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Toyota Avalon Suspension Questions

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  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Alas:

    I was in the same situation in 02, with limited choices. Since I am not an electronics type of person, I took (with experience) the lesser, XL, and got it to the vehicle I wanted in the first place, but could or did not want to offer.

    You would have to check with aftermarket manufacuturers and see. But I am 85% sure, that the VSC and traction control, are electronically modulated and are not intergral to the dampers themselves, although there may be a place where the sensors for the VSC/TC attach to. Good aftermarkets should provide this attachment point to the outer core of the damper housing.

    That being said, again, check with the companies or Toyota itself, if you can get a straight answer. That being said again, stay away from high pressure monotube shocks for this application and use premium twin tube low pressure shocks(TokicoHP(Blue) and KYB come to mind). Koni, is coming out with an advanced strut, called the Koni FSD, but there is not application for the Toyota Solara/Camry/Avalon (all the same number unit) yet.

    I have TokicoHP's on my 02 for the past 65K and they have performed flawlessly with an excellent compromise between handling and comfort. To give you an idea, a best friend who is a car collector, stated it is much much better but he would like it still a little bit more firmer!!! Since he is a sports car enthsiast, I am relatively sure it is correct for a daily driver now.

    Good luck

    abfisch
  • 54gradsteds54gradsteds Posts: 102
    I have a '95 Avalon with 170,000 miles on the clock with original shocks/struts. I would appreciate advice on replacement, i.e., Toyota products vs good-quality after-market parts. How much should this cost?
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    I have commented many time before on this. Will not subject the readers to too much this time.

    The OEM shocks are inferior. Get either TokicoHP(Blues) or KYB GR2's. These are premium Low pressure twin tube gas shocks. Much better in comfort and performance than stock without harshness.

    Shocks should be under or about $400 and installation and alignment should be another $300 to $400. Total $800. Get new strut mounts from Toyota too.

    Good luck

    abfisch
  • retiredretired Posts: 11
    Bought XLS 4/6/04 which at 5/16/06 has 24200. Been hearing scraping sound from front end for about a year now that the service dept didn't hear. Now today everyone hears scraping sound.

    Dealer tells me a service notice indicates front springs must be replaced when such sounds are heard. Yikes!

    Can anyone tell me, absent add'l information forthcoming from Toyota, what are the mechanical issues present here- design flaw, assembly issues in Kentucky, etc? May I expect future additional problems? Is this just a spring issue, or a McPhearson strut issue?

    Given Toyota's reputation for building sound autos, especially Avalons, this comes as quite as surprise, especially when the service people, who suddenly have become less polite, can't or won't tell me why front suspension springs cause such scraping sounds.
  • retiredretired Posts: 11
    Just discovered TSB:NHTSA Bulletin #:00204, Mfg date 20041202, listed on MyCarStats.com which reads: suspension: front: springs:coil springs. "The customer may hear a knock or rubbing sound from the front suspension, especially when making turns." I'm unable to obtain additional information, i.e., cause and effects full contents, without buying a subscription.

    Would appreciate any additional insight readers of this forum may provide.........

    Thanks.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Oh..... they usually don't, that is why. For a 2004 to have the springs do anything remotely like that is, probably on the less than 1% side. More likely, with 24K on it, it is either the front brakes have something rusty on them or a premature CV joint in on its way, or though less likely. Is the noise when you apply the brakes or all the time???? Is it only over bumps or whenever the wheel is turning. Do you live in a snowy climate?? The suspension/strut mounts are also something that clunksand is prone to make noises for for such low mileage I don't think this would be high on my list either.

    abfisch
  • retiredretired Posts: 11
    Thanks abfish for responding. I'd thought I'd peke your interest when it came to front suspension matters.

    The rubbing sound is a constant that is a bit louder when I turn, and the rubbing sound started, ever so slightly, over 1 year ago, at about 9000 miles.

    So why is the local dealership telling me that the to respond to the TSB, the springs will have to be replaced to eliminate the rubbing sound.

    What's rubbing?
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    They make a lowering spring kit by a company called Intrax which fits early model years Avalon's from 95-99 and 00-05. I have no experience with them, nor am I interested in applying them to my vehicle but I was just wondering if someone has installed them, what difference in handling and ride quality them make, if they ever bottom out and if a camber adjustment as wheel as an alighment needed to be done on install.

    abfisch
  • 54gradsteds54gradsteds Posts: 102
    Here I am, all ready to replace struts, front rotors and pads, after having been quoted a price by two independent shops, with whom I have dealt and trust. They each want about $1500 total.

    Just for the heck of it, I called the local Toyota dealership here in Manasassas, and the service guy sounded downright surprised that I would even THINK of replacing struts, even though I've got 171,000 miles on my '95 Avalon. He says they do so so infrequently that they don't even carry struts in their inventory!
    The DEALER wants, however, $2000 just for the strut job, should I insist or actually need it done!
    I need some good advice, guys. I AM taking the car into the dealership for a $45 look-see at the struts first... What are your thoughts, please ??
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 589
    Wait for forum member *abfisch* to reply as he has extensive mods to his Avalon suspension. But it sounds a little high to me. And the struts are available. As an educated guess... no struts could possibly last 171k and still work properly. They are like shock absorbers and wear out in time and mileage. You need an alignment also. Pads and rotors.. if the rotors have been turned twice (or possibly just once)... they are probably done. Replace them. And the pads of course. My .02 :)
  • oilcan2oilcan2 Posts: 120
    Changed struts,strut mounts,some rubber bushings,front
    drive axles on a 94 Lexus ES300 a couple of years ago.Best
    price for struts and mounts was on Ebay $180 for 4 KYB
    momo max.
    Did research and found the rule of thumb being shocks last
    about 40k and struts 80k,the Lexus rode good but rode much
    better with the new struts,(replaced at 100k).
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    oohhhhhhhhh. I would think that that is kinda pricey!!!! And the Avalon Struts are the same as the Camry/Solara too. Look at the part number. Same part number.

    My advice, and there is some opinion here, is buy either TokicoHP or KYB GR2 struts. You should be able to get them for about $400 or so. It should be another $300 in labor and you are probably going to next the new strut tower hardware(rubber) from Toyota plus a 4 wheel alignment. The shocks mentioned above are LOW PRESSURE gas twin tube design, much different than the OEM standard on the car. You should notice a very very big difference, in handling ,cornering, braking, and a slight decrease, not a lot in ride comfort without any more floating at highway speeds.

    For the brakes, front rotors premium $80 each and pads no more than $80. Labor costs vary and the rust needs to come off if you live in snow country, most importantly.

    abfisch
  • 54gradsteds54gradsteds Posts: 102
    Just saw your reply today, so thanks very much. By "strut tower hardware", do you mean strut "boots" ? If so, I've seen them priced at $14.20 each..... And, do you also mean "strut mounts" ? I've seen them priced at $67.90 each(front pair), and $44.65 each (rear pair)...

    My preliminary look-see at prices shows the following"

    (4) strut boots @ 14.20 each, ............$56.80

    (2) front struts @ $94.02 each, .........$188.04

    (2) rear struts @ $71.46 each,...........$142.92

    (2) front strut mounts @ $67.90 each, ...$135.80

    (2) rear strut mounts @ $44.65 each, ....$89.30

    Total for strut equipment,..... $556.06

    This was for all KYB equipment, and should I expect to need ALL of this, considering the 172,000 miles on my '95 Avalon ? With a quoted $125 four-wheel alignment and your estimate of an additional $300-ish labor charge, I'm now at $981.06....Does this seem reasonable so far? Phil
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Yes.... Albeit a little on the high side ($125/4 wheel alignment is a bit steep when all they have to do is put it on the machine, loosen a couple of things,get it within tolerances, etc.) but yes, it sounds in the ball park. Get all the hardward, mounts and replace them at the same time.

    At the same time, you could, with that high mileage, replace the sway bar bushings, an easy thing to do yourself, but you could have them do that as well. They are not very expensive, and OEM are made of rubber and deteriorate after 70K or so. Either the rubber OEM, or polyurethane from Energy Suspension with an generous amount of grease(blue marine) will give you handling that you would not imagine possible in that car. On the other side, the polyurethane bushing do transmit a slight amount of harshness to the cabin, but deform less under stress and sway and are not suspectible to dry rot like rubber OEM. They make control arm bushings as well but I did not find them to be as notable versus the sway arm bushings. There you will find a whole lot of difference.

    abfisch
  • elliotuelliotu Posts: 7
    My mechanic found that the front struts of my 98 Avalon xls were leaking and he replaced them. I now notice that the quality of the ride has changed. I feel every bump on the highway and when I go on the expressway I feel every thump, thump, thump every couple of hundred feet. Could this a cause of a new strut. What should I tell the mechanic?
  • :) http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/KYB-GR-2-GR2-STRUTS-SHOCKS-TOYOTA-AVALON-95-to-03- _W0QQcmdZViewItemQQcategoryZ33590QQhashZitem160029517147QQihZ006QQitemZ160029517- 147QQrdZ1QQsspagenameZWDVW#ebayphotohosting

    here's a link for 4 KYB GR-2 (2 front, 2 rear) for only $218. S&H is about $30
  • Not to beat a dead horse here, but please take a moment to consider the suspension questions I have been living with since buying my '98 Avalon in 01.
    The vehicle had 60 profile tires on it when I bought it, the OEMs were 65s. With the 60s on it, the car would readily bottom out on a parking lot speed bump at anything more than walking speed. The 65 profile yokohamas I have put on since have somewhat aleviated this problem.
    I have always been told that springs are what determine ride height and shocks only dampen bounce and reduce wheel hop. So from the speed bump issue I describe, do I need springs? THe struts are original as far as I know, so they are at least broken in if not useless. (170K miles).
    I think I am willing to spend 1K on the car if it gets me a stiffer ride in the turns, but not sure if adding another $600 for springs is reasonable at this odo reading.
    What are your thoughts?
  • Do you remember where you got these prices?
  • I assume the OEMs were P205/65SR15 and you replaced them with P215/60SR15.
  • oilcan2oilcan2 Posts: 120
    Did he replace the mounts and or the rubber parts between
    the spring and the metal part,the strut mounts are bearings
    that wear out with the strut.check your air pressure in
    your tires.
  • oilcan2oilcan2 Posts: 120
    You have to remove the spring to change the strut anyway,
    why dont you price new stock springs,you could also measure
    the length of the unsprung spring and compare it to the
    length of a new one,get the length from a manual.All of the aftermarket springs will probably lower the car so thats
    why I would stick to stock.If you replace the struts it is
    very important to replace the mount also.
  • I bought the car with 70K miles. The previous owner swapped out the tires with slightly lower profile 215 60 15 tires. This encouraged the car to bottom out at the least provocation. The OEMs are 65 profile tires, which raise the body by a touch. This was enough to reduce the conditions under which the body would bottom out. This is what is on the car now. I want to reduce body roll and bottoming out potential. I want to know if my springs are shot as well as the struts. The car doesn't bounce when doing the "bounce the fender" test.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    I can only give you my experience. I have 85K on a 02 Avalon. It never bottoms out, with either 205/65 H 15 or 215/55 H 16's. It is not really the tires anyway. It is the struts for sure. Replace them, with superior aftermarket struts with new Toyota OEM hardware mounts for the struts. I put TokicoHP's in mine a long time ago, but KYB GR2 are just as fine. They will relieve most of your bottoming out, most of the front end dive under hard braking, and much better control in cornering. If you want to kick it up another "notch" you can change the bushings on the sway bars from rubber to polyurethane. This will make things even more stable albeit at the expense of transmiting a bit more vibration through the car. That is all that is needed really.

    abfisch
  • I had a problem with my 97 camry after a number of years where it I had a rattling noise every time I would drive over bumps... easier to hear on "quiet" roads or while in parking lots. Mechanics said it was upper strut mount issues... about $700-800 to fix... but they said it wasn't a safety issue. I had a hard time spending money for aesthetics especially on an 8 yr old car. SO...

    I read one of the camry posts that talked about how someone had had their front struts replaced, but that it was making the noise (that I recognized.) They took it back to the mechanic who simply needed to tighten the upper strut mount nut (visible from the top) to resolve the problem. I thought "hey.. what if I tightened that nut on my Camry?..." So... I happened to have a deep socket that was the right size (same as the lug nut) and gave it about a 1/4 turn to tighten. Well... after that, the problem disappeared... it's been several days and about 140 miles... I'd say I'm on to something.

    I understand that Avalon suspensions may rattle the same way.

    Food for thought... Keep in mind that I'm not a car mechanic. Just an average guy who doesn't like to spend money on needless "repairs".
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    "here's a link for 4 KYB GR-2 (2 front, 2 rear) for only $218. S&H is about $30"

    The link no longer works. Who was the supplier selling at this price? I just paid $209 for a set of KYB GR2's from Performance Parts for my wifes 03 Avalon. $330 for installation, $50 for alignment. It had pulled to the left, and the best we could do on camber was right on the edge of spec, so we installed an adjustment 'kit' which is an eccentric that allows further adjustment, for $60. Many shops won't install struts that they didn't sell, but I had Fleet Farm do mine - after I explained that they were new and upscale from stock. I could have had them done by the mechanic at a local junk yard too, for a bit less due to a lower hourly rate.

    I had installed Energy performance front sway bar bushings first. These brought quickness to the steering and eliminated much of the vague, sloppy feel. For 30 bucks you can't go wrong. I installed them myself. EZ. Check your sway bar size though. I've seen 18 & 19 mm listed, but mine were 17 mm.

    The struts improved steering more yet. Yes, it rides stiffer, but that is to be expected. I installed large super duty shocke on my wifes 67 Fairlane way back when, and it was stiff. But we took it on a trip from MN to AZ and back. That broke them in, and it was just about perfect. So, I expect the edge to come off these with use too. The Av. had taken speed bumps with out much effect before, but better slow down now, as they definitely are noticeable, as are rough streets, but not objectionable. A good trade off for the improved driveability. The quick response to steering wheel input still surprises me. That's when you know you have improvement - when something unexpected pops up. Nice. So far, I can't find bushings for the rear. Energy lists them (16mm. I'll need to modify to 17mm), but no one can get them, and apparently they don't intend to make them any time soon. Anyone know of any availability (P/N 8.5120), or another brand?

    I had just about 60k on the car, and the float was very noticeable with someone in the back seat, or a load. We plan a trip to AZ with a full load. That will tell the story. They said that they usually didn't replace the strut mounts unless the mileage was really high, and did not change mine. Wife likes the improvement.
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    KYB GR-2

    BTW, if any of you want to improve your old strut performance, you may get a boost by replacing the sway bar bushings with Energy polyurethane units for abott $30 if you do it yourself. The reason for this is that they better tie the strut action together so rather than one wheel moving up and down fairly independently, a stiffer bushing makes the other strut to contribute more. I may not have replaced my struts had I done this before I ordered new ones. It may not be night and day, but I could tell the difference. The tech that replaced my struts did say that my originals seemed good yet though. So, if your budget won't handle a grand right now, try $30 to get by til it will.

    Jerry
  • I have a 2000 Avalon with 65K on it. I just replaced the tires as I didnt like the performance and it was time for new tires. I live on a road that is bumpy in places with lines that go across the road. I cant stand the thunking in the front end. I never thought a Avalon would ride like this. It is a loud thunk with every line that you go over. It rides beautiful on smooth highways. What could this be? Any ideas? Alan
  • Make sure the tires are not over-inflated. If they are OK, I'd suspect the shock absorbers. I hope it's just the tire pressure...
  • The tire pressure is perfect at 32 lbs. Is this normal for an Avalon to ride this way over a bumpy road. It doesnt bottom out or bounce like worn out shocks do. Maybe im just not used to this sort of ride. Thanks
  • Well, i just brought the car to a import mechanic, he drove it and said that the suspension is fine. He thinks it my new tires giving me a rough ride. Im clueless as to what the problem is. Im disappointed in this Toyota. It is my first and so far, im just disappointed. Alan
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