Toyota Camry Suspension Questions

hallagehallage Member Posts: 24
edited April 2016 in Toyota
I have 113,000mi. Thinking about replacing the struts. Do you think I should replace the front only? Or would I notice a big difference replacing the rear also. Also would the KYB GR-2 give a stiffer ride compared to genuine Toyota replacements?




  • loucapriloucapri Member Posts: 214
    is there any leak from the struts or you just think it's about time to replace them since it has over 110K miles?


    I have a 97 with 103K miles, no leak from the struts and didn't really give me a reason why I should replace them.


    Unless you want a stiffer ride? If you decided to replace them, I think you should replace them all (4). Please let us know the outcome too.
  • jbkennedyjbkennedy Member Posts: 70
    I have a 97 also with 80K miles and it rides ok when I am alone but when I have a car full of people, I bottom out over speed bumps and driveways.


    Do you think new struts would help?
  • loucapriloucapri Member Posts: 214
    I usually drive by myself (once a while with my baby and wife) but don't have the buttom out issue but I do see other carmys riding "low" on the rear end when there are people in the back.


    i don't know if a new set of struts will help when riding with 4-5 adults but it probably might help.


    I just notice this morning when I made a big loop turn to get into the freeway ramp, my 97 felt a little lose and bumpy. lot's of body roll. I should chk my struts too, I guess :-)
  • hallagehallage Member Posts: 24
    Felt that ride is softer than it used to be. The car bounces a couple of times after going over railroad tracks or a speed bump. And not as definite a feeling cornering, than it used to. I just had some work done on the engine - replaced the front seals, engine mount, etc. and now the engine feels like new. Just thought if I replaced the struts I'd feel like I had a new car again and ready for keeping it another 10 years.
  • peterpanpeterpan Member Posts: 120
    Struts are worn by about 100K -120K miles.


    If any tire has unusual wear, that's the sign of bad struts. The shop can inspect and determine which struts are bad and need replacement, usually by finding oil leaks.


    Bad struts can cause loss control of cars in emergency lane changes or tight turns, esp. in FWD cars. Can be very dangerous.


    New struts prevents unusual tire wear and improve both tire and gas mileage. Some brands offer lifetime warranty.
  • hallagehallage Member Posts: 24
    Are you saying that there wouldn't be a deterioration of function in a strut even though there was no leak?


    Do you know if the KYB GR-2 gives a much stiffer ride compared to genuine Toyota replacements? I think it would be best if I tried to match the original ride quality. What would you recommend?
  • peterpanpeterpan Member Posts: 120
    Hi Hallage,


    If there is no leak, the struts should work OK.


    You should not rely on your feels to determine whether the struts are working properly or not. Chances are you cannot feel it. You should rely on hard evidences, such as oil leaks or unusual tire wear patterns, i.e. scalloping or feathering etc...


    I has 2 bad front struts that wore out tires prematurely but the ride was OK. When replaced with new Japanese gas struts with lifetime warr (forgot the brand), I felt no difference in the ride and handling of the car, but the tires stopped wearing unevenly and made less noise.


    With the bad struts, I got into a very scary loss of control of the car on freeway when I did a quick lane change to avoid merging traffic while cruising at about 65MPH. The car wobbled very hard from left to right and careened on 2 highway lane for about 30 sec. I really thought it would roll over. Luckily there was no traffic at night or I would have wiped out many cars, or crushed in a big multi-car accident. I am not easily scared but was very scared in that incident.


    Dealer said bad struts are known for causing lateral instability in FWD cars.
  • purrformabvspcpurrformabvspc Member Posts: 4
    If you are replacing your struts with KYB , you'll need new strut mounts too. These are wear & tear items. It cost $55 to $65 for both front s. mounts (KYB mounts).


      I have 2001 Solara with new KYB struts with old mounts, and there was struts rubber fiction noise coming from the back. I replaced it, and problem is gone.


     Now the front strut mounts are giving me problem.

    I have 215 55 16 tires not OEM 205 60 16 with 4 KYB GR2 struts. It handles good, and ride good with Michelin Pilot.


     Most European & Japanese touring (coupe)cars have 55 aspect ratio, and there's more tire options.
  • loucapriloucapri Member Posts: 214
    I read and replied a few msgs about struts but what is KYB stands for? I have no idea.


    For those who replaced their struts, I want to know the general cost for parts and labor so I or others can get an idea about the cost.
  • hallagehallage Member Posts: 24
    KYB is the brand. Check TIRERACK.COM for cost. I got quotes for installation only $200-$250 for all 4 struts.
  • solaraman2003solaraman2003 Member Posts: 92
    Stupid question:


    Can struts for a 2003 Toyota Solara SLEv6 be replaced by a "normal" guy like me, or will I need any special tools?
  • loucapriloucapri Member Posts: 214
    I tried it once about 10 yrs ago on a Ford Mustang. Big mistake!


    You do need to have special tool to compress the spring so you can remove/install the struts.


    Loosen the top nuts can be difficult too because they are very tight.


    For me, I ended up returning the struts to the store and went to SEARS auto center to get that job done.


    I would not recomment replacing struts yourself.
  • bearcrkrdbearcrkrd Member Posts: 167
    Around three months ago I had the struts and mounts replaced on my sister's 1993 Geo Prizm (Corolla clone) for just over $800. It shouldn't be any more than a Camry, so thought I'd share. Estimates ranged from $8-1,200. I dont have the paperwork, but it was maybe $200 for the mounts (they banged or thumped almost constantly!), and $250? for struts, plus alignment and Labor. I checked around pretty good, small shops were at the high end of the estimates, and the bigger, or chain shops, were by far the cheapest. It was a bit of an expense for a car with a book value of $400!! The car has just under 160,000 and now rides smoother, firmer, and quieter. If you can get 'em done for around half that, jump on it! The tire wear was ok before, but this is a very light car. Not to confuse the issue, but I also agree with the posts that say you end up with the same car and don't notice much. In this case it helped a bunch, but it was way overdue. Good luck!
  • hallagehallage Member Posts: 24
    If a '93 with 160,000 is 'way overdue', when whas it 'due'? like 3 years ago like my '96 with 114,000?
  • bearcrkrdbearcrkrd Member Posts: 167
    Right about that time, or not much later. My sister kept mentioning the bumping/thumping, and I heard it, too. That was the mounts, or bushings. All four bushings were bad. I know because I just had the struts done, had to get all four bushings replaced the next day to stop the banging/thumping. The left rear strut was leaking, right rear was broken. I put it off because I didn't want her to pay for it, and I didn't want to pay, either. Finally got worried about safety, did it as a Christmas and Birthday present.
  • marc780marc780 Member Posts: 2
    Yes you can do it and it will save you lots of money. Enough to pay for the tools. Speaking of which, you WILL require the special spring compressors tools to squeeze the coil spring down to change the strut. You just turn the long bolt and squeeze the spring to release its tension. Harbor Freight has a cheapo model but I'd get this one from Sears, because you can use it for a lifetime. ical=TOOL&pid=00947057000

    It isn't really all that hard to change these, but you've gotta obey the tool instructions to the letter because you are dealing with a massively powerful coil spring, and if the tool isnt clamped right and the spring comes loose it'll half-kill ya. No need to be afraid of it as long as you are careful and not rushed though!
    And remember you will almost certainly need a wheel alignment after changing the struts (I could be wrong about this though, never done it on that kind of car)
  • savvy13savvy13 Member Posts: 2
    I have a 99 camry and for some days now I am hearing some strange noise from the front whenever the car hits the rough patch on the road. The mechanic told me that it is due to the front struts going bad. He told me that the rear struts are also going bad (although I don't feel anything strange from the rear) and he suggested me to change the struts, mounts and links for all the four wheels. Can any one tell me if I need to change all of them. Do all of them go bad at the same time?

    My car has approximately 60k on it.
  • n20087n20087 Member Posts: 1
    More than likely it is strut mounts and bearings in the front that are worn and in need of replacement. A replacement assembly will run $165 (each side) or a replacement bearing at $60-80 (each side) but requires dismantling of the strut.
  • buzz532buzz532 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 97 Camry that was making a lot of noise, it turned out to be the stabilizer bar bushings in both front and rear. Get the bushings from the dealer not the local parts store. Bushings will cost approx $36 a pair (a lot cheaper than struts). Fronts are different than rears so don't mix them up. If this doesn't solve your problem then you can get into the struts and mounts.
  • camry2000camry2000 Member Posts: 6
    I bought a used car from one of the dealers here in Bellevue, WA. The car has 62K+ on it and I took it for granted that the 60K servicing has been done. I went for an oil change to MIDAS and the guy showed me the transmission oil that was completely black. He said it should be red. He suggested that the Camry needed the 60 K service and gave me a qoute of 300 bucks.
    Is there anyway I can find out if the car has undergone 60K servicing?
    Also what are the things to be taken care of in a 60K servicing for a Toyota Camry LE.
    All answers will be highly appreciated.

  • loucapriloucapri Member Posts: 214
    what year is your LE? I have a 97 with 106K miles on it.
    I don't think you can tell whether your car has a 60K miles service or not by just looking at it. But I will assume it didn't have one otherwise, I think the dealer who sold you the car would use it as a selling point to make this car more valuable to you. Don't you think so?

    $300 for a 60K service, I WILL NOT go to MIDAS. Just had some bad experience myself. I took my car to TOYOTA dealer and it's about the same price, maybe a less more. BUT I will not take it to Kirkland because it's over price in my opinion. The one in Everett is very good, service manager will not ask you to do this or do that. I have 2 TOYOTA myself and been to both dealership, by far, the one in Everett is way better.

    For 60K miles, you should have your cooling flush, replace transmission fluid and air fliter.
  • beto3beto3 Member Posts: 3
    How many miles did the car have when you bought it? 62,00 miles or 50,000 miles! NEVER assume work has been done on a use car!!!
    When the oil is BLACK it show POOR vehicle maintance. I agree with MIDAS. It is ovious that you did not get the vehicle past history, so the 60K is RECOMMENDED.

    I had a 60K on my 1992 Camry. My car has 185,100 and I have NOT done a major service. I will do a mayor service when it reaches 200,000 miles.
  • shiv_camryshiv_camry Member Posts: 1
    Hi Gurus
    I bought a used 1998 Camry with 85000 miles. The front struts , had a clanking noise, so I had them replaced the brand was Monroe Sensamatic.

    But still when I pass over bumps or , passing over man holes etc on the road, I hear a small clanking noise. When I took it back to the mechanic who replaced the struts he says its normal, but I have a gut feeling that the noise shouldnt come. I had a Corolla before this and was 5 yrs old, it didnt give any noise.

    So I would like have your advice what can be done t fix the issue.
  • frankny516frankny516 Member Posts: 1
    Hi Shiv,

    Although I don't own a Camry, in general it sounds like you need sway bar bushings. Many of the people at Midas, only know about installing struts, and brake pads. Unfortunately, they probably won't be able to help you with this.

  • bloodviperbloodviper Member Posts: 2
    I have a 96 Camry, and the A/C has been broken for probably several months (atleast 7). I never did get it checked out but I did notice that the belt on the compressor was torn slightly, not majorly, but still... And just yesterday, I was driving and I felt some air blowing and I was wondering why my A/C was on since i always keep it off (Before when I turned it on, the compressor squeled loudly, the air is hott and once smoke came out of the vents.). But I turned my air to all the way to hi to check it out and like a miracle in like 5 seconds the air blowing out was cold. I don't know what could of happened or why it did this. But I noticed when the car is stopped and the motor is running, the air seems to lose it's coldness. But when I was driving down the highway home, the cold really kicked in, almost freezing. Does anyone have a guess at what happened?
  • alesteralester Member Posts: 1
    This is because the mechanic who installed these did not tighten down the spring cover nut enough. The Monroe's are not made exactly stock, so when you try to tighten the nut on top of the strut, the entire strut shaft turns with it so that you cannot tighten it properly. This causes it to clank around because it's loose. You can confirm this by opening the hood, and looking at the strut cover. There is a little cap over the nut. Remove that cap and then bounce the car up and down a few times. If that nut is moving around in there, that's the problem. It should not move at all.
  • jsw999jsw999 Member Posts: 1
    My 98 camry needs new struts and mounts. Dealer price is 1600 Sears is 1000. Has anyone had good luck with Sears Auto service?
  • chevymalibuchevymalibu Member Posts: 129
    I had two 94 camrys and traded in the first one but the second needed struts (right front bounced in the bounce test and was leaking fluid). Note: the front right and backs were fine but I had to change both fronts together. Went to midas and it cost about 350 bucks or so. What a difference. My point is the backs were fine (at least in the bounce test) and didn't get them done. Are your backs shot??? There isn't a load there like the front engine so I'm wondering if you're wasting money?? My mileage for the first camry was 196.5K and didn't need new struts. The one I changed it on was about high 190'sK or so. When I asked message boars, they said sears was better than midas and to go there I believe.
  • conradnconradn Member Posts: 1
    Recently we've seen several 1992-1996 Toyota Camrys where the front Gabriel strut has failed and gone up through the hood! Has anyone else seen this? Any ideas why? Thanks
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    You get what you pay for.
  • axfordaxford Member Posts: 1
    Hi Pat -

    is strut replacement on a '97 Camry a reasonable DIY job?
  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    No, if you're like me and do only minor maintenance like oil changes and tire rotations.
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Member Posts: 1,134
    Not only is strut replacement by an individual a time-consuming task that requires buying or renting specialized tools, it can be downright dangerous. An improperly clamped spring in the spring compressor can severely injure or kill if it unexpectedly pops out as you're working with it. Even if you're lucky enough to escape injury, the released spring can do severe damage to nearby structural parts.
  • camrysev6ownercamrysev6owner Member Posts: 66

  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    Please turn off the ALL CAPS. Makes it hard to read.

    It would probably be cheaper to get another (used) Camry at this point than replacing the suspension. The SE is designed to have a stiffer ride, so it sounds as though you should have gotten the LE or XLE originally.

    If your car is in great condition, you shouldn't have any difficulty selling it since SE models are relatively rare.
  • meatsteeplemeatsteeple Member Posts: 1
    Our 1999 Camry V6 has an annoying rattle from the plastic shroud cover over the front struts, at least that's what the local Toyota dealership tells me. They want $400 per to fix it. Funny thing is, I test drove a 1997 Avalon off of their lot that had the same rattle.

    Anyone with experience with this and where I might find a lower fee to fix?

  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    Check out posts #20 and 21 in this forum. The price seems high; I'd get a second opinion.
  • monty9monty9 Member Posts: 3
    I have a 98 Toyota Camry CE, every time I go over a rough surface it creaks pretty bad. Otherwise the steering handling is very smooth. The front struts were replaced about 10K miles earlier. Could anyone suggest what could be the problem?
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Member Posts: 1,134
    Worn ball joint(s), worn tie-rod end(s), incorrectly torqued front strut upper mounting nut(s), worn out steering rack, binding/rotted suspension system control arm bushing(s), worn wheel bearing(s), all of the above, some of the above, none of the above - the list just goes on. You need to get a front end expert to drive the car and make a determination. Who did the strut replacements - a Toyota dealer, an independent, or friend?
  • monty9monty9 Member Posts: 3
    Thanks ray_h1 that's a good suggestion. BTW the strut replacements were done at Firestone, I can't remember the exact place (will let everyone know in my next posting).
  • monty9monty9 Member Posts: 3
    It was Firestone Tires and Service, Roebuck Plaza Dr. AL and it cost around $600.00 at that time.
  • mjtianmjtian Member Posts: 48
    Hi all,

    I started to notice a strange clanking/squeek noise from the from suspensions of my 1998 Camry which has 78K miles on it. This is more significant if I drive over speed bumps, but it is not there all the time. The guy at the local Firestone suggested that I might need new Struts and strut mounts. He also said that this is a big problem with the '98 Camrys and that the problem develops around 60-80K miles. What do you all think? Thanks.

  • jeffmccombsjeffmccombs Member Posts: 5
    Well.. it seems I'm in good company. I have a '97 Camry that's been a bit of a lemon :lemon: (relative to my other cars.) It had a bad valve and smoked after three years (fixed), I can't get a dome light to last more than a month, I've lost a few lights in the dash, and finally... the front suspension rattles (both sides... in stereo) when going over bumpy roads or manhole covers, etc... no noise from the back. I called and was told it could be a couple of things, and the most expensive would be the strut mounts. but HERE'S MY QUESTION....

    IS IT SAFE to leave the car in its present condition? :confuse: Can I just live with the rattle and drive on, or is there some risk in doing that? It seems a shame to throw $800 into a car that is neary 10 years old for asthetic reasons.. but I whouldn't hesitate for safety reasons. Aside from that (and a few past issues) I really like the car. :) Thanks for your help.
  • jeffmccombsjeffmccombs Member Posts: 5
    Hey.. can I reply to my own post?? :)

    So... after writing my post, I went back and read an earlier post on suspension issues which said that 1) they had their front strut mounts replace 2) it still made noise and 3) they just needed to tighten the nut on top to eliminate the noise... mentioned that you lift the hood and "bounce" the front of the car and look at the front suspension mounting nuts... they shouldn't move.

    Well.. I did that check on mine, and they moved a little.. not much... and it turns out that the nut is the same size as the wheel lug nut... and I happen to have a torque wrench... so I simply tightened the nuts about 1/4 turn on each side and did the bounce test... I didn't see any movement.

    So... I jumped in the car and backed out the driveway.. and when it went over the driveway lip... just the bump bump of the tires... no rattle... and when I drove over the manhole covers... just the bump of the tires.. no rattle.. over the jostly bumpy street... (driving slower so I can hear)... no rattle...

    Hmm.... did I fix it????? We'll see. I'll post again tomorrow after starting out cold in the morning.. and after starting out at work (covered parking lot) where I seem to hear it the most... I'll let you know.

    I'm keeping my fingers crossed... :shades: Wish me luck.
  • jeffmccombsjeffmccombs Member Posts: 5

    It's apparently fixed... I have a 15 mile drive to work and 15 miles back... rough highway, bumpy city streets, etc.. and when in the covered parking lot at work (where I could hear it the loudest) it was perfectly silent. Drove all the way home and not a single rattle...

    SO... it appears that folks can elminate the strut mount rattle (or how ever you classify the noise).. just need a deep socket that fits (same as the lug nuts) and a socket wrench with a long handle (my torque wrench is about 20 inches long.) I barely turned it.. maybe a quarter turn.. just enough reduce the movement...

    NOTE... I am not a professional car repair guy.. just someone who doesn't like to blow a lot of money on needless repairs... There is no guarantee that what I did will be a long lasting fix (although you can bet that if it rattles again in a year or so, I'll try another quarter turn.)

    Good luck all!!
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    That's great - thanks for letting us know! :)
  • jeffmccombsjeffmccombs Member Posts: 5
    You're welcome, Pat.

    A few days later and no rattle. And this is after having the problem for two years. I've been thinking, and it appears that Camry's and possibly Avalons can have a suspension rattle that can be easily fixed as I have done above. I'll come back in a month or so and report on whether the minor adjustment fixed it. It would be great if folks could resolve the problem without having to replace the upper strut mounts... after all, I just barely tightened the nut, and the problem has completely disappeared. I couldn't be more pleased!
  • herotakesafallherotakesafall Member Posts: 103
    How strange! We have an '00 Camry with 93,000 miles. Last year we had the front struts replaced (damaged when my dad smacked into a curb straight-on). The car didn't rattle right away -- 2 weeks later we had the struts replaced and ever since then there's been a rattling. We thought the independent shop did a crappy job, but we took the car to the Toyota dealer and said they did it perfectly.
    Really annoying. I guess I can try tightening the nuts you guys are talking about. So..where the heck are they? :blush:
  • mjtianmjtian Member Posts: 48
    Ok all, here is an update on my situation. I first brought my Toyota to a local autocare chain in STL. I have befriended the manager, so I figured they may not be "ripping" me off. First they changed my Front Stabilization Links. Cost: $277.21 + tax.

    Then, I noticed that the noise was still there, but different and sometimes worse. Brought it back to the shop, they said it was normal.

    A week goes by, the raddling, banging noise was worse. I made my manager friend sit with me for a short drive. He brought it back and called me personally and told me that my right stabilization link was loose and that I needed Strut Mounts and might as well change my struts as well. Additional cost: $490.95 + Tax.

    Well, its been 11 days and my car drives like new. Well, with the discount that my friend gave me, I still spent a total of $826.35 for the suspension problems. :confuse:

    Thats a hefty expense for some annoying noise. But I am glad it seemed to be fixed finally.

  • herotakesafallherotakesafall Member Posts: 103
    So he said that one of the stabilization links he replaced a week before was already loose?
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