sk1951

Hood 96 Es300: Lifts, Supports, Struts, Gas Shocks: How To Replace

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I am working to change out my hood struts and have searched all the strings. All I find is hack and slash horror stories that I don't understand and bent hoods. And people looking for cheap replacement parts (I posted mine). No real "this is what I did" or "this is what happened" or picture info. If there is a good help string on this subject please post it for me please. Other wise I guess let's try to get one started here.

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:

LiftSupprtsDepot.com

info@liftsupportsdepot.com

www.liftsupportdepot.com

HELP DESK/ordering: lou@liftsupportsdepot.com

A division of Mr. Lou's Stuff LLC.

INVOICE INFO:

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.

OK…so I may be just a little bit anal…! But I enjoy doing a good job and having things done right. So…the struts I listed above (STRONGARM) are a definite OEM replacement. The length/travel is perfect and the pressure is also. The hood will raise itself like it did when new. The first time you close the hood be a bit careful because they are stiff and hard. But when you get it about half way closed just move it up and down about 10 times and they loosen up…play with it and enjoy your accomplishment! These struts do not need any filing or drilling to install.

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.

CLICK ON PICS TO ENLAGER

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It is almost impossible to separate the lift support from the ball joint on the OEM Lexus hood supports. There is a clip inside the connection which ties the two parts together. There have been postings on this site and others about drilling into the components and removing this clip; however, this would seem to not be worthwhile since the replacement struts come with new ball joints.

Yes, it is difficult to unscrew the original ball joint so you can install the new ones. I suspect that there is some strong thread lock material on the threads. However, with enough effort, they will start to move. You don't need to break any parts away.

I now have the after market hood supports from Mr. Lou's on our 94 ES. They fit okay and do the job; however, it seems that they have a short life when compared to the Lexus OEM supports. One good thing about these supports is that you can separate the support from the ball joint. That means you don't have to go through the hassle of removing the ball joints again.

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It is almost impossible to separate the lift support from the ball joint on the OEM Lexus hood supports. There is a clip inside the connection which ties the two parts together. There have been postings on this site and others about drilling into the components and removing this clip; however, this would seem to not be worthwhile since the replacement struts come with new ball joints.

Yes, it is difficult to unscrew the original ball joint so you can install the new ones. I suspect that there is some strong thread lock material on the threads. However, with enough effort, they will start to move. You don't need to break any parts away.

I have seen the drill file the ball joint posts and I don't understand the reason for it when the new one has a ball bolt with it.

But anyway...OK...a lock tight on the threads does make sense. Boy...it must be some really good stuff. I have tried to work the ball back and forth a little to see if it would loosen up but it only seems to get tighter. Nothing like info from someone that has done it. I can only get an open end on it and it wants to slip and round the hex edges. That is really tight! But it does move back and forth about an 1/8 turn.

You also have the same replacement I have? So you are saying that the OEM has threads on it like the LOU STRONGARM ball replacement does? If that is true I will put a bit more muscle into it. I tend to be a bit careful because I have learned that I tend to twist things on and off to hard and brake them.

Oh...and does your 94 have the bracket on the left for the electric connection?

Thanks for the info. So are we having fun yet?

I also strongly suspect that the Camry struts will work. This site uses the same part number:

http://factoryautostore.com/search/1573101...&image.y=10

I found 4217's here for $3 each but I think you have to buy a few others with them:

http://www.allworldautomotive.com/auto_par...s_ots14172.html

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The replacement struts that I used are exactly like the ones you have.

Note that on the replacement struts, there is a plastic clip on the ball joint end that releases the strut from the ball joint. This is the feature that means you can replace them hereafter without going through the work of removing the ball joint from the hood.

Yes, the threads on the new ball joints are the same threads that are in the hood where the old ball joints were.

There is no bracket for an electrical connector on the lower part of the strut on the 94 ES. There is an electrical harness close by, but it is not attached in any way. There could have been some connection originally. I probably did the first hood strut replacement at least ten years ago and just don't remember many details (other than the fact that the ball joints were so hard to remove).

If you round the threads too much, your only option will then be a vise-grip. The space available is probably not enough to get a regular size vise-grip in there; however, some sort of needle nose vise-grip might fit (if there is such a thing).

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I just use a piece of wood or a long metal pipe to hold up the hood.

doesn't seem to be worth the $$ and time to replace these things when hood is not opened that often

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I just use a piece of wood or a long metal pipe to hold up the hood.

doesn't seem to be worth the $$ and time to replace these things when hood is not opened that often

Come on man...don't give up!!!!

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The replacement struts that I used are exactly like the ones you have.

Note that on the replacement struts, there is a plastic clip on the ball joint end that releases the strut from the ball joint. This is the feature that means you can replace them hereafter without going through the work of removing the ball joint from the hood.

Yes, the threads on the new ball joints are the same threads that are in the hood where the old ball joints were.

There is no bracket for an electrical connector on the lower part of the strut on the 94 ES. There is an electrical harness close by, but it is not attached in any way. There could have been some connection originally. I probably did the first hood strut replacement at least ten years ago and just don't remember many details (other than the fact that the ball joints were so hard to remove).

If you round the threads too much, your only option will then be a vise-grip. The space available is probably not enough to get a regular size vise-grip in there; however, some sort of needle nose vise-grip might fit (if there is such a thing).

GOT IT DUDE!!! I will edit my post above with what I learned today. Thanks so much for your help!

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Greetings: My name is Lou Fishman, and I handle most of the tech questions at Lift Supports Depot.Com and issues associated with our Lift Supports business. This thread from your forum is very helpful and we would know if anyone here has any issues with us quoting some of the problems and issues that have been had in installing the supports for this model. We are developing a question & answer section on our web site to help others with their issues and the remarks here would be very helpful.

One question that seems to be out in the open is the wire that is attached to the support. This is a ground wire, and most have found a spot nearby to attach it to in order to get a good connection. The OEM version with the wire harness has a cost of about $100.00 (last time we looked) each from Lexus and is a bit overkill in our minds. If there is anything that we can help with we are a small and friendly company and would welcome any questions or issues.

Thank You

Lou Fishman

www.liftsupportsdepot.com

1-760-744-2956

San Marcos CA.

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I am working to change out my hood struts and have searched all the strings. All I find is hack and slash horror stories that I don't understand and bent hoods. And people looking for cheap replacement parts (I posted mine). No real "this is what I did" or "this is what happened" or picture info. If there is a good help string on this subject please post it for me please. Other wise I guess let's try to get one started here.

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:

LiftSupprtsDepot.com

info@liftsupportsdepot.com

www.liftsupportdepot.com

HELP DESK/ordering: lou@liftsupportsdepot.com

A division of Mr. Lou's Stuff LLC.

INVOICE INFO:

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.

OK…so I may be just a little bit anal…! But I enjoy doing a good job and having things done right. So…the struts I listed above (STRONGARM) are a definite OEM replacement. The length/travel is perfect and the pressure is also. The hood will raise itself like it did when new. The first time you close the hood be a bit careful because they are stiff and hard. But when you get it about half way closed just move it up and down about 10 times and they loosen up…play with it and enjoy your accomplishment! These struts do not need any filing or drilling to install.

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.

CLICK ON PICS TO ENLAGER

Thanks for the guidance! One trick I learned today: an easy way to remove the electrical bracket from the old strut is to weaken the three small welds with a drill. All it takes is a small bit and the welds are weakened enough to make is easy to remove the bracket.

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I have a 97 ES300 and needed to replace the Hood Lift struts... I ordered a pair of STRONGARM 4547 struts from Amazon . Went to install and cannot remove the ball joint from the old strut. The new Strongarm didn't come with a replacement ball joint, so I need to use the old one which would be fine if I could figure out how to remove it from the old strut. HELP?

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Thanks for the great detailed writeup and pics! I'm a bit mechanically challenged but thought replacing the hood supports on my 94 es300 would be easy enough. Ran into the spot welded electrical bracket problem and found your post which encouraged me to work through it. I was about to add that drilling out the 3 spot welds made the bracket pop right off but just noticed nctommy already mentioned that.

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SK and CU Man, thanks for posting this. Like you, what seemed like a 10 minute job has yet to be completed. I checked the 1997 FSM, and noted 13 ft/pnds of torque on the ball strut. No mention of thread locker. Not what I ran into.

I think I will use needle nose pliers on that ball strut; as others have noted, it's already starting to round. With your encouragement, I will continue to back it out, a quarter turn at a time. Put a dash of PB Blaster in there, perhaps it will help as well. I also might try a 12mm flare wrench on it.

I was initially reluctant to really pull on the ball strut to remove it. Visions of working on my neighbor's '88 Celica, and twisiting bolt heads off of bolts, Yikes!

If successful, I'll report back. Online Lexus parts wanted $88 apiece for each strut. Rock Automhad the pair for $54, shipped..

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