Toyota Tercel 1984-1994 Repair Guide

MacPherson Struts

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CAUTION
Exercise great caution when working with the front suspension. Coil springs and other suspension components are under extreme tension and result in severe injury if released improperly. Never remove the nut on the top of the shock absorber piston without using the proper spring compressor tool.

REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



See Figures 1 and 2


CAUTION
The suspension on any vehicle is assembled with high grade, hardened fasteners. NEVER substitute a fastener of inferior load rating when assembling a suspension component!


CAUTION
On models equipped with a Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) or "air bag,'' work must NOT be started until at least 90 seconds have passed from the time that both the ignition switch is turned to the LOCK position and the negative cable is disconnected from the battery.

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2.  
  3. Raise and safely support the front of the vehicle with jackstands.
  4.  
  5. On 1987-94 sedans, disconnect the brake hose from the caliper, then plug the fittings. Remove the brake hose from the strut lower attaching bracket.
  6.  
  7. Cover the halfshaft boot to protect it from fluids and impact damage.
  8.  
  9. Paint or use a scribing tool to make matchmarks on the steering knuckle and the strut lower attaching bracket.
  10.  



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Fig. Fig. 1: Mark the position of the strut lower bracket and the steering knuckle before removing the attaching bolts

  1. Remove the bolts which attach the strut assembly to the steering knuckle.
  2.  
  3. Remove the nuts attaching the strut assembly to the shock tower. DO NOT remove the center nut. This nut is usually covered by a plastic cap in the center of the shock tower.
  4.  



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Fig. Fig. 2: Upper strut assembly attaching nut locations. Do not remove the center nut

  1. Remove the strut assembly from the vehicle. Remember that the spring is still under tension. It should stay in place as long as the nut on the shock piston shaft is not removed.
  2.  

To install:
  1. Install the strut assembly to the vehicle. Torque the attaching nuts to the following:
    1. 1984-85 models - 17 ft. lbs. (24 Nm)
    2.  
    3. 1986 models - 13 ft. lbs. (17 Nm)
    4.  
    5. 1987-90 models - 23 ft. lbs. (31 Nm)
    6.  
    7. 1991-94 models - 29 ft. lbs. (39 Nm)
    8.  

  2.  
  3. Connect the lower strut attaching bracket to the steering knuckle. Proceed as follows:
    1. On wagons and 1984-86 sedans, insert the bolts through the front of the steering knuckle, then align the matchmarks. Torque the nuts to 105 ft. lbs. (142 Nm).
    2.  
    3. On 1987-94 sedans, insert the bolts through the rear of the steering knuckle, then align the matchmarks. Coat the threads with oil, then torque the nuts to 166 ft. lbs. (226 Nm) on 1987-90 sedans and 181 ft. lbs. (245 Nm) on 1991-94 sedans.
    4.  

  4.  
  5. Connect the brake hose to the caliper and strut assembly, as applicable. Bleed the brake system.
  6.  
  7. Pack the bearing in the shock tower with multi-purpose grease, then reinstall the dust cover.
  8.  
  9. Install the wheel(s), then lower the car.
  10.  
  11. Have the wheel alignment checked by a reputable shop. Road test the vehicle for proper operation.
  12.  

OVERHAUL



See Figures 3 through 10


CAUTION
The suspension on any vehicle is assembled with high grade, hardened fasteners. NEVER substitute a fastener of inferior load rating when assembling a suspension component!


CAUTION
This procedure requires the use of a spring compressor; it cannot be performed without one. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO THIS SPECIAL TOOL, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DISASSEMBLE THE STRUT! The coil springs are retained under considerable pressure. They exert enough force to cause serious personal injury and component damage. Exercise extreme caution when disassembling the strut.

  1. Remove the strut assembly from the vehicle. Refer to the appropriate procedure.
  2.  



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Fig. Fig. 3: A MacPherson strut assembly



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Fig. Fig. 4: Install a bolt and two nuts before securing the strut assembly in a vise. This will prevent damage to the bracket

  1. Install a bolt and two nuts to the lower strut attaching bracket, then secure the assembly in a vise. Do not overtighten the strut assembly in the vise, as this will result in damage to the strut tube.
  2.  



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Fig. Fig. 5: A spring compressor must be used before disassembling the strut

  1. Using SST 09727-22032, 09727-30020 or their equivalent, compress the spring until the upper spring retainer is free of any spring tension. Do not over-compress the spring.
  2.  
  3. Use a spring seat holder (SST 09727-22032, 09727-30020, 09729-22031 or their equivalent) so that the spring seat will not turn as you remove the nut on the end of the shock piston rod.
  4.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 6: A special tool can be used to hold the spring seat while loosening the center nut

  1. Remove the bearing plate, the support and the upper spring retainer. Make a note as to their correct order of assembly.
  2.  
  3. If replacing the spring, slowly and CAUTIOUSLY unscrew the spring compressor until all spring tension is relieved. Remove the spring and the dust cover.
  4.  

If the piston rod to retracts into the shock absorber, screw a nut onto the rod and pull the rod out by the nut. Do not use pliers to grip the rod as they will damage its surface, resulting in leaks, uneven operation or seal damage. Be extremely careful not to stress or hit the rod.

Check the shock absorber by moving the piston rod through its full range of travel. It should move smoothly and evenly throughout its entire travel without any trace of binding or notching. If a shock absorber is to be replaced, the internal gas should be vented to make the unit safe for disposal. On models up to 1990, use SST 09720-00011 to loosen the ring nut two or three turns and vent the gas completely. On 1991-94 models, fully extend the shock absorber rod, then drill a small hole between the spring lower seat and the lower strut attaching bracket. Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from metal chips which may fly up when drilling.



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Fig. Fig. 7: On other models, the ring nut can be loosened to relieve the gas before disposal



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Fig. Fig. 8: On some models, the strut must be drilled in the area shown to relieve the gas before disposal

Check the upper strut mount assembly for any abnormal noise, binding or restricted motion. Lubricate the upper bearing with multi-purpose grease before reinstallation.



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 9: Multi-purpose grease should be packed into the support bearing

To assemble:

Never reuse the nut on the end of the shock piston rod. Always replace this nut.

  1. Assemble the spring bumper, coil spring, insulator, spring seat and dust seal onto the the strut.
  2.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 10: Make sure the coil spring is correctly positioned on the spring seat

  1. Compress the spring, if necessary. Align the coil spring end with the groove or hollow in the lower seat. Do not over-compress the spring; compress it just enough to allow installation of the piston rod nut.
  2.  
  3. Thread a new nut onto the piston rod, then tighten it until the rod begins to rotate.
  4.  
  5. Double check that the spring is correctly seated in the upper and lower mounts and reposition it as needed. Slowly release the tension on the spring compressor, then remove it from the coil spring.
  6.  
  7. On 1987-94 sedans, torque the shaft nut to 34 ft. lbs. (47 Nm) at this time. Use a spring seat holder (SST 09727-22032, 09727-30020, 09729-22031 or their equivalent) so that the spring seat will not turn as you tighten the nut on the end of the piston rod.
  8.  
  9. Place the strut assembly in position, then install it following the procedures outlined in this section. On wagons and 1984-86 sedans the piston rod nut can now be tightened to 34 ft. lbs. (47 Nm).
  10.  

 
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