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'95 Camry V6 XLE
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
1) I can get OEM strut boots from the dealership for about the same price as KYBs from Tire Rack. Is there any reason NOT to go with OEM?

2) The KYBs have an integrated bump stop. Is the factory bump stop a separate part, or do the OEM boots have it integrated also?

3) I saw one post suggesting that the rear strut boots might be integrated with the strut mount. Can anyone confirm/deny that?

4) Exactly what are the "insulators" that I've seen referred to in suspension threads.

Thanks guys. I've got almost all my parts for my suspension upgrade now, and just getting ready to acquire these last few pieces.
 

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I was wondering about the same thing! Anyone have any idea what kind of boots to get? The front and rear look to be different. For the front I was thinking the KYB boots would work, but the rear looks like the boot is integrated into the strut mount so a special boot would be needed for the rear struts. Anyone have any info on this? My front boots at least are totally torn up and I ended up just cutting them out.
 

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all (but OEM) strut tops, bumpers and bellows/boots are complete crap, including the KYBs. If you're replacing bumpers, bearings or bellows/boots OEM is the only way to go IMHO.

That being said I've never had occasion to replace the top bearings as my 93 has its strut bearings are in the base of the spring seat...
 

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1999 Solara SLE, V6, 356,000 miles
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My 2008 Lexus ES350 has KYB on it from the factory. KYB is OEM supplier to many cars. Put on KYB's on the Solara about a year ago, still going strong. I can't believe OEM same price. Did you check RockAuto.com, ect.

Insulator is the rubber piece that sits on top of the spring perch, and then the spring sits on it. basically a rubber bushing that prevents metal on metal contact.
 

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KYB makes a bunch of parts for Toyota, but some of the items are not the OEM design.

Done suspension enough times to figure out what has been good for me or not. YMMV

Front:
Strut - KYB is fine or Monroe
Lower spring insulator - OEM or KYB/Aftermarket. Not much price difference on this, but for the sake of design, I would go OEM
Upper Spring insulator/Bellow - OEM on this. do NOT go aftermarket. The aftermarket (KYB) included is inferior. The upper spring insulator is just a big rubber O which sits between the spring and the upper spring metal plate. Aftermarket also has the strut bumper/bellow as a two piece design OEM is a thicker gauge rubber with the strut bellow integrated into one piece. Bumper is a seprate piece. Probably could use the aftermarket bumper though or re-use old if it's ok.
Strut bearing - You probably can reuse the original unless you got binding noises. People said OEM is best for this part. I used KYB and seem to be okay.
Strut mount - I used KYB and OEM. No complains.

Rear:
Strut - KYB is fine or Monroe
Lower spring insulator - OEM or KYB/Aftermarket. Not much price difference on this, but for the sake of design, I would go OEM
Upper spring mount/strut mount - I have used KYB and MOOG on this part. The bellow boot tends to trip after some time with KYB. So far no complains from either brand. OEM is hella pricey for this part.
 

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1993 Camry SE,V6-5MT
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x2

Aftermarket struts when that's all that is available once Toyota has run out of the ones which had been specifically tuned for your vehicle/variation. Then, the tune of the aftermarket struts you do get will be a crapshoot. You'll have no idea how well they were tuned, regardless of manufacturer, but know they will never be as well tuned as the OEM ones would have been (though, sometimes the difference is subtle, sometimes it is huge - too harsh or too wallowy, but by the time you find out its too late). The reason is all down to price, if aftermarket were as well tuned as OEM, they'd have to stock a bewildering array of variations and then their price would be as high as OEM.

OEM everything else, for ride quality and durability. And, frankly, the price difference, when buying the individual components from a good discount online Toyota parts supplier, is just too small to risk it.

If you need springs, the story is similar to the struts above, but is much easier to check aftermarket ones BEFORE installation: same diameter wire and the same number of coils? If so, then the odds will be in your favor they'll work fine.
 

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1993 Camry SE,V6-5MT
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On the other hand, if all you need to do is keep an old junker on the road for one or two more seasons, then, by all means, buy the cheapest pre-assembled quick strut assemblies you can find and roll the dice on how they'll be.
 

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1999 Solara SLE, V6, 356,000 miles
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Scroll to post #11 (my email to KYB) and post #12 (their response) and #16 for photos of KYB from the factory.

 

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1993 Camry SE,V6-5MT
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Hi Sunglasses guy,
Awesome thread link, and amazing that KYB got back with you so quickly, and with such good news.

I wonder if, for a car as old as a Gen3 or 4 Camry, though, if we buy KYB struts (from Rock Auto, or similar) if they are tuned like the ones that KYB had sold to Toyota originally, or if they are more standardized to reduce their inventory expenses?

Some people who put KYB struts into their Gen3 or 4 Camry have reported back that they rode very harshly (not firm, harsh), which is why I wonder about that.

Also, note that parts for a car that is less than 10 years old, as was the topic of the 2008 vehicle thread, the aftermarket parts you buy might, in fact, actually BE the OEM part, simply because it is readily available to them. But, by the time the car is a Gen3 or Gen4 Camry, and well beyond 20 years old, if the aftermarket part might devolve to the "standard, off the shelf" tuning, which sometimes works good enough, but sometimes doesn't.

It is too bad that struts are such a challenge, because they are so vital to the whole suspension*, but the tuning of them requires so many variables that no one wants to stock them all, and the OEM gets out of them as quickly as possible (ever notice OEM top mounts and boots are readily available, but OEM struts for Gen3 and 4 Camrys are NLA?).

*a McPherson Strut suspension is almost all strut, compared with more conventional suspensions who's dampers are not nearly as vital to the ride and handling.
 

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1999 Solara SLE, V6, 356,000 miles
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good question. visit the KYB website. they mention being able to change production fast. so, based on that, and if the car had enough units sold, I'd say they are tuned to the car's specs if the manufacture would release that data. otherwise they have to reverse engineer. I do know this, engineers like to solve problems. if they have their druthers, and the bean counters don't get in the way, they will design specifically for the car. An apposing argument/question to ask, are the OEM struts really tuned for each car? Some of the harshness experienced by going to new struts could be attributed to a lot of factors, bad tires, other bad suspension parts, stuff that needed replaced, but didn't get replaced when the struts did. I'm still waiting for the Solara to get aligned, so I can really give it a good road test after all the new suspension gets broke in, to determine how harsh it is. In any regard, its fun to drive again. I'm not overly concerned about harshness unless its lumber wagon harsh. I want the car to have a spirited suspension.
 

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1993 Camry SE,V6-5MT
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"An apposing argument/question to ask, are the OEM struts really tuned for each car?" - yes, for each of the different option combinations (V6 vs. I4, A/T vs. M/T, Power seats weigh a lot, things like that, and then for sport model too), whatever combinations make a big enough difference in vehicle mass / CG so that their calibrated experts can feel the difference (I work in the industry with those guys/gals, and they can feel way more than I can). A single vehicle might have 6 or 8 differently tuned struts, in a model year, and they get changed when other things change the vehicle mass/spring rates and so on. It really is bewildering what they will do so the factory original performance is optimized. I wonder sometimes if the customers can tell enough to make it all worth it, but, then again, the cars sell really well and get good reviews so I guess their efforts do go to good use.

The downside of all this is the service parts cost is really high, having to store and keep stock of all those variations, for every model, over every model year/minor model variation. It is no wonder the cheaper, "basic tune" aftermarket parts are able to be priced so low.
 

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This is what I pretty much expected. I guess a good example is the 'SE' trim Camry in the Gen3/5 years. Struts are of different P/N compared to the regular models, but technically the run in the mill KYB should work. Aftermarket KYB Probably won't feel the same as brand new, but I'm sure given the age of our cars, even a new driver seat can make the drive different in terms of harshness/softness.

Speaking of KYB, I checked my Gen3 with 340K. The front struts I believe are still original and the rears were replaced about 140K ago. Funny thing is I believe the car front struts still are rather fine and the rears are still good. The crazy part is the rear are KYB 'made in Japan'. Don't think you can find any KYB made in japan now though. Least not for the Gen3/4 Camry models (and also 2002/early 2003 Camry).
 
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