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Changing Front Struts...anthing Else?


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I am going to remove and replace the front struts on my ls400. While doing this, are there other parts or recommendations that I should consider?


Check the upper A-arm bushings. Jack it up by the lower arm to free tension on the upper. Grab the upper arm and try to move it laterally(as you face the side of the wheelwell, push in and pull out on it to see if they are loose. If they have not been replaced already, they are probably shot. Don't know what year LS you have, but my '90 is ready for bushings. Lexus dealer sells whole Upper Arm Assy for a ton of dough. I've seen a few parts shops posted on this site sell them for about $500 each. Daizen sells a bushing kit which, although labor intensive, saves you a ton of dough. Unfortunately, I ordered and paid for a set thru TM Engineering in December, and have yet to receive it. Back-ordered, waiting for manufacture, it seems.

You should check all the bushings and ball-joints, since you'll have it all apart anyway.


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If you have your car up on the jackstands, grab the top of the wheel (with tire attached) and pull it back and forth. There should be zero play. If you feel it shift (i.e., hear/feel a clunk when you pull it back/forth) your upper control arm (or A-arm) needs replacing.

Then put a floor jack under the wheel and raise it up so that the suspension is in a neutral position (basically 1-2" up from full drop) and grab the bottom of the wheel and pull it back and forth. Same test, except for your lower ball joints. Again, clunking is a bad sign.

Since you're probably pulling out the upper control arm as part of the strut replacement, take a look at the upper ball joint. See if it looks worn. Take the ball joint nut and put it back on the bolt, then use a torque wrench to spin the joint around (once the nut is snug). After 3 rotations (at a pace of 2-3 seconds per rotation), check the torque on the 4th and 5th rotations. If it's below 5-7 ft lbs. (on a 1991 LS 400, anyway) you might want to consider replacing the upper control arm.

You can do this test on the lower ball joint too, but you have to take off the steering knuckle and suspend/secure it somehow (unless you want to unhook the speed sensor connection and take off the brake caliper) to get the ball joint disconnected.

If you have the extra cash (lower ball joints cost me $80 per and the upper control arm was $300 - yikes) you can just replace them, no questions asked. You'll definitely notice an improvement in ride quality and steering fi they haven't been replaced before.

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