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Toyota Avalon Suspension Questions

jagoodejagoode Posts: 2
I bought a 99 Avalon a year ago from the Dealer. I purchased the extended warranty.

Within 1 month, I had the front struts and mounts replaced, complementary, due to excessive noise. However, the noises are still there. In the back too, but they say they can't hear that... must be because the front rattle too loud.

Clunking and rattling are the primary sounds. There is also a lot of motion in the steering wheel and accellerator pedal when you hit certain types of bumps and pot-holes.

While I always try to avoid hitting bumps, I can't help to believe that when I go over lane reflectors, the wheels shouldn't sound and feel like they are going to fall off. Coming from a '82 Celica and a 8'5 Supra with 200,000 miles with original suspensions and nothing close as far as sounds and feelings, I feel cheated by latest technology, or lack thereof.

Anyone else have this problem and know a remedy? Aftermarket suspension kits, anything?
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Comments

  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Post #214:

    I think I can help you somewhat with your suspension problems. It is going to cost you a little, but the car will ride vastly improved. I did some of this to a 2002 Avalon, cause the shocks are extremely weak, and the changes are precious.

    1. Buy 4 Tokico HD Gas Shocks for your vehicle year. If you live in a winter environment, you can undercoat them, but be careful not to get undercoating on the piston part or it will damage the seals. You can buy them over the internet.

    2. Buy ALL NEW Toyota, bushings, dust covers, and insulators that have to do with the strut housing. Email a guy called Larry at his Toyota dealership at <larry@brandsport.com> Let him know I sent you.

    3. Find a competent, wheel and alignment place near your home. Have them drive your Avalon first with the old stuts.

    4. Then have them put the new struts and bushing on and align the car again.

    Good luck. Let me know how things turn out.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Nomad56:

    Thanks for double checking that fuel filter install. That is what I was told that if you take the filler cap off, let it sit awhile, than the pressure decreases and it will leak but not much. Now, where is the DARN thing???? I could not find it?? Do you access it from below with the car on the lift or from above??? Driver's side or passenger??

    The PU busings for the sway bars, both front and rear took longer than I wanted. The install for the rear were easy, as access to them was easy. Since the parts are really for a 97-99 Avalon,(there is no listed part for 2000-present), they are tight around the sway bar but not problems. The front install was a different matter. The curved fire wall makes accessing the rear screw difficult, especially any person that has large hands. Anyone doing this needs a straight rachet wrench. I did not have one, and it made getting to the bolts in front very tedious. I could only turn the darn thing a quarter turn at a time, and the threads were so close, I was ready to be committed by the time I got them snug. The maual states 14lbs of torque, not very much. The ride does not change that dramitically, but it is a little more harsh, not real difference in sway charactaristics, but a difference in cut in response from lane to lane. I am going to have someone professional do the CAB cause they will have to realign it anyway, and I don't want to get frustrated more.

    I saw the New Acura TL. Very nice, 10K less than a BMW 5 series. But...this is not an inexpensive car, as premium fuel must be used, and those dual exhausts are expensive when replacement time comes. Nevertheless, with XM radio and the typical simple but refined, multi link double wishbone suspension, it is more performance than an Avalon, albeit more expensive.

    Let me know when you trick the steering and how difficult it is. I am at the peak of making this car better. It is just about maintenance now.

    Thanks for all your good help. I always enjoy this forum and get much more from all your technical know how than all the dealerships combined.

    abfisch
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Nomad56:

    One more question before I begin this project. Just want to make sure I am replacing the correct bushing in the correct place. In looking at the Rear Suspension Components, the suspension arm #1 and #2 attach to the frame at the suspensio member and at the wheel at the rear axle carrier.

    It is the ones to the suspension member( the ones in the middle of the chassis) that I am replacing in the rear, not the ones near the rear axle carrier and strut. Correct????

    Just want to make sure before I start taking everything apart.

    Thanks again for the tech info. Love this forum.

    Looked at a 5 series yesterday. Thought of you. Terribly complicated car. I like the old ones better. Let me know when you get around to driving the Acura TL with the 6M tranny.

    abfisch
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Avalon Forum and Nomad56:

    I attempted to change the Rear Control Arm bushing last week, but only got as far as getting the car up on the lift. It seems, at least from 2000 and on, the bolts that go through the suspension member throught the suspension arms go from the front of the vehicle to the back. You cannot take them off, they are too long and not enough space without either dropping the gas tank or the control arm and the suspension member.

    For me that would have been an 8 hour job, and just did not seem worth it for a two year old car. The PU bushing for the sway bars, front and rear, were alot easier and the Tokico HP shocks give this car more than enough sporty hanlding now.

    Unless you have some suggestions, to make this install easier, I am going to hold on to the bushing and wait until I have to change the exhaust, align the car again, and then take it all down.

    If anyone has any technical info. on this install, please let me know, but this is NOT for the average golfer. You need a couple of people to take down that transverse cross member some.

    Thanks. Nomad56???

    abfisch
  • nomad56nomad56 Posts: 134
    ab-I've been away for a week, leaving again in two days. Anyway, I removed the strut rod and suspension arms without too much trouble. ...perhaps a little different on your newer Avy???? Unfortunately, I will not be near the garage for two weeks...I'll check it out next time I'm there. Note: I air hammered 'em out/in ON the car. I did not remove the carrier. -nomad56-
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Nomad56:

    Thanks for the response. On the net, a gentleman removed the same bushings out of his MR2. He described the same set up (Toyota set up) as I have. It leads me to believe that is the way they set up their suspension systems with good reason. The bolts cannot come out even if the nuts come off. Very safe but painful to work on.

    Thanks for the effort. I can wait on these until major repairs at 200K need to be made. Perhaps they will have other bushing parts by this time anyway.

    abfisch
  • Hi,

    I just bought a 98 Avalon and I am getting a thumping sound from the front passenger side when I go over bumps. The car has 25700 miles on it.

    What needs to be done? The car is not under warranty.

    Thanks.

    Joe
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    jrebot:

    Are you sure a 98 Avalon actually has ONLY 26K on it?????? That is less than 5K per year. That being said, either bring it to a qualified wheel and alignment place(frame and axle) or start from the outside in. Check your tire pressure, then links and bushings, and last shocks. Usually if the tires are OK and are not dry rotted, the bushings are intact and not rotted or lose, it is the shocks. Replace with TokicoHP's struts. My opinion is to stay away from Toyota's OEM struts.

    It would be prudent to have a place that takes the underside of the car apart on a regular basis check it out.

    abfisch
  • jrebot, the noise you're hearing is more than likely a strut housing bushing that is causing the thumping sound that you are hearing. Toyota is very well aware of this problem to the extent that a TSB has been issued. If you can live the thumping sound then I'll let you know that it's not a major problem, just an annoyance My 97 has made this noise since I baught it, it seems to me that the problem is worse in the winter than the summer. This problem is not just found in the Avalon, but in many other Toyota cars. Let me know what you find out. You can find a list of TSB's for your car at the NHTSA web site. Good luck
  • I too had this problem with my 1998 Avalon and took it to the dealership for warranty service. Ironically the additional weight of the service manager prevented the noise from occuring during our test drive. I described it to him and he said it sounded like a loose strut. I let the dealer take the car and they resolved it. The explanation was it was a loose strut upper mount. It would seem that if it was "loose" then they would only need to tighten it but they listed 2 parts needed. Part # 48603-33021 and 48609-33121, both listed as "Support S/A - FR-S"
  • nomad56nomad56 Posts: 134
    rbremer-the "loose" strut mount is not mounting bolts. Strut mounts are two pieces separated by a bushing. As that bushing wears, noises develop. Some squeak, some thump. The Avy's were plagued with premature failure of these... and a "thumping" noise. This is an item replaced with struts (usually). So, if you are close to needing struts, listen to the thump, or turn up the radio:), until you do struts.
    -nomad56-
  • Replace Strut "Tower" Part cost: $65 each, labor 1 hour each, total cost for 2 towers $270. Had to replace at 160,000 miles, in addition to rack & pinion.
  • scanner1scanner1 Posts: 1
    I have a 97 Avalon that continues to have thunking noises in the suspension.
    I've replaced strut mounts front and rear. I still have regular noise that
    sounds roughly like a length of 2x4 hopping around in the trunk. It's
    affected by temperature and road conditions to some extent. This one area
    ruins the impression of an otherwise great car. After two sessions of
    strut mount replacement, I hesitate to spend tons more money on a 7 year old
    car in HOPES of finding the right parts or processes that takes care of the
    problem. Has anyone found sure cure for this?

    ------------------------------------------------------------------ ---------------
    #2 of 3 Thunking... by nomad56 Jun 26, 2004 (4:26 pm)
    It is your rear sway bar bushings. They are worn and the noise is coming from the sway bar. My buddy and I spent a few hours hunting this problem down, after it perplexed us. ...and several other Avy drivers. We subsequently fixed it for several people that had spent money on struts and tower mounts, etc @ the dealer. If you want to be sure, simply remove the sway bar and tets drive the car. The "thunk" will be gone! -nomad56-

    -------------------------------------------------
    I hope you can find this and respond with follow up information nomad56. I must have posted the original question in the wrong place and the thread has been closed. I've checked with my local Toyota dealer parts desk. They have 2 rubber bushings that connect "somewhere around the center of the swaybar" (to the body I think) Are you saying that replacing these two $14 bushings fixed the problem for you?
  • nomad56nomad56 Posts: 134
    YES! Those wear over time. We usually do the connecting links (about $60/pr) as well, to eliminate ALL play in the sway bar. NOTE: Check your sway bar for "wear" where the bushing will wrap the bar. This should be a snug lubricated fit. FYI: Poly bushings are preferred. Try ENERGY suspension, usually available through local parts stores. Poly here will not effect ride comfort like it would in the control arms. It will only help reduce body roll... and probably not enough to notice if this is the only Poly piece being introduced. -nomad56-
  • danbethdanbeth Posts: 17
    Is the rear sway bar just another term for stabilizer bar? I looked this up in my haynes manual becausr my in-laws '98 Avalon is having the same problems. There is a right and left stablizer bar. Haynes states to remove the bar and bushings, the heat insulator from the exhaust system must be removed first. Then detach the stabilizer bar links from the bar. Then unbolt the bar bushing retainer from the body. then remove the stabilizer bar right and then left. Did they leave anything out? Do you need an impact wrench to remove the nuts? What are the torque settings? Sometimes Haynes leaves some of the necessary detail out of the repair procedure. Also before you test drive without the bar in place, is there anything that needs to be secured or tightened in this area? Thank you. danbeth
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Danbeth:

    If that is how the Haynes manual describes it, go to another manaul as it sounds confusing unless you can acutally see it. To my knowledge, and I have done this, the sway bar goes horizontally across the car. There is one front and one rear. The center bushing and brackets attach the sway bar to the chassis and the outer links attach the bar somewhere to the suspension, in the Avalon's case, to the ball joint area or somewhere around the bottom of the strut area. I cannot remember exactly right now. But...you do not have to take the bar out or away. All you have to do is loosen the brackets, take off the rubber pieces, put on new pieces with plenty of grease so they don't squeak and tighten them back up. It is relatively simple. The torque settings for the bolts are very low, I cannot remember exactly although it is in the manual, but I remember them being really low, so three finger tight is all I remember doing.

    Nomad can guide you through the rest.

    abfisch
  • fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Posts: 668
    The '98 should be similar to a '96.

    Rear stabilizer bushing retainers: 14 ft-lb (19 N-m)
    These are the retainers that go around the bar - not at the ends.

    Rear stabilizer bar links: 47 ft-lb (64 N-m)
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    fndlyfmrflr #447:

    Thanks for taking the time to look these up or recount them in your head for the forum. Very nice for you to do this. I am between bases in an Army move, and my manuals are in storage. Nothing like having the exact spefications. I am all for that.

    Thanks again for your contributions.

    "Feed the forum"

    abfisch
  • Hi all, I ordered two rear sway bar bushings for my 96 avalon from a local Autozone. The are made by Energy Suspension with parts number #8.5120, which matches what I found on their website. The problem is that I found these bushings are shorter (about 1/4") than the factory ones. Too bad my new PU bushings don't fit tightly in the brackets! Has anyone else had this problem before? Thanks!
  • I have a 96 (built in 97) XL and I ordered 4 new KYB struts which I will install. The replacement documentation does not show the rubber isolators (seats) that are in the original strut assemblies.

      Does anyone have experience with replacement struts, and while I would think isolators are a good idea (against noise), is that a dealer-only part? Anyone riding without them?
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