I also posted this on the TN site. I hope this is helpful ---
I just finished changing the front struts on my 99 Corolla CE. I used the Haynes manual to guide me. Here are some tips not mentioned in the manual:
1. Make sure you have a 6 point 19mm standard socket (203 ft/lbs torque). You don't need a deep socket.
2. Make sure you have the biggest, baddest, meanest breaker bar for #1 above.
3. Make sure your torque wrench reaches 203 ft/lbs (thanks to Garth for loaning me his Snap-On torque wrench).
4. Order new rubber spring insulators (upper & lowers)
5. Order new dust seals.
6. Brake hose bracket used a 14MM (socket or wrench)
7. Top mount nuts are 12MM (preferably socket, but wrench will work)
My car has 215,000 miles and looks / runs like new. The shop quoted me $850 for installing 4 KYB GR2's and new front strut mounts. My car looks and runs like new so I decided to go all out buy new struts, factory springs and the factory mounts for the front only. After replacing fronts, both bearings in the strut mounts were seized, so I decided to replace the rear mounts with factory units (based on the condition of the front mounts). For some reason, both front dust seals failed on the original front mounts which I attribute the seized bearings to. Since I am delayed a week ordering mounts for the rear, I decided to order the dust seals and the rubber spring insulators for the rear as well. Since I didn't have the dust seals for the front, I had to improvise via bathroom rubber gaskets, thanks to home depot.
This was also my first time ordering auto parts online, I rate http://www.1sttoyota...disclaimer.html a perfect 10 for price, speed and service. Parts arrived quickly and packaged extremely well.
Bilstein stinks. Based on recommendations on this site, I tried to find some. Why do I have to wait darn near 3 months to receive Bilsteins? Did the shipment go down on the Titanic? Out of frustration trying to aquire Bilstein's, I decided to go with KYB GR2's. Stay away from this vendor: http://www.performancecenter.com/. They lie about availability (told me they had Bilstein's in stock (at least other vendors were honest - not available till Jan 2007). Took three weeks for KYB's to arrive (obviously another lie - they didn't have them in stock as represented). Also, they shipped the struts individually in the KYB box which is fine for shipping and stocking on auto parts store shelves, but not via UPS / Fed Ex. One strut was hanging out of the box, two other boxes were ripped. Two struts were scratched to where I am concerned, but don't have the patience to deal with those azzes again. Two of the nuts for the top of the strut were missing due to ripped boxes (cost $7.50 USD each at the local Toyota stealer). Also, shipped the wrong dust covers for the rear struts. Total incompetence. I still can't beleive they would ship the products in such a lousy way.
Everything else was pretty much by the book. Regardless of whether you change the springs or not, definitely get new Toyota strut mounts, dust seals, and rubber spring insulators (upper and lower).
I will update about my experiences changing the rear struts when done.
Comments on replacing rear struts on 99 Corolla CE:
1. Haynes manual, Chapter 10, Section 10, step 3 – my car used a 10mm line wrench to remove brake hose clip. This was the most frustrating part of the job. The brake line bracket on the strut is a solid round hole. I had to disconnect my brake line to remove the strut. This is a major omission in the Haynes manual. Since there was no mention in the manual and I never disconnected my brake line, I left the line disconnected while I changed my springs / struts. Unfortunately, I had to bleed my brakes and master cylinder when done. To avoid your master cylinder running low, reconnect the brake lines while you work on the struts & springs. Regardless, you will have to bleed the brakes to all 4 wheels, but if your master cylinder stays full, you won’t have to bleed the master cylinder as well. I know it makes sense to reconnect the lines while working on the struts & springs, but it would be nice for Haynes to mention this step in the manual.
2. Haynes manual, Chapter 10, Section 10, step 4 – my car used a 14mm wrench and a allen wrench to remove the stabilizer link. The first rear strut I used a wrench and pliers (not knowing about the allen head. Make sure you have the correct size allen wrench before starting the job.
3. The rear strut mounts do not have the built in bearing like the front mounts. It was a waste of time and money to purchase the rear strut mounts, the old ones were fine.
Good luck to all who attempt this project. Above all, put safety first. Compressed springs are dangerous. Do not have any body parts aligned with compressed springs. I sat in a chair with the struts and springs secured in a vertical position. Make sure car is supported securely on safe jack stands.
I am very pleased with the result. The car rides slightly firmer than new. I am very glad I installed new factory springs as well. The ride is fantastic even though not yet aligned. Going to get it aligned tomorrow.
Edited by modestobulldog, 27 December 2006 - 04:38 AM.