My situation: 96 es300 Hood support/strut project.
What seems to be a specific 96 issue: I have a bracket welded to my L strut that an electrical connection fastens to. I am not sure if this is common because I have not seen any posts about it here.
I did all the standard searching for replacements and as others have found there does not seem to be direct after market replacement (AMR) for OEM. I looked at many sites and from the pictures there seemed to be 2 maybe 3 AMR strut manufacturers although they are available at many many sites. I looked hard at the pictures and decided that if I am going to throw money away I may as well just try the cheapest I could find. Some had an eye on each end and this one had the ball and the bracket. I thought the ones with the bracket looked better...more OEM. Ebay had them for $22 at a few different sellers there. Mine came from:
HELP DESK/ordering: firstname.lastname@example.org
A division of Mr. Lou's Stuff LLC.
Name # 4217L-R/10543-544
Code # 10543-544/4217L-R
LEXUS ES300 1994 1995 1996 Hood Lift Supports (4217L-R)
In the delivery box were two struts in plastic sleeves. On the sleeve is STRONGARM. So I assume these are STRONGARM struts. Same 4217R-L number on them. Nice looking packaging and unites.
So I compared the new shock to the ones on the hood and the extended length is a perfect match. The STRONGARM came with new ball end threaded bolts. But...I am trying to take out the old ones from the hood and they are not cooperating.
1. How do you separate the ball socket assembly...the strut from the ball? I don't see a retaining ring or pin or clip. It just looks pushed in but I can't figure out how to get it to separate from the ball that is screwed or bolted into the hood. I tried the hammer and wood thing but that was brutal and did not work.
2. I am trying to turn out the ball socket from the hood. It has a hex on it for a 12mm wrench but when I try to remove it...it feels like it has a nut on the back side. The replacement came with a new ball bolt and it has the same hex head for a wrench and is threaded...it looks like it should just go in like a threaded bolt would.
3. The bracket that is tack welded I plan to brake away with a hammer and chisel. The bolt in the fender will hold it securely I think.
WHAT I LEARNED TODAY 12/18/09
(Probably more than you wanted to know. It's not about saving a few hundred bucks...it's the principal of the thing!)
So far we know “for a fact” that these struts will work on 94 95 96 97 es300.
TOOLS NEEDED: Box and open end 12mm 11mm wrenches. Optional: Screw driver & hammer and a rag.
Tricks I learned:
TEMPORARY HOOD SUPPORT: What ever your now using to hold the hood up…tie it to the hood. I used a golf club so I wrapped a wire around it and a piece of the hood latch. WHY? Because while you work you will lift the hood and it will drop out…and maybe hurt something like the fender or your foot! Guess how I learned this trick?
BALL END BOLTS: The OEM ball end bolt in the hood has blue grade lock tight on it. It feels like it will twist off or strip out. Just keep working it back and forth ¼ turn and slowly work it out till you see threads. It will come out. Both the top and bottom bolts seem really hard to get out. This is in part from lock tight and the weight of the hood binding on them. You can use your shoulder or a helper to move the hood up and down till you feel the pressure come off the bolts. I took the bottom one off first then the top. I installed the bottom first and screwed in the top. Then snapped the shock into the ball. I found that the strut ball end did not line up properly and it confused me for a moment. I found the best way to turn the suckers was to mount it and then twist the tube to fit on the ball.
ELECTRIC BRACKET: If you have an electric bracket the only TRUE replacement is OEM. It takes a pretty good tug strait back to get the connector off the bracket. There are 3 little tack welds holding it to the strut mounting plate. Once the strut is off the car…a sharp chisel/screw driver and a persuader (hammer) and a few moments of patience working to bust it lose will retrieve it for you. You will bend it up a bit but hammer out what you can on the cement till it will mount. I put it back on the car to complete the straitening with pliers. I took it back off and replaced the electrical socket into it (it is hard to do mounted). Then I put the bolt thru the strut plate and thru the electric bracket and bolted it down (remember the bracket mounts first against the fender). Looks OEM when done. ALTERNITIVE: Leave the connecter just hang there like everyone else does…not my cup of tea!
A BIT OF OVER KILL: I posted a pick of a tiny rubber ring that came off of the tab that goes into the fender. That tab stabilizes the strut from twisting. I accidentally noticed this rubber over the tab. It came off so I put it back on the new one. Why? For those that love Lexus this is yet another of the weird quirky things they do. Just go with it. Mine is not to wonder why…(but I do think I know why…)
THE END: Now if anyone can add more to this string…please do. At least let us know what happens to you if you try this. I would sincerely appreciate it. This seemed a simple project when started! Boy was I wrong about that! But you have all the info I worked weeks to collect. This has to be about as complete a thread as you will find on this particular project.
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