OEM Shock Replacement

General discussion about our beloved Tercel 4WD cars
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Synchronizor
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My tercel:: 86 Tercel
Location: Eastern Washington

OEM Shock Replacement

Post by Synchronizor »

Hey folks, been awhile.

My beater run-around Tercel is eating a front tire, so I plan to take it in for an alignment. While looking into that, I also inquired about replacing the shocks, and was quoted quite a sum, with both local shops I checked saying it would be a lot of labor to do shocks on all four corners.

So now, I'm thinking about doing the shocks myself, and just paying for the alignment afterward. How hard of a job is this exactly? Is it just tedious and time-consuming, or is it something that takes a lot of special tools and know-how. If I go forward with this, it would just be me in my driveway.

Also, the auto parts store was having trouble actually identifying compatible shocks. Can anyone help out with some part numbers or links? I'm just looking for simple factory replacements for a 1986 FWD Tercel wagon; not looking to lift or make big upgrades.

Thanks in advance.
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dlb
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My tercel:: '87 sr5, '83 dlx parts car
Location: bc, canada

Re: OEM Shock Replacement

Post by dlb »

Replacing the rear shocks is really easy, it's just two 12 mm nuts on top and a 14 mm bolt down below.

The fronts aren't hard to do, you can absolutely do it in your driveway, but you need spring compressors and have to remove the steering knuckle (or that's how I do it anyway). If you've never done it before and aren't too experienced with wrenching I would set aside a full day to do the front strut inserts.

For part #s I would look on Rock Auto. I think it's different part #s for FWD and 4wd so most of us here won't have that info for you.
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rer233
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My tercel:: Multiple

Re: OEM Shock Replacement

Post by rer233 »

FWD has struts in the rear...
if it aint there, there's a good chance it won't break!
83 SR5 Silver/Blue (Snowmobile/work beater)-totaled but drivable
85 SR5 Blue
88 SR5 White (the 'good' one)-not anymore-totaled
87 fwd silver wagon a/t
87 4wd dx Cream (a/t- not anymore- now m/t)
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dlb
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My tercel:: '87 sr5, '83 dlx parts car
Location: bc, canada

Re: OEM Shock Replacement

Post by dlb »

rer233 wrote: Mon Feb 19, 2024 2:50 pm FWD has struts in the rear...
Oooohh right. Sorry, disregard what I said about the rear shocks. It's a similar job to the fronts.
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Petros
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My tercel:: '84 Tercel4wd w/extensive mods
Location: Arlington WA USA

Re: OEM Shock Replacement

Post by Petros »

I thought the local shop prices for strut or cv axle replacement are outrageous, it is not too difficult as a DIY project. I have always done my own. the replacement inserts are not too costly from Rockauto.com.

You can rent spring compressors for this job, or get some inexpensive ones from Amazon or Harbor Freight. I highly recommend you get two sets, it will greatly reduce the risk of having one pop off, which is a major hazard with doing it yourself. I put a minimum of three spring compressors on each spring, and tighten them in sequence (having an pneumatic or electric impact driver makes this job easier). I do it on the floor, and stand back away from the ends in case something pops free (I know of someone that was injured and hospitalized when the strut popped apart when a spring compressor failed).

Also, clean off the threads with solvent and apply high quality grease to the large compressor threaded shafts. as they come they tend to chew themselves up, and many consider the inexpensive ones "disposable" since they do not last long, but I found cleaning off the shavings and grit on them, and than apply good wheel bearing grease, makes them hold up well.

As an alternative you can remove the strut assembly and than pay a shop to replace the inserts. It will save a lot of money, and it is usually fairly fast for them to use their large pneumatic strut compression machines and power tools to get it apart, and back together. Talk to them first, before you just show up with your struts. Usually Tire stores that do front end work and brakes will have the equipment to do the insert installation for you. I go to where I buy tires, so they know me there and were agreeable to do that for me once.

Often you will want to install a new bump stop/boot, and occasionally it needs the top mount. so inspect those and order those parts as well. before the alignment, check the condition of all the other bushings, tie rod ends, etc. and replacing those is a good idea while you have the front end apart to get the struct out.

This will make you car behave like a different car, greatly improving handling and feel.

Good luck
'87 Tercel 4wd SR5 (current engine swap project)
'84 Tercel 4wd (daily driver, with on going mods)
'92 Mazda MPV 4wd (wife's daily driver)
'85 Tercel 4wd DLX auto(daughter's daily driver)
'01 Honda Civic (other daughter's daily driver)
gonzalez
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My tercel:: 87 tercel 4x4 wagon w/reringed engine

Re: OEM Shock Replacement

Post by gonzalez »

Replacing shocks on a vehicle like your Tercel can be a manageable DIY job with the right tools, knowledge, and patience. It's not overly complex, but it does require some physical effort and attention to detail. I think Petros's advise is pretty good, especially for bearings: "Also, clean off the threads with solvent and apply high quality grease to the large compressor threaded shafts. as they come they tend to chew themselves up, and many consider the inexpensive ones "disposable" since they do not last long, but I found cleaning off the shavings and grit on them, and than apply good wheel bearing grease, makes them hold up well."
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