Toyota Celica/Supra 1971-1985 Repair Guide

MacPherson Struts

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TESTING



The function of the shock absorber is to dampen harsh spring movement and provide a means of controlling the motion of the wheels so that the bumps encountered by the wheels are not totally transmitted to the body of the car and, therefore, to you and your passengers. As the wheel moves up and down, the shock absorber shortens and lengthens, thereby imposing a restraint on excessive movement by its hydraulic action.

A good way to see if your shock absorbers are working properly is to push on one corner of the car until it is moving up and down for almost the full suspension travel, then release it and watch its recovery. If the car bounces slightly about one more time and then comes to a rest, you can be fairly certain that the shock is OK. If the car continues to bounce excessively, the shocks will probably require replacement.

The struts retain the springs under tremendous pressure, even when removed from the car. For this reason, several expensive special tools and substantial specialized knowledge are required to safely and effectively work on these components. If spring and shock absorber work is required, it is a good idea to remove the strut involved yourself and then take it to a repair facility which is fully equipped and familiar with MacPherson struts.

REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



See Figures 1, 2 and 3



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Fig. Fig. 1: Exploded view of the front MacPherson strut mounting-Supra



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Fig. Fig. 2: Exploded view of the front MacPherson strut mounting-Celica



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Fig. Fig. 3: Make sure you clear the knuckle collars when prying down on the control arm

  1. Remove the hub cap and loosen the lug nuts.
  2.  
  3. Raise the front of the car and support it on the chassis jacking plates provided, with jackstands.
  4.  


WARNING
Do not support the weight of the car on the suspension arm; the arm will deform under its weight.

  1. Unfasten the lug nuts and remove the wheel.
  2.  
  3. Detach the front brake line from its clamp.
  4.  
  5. Remove the caliper and secure it out of the way with wire.
  6.  
  7. Unfasten the three nuts which secure the upper shock absorber mounting plate to the top of the wheel arch.
  8.  
  9. Mark the position of the strut on the knuckle.
  10.  
  11. Remove the two bolts which attach the shock absorber lower end to the steering knuckle lower arm.
  12.  

Press down on the suspension lower arm, in order to remove the strut assembly. This must be done to clear the collars on the steering knuckle arm bolt holes when removing the shock/spring assembly. The steering knuckle bolt holes have collars that extend about 0.20 inch (5mm). Be careful to clear them when separating the steering knuckle from the strut assembly.

To install:

Installation is performed in the reverse order of removal. Be sure to note the following:

  1. Align the hole in the upper suspension support with the shock absorber piston rod end, so that they fit properly.
  2.  
  3. Always use a new nut and nylon washer on the shock absorber piston rod end when securing it to the upper suspension support. Tighten the nut to 29-40 ft. lbs. (39-54 Nm).
  4.  


WARNING
Do not use an impact wrench to tighten the nut.

  1. Coat the suspension support bearing with multi-purpose grease prior to installation. Pack the space in the upper support with multi-purpose grease, also, after installation.
  2.  
  3. Tighten the suspension support-to-wheel arch bolts to 25-29 ft. lbs. (34-39 Nm) on the Supra, and 14-23 ft. lbs. (19-31 Nm) on Celicas.
  4.  
  5. Tighten the shock absorber-to-steering knuckle arm bolts to 58-86 ft. lbs. (78-116 Nm).
  6.  
  7. Adjust the front wheel bearings, as detailed under Front Axle Hub and Bearing.
  8.  
  9. Have the wheel alignment checked.
  10.  

OVERHAUL



1970-81 Models

See Figure 4



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Fig. Fig. 4: Exploded view of the front shock absorber components-1970-81 Celica


WARNING
Disassemble the shock absorber in a clean place. Do not allow dust or dirt to get on the disassembled parts. The piston rod is high precision finished, even a slight scratch can cause fluid leakage so be careful when handling the piston rod.

  1. Remove the strut assembly and then the coil spring.
  2.  
  3. Remove the wheel hub and the brake disc as detailed in Brakes .
  4.  
  5. Attach the strut tube to the mounting plate and clamp it in a vise.
  6.  
  7. Use a ring nut wrench and remove the ring nut at the top of the strut tube.
  8.  
  9. Use a needle and pick the gasket out of the strut tube.
  10.  
  11. Remove the guide, the rebound stopper and the piston rod.
  12.  
  13. Pull the cylinder out of the strut tube and then use a long blunt instrument to drive the base valve out of the bottom of the cylinder.
  14.  
  15. Empty the oil out of the tube.
  16.  

Rebuilding kits are available through your local Toyota dealer.

To assemble:
  1. Press the base valve into the bottom of the cylinder.
  2.  
  3. Slide the cylinder into the strut tube.
  4.  
  5. Slide the piston rod and the rebound stopper into the cylinder.
  6.  
  7. Fill the cylinder with 323cc of NEW shock absorber fluid.
  8.  
  9. Press the rod guide and its gasket into the top of the strut tube.
  10.  
  11. Tape the end of the piston rod to avoid damaging the oil seal inside the ring nut.
  12.  
  13. Coat the oil seal with multi-purpose grease and then install the ring nut on the piston rod.
  14.  
  15. Using a ring nut wrench, tighten the ring nut until the top of the piston rod is 3.15-3.54 inch above the top of the strut tube. Tighten the nut to 73-108 ft. lbs. (98-146 Nm).
  16.  
  17. Installation of the remaining components is in the reverse order of removal.
  18.  

1982-85 Models

These models utilize an entire removable strut cartridge. To replace, follow Steps 1-4 of the 1970-81 procedure, then insert a new strut cartridge.

 
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