How to Replace the Rear Struts on Vehiclesby Contributing Writer
The suspension on the Vehicles is designed to give the smoothest ride possible when you are driving. As long as the struts remain in good condition, you can ride on a bumpy road and hardly notice any jostling about in the car. When the Vehicles struts go bad, you will start to notice significant changes in the ride. In addition to creating a smoother ride, the struts are an important safety feature that helps the car "stick" to the road. When they go bad, you need to replace them.
Under The Hood:
- How to Replace the Rear Struts on a Toyota Corolla
- How to Replace Rear Struts in a Lexus LS400
- How to Replace Rear Struts on a 1996 Buick Regal
Remove the rear seat cushions by forcing a screwdriver upwards at the bottom of the seat and unclip both fasteners located at the edges of the rear seats. Push the seat belt latches down and pull out the seat cushions, exposing the top of the rear struts.
Remove the three bolts located on the back portion of the seat that connect to the body of the Corolla, using a socket wrench. Lift the back portion of the seats up and maneuver them around the seat belts in order to take them out and expose the Corolla's metal body.
Lift the caps off both strut mounts, located at both sides of the inside the rear of the Corolla, which are seen once the seats are removed.
Pull and pry off the hubcaps on both rear wheels. Loosen the four nuts found at the center of both wheels using a socket wrench.
Lift the rear of the Corolla using a jack and axle stands, bringing the rear wheels off the ground.
Remove the loosened nuts and pull out the rear wheels, exposing the rear struts. Remove both nuts found at the bottom of each rear strut.
Unclip the small metal shim located at the side of the strut to disconnect the brake line with a socket wrench, and quickly reattach it in order to detach the rear sway bar connector.
From inside the rear of the Corolla, remove the three nuts located at the top of both rear struts. Gently maneuver and pull the rear struts out of the vehicle.
Gently clip the coil spring compressor to the rear struts and carefully pull to detach the strut mount, located at the top of the struts. Remove the struts and attach a new pair of struts to the strut bar with the coil spring compressor and reassemble the strut mount.
Repeat the steps in reverse to install the new rear struts on the Corolla.
Items you will need
Jack and Axle Stands
Coil Spring Compressor
Place a set of wheel chocks in front of the front wheels of the Lexus. Lift the rear of the car on the side with the bad strut, using the automobile jack. Place a jack stand under the car near the jacking point and raise it to the frame. Remove the lug nuts using the lug wrench and pull the wheel from the car.
Remove the valve spring assembly from the lower control arm. Disconnect the antilock sensor from the strut by unplugging it. Disconnect the stabilizing bar link from the strut using a wrench. Loosen the two nuts securing the strut to the axle with a socket and ratchet. Place the second jack stand under the axle to support it.
Remove the back seat and the tray trim to expose the upper nuts from the strut. Remove the nuts using a socket and ratchet. Pull out the two bolts at the bottom of the strut. Remove the strut from under the Lexus. Attach the spring compressor to the coil spring and tighten it enough to release the pressure from the spring.
Remove the rod retaining nut using a socket and ratchet. Remove the upper suspension support and the upper insulator. Remove the coil spring and the spring bumper from the assembly. Remove the lower insulator from the strut. Remove the top nut from the new strut. Place the lower insulator on the strut. Place the spring bumper on the strut.
Place the coil spring on the strut, then place the upper insulator on top of it. Install the upper suspension support on the strut and install the retaining nut. Remove the spring compressor from the coil spring. Place the strut under the car and loosely install the bottom bolts.
Move to the inside of the car and install the top retaining nuts using the socket and ratchet. Under the car, tighten the nuts on the bottom bolts, using the socket and ratchet. You may have to use a wrench to keep the nuts from turning when you are tightening the bolts. Remove the jack stand from under the axle.
Remove the jack stand supporting the Lexus from under the car. Place the wheel on the car and tighten the lug nuts with the lug wrench. Lower the LS400 to the ground and repeat the procedure on the other rear wheel.
Items you will need
2 jack stands
Lift the rear of the Regal on one side, using a two-ton-capacity (or greater) jack. Place a jack stand beneath the body of the vehicle, on rear lift point, allowing the rear suspension to hang freely. Use a tire iron to take off the lug nuts and remove the rear wheel. Repeat this step to lift and and remove the wheel from the other side of the Regal.
Remove the two large strut-mounting bolts from the base of the strut shaft, using a half-inch drive ratchet and socket set. Place an open end wrench on the nut, opposite the mounting bolt. Turn the bolts and nuts counterclockwise proportionally to separate the nuts from the mounting bolts. Gently tap the mounting bolts out of the strut shaft housing, until they are completely removed from the strut.
Pry the axle housing mount away from the strut shaft by pushing down on the rear suspension arm. If applying pressure to the suspension arm does not break the strut free from the axle assembly, use a five-pound sledge or mini sledge hammer. Apply the hammer downward on the rear suspension arm, until the vibration causes the axle assembly and strut to separate.
Open the trunk of the Regal and peel back the trunk liner. You should be standing on the side of the trunk above where you disassembled the strut from the axle. Underneath the trunk liner, three strut-mounting bolts protrude upward through the trunk body. Remove the three nuts adjoined to the strut-mounting bolts, using a 3/8-inch ratchet and socket, on the one side that you just dismantled from below. Once you have removed the upper mounting nuts, step back to the rear wheel well and pull the strut completely free of the vehicle.
Compress the strut spring, using a spring compression tool. Make sure the prongs of the tool are evenly distributed so that the spring compresses straight and down. Remove the large nut at the top of the strut housing, using a 1/2-inch drive ratchet and socket. Remove the bearing plate that sits atop the compressed spring. Gently remove the compressed spring from the strut. Set it no less than 10 feet away while you set up the new strut to accept the spring.
Remove the large nut at the top of the new strut, using a 1/2-inch drive ratchet and socket. Gently install the compressed spring. Install the strut bearing plate immediately after installing the spring. Tighten the nut back down immediately between 100 and 110 foot-pounds of torque. Gently rotate the spring into its housing slots at the top and bottom of the strut. Release the spring compressor slowly, so as not to cause any of the prongs to suddenly slip off of the spring.
Push the new strut assembly up through the wheel well with one hand. Align the strut at the top of the axle mount hole with your other hand. The tension of the axle mount and suspension assembly will hold the strut in place so that you can maneuver the top of the strut back into position.
Rotate the strut by grabbing the large nut at the top of the strut, from inside the trunk. Hold the strut steady with one hand while you start all three mounting nuts onto the mounting bolts with the other hand. Spin each nut at least three full rotations before releasing the strut. Tighten the nuts using a 3/8-inch drive ratchet and socket. Tighten the nuts between 60 to 80 foot-pounds of torque. Tuck the trunk liner back into its spot below the rear deck.
Kneel next to the wheel well and align the axle mount hole with the strut. Roll your jack beneath the suspension arm and lift the axle and suspension arm upward until the mounting holes in the strut align with the suspension mounting holes. Insert the large strut mounting screws. Gently hammer the mounting bolts all the way into the strut, so that the splines on the head end of the bolts are no longer visible. Tighten the nuts onto the opposite sides of the mounting bolts, using a 1/2-inch drive ratchet and socket. Hold an open end wrench over the mounting bolts' heads, so that they do not spin freely while you tighten the nuts between 90 to 100 foot-pounds of torque.
Repeat Steps 2 through 9 above to complete the second strut replacement on your 1996 Buick Regal. Reinstall the wheels only after you have double checked the torque of your strut-mounting bolts against the rear suspension of the car.
Items you will need
1/2-inch drive ratchet and socket set
Strut spring compressor tool
36-inch or larger pry bar
5-pound sledge or mini sledge hammer
3/8-inch drive ratchet and socket set
2-ton or greater capacity jack
Open end wrench set