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Best Struts/strut Mounts


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I am thinking of splurging and sinking the money into some new struts and strut mounts... they have become loud enough that it irritates me every time I drive when it's below 50 degrees.

First, both my local mechanic and local Toyota dealers have said that worst-case scenario would be around $1200. That's four new struts, four new strut mounts, and labor costs. Does that sound about right? Does it matter who I go to (Toyota vs. local) or are the parts probably the same?

...Which leads me to my next question...

What struts/strut mounts would you recommend installing? I am in college so I don't have a ton of extra money, but I want to make sure I am getting pretty good parts.

Two quick questions....

There is sort of a clunking noise (sounds like a rattle) coming from the back right of the car, but on the inside. I am thinking maybe it is the rear window? I hope not though. Have any of you had this sound?

Also, sometimes the moonroof rattles when I go over bumps or when the car is idling (at a stoplight). Is that characteristic when the seal wears out, or what?

Thanks!

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chadmg7. I recently had 4 new struts put on my '99 ES300. I got the KYB Gas struts from www.TireRack.com for under $300. They shipped immediately, with no problem. I then had a garage install them - because the wheels have to be very carefully checked for alignment - for around $300.00 KYB struts are so superior to OEM you will wonder how it is you have been driving all this time in an overstuffed rocking chair. My other car, an '03 Passat W8 has sports suspension and 17" wheels; my Lexus is now fairly close to that level of performance. You will get no rocking/swaying, but a firm and comfortable ride. Tokico struts are just too hard, and cost more.

The sound you hear is possibly a worn strut tower or tower support. Although it is costly (and there is no way around it) I would recommend that when you access the TireRack site you also purchase the strut supports. It does sound like at least one of yours is shot.

Best of luck.

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My struts are starting to wear out in the back also on my 97, Already had the fronts replaced. I took the car to the dealership to check it out and give me an estimate, because I was also hearing a sound from the right rear. They made a free adjustment to the muffler cover which was apparently hitting something when I would go over a bump, and now the sound is gone. I'd have a professional check it out before you jumped into extra costs, you could be having the same issue with the muffler cover.

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Thank you both for your replies. Much appreciated.

Avatar, I was not able to find the strut tower (tower support) on TireRack.com... I checked each section. Do they sell them?

Also, you had said they were costly. About how much would you say one would cost? Should it be going out this soon? I have never heard of this repair and I really hope that this part does not need to be replaced on top of the struts and strut mounts.

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I think that the strut tower support would have to be purchased at a Lexus dealer. The strut assembly could be bought at an aftermarket dealer though.

You don't have to replace this support unless the bearing doesn't turn smoothly, and also check the rubber portion for cracking or deterioration.

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chadmg7. I recently had 4 new struts put on my '99 ES300. I got the KYB Gas struts from www.TireRack.com for under $300. They shipped immediately, with no problem. I then had a garage install them - because the wheels have to be very carefully checked for alignment - for around $300.00  KYB struts are so superior to OEM you will wonder how it is you have been driving all this time in an overstuffed rocking chair. My other car, an '03 Passat W8 has sports suspension and 17" wheels; my Lexus is now fairly close to that level of performance. You will get no rocking/swaying, but a firm and comfortable ride. Tokico struts are just too hard, and cost more.

The sound you hear is possibly a worn strut tower or tower support. Although it is costly (and there is no way around it) I would recommend that when you access the TireRack site you also purchase the strut supports. It does sound like at least one of yours is shot.

Best of luck.

Avatar,

I am about to get the KYB after reading this. I have one question though, do you lose the electronic control of suspension stiffenesS? I mean I really love the ability to go super smooth (rocking yes) on rought surfaces.

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To my knowledge, KYB are the OEM manufacturees for the ES struts. I just replaced the rears in my '95 with KYB and there was no noticible difference from the OEM ride and the KYB so I don't know about it being more sporty or stiff as indicated by some of the other posts. If the old suspension is worn out and soft then you may see a difference on replacement. On the flip side of that I don't have the electronic controlled suspension, so you may want to make sure that will still be an option if you replace with KYBs.

Make sure you get the strut brace if you order new struts (looks like an upside down bowl that the strut fits into). You probably don't need the strut tower or support. Your noise could be coming from the strut mount (if one is cracked), but more likely it is coming from the rear sway bar or sway bar link. The sway bar noise is common on the ES and gets mis-diagnosed as a bad strut alot (especially on the '93-'96).

If you are only going to replace the suspension to get rid of the noise then I would have someone look at the sway bar first before you order all of those parts. There are a couple of ways to tell if this is the problem. 1) If you disconnect the sway bar link on one side and then drive a couple of miles over some bumps you should have an idea of whether or not that is the problem. Disconnecting one side takes some of the tension off the bar and that can cut back on the noise. 2) You could also remove the bar completely and drive a couple of miles to see if it is still making noise. Just don't drive long distances, high speeds, or try any sharp cornering w/o the sway bar connected.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Sorry I couldn't provide more information. My '99 is a Coach edition which I bought new, and I was very surprised to find (after all this time) that it does not have adjustable suspension. I bought it for my wife, and she never mentioned that she felt it was lacking something. So, my comments are based on a pretty basic car and set up, albeit trimmed with perforated Coach leather, OZ wheels, and "black pearl" insignia.

Sorry about that.

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  • 2 months later...

I have come to the conclusion that the rattling from the rear is actually coming from the rear part of the roof. I notice this whenever it is cold out when I go over bumps or when there is any amount of bass on the stereo. I sort of tapped the rear part of the roof one day and I was able to replicate the noise I am always hearing. Have any of you heard of the roof on this generation (97-01) beginning to lose its insulation (or glue)?

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For whatever it's worth;

Before replacing the rear struts on my wife's '97 ES300 in December, I searched this site and found a few threads.

One long one went back and forth between KYB's and Tokico's.

Some people said the Tokico's were too stiff, and others didn't.

I went ahead and took a chance with the Tokico's.

Got two from a distributer on the web for $104.00 each, then got the mounts from Lexusautoparts.com for about $55.00 for the pair (I think??). Replaced them myself.

I have absolutely no regrets going with the Tokico's. The ride was beautiful and well controlled, and I do not agree with some people saying there too stiff (at least in our application).

Ride quality was more important than handling, and I'm very happy with the Tokico's.

IMO.

Jeff

Gresham, OR.

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Well, I don't want to make it sound like the roof is falling off... it is actually very sturdy. (I like the "sky is falling" comparison... lol)

What I mean is that there is a slight (maybe 1-2cm) gap between the rear part of the roof and the top of the car. I think that there had previously been two or three plastic pins holding that part of the roof together. But I think I remember reading (in a TSB) that those pins should be removed, as they cause the rattle noise when the get old?

I might just have my mechanic look at it to see if there is a pin or something that can be installed to prevent the vibration noise.

Does this new description make the noise any more understandable? Sorry, it's hard to describe because it is so minor. One example... I can pull on the rear part of the roof and it will bend down a couple of inches (maybe less). So, there is nothing holding the rear part of the indoor roof to the outdoor roof (does that make sense?)

Thanks! :-)

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After re-reading my post, I see that I said something about glue/insulation wearing off. I want to note that the material is not sagging or anything. The roof is just as sturdy as it has ever been... it's just as if the rear of it is no longer attached to the main frame of the car.

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mine come down slightly also if i pull on it. i think it's normal unless it's sagging. my car came with a Lexus car phone and the antenna cable was wired thru the roof to the rear. i have no use for that phone so i disconnected the cable and stuffed it back into the roof. even that doesn't make any rattle noises. you could try some 3M double-sided tape and just tape that rear opening down and see if that stops the rattling.

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