressor I got at O'Reilly's ($10 off coupon) I think it works pretty well except there are not enough strut spring coils to get it fully compressed to take off the strut mount. I had to improvise, use some tubing between the coil and the compressor to get more compression. And then I had to wrangle it. That was hard.

So then time for alignment. Left front inner/outer tie rods are froze. I tried for many hours, used PB Blaster, torch, monkey wrenches, etc. It wasn't coming apart. And then both rear toe and cambers are froze. Yes, very froze. I should have just left it alone but ended up replacing the lower control arms, cam bolts, cam adjusters and cam retainers with Toyota parts. And they aren't cheap. Now I'm down to the trailing arm bushings that adjust toe. Left is still froze, right is loose but the bushing is bad (alignment guy showed me). So I created another thread about rear trailing arm bushing. Hope this has been somewhat helpful.
 

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Yes. I did see the KYBs on RockAuto and read lots of reviews, etc. I could not tell if the KYBs are the 'exact' same as the Toyota struts. And I've read that the KYB strut mounts are very bad. The car will be going back to college soon so I had to make a decision. I'll write back on my experience with Toyota struts. Thanks for the reply.
I have had good luck with KYB on my Honda Pilot, just put them on 03 RAV4, they are a stiffer ride.
 
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