How Big A Deal - Shock/Strut replacement?

Old 01-12-10, 07:26 AM
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How Big A Deal - Shock/Strut replacement?

I've got a 1992 Camry that has 275,000 miles and has now made into the high status role of being my Winter car. Unfortunately, its cold in Wisconsin and teh struts/shocks are horrible and I want to replace them, if I can. I'm looking for input on waht is the scale of this project and what special tools (if any) are required. If there is PDF taht describes the process that would be great. Input from those that have done this themseves would be appreciated and suggestions on buying the parts (online / local) wouldb be a bonus.

Thanks much and I look forward to reading you ideas.

Old 01-12-10, 11:30 AM
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While I do not have a Toyota, I have replaced struts on another vehicle and I suspect it is similar. I replaced both the springs with stiffer ones and installed new dampers.

The only special tool I needed was a spring compressor. The main spring that goes around the damper must be compressed to attach it.

If you choose to do this yourself, never get the compressed package pointed at yourself. Think of it as a loaded firearm. It is a potentially dangerous job.
Old 01-12-10, 11:56 AM
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The easiest way to do the job is with complete replacement units that already have a new spring mounted on the strut. You only need common tools (and a good set of jacks stands). Monroe, among othres, makes the replacement units and you should be able to find the procedure in the repair section at

The strut assemblies are about a buck and a half a piece, but you get all new parts; the only thing reused is the mounting hardware.
Old 01-12-10, 04:16 PM
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ans with 275k miles where the struts were bad long ago, the springs are quite likely fatigued to the point of needing to be replaced anyway.

but, if you decide to replace just the struts, take heed to LawrencC's advice. I knew a guy that lost a bunch of teeth and that is when the he was using a compressor. The srping spun out of it (it was wall mounted unit) and hit the floor and bounced back up and hit his jaw breaking a bunch of teeth.

the spring has enough pressure it theoretically could kill you. Remember, it has enough force to hold up the corner of your car.
Old 01-12-10, 04:20 PM
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I remember doing this job on my very first car. A gold brownish 1978 Delta 88. I can't remember the exact procedure I used to compress the springs other than it involved a bottle jack, some scrap lumber, the underside of a very sturdy heavy storage rack that my grandpa made, lots of duct tape, and finally a utility knife. Of course that was when I was much younger and.. uhm... more resourceful.

I'm gonna get soooooo banned for posting this nonsense.

Anyway, it's good to hear that your car has proven reliable enough to be deemed worthy of this replacement work.

With 275,000 miles it sounds like it's worth using the pre-assembled strut set that tow-guy had recommended. Since that eliminates much of the special procedure stuff, and includes all of the important parts that would be beneficial to replace anyhow, possibly without costing more than buying/using or renting/using/returning special tools.

Maybe price the items separately and then price the strut assembly. See what you think.

Sounds like you're worried about the downtime you're gonna put on this vehicle once you commit. Probably not much more than a profe$$ional $hop would? Of course they do have a hoist, instead of a pair of jackstands and wheel chocks. But the good news is, you don't have to scoot all the way under the vehicle for this job.

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