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Toyota Avalon Suspension Questions



  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    The retainers are bolted in place. If anything moved, I would expect it to be the bushing. I have replaced the bushings on our 03 with energy poly bushings - only the front so far as I have a 17mm rear bar and only 16MM bushings were available. That $15 upgrade made a very noticeable difference in the quickness of handling and my wife immediately noticed and loved it. I then installed KYB GR2 HD struts.
    I love the way this car drives now. The urge to own a BMW has now subsided. BTW, the bushings may need to be relubed every year or 2. I have done mine twice. The last time just today, but I cheated and just used spray lube. Silicone, flushed in with a shot of spray lube. Probably shouldn't use oil on poly though. I'm thinking about drilling through the bracket and bushing with a small bit, then enlarging the bracket hole and installing a grease zerk. AB, where are you. Did you get rid of your AV and leave the group? Anyone know?
  • toyota12toyota12 Posts: 8
    If not the anti-sway bar bushings, I would definitely consider the strut mounts which failed on my '96 Avalon--the strut mounts will make a metal on metal sound like you have a bucket of bolts in the trunk--
  • rexkrexk Posts: 4
    Clunk in the Trunk, 2003 XLS! Good news. Replaced the sway bar bushings with Toyota bushings. P/N 48818-07010. Cost $14 each. Clunk is gone. The bushings appeared to be worn pretty badly. (only 74K on the car) Note 1: Replaced with car on jack stands supporting the body. No problem with replacement. I think this is a common problem but my Toyota dealer won't admit it!
    Note 2: New Bushings appear to be improved with grooves on the inner surface. (may grip the sway bar better)

    Rex K
  • wynn1wynn1 Posts: 2
    The PU bushings I found for the Avalon were either 16mm or 18mm, not 17mm. So what are we doing here if they are not 17mm? I want to change mine (front and rear) on my 03 XLS but cannot figure out how this was done without the correct size PU Bushing. Can anyone comment on this?
  • rexkrexk Posts: 4
    03 Avalon: I have an intermittent P0128 engine code coming on. I reset and the problme goes away for a week to a month. Per the manual its a thermostat or a temp sensor? Does anyone have any experience in fixing this problem?
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    Have you accurately measured the bar? My rear bar was 17mm. I thought it was an odd size, so make sure what you have. If I remember correctly, the guy at Energy said to hone, file, or sand the 16mm out to the correct size, however, I don't like the sanding option in case some grit becomes embedded in the poly. Mine are still in a box in the trunk as I couldn't find the correct hone for it, and it isn't the hottest fire to put out. Shame on me. I need to get back at it. I was going to make a tool for it. May still do so, but should check local machine shops first. Let me know what you do.
  • Hi, I have a 2002 Avalon with 165k miles. The drive is pretty poor, I feel all the bums and cars seems to dip forward when pressing the brakes. From what I gathered, I need to change the struts (likely the original parts, never changed). I have an appointment to take it to a local Toyota deal but would also like to get a better understanding of the various parts involved here that could require changing and also what are the likely parts that would may need to be changed. Also should I consider getting original toyota parts or would after-market parts (which one?) be good given the age/millage of the car? One deal told me over the phone that front struts are 140 and 200 for the back - $700 for parts and about 600 for labor. That sounds high. :confuse:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,496
    edited September 2010
    You can use aftermarket parts like KYB or even Bilstein if you want a really great shock/strut, and you don't have to go to a dealer for installation. I'd stay away from chain stores though---try a good independent shop that works on Japanese cars.

    Your struts are LONG LONG overdue for replacement. Along with the struts, you should inspect, and possibly replace, the strut MOUNTS--which are steel + rubber mounting points for front and rear suspension. These rubber mounts flex and give the suspension some "give" against various stresses and forces. Over time these rubber mounts can tear. So if they don't look good, now's the time to replace them as well, along with the strut.

    Then you will also need alignment, which might be another $80 bucks or so.

    Yes, a complete strut + mount replacement is expensive, but you've let it go far too long, so in terms of mileage, you've come a long way. You are certainly going to notice the difference.

    Labor to replace struts should be about 5 hours total. Parts cost can vary considerably depending on the quality of the parts you choose.

    Sounds like your labor quote is about right but the parts do sound a bit high. I don't see you getting away with less than $1000 bucks no matter how you cut it, if you have the work done competently and you use quality parts.

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  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    I would go aftermarket for superior struts. I still have my OEM struts with 50k miles in the KYB boxes and would let them go for $50 if anyone needs a cheap update, but the labor is a big part of it. Set up a search in ebay and wait for them to come to you, or use Google Product Search. For more details, search these forums for abfish and 55396 in this and the 04 and earlier forum. That should give you the details you need. Energy poly performance bushings for sway bars etc. are a very inexpensive upgrade and made a world of difference on ours. The downside is that you may have to relube every couple of years. Or, possibly install grease zerks in the retaining brackets and a grease hole in the bushing. I have gotten by by just spraying the sway bar next to the bushing if I hear any squeaking.
  • So I went to Pepboys Auto and they recommend I get Monroe Sensa Trac Strut over KYB. Beside the struts, they also said I need to replace both control arms. :-( Which one is better?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,496
    Well my impression is that the Monroes would be softer and the KYB firmer. As for the control arms I'd ask them to show you what they are talking about. You'd be looking for badly deteriorated rubber bushings in the control arms. If they are just a little squishy or have very light cracking, that might not require replacement. They could be over-selling you a bit here, I don't know. I'm always a bit leery of chain store operations.

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  • Also which control arms should I get? Would have a part #? Pepboys didnt provide this info (they did for the rest of the parts...).
  • yeah, I'm not convinced the control arm needs to be changed - will get a second opinion but he basically showed me that the control arm moves but did not show any deteriorated rubber bushings in the control arms.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,496
    Do you have any noise over bumps or unusual tire wear, or shimmy at speeds, etc. ?

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  • njavalonguynjavalonguy Posts: 35
    edited April 2011
    hello folks,

    My ride ( 2000 Avalon XLS ) recently caused 124K miles and I am getting signs that time has come for a suspension job. I used to hear a funny sound ( similar to an empty plastic can bouncing around in the trunk) from the driver side rear area while going over a bad patch on the road since almost 20K miles now and I got used to it and decided to live with it till the time I noticed uneven wear for the driver side rear tire last week ( the outside edge shows more wear than the inside one only for this tire). I have occassionaly also noticed the vehicle pulling to the left at times despite of a wheel alignment job last year.

    I read some of the posts on this forum and am confused on what parts ( struts / strut mounts / bushings / sway bars, etc) need to be replaced.

    Would like to know what my options are - whether to go for aftermarket parts ? whether only the driver side can be replaced or do I need to replace both the rear struts ? How much it approximately cost me ?

    Any inputs would be appreciated.

  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    Look in 'Toyota Avalon 2004 and earlier' also. Search 55396 or ABfisch.
  • I did read some of the messages posted by ABFisch and 55396 and am wondering since I am the only person reporting the uneven tire wear issue ( outter edge worn more than the inner edge) in addition to the noise while going over rough patches on road, does this necessarily mean I need to change the struts ? or could this be something minor which can be taken care by changing the sway bar bushings, etc ?

  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    Ya, mine wear on the outside too. Comes from going around corners too damn fast now that it's fun to drive. A good alignment/suspension check should ID possible problems.
  • Thanks 55396,

    You are absolutely right...I go fast around the corners too...but the only concern is why the rear tire shows more wear on the edge than the front ?
    more troubled with the fact that I hear the noise from around the same tire while going over a bad road patch. Just completed 125K miles on the car. Could a suspension overhaul be needed in your opinion ?

  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    I don't recall what you have done, but many have replaced struts under 50k, so if you haven't done that, it's time. But I would start out with a 4 wheel alignment. That should ID any worn parts. It seems like someone had some clunking due to sway bar bushings being worn. If there is wear and clearance, the sway bar could clunk around in there.
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    Those are the ones in general. Better measure your sway bars. Mine are 17mm rear and they didn't have that size so I had to order 16mm and hone them out. Better to be sure what size your bars are before ordering.
  • njavalonguynjavalonguy Posts: 35
    what year is your avy and what trim ( XL or XLS ?).

    Mine is 2000 XLS with 205 60 R16 tires.

  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    Mine began it's life as an Enterprise rental car, an XL, but was a managers car so never in rental fleet. Pearl white. I added gold package, woodgrain interior, mud guards, color matched spoiler etc from online for about $420. Then my wife bought 16" chrome mags and tires. By then it looked so nice I upgraded the suspension with KYB/GR2 struts and energy sway bar bushings. What a difference as I have posted. Now I can't find anything I would rather drive. Handles and rides great. And, I've had Vettes, muscle cars, Audi, driven multiple BMW's, you name it so it isn't like I don't know what's out there. No dealer checks ever but nearing 100k so timing belt/water pump is due. I do most of my own stuff. I had links to pics here but host no longet there and I don't see how to upload an image to a post, if indeed possible. If anyone knows..................
    I also own a 90 Lexus LS 400 with 59k that drives as new. The Avalon is my wifes car, but we both use it as our primary driver.
  • njavalonguynjavalonguy Posts: 35
    wow nice to know...btw you didn't mention what year is the car ?

    I guess you still have some time for timing belt / water pump replacement..replaced mine at 120K and it was almost new.

    I am not so much of a DIY guy so don't know whether the rear sway bar size for my car too is 17 mm like yours.

    there is 50 % on labour on strut replacements going on currently at pepboys and also you get the 4th Monroe strut free if you buy 3 so thinking of replacing them on the weekend.

    I know given your experience with KYB you wouldn't think replacing the OEMs with Monroe would be a good idea but anyways not planning to spend much $ on a car which is 11 yrs and 126 K miles old.

  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    Ours is a 2003. I paid $209 on ebay for my KYB's (4) and had them installed locally. I take mine to the junk yard for work I don't do. Todd builds and races stock cars and does a good job for me. Full brake job with 2 new rotors and ceramic pads (I really like) including rear hub replacement. I supplied that part - $80 online. $270. People have posted that they paid $1100 and $1300 at their friendly customer oriented dealer.
  • Update :

    After spending $700 + i got the rear struts (Monroe OEMs), strut mounts, sway bar links and bushings replaced at Pepboys.

    The clunking did disappear only to return 2500 miles later. Though it is not as bad as before however, i can hear a little rattle with a discerning ear while going over rough patches. What's worse is that this time I hear it from the front too....indicating that it is time to replace the front struts too.

    I am going to take the car back to Pepboys for the rear noise because it is still under their 90 day warranty however I am really disappointed and need some direction on what else needs to be replaced :(

  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    So where's our next update? :-) What was the outcome, but more importantly, how did the car perform? Was your result similar to what we got for driving dynamics? Do you think the Monroes gave you a nice firm well handling driving experience? How are they holding up? Any softening as the miles accumulate? Noise gone?

  • iljaslmiljaslm Posts: 1
    edited December 2011
    My 2001 Avalon with 240K miles has been an extremely reliable vehicle. I've replaced an O2 sensor and a rear wheel bearing and that's it outside of regular maintenance. Every switch works, the AC still cools, and the ride is great.

    I have two questions. At highway speeds, when I apply the brakes there is a significant front end vibration. It's very similar to what I would expect from front end rotors that need turning. Since they had already been machined twice, I replaced the rotors and pads. It didn't correct the problem which leads me to believe it is some type of suspension issue. Any suggestions would greatly appreciated.

    Secondly, I'm not 100% confident that I have ever changed the transmission fluid but I think I did a few years ago. I've been told "if it's not broke, don't fix it" or in other words don't change the fluid now because it will cause problems. I really hate not changing it but I don't want to open pandora's box either. Any suggestions?

    Thank you for your consideration
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 591
    Here's a free opinion....
    Transmission: The fluid has a definite lifespan. After a certain point it fails to lubricate properly so change it and flush the transmission also to get it all out and refill. Yes, it is possible this will cause something negative to happen.... but it will happen anyway if you don't, so do it now and hope for the best.

    Brake vibration: Sounds like the rotors are still bad. If it does not vibrate unless you touch the brake pedal at 70 mph.... what else could it be? Inferior rotors, wrong pads or a bad mechanic most likely. Twice is enough milling on the rotors, good call there, not enough left after a third cut. Have a good front end shop check the alignment, struts and related parts... see what they say. Others may have ideas here also.... :)
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