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#1 (permalink) Old 04-27-2009, 01:16 PM
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Replacing shocks/struts

Can anyone offer some assistance?

I am not totally clear on what the mechanic attempted to explain to me. I understand that I do need new struts on the front and decided I would just replace the shocks in the back while they were at it.

Anyways he quoted me two prices depending on if it has cartridges or not. Could someone clarify this for me please?

I obviously am not a mechanic and barely know the basics so if anyone would take the time to explain things so I dont get hosed I would really appreciate it.
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#2 (permalink) Old 04-27-2009, 01:17 PM
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btw I have a 1998 Rav4L four door, all wheel drive if it matters
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#3 (permalink) Old 04-27-2009, 06:03 PM
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Re: Replacing shocks/struts

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Originally Posted by lisaspank
Can anyone offer some assistance?

I am not totally clear on what the mechanic attempted to explain to me. I understand that I do need new struts on the front and decided I would just replace the shocks in the back while they were at it.

Anyways he quoted me two prices depending on if it has cartridges or not. Could someone clarify this for me please?

I obviously am not a mechanic and barely know the basics so if anyone would take the time to explain things so I dont get hosed I would really appreciate it.
Here we have a picture of what he was referring to. The struts is the large grey part on the right of this picture. The cartridge and next to the black and grey vertical boxes. The cartridges go INSIDE the struts. The struts are more expensive then the cartridges. The struts COME with the struts. The cartridges can be purchase separately, being cheaper.. The Shocks is the one horizontally in this picture. For RAV4 their are many brands. Bilstien, KONI, Moroso, KYB to name just a few. How you know you need to change them? Drive in a straight line, then, suddenly slam on the brakes. If the body keeps dipping up and down, you might also hear a slight bump. You know if the rear once need to be changed if the rear suspension keep hopping up and down.

Pricey? Yes. If you DIY, cool. I've done mine always. *Note some RAV4 cannot change the cartridge, you MUST change the entire strut depending on the year.

Changing the cartridges alone is cheaper, but it must come out from under the front fender anyway. They just insert a new cartridge in the old strut.

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#4 (permalink) Old 04-27-2009, 06:40 PM
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Thanks so much for the explanation and the illustration, its much more clear now.

I dont find that I have problems with the rear, but have heard its best just to do them all at once...do you believe in that thought process?

Also I dont know how bouncy the front is, but I was told a year ago the fronts needed done by one shop that did my breaks...and just a few days ago by some trustworthy guys at a tire shop that are in school for mechanics.

Im heading on a trip to canada in a month or so and wanted to make sure the Rav was up to par.

I will have to complete the check you offered with the going and slamming on breaks. I do hear a clunk when going over bumps on the front side...could that mean struts still or something else?
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#5 (permalink) Old 04-27-2009, 08:26 PM
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I was thinking of doing this as well. Any recommendations on brands?
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#6 (permalink) Old 04-27-2009, 08:39 PM
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rav4

If you read on here you will see time and time again do NOT use quick lube,chain tire stores, chain trans shops! find a good local repair shop.
Yes do them all at same time, rear shocks will be cheaper at both parts and labor.
Ask around but I think when you get front done you will need at least frontend alinement and you may want 4 wheel alinement.
Have a great trip with the best little suv EVER made.
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#7 (permalink) Old 04-28-2009, 08:33 PM
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Ok so I tried the breaks test and didnt get any bounce...does that mean I should hold off on getting them done? There is still a clunking noise on the fronts when going over bumps...could this be that the struts dont have as much bounce when they are bad because they are more stiff than shocks?

decisions decisions!

Anymore opinions...
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#8 (permalink) Old 04-28-2009, 09:41 PM
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How many miles?
You dont need to replace the struts or shocks unless the rav bounces a lot after bumps.

Do not get monroe, look for bilstien shocks, the monroes I tried leaked in a week.

The only reason to replace shocks or struts is if they leak the oil out and loose the damping (you get bounce).
Worn out shocks or struts wont leave you stranded, but might be annoying, and can degrade the handling some.

At 106,000 miles, my struts are fine, my back shocks were leaking after a lot of rough off road driving.

Most shops always try to sell you something, wheel alignments, cleaners, motor flushes, shocks, when most is a waste of money.

I like maintanance, oil changes, coolant changes, trans and differential lube changes, brake fluid changes, replacing belts and filters, worn out parts, tires, but I dont spend a dime on things that are not problems.

Brett
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#9 (permalink) Old 04-28-2009, 10:13 PM
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The clunk in the front sounds more like a bad ball joint or maybe even a strut bearing. Check your suspension bushings and motor mounts as these would cause a clunk too.

I have more than 235,000 miles on the original struts and they have absolutely no bounce or leaks, the car still corners extraordinarily.

The rear shocks I replaced a couple of years ago cause the originals were leaking and the rear suspension was bottoming out.

In other words, like Brett said, unless they are leaking or your suspension is bouncing a lot or bottoming out, don't worry about it.

Kurt

Bored throttle body, Ram Air Intake, 2.5" dia. exhaust, DynoMax muffler, Thrush resonator, 9005 low beams... + more
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#10 (permalink) Old 04-29-2009, 01:05 PM
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As Brett said, avoid Monroe or Gabriel brands.

- KYB's are cheap and reasonable quality. If you are on a tight budget, this is the one to get.

- Tokico is Toyota's OEM supplier. Similar to KYB in quality.

- Bilstein SPORT (be sure to get the right series) are excellent, though slightly more expensive. If money isn't an issue, get these. You won't be disappointed.

- KONI is adjustable, and the best that money can buy for a RAV, though not worth it, unless you are rally/road/autox racing.

Most RAVs will have non-sealed struts, so inserts will be cheaper. If they have been replaced once before, then many aftermarket strut assemblies are sealed.

If you are replacing the whole strut assembly, and you have non-sealed struts, ask the mechanic to give them to you. **I will GLADLY pay you good money for them**, or you can use them for your next suspension job, and save $$.

If your suspension clunks, ask your mechanic, when he's replacing the struts, to replace the end links, ball joints, and strut mounts too... Yes, it's expensive, but the clunk gets worse. I have been a victim, and am replacing all of the above (plus some) in the summer.
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