- Before servicing the vehicle, refer to the precautions in the beginning of this section.
- Disconnect the negative battery cable. On vehicles equipped with an air bag, wait at least 90 seconds before proceeding.
- Loosen the lug nuts.
- Raise and support the vehicle safely.
- Unfasten the lug nuts and remove the wheel.
- Remove the bolt and disconnect the brake hose from the strut.
- If equipped with ABS brakes, disconnect the wiring harness from the strut.
- Remove the bolts and disconnect the strut from the steering knuckle.
- Remove the strut from the body.
- Install a bolt and 2 nuts to the bracket at the lower portion of the strut shell and secure it in a vise.
- Using a spring compressor tool SST 09727-30020, or equivalent, compress the coil spring.
- Remove the dust cover and hold the spring seat so that it will not turn. Remove the nut on the top of the strut.
- Remove the suspension support, bearing, dust seal, spring seat, spring, insulators and bumper.
- To assemble the strut:
- Install the spring bumper to piston.
- Using a spring compressor, compress the spring.
- Install the coil spring to the strut. Fit the lower end of the coil spring into the gap of the lower seat.
- Install the spring seat with the insulator.
- Install the dust seal on the spring seat.
- Install the suspension support and tighten the new suspension nut to 35 ft. lbs. (47 Nm). After the nut has been tighten, release the compressor tool tension.
- Pack multipurpose grease into the suspension support. Install the dust cover.
- Install the nuts holding the strut to the strut tower. Tighten the nuts to 29 ft. lbs. (39 Nm), except on Avalon, Camry and Celica. On Avalon, Camry and Celica, tighten the nuts to 59 ft. lbs. (80 Nm).
- Connect the steering knuckle to the strut lower bracket.
- Insert the 2 bolts from the rear side and tighten the strut-to-steering knuckle arm bolts. Tighten the bolts on the Avalon and Camry to 156 ft. lbs. (211 Nm)
- Secure the brake line to the steering knuckle.
- If equipped with ABS, secure the wiring harness.
- Install the wheel and lower the vehicle.
- Connect the negative battery cable.
- Have the front wheel alignment checked.
The purpose of the strut assembly is simply to limit the motion of the spring during compression and rebound cycles. If the vehicle is not equipped with these motion dampers, the up and down motion would multiply until the vehicle was alternately trying to leap off the ground and to pound itself into the pavement.
Contrary to popular rumor, the shocks do not affect the ride height of the vehicle. This is controlled by other suspension components such as springs and tires. Worn struts can affect handling; if the front of the vehicle is rising or falling excessively, the "footprint" of the tires changes on the pavement and steering is affected.
The simplest test of the strut is simply push down on one corner of the unladen vehicle and release it. Observe the motion of the body as it is released. In most cases, it will come up beyond it original rest position, dip back below it and settle quickly to rest. This shows that the damper is controlling the spring action. Any tendency to excessive pitch (up-and-down) motion or failure to return to rest within 2-3 cycles is a sign of poor function within the strut assembly. Oil-filled struts may have a light film of oil around the seal, resulting from normal breathing and air exchange. This should NOT be taken as a sign of failure, but any sign of thick or running oil definitely indicates failure. Gas filled shocks may also show some film at the shaft; if the gas has leaked out, the shock will have almost no resistance to motion.
While each strut assembly can be replaced individually, it is recommended that they be changed as a pair (both front or both rear) to maintain equal response on both sides of the vehicle. Chances are quite good that if one has failed, its mate is weak also.OVERHAUL
Refer to the Coil Spring Removal and Installation procedure earlier in this section.