How to Replace the Shocks and Struts in a Toyota Camryby Contributor
The Toyota Camry is a comfortable sedan that handles well. To maintain the comfort and the handling, you have to do periodic maintenance on the suspension system, particularly the shocks and struts. After 60,000 miles under normal driving conditions the wear becomes apparent in the shocks and struts and you have to replace them.
Replace the Front Shocks and Struts in a Camry
Lift the front end of the Camry with a floor jack and support it by the frame with jack stands. Loosen and remove the nuts holding on the front wheels with a tire iron and set the wheels aside. Locate the strut assemblies under the front end of the car. They look like springs with hardware that runs through them and attaches their ends to the suspension and the frame. They're mounted directly behind the wheel hubs.
Find the brake hose at the wheel hub and follow it back to the strut. Disconnect the mounting bracket as well as the anti-lock brake sensor. Remove the nut from the stabilizer link about midway down the strut assembly. Pull the bolts on the lower side of the strut out as well as the nuts connecting the upper side to the frame. Pull out the strut and repeat this step on the other side of the Camry.
Pop the dust cover off the strut assembly and compress the spring. Remove the strut nut and lay out all of the pieces that follow in the order they come off so you can reassemble the struts: mounting bracket, dust seal, upper spring seat, upper insulator, coil spring, spring bumper and lower insulator. You should be left with the shock. Replace any worn parts and reassemble the strut. Set the dial on the torque wrench to 35 foot lb. and tighten the strut nut until the wrench slips. Decompress the spring.
Place the dustcover back on and attach the upper bolts on the strut to the body. Torque them to 29 foot lb. Insert the lower bolts and torque them to 113 foot lb. Install the mounting bracket for the brake hose and the anti-lock brake sensor. Torque it to 21 foot lb. Screw on the stabilizer link nut and torque it to 55 foot lb. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 on the other side of the Camry.
Mount the front wheels and lower the front end of the car. Have a professional perform an alignment on the front wheels.
Replace the Rear Struts in a Camry
Pop the hood and disconnect the negative battery cable with a wrench. It's attached to the battery terminal and marked either blue, black or with a negative symbol. Pull out the rear seat cushions and backs and raise the rear end of the Camry. Support it by the frame, but slide a jack stand under the axle. Remove the rear wheels.
Disconnect any sensors or brackets from the strut and remove the stabilizer bar link nut midway down. Find the arm supporting the lower end of the strut and slide another jack stand underneath it. Disconnect the lower strut bolts and remove the upper strut mounting nuts. Repeat this step on the other side of the Camry.
Pull the strut out and compress the spring. Remove the nut in the center and lay out each piece next to each other so you know how they're assembled. Remove the support, coil spring, insulator and bumper. Replace any worn parts. Reassemble the strut, and torque the center nut to 36 foot lb. Remove the spring compressor.
Position the strut to the frame and install the upper mounting nuts. Torque them to 29 foot lb. Attach the strut to the arm, but only hand-tighten the bolt. Connect the stabilizer link nut to the strut and any sensors or brackets that you removed earlier. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 on the other side of the Camry.
Mount the wheels and lower the rear end of the car. Bounce on it a little bit to stabilize the suspension. Torque the strut-to-arm bolt to 188 foot lb. on each side of the car. Install the rear seat cushions. Reconnect the negative battery cable to the terminal.
- Most auto parts stores rent specialty tools, like the spring compressor. They can provide specific help on its proper use.