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How to Change Struts for Toyota Tacoma 4 Wheel Drives

by Jody L. Campbell; Updated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • Car lift

  • 1/2 inch drive impact gun

  • 1/2 inch drive metric socket set

  • Closed end metric wrench set

  • Hammer

  • Long-stemmed punch

  • Wall-mounted spring compressor

The Tacoma was the first truck on which Toyota used struts as suspension components on the front. Also known as coil-over shocks, the struts on the Tacoma do not have an upper bearing plate that turn when steering, like a conventional strut. Because the shock is located inside of the coil spring as an assembly, it is considered a strut, and will require special handling to replace.

Lift the Tacoma on a car lift at the desired height.

Remove the lug nuts with an impact gun and a socket, then remove the wheels.

Remove the lower strut retaining nut from the bolt. Hold the head of the bolt with a closed end wrench and use the impact gun and a socket to remove the nut.

Use a punch and hammer to dislodge the lower strut bolt from the lower strut bracket on the knuckle.

Remove the three upper strut retaining nuts from the top of the strut tower.

Remove the strut assembly and bring it to the strut compressor.

Support the spring in the strut compressor and slightly compress the spring.

Loosen the 17-millimeter spring top plate mounting nut slightly with an impact gun and a socket. Compress the spring to take tension off the spring plate and remove the spring top plate mounting nut.

Release the compressor enough to remove the spring top plate, rubber spacer, and strut cartridge. Insert a new cartridge into the spring, then replace the rubber spacer and the spring top plate. Compress the spring again and thread on the nut and tighten with the impact gun and a socket.

Remove the assembly from the spring compressor and reinstall onto the Tacoma by reversing steps 3-5.

Repeat the procedure for the other strut.

Replace the wheels and lug nuts. Torque the lug nuts to recommended specifications.

About the Author

Jody L. Campbell spent over 15 years as both a manager and an under-car specialist in the automotive repair industry. Prior to that, he managed two different restaurants for over 15 years. Campbell began his professional writing career in 2004 with the publication of his first book.

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