Rav 4.3 Strut replacement advice - Toyota RAV4 Forums
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#1 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 02:42 PM
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Rav 4.3 Strut replacement advice

First post here, I needed some advise. I have searched and read through all of the posts I could find about this.

2006 Rav4 V6 4WD Limited 62,000miles
Needs replacement front struts
Background: Want to do it myself, 6-8 out of 10 mechanical skills, not much car experience. Dealer wants $800+

The main question I have is, do I need to replace any other parts at the same time? Some have suggested replacing:
1. front sway bar end links
2. Bearing strut mounts

Secondary question:
What kind of struts? I have read the prior discussions, I am leaning toward KYB. Bilsteins are not available for this model, and reviews of Monroe are variable. OEM I would not do because these lasted only 62K miles. Other brands like Replacement, OESpectrum, and Senson I don't know anything about.
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#2 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 07:52 PM
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Kyb are good, seems 62k is early for struts, this is not usually a job to do in your drive way, you will need some instructions to do this safely if you have never done this type of repair, plus you will have to take the struts to a shop to swap over the springs, then it should be aligned. Also the strut mounts should be checked for wear. Most of the ft suspension must be disassembled.
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#3 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 08:32 PM
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struts are not that hard to replace, depending on if you are going to buy just a strut or the whole strut assembly including the spring and everything. If you are going to buy the whole assembly and you are pretty handy person it should take you no more than 30-45 min per side. You not always have to the the alignment after a strut job, it depends if the struts have the ability to be aligned or not.

If on the other hand you will buy only strut, not a strut assembly, that will take a bit longer, but the benefit is that it is much cheaper. You will need to either buy or rent (Autozone rents it out) a strut spring compressor. It is very dangerous to compress the spring, because the tension is so high, that is the compressor is not alight straight, and one side were to slip off it can rip your arm out. once you take the spring off, put it on the new strut and tighten everything. There are plenty videos on YouTube on how to do strut job. I've replaced the struts on Honds Cr-v and Crysler T&C. Both were very similar. and I did it on my driveway with nothing but a socket set and a strut compressor

Good luck
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#4 (permalink) Old 12-14-2012, 08:18 AM
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Yeah, just a socket and a compressor, better watch the video!
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#5 (permalink) Old 12-14-2012, 09:24 AM
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I have the same car and have replaced just the right front strut since it was leaking and banging over bumps. Pretty straightforward. As mentioned you'll need a spring compressor and caution. One safety trick I use is wrapping the spring & compressor in a heavy mat or blanket while working with them. If something goes wrong parts don't fly as far if at all.

Another tip: DO NOT REMOVE THE CENTER SHAFT NUT ON THE CAR. You'll have lots of fun ever getting it back on.

I bought replacement quality struts on eBay. It's been fine for 25,000 miles.

Oh yeah, unless it's perfect you should replace the inner dust cover. It's cheap from Toyota. I posted the part number & price somewhere a while back.

Fred
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#6 (permalink) Old 12-14-2012, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Dyno View Post
I have the same car and have replaced just the right front strut since it was leaking and banging over bumps. Pretty straightforward. As mentioned you'll need a spring compressor and caution. One safety trick I use is wrapping the spring & compressor in a heavy mat or blanket while working with them. If something goes wrong parts don't fly as far if at all.

Another tip: DO NOT REMOVE THE CENTER SHAFT NUT ON THE CAR. You'll have lots of fun ever getting it back on.

I bought replacement quality struts on eBay. It's been fine for 25,000 miles.

Oh yeah, unless it's perfect you should replace the inner dust cover. It's cheap from Toyota. I posted the part number & price somewhere a while back.
Dr Dyno,
Thanks for the tip. I have read your posts elsewhere and found them helpful. Interestingly, it is the right front that went bad on my Rav4 as well. They must have had some bad ones.
I have watched several videos, and read everything I can find on the subject on this site. I do like the idea of using a blanket while the spring is compressed.
No one has mentioned a torque wrench. I looked up the specs for torquing the bolts, and intend to do that as well.
Shep and Fatherer, appreciate your input as well. I do not think the risk should be underestimated.

I will post back how it went and any problems or issues encountered.

Paul
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#7 (permalink) Old 12-14-2012, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by pbakerman View Post
Interestingly, it is the right front that went bad on my Rav4 as well. They must have had some bad ones.
I figure the right front suspension takes the most beating since it's closest to the "gutter" where most of the road damage lives. I also note my wife doesn't try to avoid bad spots on the right like I do, just kind of "hammers" thru. That's got to take a toll.
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#8 (permalink) Old 12-14-2012, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Dyno View Post
I also note my wife doesn't try to avoid bad spots on the right like I do, just kind of "hammers" thru. That's got to take a toll.
My wife has always done the same thing! She never even tries to steer around a pothole like me, just plows right on through with me cringing in the passenger seat!

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#9 (permalink) Old 12-18-2012, 10:42 PM
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Although you can replace just one strut, i would recommend to replace both. Otherwise the front end will not be aligned. While the struts are off its a good idea to inspect and replace if necessary sway bar bushings. cheap and good reassurance for good handling.
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#10 (permalink) Old 12-19-2012, 12:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatherer View Post
Although you can replace just one strut, i would recommend to replace both. Otherwise the front end will not be aligned. While the struts are off its a good idea to inspect and replace if necessary sway bar bushings. cheap and good reassurance for good handling.
Thanks for the input. I am planning to replace both, plus the strut mounts, dust covers, and bumpers. I figure these are all things that would require taking the whole thing apart again. I will look at the sway bar bushings as well.

Paul
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