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DIY: Gen 3 front struts

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This is kind of a quickie, but will hopefully be of some use.

1: BEFORE jacking the car up, loosen (BUT TO NOT REMOVE!!!!!!!) the center strut to mount screw as seen in the picture.




2: Jack up the car and take off the wheel. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE use Jack Stands for this!

3: Start out by unscrewing ANY and ALL wires/hoses/lines that are screwed onto the strut assembly. In my example there is both a brake line and ABS line that need to be unscrewed.




4: Chances are, you will need a breaker bar. Unless you want to get a hurnia, which I almost did......Bloody hell that freaking sucked. USE A BREAKER BAR! Like $20-$30 at most auto stores. Unscrew the 2 nuts as seen in the picture below.




5: Unscrew the top 3 screws as seen in the picture below.




6: Now it's time to disassemble it. PLEASE ONLY USE STRUT COMPRESSORS THAT ARE HELD ON AS SHOWN BELOW FOR SAFETY! I've heard of WAY too many cases where one has come off and the spring has flown off and caused some massive injuries. So make sure it has some kind of thing such as below to hold them on please.

Screw the compressors down until there is NO pressure at all on the mount. In other words, you can freely move the spring around and not touch the mount.



7: Unscrew the compressor and compress the new spring the same way as this one was to be remove. when putting the new spring on the strut, make sure the bottom end of the spring sits securely in the notch in the strut as shown before.




8: Line the grove on the mount up with the notches on the tip of the strut screw. You will know what I mean when you see it in person. Twist the strut mount around until you are 100% sure it is seated correctly on the notch. Then screw the center nut back on.

9: See that the Strut mount and plate are aligned correctly as show below. The plate needs to be correct when the spring is un-compressed, but the mount can be moved afterwards.




10: When mount is secured and screwed on, un-compress the spring and look everything over and make sure all is lined up correctly.

11: Then reverse the steps to get it back in. When everything is back, wheel is on, and car is back on ground, go ahead and tighten the 2 Strut Mount nuts to the recommended Torque specs. Then do the same for the big center nut.
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Nice DIY ASG14. Got a few questions. After changing the struts, do you need to have it aligned? Also, what's the life span of springs? I know my struts was changed once but its still using original springs. Thanks.

kamrhee
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Usually, any time you replace ANYTHING on the suspension, you are supposed to get an alignment. For struts, its a definate to do thing.

As for the spring lifespan, I honestly do not know. I know my old 1992 I4 Camry had the original springs when it was sold at 190k miles. I don;t think it has ever really been discussed.
 

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I gotta change ALL my strut mounts ASAP. The car makes this horrible clunking noise from all corners.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
^ The rears are very similiar to the front except for the the swap bar links that need to be removed, and you need to take the rear cover off.

Another excellant DIY...U go man!! Come back down to Va!:thumbup: There's alot more DIY's u can do on the 94!:lol::lol:
:lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Felony, I can probably get more pics of things if you need it. Let me know.

Tuner, I have done 3 this year. Replaced my front mounts at the beggining of the year, Eye8Pussies shanged his front mounts a couple weeks ago, then the front mounts on Eyeball96's car as well.
 

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Thanks, ASG!

Gotta try this one, for sure!!!

I remember years ago having my wife's '89 Geo Spectrum's front struts....(it had rear shocks........anybody even REMEMBER what shocks were anymore?? LOL!!)........and I took the strut assembly off the car, but as it lay there on the garage floor, I made the mistake of reading the STUPID directions that came in the strut box. It made it look like I was SURELY going to either break bones using the rented spring compressor.........and/or.........blow it reassembling the strut.

I wussed out, put the strut ass'y back on, took the new struts back to Pep Boys & let them put 'em on. In hindsight I'd have gladly at least TRIED it even if I'd have had to tow the friggin' thing back to the shop.

Couple questions...........

#1.) Any shots of the strut mounts separated from the strut?? Looking at ebay, it looks like the front strut mounts have a little rubber bushing/bearing that goes between the mount & strut itself. Is there only one way that can go?? Any need to grease that up before putting it in???

#2.) The guy at the local Big O said that the "link ends" are totally worthless to change. He says that he usually doesn't do them unless the customer demands it or they're so bad they're practically falling off. Any experience w/ what you've seen, felt, heard in regards to back link ends?? (My 140,000 mile '98 Camry I-4 doesn't make any noise except for screechy strut mounts in the front.......but no clunks/thunks of any kind)

TIA!!
 

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If the struts/springs are coming already compressed doesn't that mean it's coming with strut mounts? For the rear struts, the nuts to remove on the top are under the rear deck cover.
 

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That would be a good assumption to make. I think Monroe makes a complete unit, they have the springs already mounted, thats everything from the top mount down. Although the springs are "installed", "compressed" leads to other assumptions and I would think is a bad description for trying to say springs are already installed.
 

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Excellent article on the R&R of the struts. I have one very pertinent suggestion. Removing the struts from the front is a piece of cake. NOW STOP! Take the strut spring units to a nice mechanic and have him put the unit on his spring compressor and swap them out for you. Even in our massively overpriced town of Jackson Hole I had my favorite shop do it for me and at $90/hr shop rate, my man had the job done in 20 min and charged me $30. Deal of the century as far as I'm concerned. My problem is I can't seem to figure out how to get access to my rear struts. Taking the seat out of course but how do I get the panel out to access the strut mount bolts at the top? I'm stumped. Can't find a link either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
^ $30 for that is not bad at all. Good deal!

As for the rear struts, this is for a 1992-1996 Camry.

1: remove the 3rd (in window) brake light. 2 10mm screws

2: remove BOTTOM seat cushion.

3: Unscrew the 1 bolt (12mm or 14mm, I forget) on the bottom of each side bolster. They come off by pulling them straight UP. Don't just pull out or you'll snap the plastic clip.

4: Pull off the rubber trim piece that goes around the edge of the trunk pass-through.

5: Pull off the 2 plasic pieces that are behind the side bolsters (that are just clipped in, no screws.

6: Unscrew the 2 screws (phillips head) that hold on the rear deck (speacker cover). The 2 screws are right behind where the top of the seats are when closed.

7: Pull off the rear side (C pillar) plastic trim. It;s all clips, but try to be gentle when doing it. It does not need to be undone from the seatbelt, just off so it is not on the rear deck.

8: Then pull off the rear deck, and your at your struts. :)

Let me know if I can help out with anything else, even pictures.

~Adam
 

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Excellent article on the R&R of the struts. I have one very pertinent suggestion. Removing the struts from the front is a piece of cake. NOW STOP! Take the strut spring units to a nice mechanic and have him put the unit on his spring compressor and swap them out for you. Even in our massively overpriced town of Jackson Hole I had my favorite shop do it for me and at $90/hr shop rate, my man had the job done in 20 min and charged me $30. Deal of the century as far as I'm concerned. My problem is I can't seem to figure out how to get access to my rear struts. Taking the seat out of course but how do I get the panel out to access the strut mount bolts at the top? I'm stumped. Can't find a link either.
First remove the bottom rear seat cushion. You next need to remove the side bolsters. Remove 1 bolt and then lift each one up. This will give you access to the tops of the rear strut mounts. It is a bit tight in there, but that's the only way to access them.

Mike
 

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First remove the bottom rear seat cushion. You next need to remove the side bolsters. Remove 1 bolt and then lift each one up. This will give you access to the tops of the rear strut mounts. It is a bit tight in there, but that's the only way to access them.

Mike
Thanks Adam and MIke!!I will get to it ASAP. I am an diesel gearhead with 2 Cummins pickups and 2 MB diesels but my wife prefers cars that start here in the winter when it's 40 below plus go in the snow and that would be her "97 Camry. This is a very helpful group of folks. Hugh
 

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take care in getting the correct strut mounts. the Gen 3 and Gen 3.5 are different - shown here are the Gen 3.5 mounts. The Gen 3 do not have top bearings and are more bell shaped. I ran into this because the gen 3.5 strut bearings will fit - though not well - into a gen 3 strut mount. The springs will pop on turns and it will pull to whichever side the car was most recently turned. Learn from my mistake rather than making this one yourself.
 
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