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Since this forum was quite informative for preparing and dealing with my recent rear shock replacement effort, I figured I would register and provide some notes from my experience. Hopefully, it will provide the DIYers out there with some information to make the process easier and possibly faster than expected. From time of tire removal to reinstall, 50 minutes.

First, I know I am fortunate to have a fair amount of tools at my disposal from years of collecting (old fart here) but, even so I purchased one more for this job. Specifically, to reach the top shock bolt fairly easily and allow for a quick ratcheting on and off. My father always said that there is a correct tool for every job and if you need it once you will probably need it again someday. He was right, take that to the bank. So I bought the tool below and added to my collection. Not cheap but, well worth it in my opinion. Besides, I will leave it all to my son some day along with all the tools I inherited from my father.

Klutch Extra-Long Spline Drive Flex Ratcheting Wrench — 17mm x 19mm
Klutch Extra-Long Spline Drive Flex Ratcheting Wrench — 17mm x 19mm | Flex Ratcheting Wrenches| Northern Tool + Equipment

Aside from this one tool, it did come in handy to have a air impact gun for the tires, air ratchet for bottom shock bolt and bottom two carrier bolts, and two floor jacks. One jack to jack up the entire rear of the vehicle and place on jack stands (safety first) and the other to support the suspension arm when removing and reinstalling the bottom shock bolt and carrier. Of course, you will need the basic tools as well, a 17mm open end wrench and a ½” ratchet with 17mm socket. Everything on this job is 17mm and these bolts require a substantial amount of torque to remove and reinstall, so ½” is definitely the way to go. A cheater bar/pipe on the ratchet can be helpful, if needed.

Now for the details in order with the vehicle already jacked up and resting on two jack stands. One on each side at the rear jack locations on the vehicle. Nice pictures of the carrier and bolts involved are located on this thread, so I didn’t feel the need to supply them.

Removed tire using air impact gun.

Placed a floor jack under suspension arm to support it from dropping when the bottom shock bolt and carrier were removed. This is probably something that doesn’t have to be performed at this point but, with an extra jack handy I thought it was a good step to keep everything pretty much in place while removing bolts.

Loosened bottom shock bolt using 17mm open end wrench and a ½” ratchet with 17mm socket. Then used air ratchet to finish nut removal. The bolt could not be removed at this point because it would not clear the suspension arm.

Loosened two carrier bolts using ½” ratchet with 17mm socket. Then used air ratchet to finish removal. With the suspension arm supported properly with the jack, the bolts easily dropped out of the carrier when free without any tension on the bolts or suspension drop. The carrier then swiveled freely on the shock and allowed for easy removal of the bottom shock bolt since it cleared the suspension arm now.

Carrier removal appears necessary to remove bottom shock bolt. Some have suggested that the carrier only has to be loosened for removal of the shock bolt but, I tried to remove the bolt several times while gradually loosening the bolts and found that the bolt would not clear the suspension arm. Looking back on it now, I have to wonder if an additional pump or two on the suspension supporting jack might have provided the clearance needed to remove the bolt at this point. I really didn’t give it too much thought at the time since removal and reinstall seemed like a fairly simple thing to do. Reinstall alignment really is not an issue since the carrier bolt holes are very tight with little to no variance for movement or misalignment. Marking the carrier really isn’t necessary for reinstall since the carrier holes are quite tight.

Removed top shock bolt and nut using 17mm open end wrench and newly purchased 17mm Klutch Extra-Long Spline Drive Flex Ratcheting Wrench. The nut broke free fairly easily with the leverage provided by the extra long wrench. The ratcheting of the nut and bolt might have taken 5 to 10 minutes to complete because of the limited amount of space for wrench swing. Thankfully, the ratchet wrench has a lot of teeth to deal with the tight space available. The bolt will slide out of the upper shock and bracket easily once the nut is removed.

Removed the old shock.

Installed new shock in to upper bracket and reinstalled bolt and nut hand tight.

Reinstalled bottom shock carrier using two bolts hand tight with several treads showing just in case some up or down adjusting for bottom shock bolt hole alignment with carrier might be needed.

Now this is where I made a judgment call related to the reinstall of the bottom shock bolt. I did reverse the bottom shock bolt for two reasons. Number one reason, I will admit was because I found that for some reason I just could not get one of the two carrier bolts realigned and installed with the carrier attached to the bottom shock bolt and I did spend a considerable amount of time trying to get this second carrier bolt installed on the first shock replacement. Everything appeared to be perfectly aligned but, I just couldn’t get it to bite those first few threads. It was more frustrating than this old man was willing to deal with and I am very patient when it comes to things like this. The second reason was because after much consideration, I felt that reversing the bolt had little to no downside. Considering that the bolt would be reinstalled with as much if not more torque than OEM used and the nut had not come off in over seven years, it seemed quite unlikely to do so installed in reverse. Also, adding a dab of Loctite that the OEM never applied almost guarantees that the nut will never drop off. As someone mentioned earlier in this tread, the only reason why this bolt is installed the way it is originally, is to prevent the bolt from falling out of the shock and carrier completely in the event that the nut drops off. All things considered, I felt that the time and ease of this approach was well worth it without any loss or safety concern. So back to the step by step.

Installed lower shock into shock carrier with shock bolt hand tight. I did have to persuade the shock in to perfect bolt hole alignment using a block of wood and some slight hammer taps along with a few minor adjustments on the floor jack supporting the suspension arm. Everything slid in to place quite easily all in all.

Tightened two carrier bolts completely.

Tightened bottom shock bolt completely.

Tightened top shock bolt completely.

Reinstall tire. Done.

Hope this is helpful to anyone thinking about or attempting to do this job.

Rear Shocks Installed:
Bilstein
Part Number: 19-164687
Series: B4 OE Replacement
Position: Rear
Old Part Number: F4-BNE-G468-BG
 

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Good narrative by Krazewolf (and others). Having just replaced my rear shocks with Bilsteins I'll offer a couple of notes.
Access to the top bolts is awful, as described. But I bought an 8 piece set of ratcheting combination wrenches from Sears for $35 that did the trick with the help of a foot-long length 2-inch pipe which slipped over the wrench to increase leverage.
I did not remove the lower mounting bracket, merely loosened it a lot (this bracket does not affect the wheel alignment). I did reverse the lower bolt to make the job easier next time.
New shocks made the car much more comfortable and much less jiggly, which also improved tracking and ease of staying within one lane on the highway.
 

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Good tip. Thanks.

When the front shocks wore out on my monster GMC 4WD I popped the hood to find that the big bolts had their heads butted up against the body. Stupid, but true. I asked a mechanic how a guy could remove them that way without the Blue Wrench. He smiled and said, "Well we got this tool called a bolt cutter." Duh on me!
 

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I just bought some Monroe front Struts and rear shocks from Rockauto. To my surprise the front struts were printed MADE IN JAPAN and the rears MADE IN THE USA. That makes me feel a little more confident in Monroe products.
 

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I just bought some Monroe front Struts and rear shocks from Rockauto. To my surprise the front struts were printed MADE IN JAPAN and the rears MADE IN THE USA. That makes me feel a little more confident in Monroe products.
Can I ask where did you buy your set of Monroe front struts and rear shocks? Did you DIY those or hire somebody to do it for you and how much did it cost you for the hired labor? TIA
 

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Can I ask where did you buy your set of Monroe front struts and rear shocks? Did you DIY those or hire somebody to do it for you and how much did it cost you for the hired labor? TIA
Ordered my set of monroe's from rockauto.com during a rebate period. Unfortunately the rebate has passed. I did the install myself. The rears were actually not as difficult as I expected.
 

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I'm in the process of swapping out the rear shocks on the Rav I will be giving for my brother. I used standard 17MM box wrench, ratcheting 17MM box wrench, and an extra long 17MM box wrench. I used the double wrench connection to get some more leverage to try and break the nuts free, however, I was still having extreme difficulty. I was also worried about stripping the nuts, since all of my wrenches were 12PT. I used another tool that I bought months ago and completely forgot about until today and it helped a lot in getting the nut broken and off. I used a 3/8 17MM Crow's Foot flare attached to a 3/8 ratchet on the bolt side and I was able to get the bolt of rather quickly. I finally got to use my crow's foot and I'm proud! lol
 

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Didn't attempt to remove the upper rear shock mount bolts until I soaked the nut/bolt interface with a penetrant (I used Kroil) for three solid days 3-4 times a day.

Tried a 17 mm crows foot with a 3/8" breaker bar. I couldn't get the crow's foot to seat onto the nut straight on (didn't want to risk rounding off the bolt.)

I used a long 17 mm open wrench with a short piece of cheater bar and broke both passenger and drivers side nuts. Backed out a bunch of turns, re-applied the Kroil penetrant, and retightened.

All the other bolts appear to be very accessible, have also been liberally and frequently sprayed with rust penetrant and will be short work for my impact wrench.

Now I'll order the Bilstein shocks, knowing that the rest of the install, once the shocks arrive, will be a piece of cake.

Thanks RAV4World Forum peeps.
 

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Didn't attempt to remove the upper rear shock mount bolts until I soaked the nut/bolt interface with a penetrant (I used Kroil) for three solid days 3-4 times a day.

Tried a 17 mm crows foot with a 3/8" breaker bar. I couldn't get the crow's foot to seat onto the nut straight on (didn't want to risk rounding off the bolt.)

I used a long 17 mm open wrench with a short piece of cheater bar and broke both passenger and drivers side nuts. Backed out a bunch of turns, re-applied the Kroil penetrant, and retightened.

All the other bolts appear to be very accessible, have also been liberally and frequently sprayed with rust penetrant and will be short work for my impact wrench.

Yep.....that the best way to do it! soak it with a good quality penetrating fluid for days.....sometimes up to week, soak it on a Saturday, order your parts same day, soak it everyday (2x or 3X) midweek try
to break nut/bolt assembly, usually its gtg! ......parts come on friday, get it done on saturday.

Subway4x4, that the smart way!....good info right there, thanks

let us know how it works for you, starting my procedure today.
 

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Worked out extremely well.
After a week of daily soaking, the actual removal and replacement of both shocks took about an hour on a nice saturday afternoon.
 

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What struts and shock do u guys recommend. I wanna replace mine out. Also had to change out the sway bar links because all the pot holes in nyc.


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What struts and shock do u guys recommend. I wanna replace mine out. Also had to change out the sway bar links because all the pot holes in nyc.


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Go with the Toyota ones for a factory ride and quality. You may also want to consider KYB or Bilstein (rear only).
 

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Replaced the rear shocks on my 2010 RAV4 last month. I used a grinder to grind a 17mm box wrench to 3/16 thick. On the bottom bolt I used a Sawzall to cut it in half after taking the nut loose. I then used a new bolt with the nut on the opposite side. Still took several hours.
 

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Deangate you didn't take the bottom support bracket off. To take off the bottom part of the shock


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? Can i raise the car from the rear control arm when changing out the rear shocks. The jack i have wont lift the car all the way to get the tire off and if i use the pinch welds on the side i have to get one of those adapters to go on the jack i have.


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