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Installing New Struts - How?


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#1 SpeedRacer959

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Posted 16 August 2003 - 08:30 AM

I just bought two struts from the junkyard that are complete units with the springs and all. I plan on making a swap w/ mine.

I would rather not take it to the local mechanics for this one just because I highly doubt they will take the time to hook everything up right...such as the electronic portion. And I don't want them inside my car tearing stuff out half-hazardly.

Thus I figure I have two options:

1. Ask you guys where to start, buy the appropriate tools & manuals and do it myself. :magic:
2. Take it to lexus <_< and my future kids won't be able to attend college. :( and I may have to sell the house.


My questions are:

1. Do you have to take the back seats out to remove the struts? If so, is this hard?
2. Has anyone done this before and could clue me in on where to start?

I figure it'll need an alignment when I'm done, I'll take it in for that obviously though.

Thanks for any help. :)

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#2 amf1932

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Posted 16 August 2003 - 10:11 AM

Replacing struts is a pretty straighforward operation, but it's not for the average backyard mechanic since it requires special tools to remove them. If you insist on tackling the job yourself here is an idea of what's involved:

1- Remove the rear seat and trim panel.

2- Loosen the rear wheel lug nuts, raise the rear of the vehicle and support it on jackstands. Remove the wheel.

3- Detach the brake hose from the strut. Detach the ABS sensor wire from the strut.

4- Disconnect the stabilizer bar link from the strut.

5- Support the axle carrier with a floor jack. Place a block of wood between the jack head and the carrier.

6- Loosen the strut-to-axle carrier bolt nuts.

7- Remove the three upper strut-to-body mounting nuts.

8- Lower the axle carrier with the jack and remove the two strut-to-axle carrier bolts.

9- Remove the strut assembly.

10- Reverse these directions to replace the strut.

11- A 4 wheel alignment should be done.

12 - Good Luck :)

#3 SpeedRacer959

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Posted 16 August 2003 - 12:18 PM

amf1932,

Thanks for the info. You seem to know a lot about that...have you done it before or do you have one of those good manuals? Also, what special tools do you need? I didn't see the need for them in any of the steps you highlighted below... <_<

I think I'm going to do it. I'll wait until a cooler day though, it's 95 here today! Too hot for me to even be outside let alone work.

Also, I'll take pictures and document the process, then post it on LOC board for the next person who desires to do it themself.

Someone did that for the Radio Removal and Installation and that was absolutely a life saver.

Thanks,

Jimi

PS. any more advice would me MUCH appreciated. :)

#4 amf1932

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Posted 16 August 2003 - 12:36 PM

Actually when I said special tools I meant that an assortment of sockets( inch drive), and open end wrenches was necessary to do this job.
Yes, I have replaced rear struts on a Toyota Camry so the above procedure should be similar to your Lexus.
BTW: I was in Mayville, WI a couple of weeks ago visiting relatives.......too bad, I could have helped you do this job. heehee ;)

#5 SpeedRacer959

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Posted 16 August 2003 - 03:36 PM

I've begun disassembling the Lexus (and taking pictures along the way for later use), but I have a question.

There are two large bolts that were a complete b*tch to get out. I'm wondering if when I put the new struts back in, do those have to be tensioned to a certain amount? Or is just "tight as you can get 'em" ok? I plan on putting lock-tight on the bolts to prevent them from coming off, because if they did, it would probably be deadly. :unsure:

Also, I plan on really wrenching down on those suckers so they don't even think about coming off.

If I have to buy a torque wrench I will though.

Thanks,

Jimi

#6 amf1932

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Posted 16 August 2003 - 05:35 PM

Sorry, I forgot to mention that a torque wrench is needed.:( I didn't use one when I changed the struts on the Camry though.

The torque specifications are as follows:

Strut upper mounting nuts.........29 Ft-lbs

Strut-to-suspension support (damper shaft) nut.........36 Ft-lbs

Strut-to-axle carrier nuts/bolts..........188 Ft-lbs

#7 SpeedRacer959

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Posted 16 August 2003 - 07:32 PM

Awesome! Thanks for the great info. I went out and bought a nice craftsman torque-wrench to do the job right. It goes up to 250 ft. lbs. so I should be able to get those big ones back in tight! :)

Thanks so much for your help. This LOC board rocks because of people like you.

 :cheers:

#8 amf1932

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Posted 16 August 2003 - 08:27 PM

Gee, thanks for the kind words. :D

A thought came to mind though........How do you know that the struts you got from the junkyard are any better then the ones that you're replacing? <_<

#9 SpeedRacer959

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Posted 17 August 2003 - 09:14 AM

I just hope that they are better, or I'm throwing in the towel.

They supposedly came off a 1998 w/ 30k or so miles on it so I hope that they are in better condition. If mine are original (which I think they are) then they should give me 70k more miles before they go out.

*crossing my fingers. :unsure:

#10 SpeedRacer959

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Posted 17 August 2003 - 03:03 PM

I just got the struts in! YEEAAAAAAAAAAAAH! :magic:

They work awesome. The electronic control is more noticable (ie. softer in the comfort setting and stiffer in the sport setting) , and also no clunking noise while driving. The car is also level now. It was saging in the rear before. I suspect it was the old springs or something wearing out.

Well all is good now thanks to the amf1932 and a little elbow grease.

I took lots of pictures, and I'll create some documentation of how to do it in case anyone else decides to tackle this project.

Cheers!
 :cheers:

#11 amf1932

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Posted 17 August 2003 - 09:36 PM

Hey, Great, man!!!! I'm glad I could help you out. :D I sure was surprised that you did this job so quickly, but I'm the same way.....gotta start the job immediately! You sound like a very capable mechanic. Enjoy your new ride.

#12 SpeedRacer959

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Posted 06 August 2004 - 08:22 PM

Someone e-mailed me about the strut documention. Here it is:

http://michalscheck....uts/struts.html

Good luck.

-Jimi

#13 hammer008

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Posted 06 August 2004 - 08:35 PM

Holy moly! Thank you. :cheers:

#14 SKperformance

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Posted 06 August 2004 - 11:46 PM

you wanted to add anti seize not lock tight since those are more for engine parts
but suspension parts bind and need the extra grease to loosen after a few years.
Once torqued right they won;t come out

#15 NeiLtYmE

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Posted 07 August 2004 - 03:59 PM

you replaced your mounts too? Was it included in the new units you got or did you use the ones from before?


I did my suspension too, the tokicos and ebach's.. My dumass reused the mounts and now they sound like little annoying marbles hitting againts one another.

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