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Toyota Camry Suspension Questions



  • axfordaxford Posts: 1
    Hi Pat -

    is strut replacement on a '97 Camry a reasonable DIY job?
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    No, if you're like me and do only minor maintenance like oil changes and tire rotations.
  • ray_h1ray_h1 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.

  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    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.
  • 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 Posts: 4,722
    Check out posts #20 and 21 in this forum. The price seems high; I'd get a second opinion.
  • 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 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?
  • 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 Posts: 3
    It was Firestone Tires and Service, Roebuck Plaza Dr. AL and it cost around $600.00 at that time.
  • mjtianmjtian 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • :shades:

    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 Posts: 10,421
    That's great - thanks for letting us know! :)
  • 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!
  • 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 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.

  • So he said that one of the stabilization links he replaced a week before was already loose?
  • mjtianmjtian Posts: 48
    Personally, I am not even sure what a stabilization link is, but according to him, it needed to be replaced. Needless to say, I was a little ticked off. I suspected that I needed a new strut, but he initially suggested that I replace the links, as he puts it, this is the most common cause and that mine was bad. :confuse:

  • dadof6dadof6 Posts: 61
    The front strut mounts are a problem on the 97-01 camrys. They start rattling about 40,000 miles & will do it until replaced. The noise is not harmfull or a saftey issue-just drive you nuts. OE struts should last about 100k depending on use then put OE struts,mounts & insulators in at the same time.The mount noise was addressed in a TSB years ago.
  • mjtianmjtian Posts: 48
    Agreed! The noise did drove me crazy! Even though I knew its not a safty issue, but sometimes it did felt like that wheels were about to fall off. Every bump on the road made it worse, not to mention the speed bumps at shopping malls or even the little bump by my driveway.

    My friend did said that my Struts are fine, but he argued that at 75,000 miles, my factory struts are approaching the end of its life cycle and that by changing my strut plates, I may as well change the struts too.

  • dadof6dadof6 Posts: 61
    Your friend is right about both strut life cycle & doing all at once as there is no additional labor to do one with the other.
  • I have a 97 Camry with 93K miles and am experiencing the rattles in the suspension as noted in previous posts. I can live with the rattles but the bottoming out over small bumps is a problem! Does anyone else have this problem and does replacing the struts solve it? I don't want to spent $1K on a 10 year old car unless I can get a decent ride.

    Otherwise, the car has been very reliable and is in good condition otherwise.
  • I had a rattle noise in the rear of my old '94 Camry. I replaced the sruts & didn't fix the noise.

    I would make sure your exhaust system is not the problem. Maybe the pipe is hitting the underbody somewhere.

    Your Camry will last forever, hold on to it. When you out 250k miles on it...give it to a nephew to use for college. I sold my '94 Camry w/165k miles for $3000 last year...first person to look at it bought no questions asked.
  • mjtianmjtian Posts: 48
    It depends on how long you want to keep your Camry. I have a '98 with 75,000 miles on it, I spent the money and fixed it. I also spent it on my 93' Camry with 115,000 miles last year. The 93' is still running fine at 125,000 miles today. By the way, besides the strut, there is the strut plate and the Stabilization Links. Also, don't get sucker into buying all 4 struts. I just replaced the front 2 both times. I figured most of the distribution of the weight are on the front anyways.

    Also, the noise on my 93' was still there after I put in the new Monroe struts last year. Later I noticed the noise was actually coming from the lose plastic covering around my steering column. I took a note card folded 5-6 times, jammed into the little space and whooola, the noise was gone. However, the noise and rattle was completely different from that on my 98' Camry. With the 98' it literally felt like the car was coming apart and it differed from time to time. The plastic made the same consistent noise all the time. I hope this helps.

  • THANKS! I own a '98 Camry w/ 100K miles. The front passenger side strut was rattling. I changed both front struts. STILL rattled. I had inspected the mounts & both seemed OK. I ended up replacing the right mount. My Chilton's manual said that it's best to change the whole strut assembly...I now agree.
  • guestguest Posts: 770
    does anyone have the strut tower bolt settins in foot pounds of torque. I am putting on a tower brace and am not sure of the settings.

    Thank you
  • guestguest Posts: 770
    sorry i forgot to put down that it is for a 2002 camry 4 cylinder xle
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