R&R front struts

Here's some good repair guides for your Tercel :) Look here for help first!
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keith
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R&R front struts

Post by keith » Mon Jul 06, 2009 3:43 pm

I got home tonight and look what arrived via UPS. Didn't expect them until tomorrow, havent even got the shipping notice yet with the tracking number. I paid the $20 for second day air, got them in one.

OK, typrus is right, you can put a new cartridge in the old housing. The guts of the old strut come out and a cartridge goes in. It is not originally a cartridge type strut.

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Someone asked if it could be rebuilt. I guess if you could get the right seals and rubber rings, you could, but as you can see in the picture above, they are not standard o-rings. Toyota lists this as a non repairable part so I'm guessing they won't sell them to you. Also, they are gas charged and I don't see how you would get the gas in.

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Here is the new strut. It slips right into place and a new gland nut is provided to center and hold it in place. The old gland nut cannot be used, it was the end seal of the strut. I used plenty of threadlocker on this.

If you don't have a vise, here is an alternative. Don't clamp down on it, just close the jaws enough to keep the strut body from turning while tightening the gland nut.

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Now its ready for the strut mount. I ordered two new ones at O'Rielly's, when they came in, one box had the wrong part in it. Both boxes had the same part number. The new ones should be here tomorrow.

After I took these pictures, I heard something rattling in the box, so I dumped it out, it was the directions. The first thing is says is to remove the retaining string, there isn't any retaining string. It was also fully extended so I didn't have to "crack it open". I guess thats a Monroe thing. Anyway, just for kicks, I read the directions. Don't need no stinking directions with this one, its pretty simple.

When the blocks come in, I'll do more pics on the install and maybe post in the repair section.

keith
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by Don Jorgensen » Thu Mar 15, 2007 8:55 pm

oh my! Where do I begin....Blue Belle that got T-boned had a combination of problems all having to do with the front suspension and bearings. This chain of comments is about the struts/cartridges and I tell you my experience. First thing was I had Original Equipment struts/cartridges and when I bought Blue Belle she (fwd) needed hub bearing and strut/cartridge replacement. I purchased the replacement cartridges and over the weekend had her back on the road. Much to my surprise was a rattle..rattle..rattle..that was not there before. (LOOK at your first picture of the original equipement cartridge and note) The bottom diameter of the cartridge is about 10 mm (what the hell) bigger than the cartridge cylinder. Your replacement cartridge is tapered or smaller on the bottom end and that is problem I had with the rattle...rattle. I also had problems keeping the top cartridge retainer nuts tight because of the loose bottom. I took the whole assembly apart and fabricated a large washer to go over the bottom of the cartridge and also fit down the strut assembly. No more rattle..rattle and no more flex that loosened the retainer nut.
I'm sure to get rebuttle on this topic, however I solved the rattle and retainer loosening problem. I have continued to replace cartridges on my Tercels and I do take care to compensate for the bottom of the cartridge difference. I just used a SAE 20 weight oil to fill the strut assembly. It worked fine by me for many miles.

I commend you for doing the hub bearing yourself. I paid dearly $270 parts and labor for a machine shop to press out and install new bearings that I provided.... Dolts didn't pack the bearings and only went 2,000 miles. No warranty so I did the next replacement myself with a chisel and a cheap vise.

Older and wiser
Don
Current 86 SR5 4WD 236,000 miles and rolling
94 Previa 165,000
93 Corolla 214,000
past 86 DLX Wagon FWD 298,000 rusted away
85 Wagon FWD 195,000 T-boned and expired

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by Typrus » Thu Mar 15, 2007 10:17 pm

I don't feel thats my issue.. There seems to be bad play in the rack. Good observation though. Now that I think of it, I think mine came with little inserts that you put in the bottom.... Hmm... Well, I believe mine are in.

I almost wish we could get a whole new assy.

So you put 20-weight in around the cartridge? Cooling purposes or what?
Crashed 10-07- 1984 Toyota Tercel SR5 4wd Wagen w/ man. 6 speed

Crashed 04-05- 1986 Toyota Tercel SR5 4wd Wagen w/ man. 6 speed

1st Terc- 1987 Tercel SR5 4wd Wagon w/ 6-speed

Newest- 1985 Tercel Standard 4wd Wagon w/ 3-speed auto

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by takza » Fri Mar 16, 2007 4:25 am

keith wrote:
OK, typrus is right, you can put a new cartridge in the old housing. The guts of the old strut come out and a cartridge goes in. It is not originally a cartridge type strut.



Someone asked if it could be rebuilt. I guess if you could get the right seals and rubber rings, you could, but as you can see in the picture above, they are not standard o-rings. Toyota lists this as a non repairable part so I'm guessing they won't sell them to you. Also, they are gas charged and I don't see how you would get the gas in.


Except with my car ('83)...the strut tube had a smaller OD and the cartridge I had wasn't going to fit. The T dealer said I needed to buy the whole strut assembly. Or maybe a used set of struts with old cartridges...and put in new ones?

I used a block of wood in between the tabs that mount the strut tube and clamped it there....though if you bend these tabs any....you are making problems for yourself.

Hope Keith will do a writeup with pics in the how to section....just do a copy/paste job?
A society becomes totalitarian when its structure becomes flagrantly artificial: that is, when its ruling class has lost its function but succeeds in clinging to power by force or fraud. -- George Orwell

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by keith » Fri Mar 16, 2007 7:38 pm

takza, Butt dust, too funny, a little humor is always welcome.

The correct mounts arrived today. I finished building up one strut before it got too dark to take pictures. It takes four hands to get it together right. The first thing I discovered is the compressing the spring enough to take it apart isn't enough to put it back together. It has to be compressed enough so that the flats in the spring cap go all the way down to the flats in the strut rod, or else the strut rod just turns when you try to put the nut on the top.

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Next trick, this is where four hands come in handy is maintain the alignment of the spring in its seat of the strut and the seat in the cap. I missed the first time, the cap shifted somehow. You can see the gap in the picture below, just above the arrow.

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Finally got everything right and removed the spring compressors.

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I'll put it in tomorrow and do the other side.

Don, I hope I don't have a rattle, but I noticed a raised section in the bottom and the KYB cartridges have a cup at the bottom that fits over this bump. It seems to be well captured, but we'll see when the forces of the road are applied.

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by coltarms » Sat Mar 17, 2007 12:05 am

A scissor-jack style spring compressor is the best one to use for these..... I had quite a time doing mine myself with the same spring compressors you are using.

Looks like you got it, though.

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by keith » Sat Mar 17, 2007 4:45 pm

Don, you are right, there is a little play at the bottom of the strut cartridge, but not much. Were you using KYB or something else? The raised section I though I saw at the bottom does not exist, there is a small ring there that you can feel by running your finger along the bottom outside of the strut, but that is all there is. I did use threadlocker when I assembled the strut. So far no rattling.

Coltarms, a scissor type strut compressor would be nice, but this is what I have. I bought them about 15 years ago and this is the first time I've used them. They were only $10 at the time.

Heres something thats not in the FSM, in fact the FSM is in error here. I didn't discover this until the second strut, would have been nice to know on the first one. The first one came apart easily for some reason, but I had a lot of difficulty keeping the spring in line when reassembling. The nut holding the mounting block to the strut rod did not want to come off on the second one. The FSM showed using a screwdriver between the mounting block and its studs to keep it from turning. That does not work.

However, there are two holes in the upper spring cap. Its a little fuzzy in this picture, thats what you get with autofocus cameras, as most digitals are.

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You can stick a #3 or 4 Phillips head screwdriver through this hole to hold the cap from turning, which in turn holds the shaft, while you loosen the nut.

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It makes assembly a lot easier too, the spring cap doesn't rotate when you are retorquing the nut. On the first one, I didn't retorque it until I mounted the strut back in the car. That knocked the spring out of place again, but not near as far and I was able to muscle it back into place without complete disassembly.

The EMPI axle completely removed the knocking noises when cornering. It had an unexpected benefit, the transmission always kind made a grinding sound going into third. Now its pretty smooth and all gears shift smoother. I have no idea how there is a connection. Go figure. Gonna get the EMPI for the other side next month.

I'm probably going to have to replace the rear shocks now. The new struts in front make the car understeer more now. I'm going to check the alignment tomorrow, maybe I knocked that out a little with the new upper strut mounts.
Last edited by keith on Sun Mar 18, 2007 8:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

keith
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by vjharpe » Sat Mar 17, 2007 10:11 pm

I don't think anyone has talked about the difficulty in tightening the top nut after you mount the strut assembly on the car. In the original design, you torque the top nut. But when you install a gas cartridge, everything just spins. On the one I got there was a flat on the shaft you could hold while you tighten, but it is positioned right at the base of the spring cap, and as you tighten the top nut the flat gets really short. I finally used a crows foot socket to hold the flat while I tightened the top nut, but it jammed in and I had to knock it out with a hammer.

Has anyone else dealt with this problem, or am I just stupid?
vjharpe

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by keith » Sat Mar 17, 2007 10:14 pm

Yes, read the post immediately above and three posts up. You can't put anything on the flats of the strut rod because the flats have to mate to the flats in the spring cap. The trick is then to keep the spring cap from spinning. You stop it spinning with the screwdriver through the hole in the cap.

Or did I misunderstand your post?

Edit, vjharpe I meant yes to the first part of your question, not the second part. It looks like you may be in good company because in rereading thru the whole post, I noticed that at least one other did the same thing you did, I tried to do that myself, that is to use a wrench or something on the flats to hold the rod from turning. To those who did this, please go and check that nut on top of the strut immediately. That nut will not be seated, hopefully the built in nylon lock washer will keep it from backing out. The spring cap has to go down over the flats on the rod, then keep the spring cap from rotating with a screwdriver like I did (on the second one). The spring cap will keep the rod from rotating.

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