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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 99' Avalon XLS with about 180,000 miles. It has had no issues so far (at least as far as I know). I am debating if I should put some extra money into it and try to keep it for another 100,000 miles.. or if it would be best just to sell it/wait for it fall apart. So anyway..

The struts are all pretty horrid. The rears especially.. over bumpy roads they sound like they are knocking.. it is a very bouncy ride.. and the suspension is all around very loose. That being said it still handles very well and I have no concerns about the safety - only the ride quality.

Two different autoshops quoted me at about $750 to replace four struts with labor. I'm not sure if that includes struts and mounts and the other pieces that should be replaced... or just the struts. $750 is just too much to only better the ride quality, especially if $400 of that $750 is just for labor.

So my main question is this: For an inexperienced auto mechanic, will replacing struts be too dangerous of a job to consider? I've read that compressed springs can cause.. issues.

I am inexperienced with auto mechanics but have no trouble with mechanical things in general. I understand how cars work, and feel very comfortable working on anything mechanical. I don't imagine cars to be any different.

Also, I have an auto mechanic friend and others that could help me if need be. I'm not totally solo.

So if it is reasonably safe... I need to make clear how much it will cost for myself to do it. I found all four KYB GR-2 struts for less than $300 total. Besides just those struts, is it also necessary to replace the mounts? What struts will be best with those KYB struts?

I'm not looking for a step-by-step tutorial on how to replace struts, I'm sure I could find that somewhere, I'm just looking for your guy's opinions on if it is even worth doing. I've read many conflicting opinions.

Thanks for any help.
 

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Are you interested in performance at all? The reason I ask is that if you purchase the struts and lowering springs as a package from Voughtland, as some others here have done, I think the struts/springs arrive at your door already assembled*. That would save you the hassle (and safety concerns) of compressing the springs, essentially making it a "bolt-in" installation. Plus you'd end up with a car that looks better and handles better due to the lowered ride height.

*Note: I'm not "sure" they come assembled; I'll let others who have BTDT chime in. But even if they don't, you could assemble them on a bench and have them all ready to bolt in when you start working on the car, thus cutting your car's "down time".

Just a thought. :thumbsup:
 

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1998 Toyota Avalon
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750 isn't too bad. Usually they will replace the mounts if they're in poor shape. And they'll realign your tires too.

I am paying close to 500 dollars and buying Monroe Sensa-Trac and installing them myself. The bad thing with that is I am going to end up paying my local tire shop to realign my car.

Like American Pie said, there are safety concerns with DIYing struts. You have to rent a spring compressor and if you don't know how to use it, imagine a 15 pound spring bouncing up into your eye just like the tiny one does when you take the cap off your pen. Not too pretty.

And look at it this way. If you're going to have this car until it dies (aka forever). Putting 500 to 800 dollars worth of struts on every 3 or 4 years isn't too much if you think of it. That averages out to less than 50 cents a day. Not too bad considering my parents pay 5 bucks each for coffee every morning.
 

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you can buy "safety struts" (or "quick struts") that are pre-assembled, with every part new. they're not cheap but they are very easy to install.

in light of the fact that the avalon does not offer any way to adjust the front end alignment (without buying and installing exotic parts) i would NOT lower the car. the front end is loaded with lots of negative camber (.062 degree) and lowering it will increase that!

there ARE people that were born knowing more than the engineers that designed any car. i'm not one of them. my avalon rides and handles great, just like it's supposed to be.
 

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1998 Toyota Avalon
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The "quick struts" you speak of are Vogtland Sport Struts. Monroe Quick-Struts aren't made for Avalons. I spoke with a Monroe Rep about it and the Camry Quick-Struts won't fit on an Avalon. As for the price, They really aren't expensive. The Camry Quick-Struts are around 140 dollars and that includes the strut, mount, boot, and spring. You pay 15 or 20 bucks per strut to have them assembled. But once again Monroe Quick-Struts aren't available for first gen Avalons. Vogtland preassembled suspension kits are and they will run you around 750 bucks for all four but they will lower your car more than an inch, they will offer higher performance than Monroe Sensa-Tracs and are made in Germany (if that really means anything for the quality).
 

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Thats why I didn't know there were any. Gabriel makes them. Not a fan of Gabriel. My dad put some on his Taurus, they definitely weren't an upgrade.
 

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gabrial has a history of being a high-performance shock. their "adjustamatic" line allowed three stages of stiffness, simply by turning the shock in the tube, and listening for a click.

i had a tarus once. the TRANSMISSION definitely wasn't an upgrade. that was back when i was still dumb enough to buy a so-called "american" car - NEVER AGAIN!!

anyhow, these struts/spring are providing all i could have asked in a high-preformance shock.
 

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1998 Toyota Avalon
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I know the AXOD transmissions had reliability problems but we had a 91 SHO with a 5 speed manual. Granted our transmission was built by Mazda, but still there wasn't one complaint in my family about the Taurus. It gave us 180,000 miles of good service and then a 1,500 bucks when we sold it.

As for the Gabriel struts we put on it. Maybe they were bad apples but we would bottom out because they didn't have much travel and we bottomed out quite often. They could have improved since then, but that won't change my mind. I'm sticking with Monroe or KYB depending on what I need.
 

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1998 Toyota Avalon
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Oh, I know your not. Forums are for opinions, you've got yours and I've got mine. Luckily we are both proud Toyota owners and that brings us together.:thumbsup:
 

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yeah - i don't think very many people know just what a fine ride it is. i've spent a ton of money (for a poor boy) and done all kinds of work on mine - it was headed directly for a junkyard, when i found it. i knew what it could be. now it is. i built it with my own two hands. i kinda dig that :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Are these the Vogtland struts/springs mentioned?

$600 for all four?

Am I correct that that is for all four? And it includes struts and springs?

Would I need/want new mounts if I was to install these?

Would I need to realign my car if I was to install these?

Does anyone know how much a typical alignment costs?

Lots of questions, Thanks for any answers.
 

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1998 Toyota Avalon
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Thats not the Vogtland website I saw. It is probably a dealer. www.vogtland-na.com is the official website

Alignments can be anywhere from 50 bucks (but thats usually two wheels only) to 100 or so.
 

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Black 95 Avalon XLS
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On a related note, those would be compatible with a 95 I'd assume. Can anyone confirm this? It's listed for 97-02, but as far as I know, nothing structural changed from 95 to 97.
 
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