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Toyota Avalon Suspension Questions



  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    Many times things are deleted or disabled on lesser models.
    Example: An item may use an identical circuit board, but a portion of it may not be populated with components for the extra function, and even though the basic board is the same, the assembled boards would carry different part numbers. In other cases, it may just be a missing jumper that could be replaced by an owner to enable that function.
  • max41max41 Posts: 1
    My girlfriend has a 2000 Avalon and has been complaining about clunking from the right rear for months. Like everyone else I have emptied the trunk, removed the spare, etc. to no avail. I thought it might be the trunklid torsion bars but couldn't see where they were hitting. About a week ago it got much worse, the right rear appears to be just floating on the spring and there is a noise almost like threads rubbing along with the clunking as you drive or even just press down on the fender when sitting still. She went to Sears and they ordered struts without looking at the problem and said it would be a week for them to come in.

    Guessing maybe the nut on the top of the strut may have come loose and not wanting it to file out the hole if it was not replaceable, I removed the rear seat tonight (great Toyota engineering to require two different sized sockets for the rear seat removal)to see if I could tighten it and found the strut shaft protruding up through the mount after having pospped the plastic cap off! It is totally loose on top although the nut is still on fine. I can't tell for sure in the dark but it looks line the mount has busted leaving a loose collar under the nut.

    Looks like I'll have to go to the dealer and buy a couple of mounts or it will be another week when they discover the strut wasn't the main issue. From previous posts it sounds like the dealers don't stock struts... do they generally stock the mounts since this seems to be a chronic lapse in Toyota quality? (In case you can't tell, I've never been a Toyota fan due to a total lack of decent styling, except maybe for the trucks and the older Lexus is300's, and this has done nothing to make me see that their quality ought to override that.) :confuse:
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    I would certainly look at aftermarket struts as described in these forums multiple times. Stock is junk. Check ebay or Froogle. I have stock ones with 50k on them that I would let go cheap too. I went to KYB GR2's for a more sporty suspension.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    The ride is perfect, isn't it. Sporty or actually alot more controlled, but not too harsh. It is amazing the difference to those that have taken the step out of the OEM lane.

    I have about, 70K on my TokicoHP's and I can tell they are just starting to wear a little, but nothing near replacment.

  • smith1smith1 Posts: 283
    It's not clear to me whether any of the upgrade struts discussed in this thread are available for the CURRENT generation Avalon. The KYB 2007 application catalog (at KYB's website) indicates they do not have a front strut ("NA") for 05-07 Avalon, and lists part number 334388/9 for rear struts for "2004-06" Avalon (!). Since 2004 and 2006 are different generations, I'm not sure what years these actually fit.

    I haven't found a Tokico application catalog online, nor have I found any online Tokico seller that lists struts that are indicated to fit the 05-07 Avalon.

    Has anyone actually done KYB or Tokico strut upgrades on the 05-07 Avalon? If so I'd appreciate knowing where you got the struts and the part numbers. Thanks.
  • gerry100gerry100 Posts: 100
    A few years ago when I had my '03, the shocks went " jello" on me at about 30K and I went to KYBs with excellent results.

    In my '06 company car the same thing just happened over the last 1000 miles, It does happen quickly and progresses rapidly.

    I'd like to take the same route with my '06 XL but initial checks indicate that there isn't an aftermarket shock available.

    Anybody aware of any?
  • smith1smith1 Posts: 283
    I asked the same question a while back and got no answer. I've wanted to replace my 07 XL shocks with something better since the day I got the car. It doesn't appear KYB/Tokico/etc. are selling shocks for the current gen Avalon yet. Seems like a missed opportunity, as obviously there are people whose OEM shocks are already wearing out (you) and people who would like to trade out the OEMs for something a little firmer (me).
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    "the shocks went " jello" "

    You may want to try Energy Poly sway bar bushings. They improved my 03 quite a bit before I did the new struts. Very inexpensive too. See earlier suspension posts. My old ones only had 50k on them and weren't that bad. May even try to sell them.
  • This is in follow-up to my rear strut mounts on a 1996 Toyota Avalon. I replaced the left rear before as well as the struts for a metal to metal like noise especially during cold weather and going over rough surfaces or over a pothole with the affected side but speed bumps did not seem to incite the problem. This winter my rear right started acting up just as the left did before. Knowing pretty much exactly what was wrong, I found the lowest price at Sears ($80 for labor and $50 for the strut mount) whereas everyone else wanted $325 or more. The mechanic took it for a test drive and did whatever else and said he found nothing wrong with the car and didn't want to replace the strut. I thanked them for their honesty (also Sears does not charge any diagnostic charges at least for this as many auto repair places now seem to want to tack on an $80 or 90 fee --the local Toyota dealership does so as well as many other shops). I said I have been through this before and I'll take the chance of having the strut repaired to eliminate the very annoying and cringing and grimacing over rough surfaces for peace of mind. The other counter person had heard my conversation and said just spray some lithium lubricant on it--I said I was tired of having to take the back seat out for all the temporary fixes and that the nuts were also on as tight as they can be. So far, the replacement has fixed my problem. Next time I will have it done in pairs as such paired things tend to go out within 18 months of each other--CV joints is another fine example of such wear. In my case, nothing short of replacing the strut mounts worked.
  • tamrawtamraw Posts: 1
    I know nothing about cars and am trying not to get swindled like always. I have a thick bar broken in half hanging down inside of my front driver's side tire. I had one person look so far and they said it was a sway bar and that they would have to get into the steering column to fix it and that they didn't do that. They referred me somewhere else, but the question is that when I look up sway bars on the internet, they don't look the same. The parts I see on the internet are the upper part that is coming down from somewhere up above. But, the part that is broken is the large (approx 1 inch diameter) bar that is supposed to go horizontal toward the middle of the car. This has snaped. Is this indeed a sway bar? Does anyone have any idea what it SHOULD cost to fix something like this? The car runs as smooth as ever and I don't even know how long it has been hanging there! Thanks for any advice.
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 591
    Quick answer: The front sway bar connects the two front wheels to keep the car from "swaying" as it travels on an uneven surface or navigates a corner. There is also a rear sway bar that does the same thing in the rear. The bar is round and somewhat crooked as it goes under the engine, running the entire distance across the car. There may be small, shorter "link rods" at each end that drop down, or go up, to a bracket near the tires. The sway bar is the long rod, not the shorter links.

    Wait for a more tech member, such as *abfisch*, to give you a more detailed answer. But at least you know what the sway bar is and what it does. You will likely not hurt the car driving slowly but higher speeds may make it hard to control on some roads. It needs to be fixed. Hope this helps. :)
  • mdm4mdm4 Posts: 33
    Does anyone know if you can swap the XLS springs onto a Touring Strut? A friend has a 2008 Touring and would like to soften the ride a bit. I know that the struts between the two models have different part numbers but will it work and will it provide a softer ride? In working on older cars I know that changing the springs have always played an important role in ride quality more so than just changing the shocks. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
  • ">I have a 2001 avalon with 115K on it. Several months ago someone backed into the left rear door. It seemed to be minor damage. However, they did have to replace the back door. Following the accident, I had to replace the left rear bearings because they started making a noise. coincidence?

    After the accident, I put new Michelin Primacy tires on it and had it aligned. Then I noticed that it pulled to the left on the highway. The body shop, that is very reputable, checked the frame and it was off by 6 mm in the back. Not much. They realigned it again and everything was straight.

    My Avalon still pulls to the left. I'm not sure what to do and am thinking about getting rid of it. I hate to because I just put new brakes, tires, timing belt...the whole enchalada thinking this car would be good for another 250K...

    Any advice?
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 591
    Hard to say if the minor accident caused enough stress to damage a bearing. Probably not, but there is no way to know. Mileage alone may have done it. Avalon alignment and the pulling to one side on this 5 model year run can be a problem. Search Edmunds Avalon forums for many past discussions on this subject.

    Try this, in order: First, check all air pressure. Next, rotate tires diagonally. This will resolve tire defect causes. Make sure wheels are torqued properly at rotation as mag wheels will warp. After driving, if it still pulls, check the brake rotor temp with a heat sensor. Dragging calipers can cause pulling.

    If it still pulls to one side, it's the alignment. It did not do it before the work, now it does. Find settings that eliminate the pull. Had to do this on my '03 XL, same basic car you have. It can be done, my tire guy did it. Hope this helps. Good luck. :)
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    My 03 had a pull to the left also. We couldn't get the adjustment to go quite far enough to eliminate it, so installed an eccentric kit to provide additional adjustment.
  • I have a '98 Toyota Avalon bought new and early on I experienced rattling in the passenger front wheel area. Ultimately, a Toyota dealer diagnosed it as a defective strut and replaced the right front strut under warranty.

    So, 10 years later, my Avalon, which drove like JELLO ON WHEELS since day 1, is driving the same as always. It was always fine with me as I bought it to drive to a job down an interstate. These days, I drive to work in the city and with no problems. It's a mushy car, and always was.

    I took my Avalon to CarX because of issues with my lifetime warranty replacement brakes (of course they couldn't hear the problem I described but that will be dealt with).

    They pointed out that my '98 Toyota Avalon XL with 72K miles needed new struts and mentioned the wear and tear risks of not fixing them. The CarX manager quoted a price of $1,200 to $1,500 to replace my struts!

    Needless to say, I declined.

    This has been a FANTASTIC car with no problems, although I did replace brake rotors, etc. once at CarX.

    This car was mushy out of the lot. I presume it had original struts/shocks that were poorly designed, but I see no reason to replace them given current mileage of under 7k per year.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,375
    If you see unusual tire wear that could be an indication that you're pushing your luck. 72K miles seems a little premature but if we put say some new Bilsteins on your car you wouldn't believe the difference you'd feel I'm sure.

    However, if you are experiencing no control issues, no cupping or feathering of your tires, and no excessive bouncing/bottoming out, then I guess you're good to go for a while longer.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    Not sure if there is a question here, but this topic has been beaten to death. I replaced struts etc. on mine, just because we prefer a more taut controlled ride and like to drive more aggressively. I replaced mine at 50k and they still functioned as stock is intended to. Still have them nicely packed in cartons, if anyone wants a cheap upgrade.

    If you back up to Avalon forums, and search on abfisch and 55396, you will see all the details of what an upgrade will do for you. There are cheaper ways to do it too. We are very satisfied and the end result is that we will keep a car we like much longer, making the outlay worth it. Trading ain't cheap. Neither is the ongoing extra expense of license, insurance, depreciation etc. on a newer vehicle. Your local salvage yard may have a cheap labor rate too. Then only drive it straight to an alignment shop if they can't do it. Mine is going there for a wheel bearing replacement soon. I will buy the part online at half price.
  • carlupicarlupi Posts: 52
    What are the differences in the suspensions of the Avalon XL and Touring models? Is it just the struts (firmer in the Touring) or are the springs, sway bars, and bushings also different?
  • par_papar_pa Posts: 13
    My 2000 Avy was among the firsts produced of the new generation and had short front springs. I noticed recently that front end seems lower that before. I want to check ride height, but couldn't find any specification nor proper way to measure standard curb ride height for the 2000 Avalon. As anyone information regarding those measurements. I have read somewhere that ride height may be measure from center of the wheel to lower lip of fender. Mine reads 14 3/8 inches.
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    My wifes 03 w/16" custom wheels measures 15"
  • par_papar_pa Posts: 13
    Thanks Jerry. So I was right, suspecting a lower height. It is more noticeable because I fitted 17" wheels from a Avalon 2005, and the front end bottoms out more often than before, even though I installed Tokico struts. So I guess I am out for a pair of new front coil springs!
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    Tire diameter should be the same whether 15, 16, or 17". You make up the difference in the tire sidewall.
  • artbucartbuc Posts: 1
    I have a 99 XLS Platinum edition. How do I remove the back seat so I can get to the rear struts? Thanks.
  • My daughter is a single mother and social worker. So, she doesn't have much $$ to keep up her 98 Avalon. Has 190,000 miles. Suspension has not been touched and the car "floats like a boat in the ocean". Have just ordered new tires, and would like to address the suspension issue at the least possible cost. If anyone out there can make recommendations of particular parts (struts, etc.) and brands that would be cost effective, I'd be very greatful. What can I expect to pay to get this done? THANKS so much. Fred.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,375
    Probably a strut such as KYB would be fine for this application, especially if she plans to keep the car for a while.

    Labor to removal, disassemble, reassemble and replace all four struts would be about 5 hours.

    Parts will vary but something like $65--$80 per shock/strut sounds about right.

    So depending on the labor rate in your area, This could be a $600---$800 job.

    There are cheaper struts out there, but you get what you pay for. If the car has to stagger on for 6 more months, then maybe you could buy some cheap strut from a chain store and get by with that---probably better than having totally blown struts, as your car seems to have now.

    However, keep in mind that it takes as much labor to install a cheap strut as a decent one. KYB is not the best of the best but they are very good from the price.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • I have an '03 with 86k mi. I just measured the bars: 17mm for BOTH front and rear. Looks like the rears will be relatively easy; the fronts are buried and probably will have to go in thru the wheel well.
    Does anyone have any practical experience about what it's really like to remove the front bushings?
    Also, does anyone have a web site that actually has the part numbers for the '03 SPECIFIC shocks/struts?
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    I changed the front bushings with no problem using ramps. It's tight but not a big problem. Just make sure the ramps are equal height so as not to load the bar.

    Use Google Product Search. You can then sort by lowest price but may have to jump pages ahead (12?) as related small stuff will sort first. Try Camry struts to expand the selection. I believe they are the same. Try ebay also.

    I did not change the strut mounts on mine and didn't realize you could do just bearings (rubber donuts?). Now I have some clunking on rough stuff. I'm wondering if I can correct this by reolacing the strut bearing or if new mounts are required. I would think bearings would do it. I would guess the springs would need to be compressed to change either. Has anyone done this or have details? ABFISCH, where are you?
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    Abfisch and I have many posts about upgrading our suspensions with KYB or Tokico? HD struts and Energy performance sway bar bushings in the 04 and earlier forum. It has been some time since I did mine and our 03 now has 85k on it. Still drives like new. What a great improvement that upgrade made. We recently went on a drive and found a road that was blacktop and winding along a river. I was pushing it, and this car loved it. It responds like it was meant to be sporty and a pleasure to drive. No sense of going anywhere near it's limits, and I have really stuffed it hard into some tight corners. I never thought I would say this about an Avalon, but it is fun to drive. I thought about upgrading, but what for? I know I won't find anything that drives and handles this well unless I went to a BMW. I may just drive this puppy til it drops. As abfisch says, it's feels close to a BMW. I have driven them back to back, and I'm critical. Close enough for me. I highly recommend this upgrade. The bushings are making some noise on big suspension moves as they need lube once in awhile. Maybe I'll install grease zerks. I did it a couple of years ago and I just sprayed the bushings to relube. It lasted a couple of years. Some day I will relube properly. I still have not installed the rear bushings. Gotta do that, but really, it's quite good as is. If it weren't, I would have done it long ago.
  • rexkrexk Posts: 4
    Dear Abfisch. It appears your the expert on suspension issues with the Avalons. I have a 2003 AVALON XLS. 70K. My wife and I love the car. About 6 months ago started to notice a Thud from the rear end when going over pot holes and bumbs. (Like a loose 2X4 in the trunk) It appears my rear sway bar bushings may be a little loose. I could see the bar has been moving side to side, slipping within the bushings. I removed the sway bar and links. The Noise is now 100% gone.

    Can I just replace the bushings with stock bushings? Is it normal for the bushing retainers clamped on the sway bar could have slipped as i see one of the retainers about 1 inch from the bushing?

    Thanks for your help,

    Rex K
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