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Discussion Starter #1
Several months ago, Toyota was rebuilding my engine due to oil consumption, and the struts got stuck in the fully extended position when lowering the vehicle from the lift. Because it happened on their watch, they replaced the struts.

It's a 2007 Rav4 Sport 2.4L 2WD.

We just got home from a very long road trip. I was getting ready to change the oil and discovered the strut boots are torn to pieces.

Passenger side a lot worse than driver side.

Is it common for Toyota to re-use the boots like this and replace only the strut itself?

Is it possible to keep the existing struts and replace only the boots?

The car did/does drive MUCH smoother after having the struts supposedly replaced... so SOMETHING was done to it, but now I'm questioning what exactly was done and how.
 

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its unfortunate this happen, i also had the engine rebuild....have the same year/model. its hard to tell if the struts are new, the coil springs would be the original, they just replaced the strut cartridge, again it's hard to tell with the pics provided. You could try to voice your complaint with the service writer/mgr of the dealership and Toyota Corp, but you know where that will go.....:( I replaced my struts(KYB-RockAuto) with dust boots off amazon(FEBEST) they only lasted 1 yr, so i gotta go at it again , the struts are fine its just the boots degraded, i used the same bearing/mount asm and will replace bearing/mount and will get the boots from dealer next time, it is difficult to do if you never done them, look at videos on youtube, if you have time for the vehicle to sit on jack stands you can remove the struts yourself and take to a local repair shop that can decompress strut/coil with an expensive machine and install your new boots, i do recommend to get boots from the dealer or any online toyota parts dealer/distributor, always check your local shop if they can do this service for you before you remove your struts.....just have the boots ready, additionally not sure if your bearing/mount asm was replaced by dealer, there is no way to tell. If your comfortable working on most problems with vehicles, especially steering/suspension issues they can be the most difficult item to deal with...so just research this forum for task at hand, I do them for friends/family, but i tell them to get me everything for the job, strut carts, boots, bearing/mount and even the bump stop, i don't want to go in there again after any length of time and do a boot or bearing/mount if it fails......it gets scary sometimes. i do use 3 single strut compressors with the safety pin.....never had one unload yet, there are vidoes on you tube when they do "unload", its scary......always be safe when doing it, if you never done i recommend to take it to a shop or a friend that can show you the steps, an impact gun is the only way to go, once you done a few, they are not really that bad.....just take your time and be safe. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The invoice shows parts used 48520-80341 and 48510-80638. Nothing else. That appears to be the strut only, none of the other components.

Yes at the time of the incident, those were the only failed parts, but now it's extremely annoying that the boot has failed. They're only around $20 a piece, and now it will require some very skilled labor and specialized tools to go in there to replace them.

I'll have a conversation with the dealer about this of course. The struts came with a lifetime alignment, so maybe we can work something out.
 

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wow, that's poor or improper thinking/decision making on their part, now you have an issue with them as as a reputable Toyota Dealer for the safety and concern for their customer's, I would go after them on this one, you would expect the service tech to make note of this as a "evaluation issue" or concern for a known part that last a certain life expectancy, think about it, Ok case in point......they replaced a timing belt on a vehicle and the "life expectancy" is determined by the mileage and mostly the age that timing belt interval change, their policy is mostly based upon the age factor.....i'm not a professional mechanic but i've done timing belts for people i know and the change interval is.... let's say 100k miles, but also you factor in the age of that belt.....some of the older folks drive 20k miles in ten years.....so belt is compromised due to the age factor, not the mileage, yep you got them. when i took my rav in for the ZE7 engine rebuild the first thing they said " we have a concern that you are driving a safe vehicle as a loyal TOYOTA customer", i did not even buy from them, purchased used in a private sale......so they had a list of everything they recommend as a "safe vehicle", my windshield was cracked, tires worn.......etc. So go after them on this one.....ok it's not a real safety for strut-dust boots, more of an issue protecting the strut -shaft and internals, make a case with TOYOTA customer care also, really for like $20 more for each boot, they couldn't recommend it since they got them off the car.....wow, they really suk, i would be concerned if they now rebuilt my motor??? Hope your engine rebuild went well and no "surprises" with them on it....get them to correct this and never recommend them for any future business to anybody, tell them this.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I think they did a pretty good job with the engine rebuild. It's been about 6 months or so, and hasn't burned any oil. The dipstick was perfectly clear oil when they did the rebuild and I drove it home. The car performed flawlessly on a nearly 4,000 mile road trip just now. (Minus an unrelated alternator failure which I caught early before we got stranded, and took care of very quickly.)

They did ask me if I wanted to replace my OCV during the rebuild process, which I did, and paid for, but glad I did.

With these boots... I wouldn't have minded paying for new strut boots as preventative measures, but that was never something that was offered to me. Especially how inexpensive the boots are.. I would have done it had I known.
 

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well that's peace of mind for you on the engine rebuild, i knew going into this ZE7 warranty it was not going to be "free", to them it's all about more profits, i'm glad it worked out for you as it did for me, usually they don't do anything for "free", like your struts for example, if i was the tech evaluating your case for the strut failure.......ok we were out fault for the strut issue, but we need "profit" from this somehow, so you need this....that and the other thing. My company is installing/servicing these tire monitoring equipment at car dealers nation wide, you may have seen these ramps at the entrance point of the service lanes, it analyzes your tread pattern at all 4 corners and instantly prints out a suggested repair process recommendation......rear tire needs replacement, rotation needed, alignment, suspension issues, yep they even say it's a money grab $$.......it takes the Service Tech out of the evaluation process of your vehicle when it goes in for service. Good Luck in your issue with them, I hope it works out for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I took it in to the dealer, and they wanted $390 for the job, which was mostly their labor - 3 hrs. They would not budge on labor, no matter how much sense I tried talking in to them. Got the service manager involved.. he basically explained that while most aftermarket struts come in a kit, the factory struts only replace individual strut components on an as-needed basis. Said they don't regularly replace boots because they may last hundreds of thousands of miles without a problem, or may last 50k miles depending on driving conditions. Still I was quite irritated that these boots (which only cost about $7.50 a piece had I bought it through them) were not offered or mentioned at the time of the struts being replaced.

I could have gotten a quote to replace all the rest of the bits - bumps, mounts... but that would have been a waste.

If I really want this done I can buy the boots and have someone else install them. But really at that price I can just drive without them. That's about the price of new struts anyway.

What really got me going was when the service advisor began arguing with me. He said that if they were to ask customers to proactively pay for parts that had not yet failed, they'd go out of business. This was hilarious, because that is EXACTLY what they did when they were working on my engine. The engine was all apart, and they called me up asking if I'd like to replace my oil control valve (OCV) out-of-pocket, because it hadn't failed, but it was sludged up, and we may as well replace it while the engine is apart. Of course I paid for that out of pocket, because of the time/effort/labor it takes to get the engine apart like that.

If I drive this car long enough to require new struts, it will probably be time to get new bumps, mounts, etc anyway. I'll just do it then. :serious
 

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A couple of things from your first post I find odd. First the top out of the strut. A McPherson strut suspension relies on an internal bump stop to limit negative travel. Due to the fact that there is only one (not counting sway bars) linkage (lower control arm), there is no external negative travel bump stop. Every time you lift the front end of the car or go over a large enough bump you will hit this internal bump stop. I can confirm as I have done this many times whenever I swap out wheels (summer/winter). For the strut to be stuck fully extended there must have been some damage to the strut already. If the shop replaced the strut for you they did you a favor.

Next the bottom of the strut boot is not attached to the body of the strut (self draining). At least this is the case on my RAV. It is attached at the top and the bottom simply floats around the body. The boot acts more like a shield and prevents mud and road debris from splashing onto the rod. At full extension the boot should have hung in place and not torn. It is most likely that your boot was already damaged. If the shop went through the effort of replacing the strut they should have put in a new boot if for nothing else just to be thorough.

Moving forward. I do not think that it is NOT necessary to run a shock/strut boot. Many people run without, including high end off road rigs. I current do not have any on my truck, and it sees plenty of dirt/mud/salt... If you really want to have a boot they make a split boot, just so one can have a boot and not have to disassemble anything. Typically only for CV joints and some motorcycle forks. You can most likely adapt one of these. The CV ones have fancy joints so that the boot is completely sealed. MC one just have a split as the purpose is to protect the stanchion tube from getting nicked and not to seal it from moisture. You can easily (and cheaply) buy a generic boot, slice it, zip tie the top, have the split point towards the rear, and call it a day.

http://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/...jq1H5T-2fnfHVQC1X20JQCnQ9FMSrXP9XERoCs5Dw_wcB

http://www.finditparts.com/products...8yhpNtfeB_HJJuGt1Xv0-rsNszSQ9JFf6ohoCvJ_w_wcB

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/...MJS5JW5ygm9nvwFZA7nay_62l-B232qLYmhoC3Unw_wcB
 

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Discussion Starter #9
A couple of things from your first post I find odd. First the top out of the strut. A McPherson strut suspension relies on an internal bump stop to limit negative travel. Due to the fact that there is only one (not counting sway bars) linkage (lower control arm), there is no external negative travel bump stop. Every time you lift the front end of the car or go over a large enough bump you will hit this internal bump stop. I can confirm as I have done this many times whenever I swap out wheels (summer/winter). For the strut to be stuck fully extended there must have been some damage to the strut already. If the shop replaced the strut for you they did you a favor.
Who knows. Toyota just did it without any debate. They said it's a common problem and is warrantied if it happens while on their lift. Sounds fair enough to me.

Thanks for the boot links!
 

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Sorry to pull up an old thread. Just registered so I could post as I am going through this EXACT issue. I have a 2007 Toyota Rav4 limited 2wd/V6 with only 58000 miles. Struts have worn out and are locking up as my car is bouncing all over the place. Took it to my local Toyota dealership who wanted 150$ just to diagnose and that was just by having a tech drive it around the lot....Not even get it up on a lift.... I was so pissed but manged to get my adviser to cut the bill in half and put it towards the repair.

Anyway, got the front struts put in yesterday and my wife drove it home and texted me while driving just to say it drives like a brand new car. Made me very happy to hear that. Well, because of my OCD, I got up this morning and popped the hood just to make sure there wasn't any collateral damage from the install or perhaps some bolts or parts that were forgotten to be re-tightened. All looked fine until I took a peek in the wheel well. Both boots were split at the seems in so many places and almost falling out.

I find this so odd and frustrating that a Master technician would take the time and labor to install new struts and not replace with new boots. I just got off the phone with my adviser who will go talk with the tech now to find out why he did not address this issue prior to reinstalling the new struts. He said that I can bring the vehicle back and they will install the boots and the labor would be free minus the cost of the boots. Seems like a lot of wasted time for something that should have been addressed from the beginning...

anyway, i'll post back what ends up happening. By the way, isn't it usual practice to change out the struts with a full kit that has the boots, and hardware. Also, shouldn't the strut mounts get replaced when you install new struts usually or do they go by visual appearance?
 

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Out of curiosity I just checked my strut boots with the car on the ground. The boots are only attached at the top of the strut. The bottom of the boot is not attached to the bottom of the strut.
 

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I find this so odd and frustrating that a Master technician would take the time and labor to install new struts and not replace with new boots. I just got off the phone with my adviser who will go talk with the tech now to find out why he did not address this issue prior to reinstalling the new struts. He said that I can bring the vehicle back and they will install the boots and the labor would be free minus the cost of the boots. Seems like a lot of wasted time for something that should have been addressed from the beginning...

anyway, i'll post back what ends up happening. By the way, isn't it usual practice to change out the struts with a full kit that has the boots, and hardware. Also, shouldn't the strut mounts get replaced when you install new struts usually or do they go by visual appearance?
ok.....i see now the problem, Master Tech from dealer....maybe too lazy to look up all the parts?, your mileage is only at 58k , so that could be it...upper mount/bearing most likely good, strange they were not after all your money if they replaced all parts needed to do a complete job.....I and others here are DIY or car enthusiasts.....so generally we see things different, so if the boot is torn one would normally replace to keep vehicle as close to spec from original purchase value/look, then the debate of "strut boot vs no boot" is entirely up to the end user, most mechanics and car DIY/enthusiast say it protects the strut rod and seal that the rod slides thru from road dirt, water and things we drive thru on our daily work/pleasure commutes.....now go and try to explain that to the "HARDCORE ROCK CRAWLING" enthusiasts.
 

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Out of curiosity I just checked my strut boots with the car on the ground. The boots are only attached at the top of the strut. The bottom of the boot is not attached to the bottom of the strut.
yes, that's correct.......they just float around the strut cart, open for drainage.
 

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I had put KYB boots on my 05 and it came with cable ties. Later the boot split. This is probably why the factory boots float and are not tied down because the boot would stretch and come apart as did mine.
 
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