View Full Version : My first suspension upgrade....help wanted

10-31-2008, 09:00 PM
So guys. I am at that time where i have decided to replace my suspension. Bit by bit I am overhauling the car and after a rebuild after 5 months ago on the engine I am now looking at the suspension. The car has about 150K on it and I assumed it is time. So having done some research on the site I have come up with the following list of things I need to buy. Can you tell me if I have covered it all?

1. Eibach Prokit (1" drop) x4
2. KYB GR2's x4
3. KYB strut mounts x4
4. Stiffer Rear Sway Bar (link to product needed)
5. Sway bar end links (X4?)
6. Bushings (What part is this exactly?)
7. Spring Seat isolators x4 (where do i get these from?)
8. Check control arms and tie rods

As is probably obvious at this time I am not the most mechanically inclined. I am trying to learn but am suspecting that this is probably too big of a project for me to attempt taking on myself. Not least as i suspect I would require additional tools. Any tips or advice for a beginner from the experts would be awesome though.

The sensible thing to do clearly is to get a professional to handle this so if I do I would like to get all the parts I need and take them too him. (Is this the most sensible thing to do?) What could I expect to pay approximately in labor given that I live in Chicago? I know it's a tough question to answer but I just want an estimate to avoid getting ripped off.

Sage counsel is much needed at this point.
With everything I have outlined what sort of a total budget should I be setting aside for this project?

10-31-2008, 09:15 PM
This is definitely a good project for you to start on... I think you'd be able to do it. Might take all day, but it's not a hard undertaking.

Suspension Techniques makes a rear sway bar for us. Good price, nice upgrade.

You just need sockets, cheater bar, and a spring compressor.

10-31-2008, 09:34 PM
Also... look into conrads under brace, and strut braces(front and rear)

10-31-2008, 10:19 PM
Isolators are dealer-only items and expensive for being small pieces of rubber. It's actually six -- two per front strut, and one per rear strut.

If you buy the Suspension Techniques anti-sway bars, they come with new bushings.

Thread with essentially the same discussion:

I ended up spending about $1000 all told, did the installation myself, on the same parts you want minus the anti-sway bar.

10-31-2008, 10:29 PM
Thanks so much. Crikey at a grand. I thought it'd be a bit cheaper than that but it makes sense. This is definitely a DIY job then. Will likely have to wait a couple of months until I stockpile some cash but I will definitely be taking this on sooner rather than later.

Obviously I am going to need a manual to give me a detailed blow by blow guide. I downloaded the repair manual from the site, is that my best bet or do you have another suggestion? Lets bear in mind that even the simplest things you might think are obvious, will be all new to me. So I need very detailed instructions and diagrams/pictures are an absolute must. "Mechanics for idiots" if you will.

And I read that thread you posted and all the stuff about bleeding brakes etc was a little daunting to be honest. Beginner's nerves. Also there was mention of boots, that was something i left off my list. I am unsure of the importance. Obviously I want to do this right.

10-31-2008, 10:56 PM
There's a link in that thread covering the how-to portion which I found quite useful, though I also made sure I had a Hayne's for torque ratings -- the BGB will obviously do as well.

Boots are a matter of keeping dirt and water away from the strut rod: they are strapped to the strut mounts. Whether you need them or not depends on the condition of your current ones. If you have boots which are not cracked, then you might as well re-use them, and conveniently they are fairly easy to inspect by eye or hand while they're on the car.

11-02-2008, 02:10 AM
Thank you. I am sure i will return with many more questions.

In fact I have another quick one for you here. The car has an odd intermittent vibration. Some days I drive it and it is really smooth and quiet (oddly almost always at night), but other days it is noticeably louder and with a vibration. The reason I bring this up is because the vibration changes a lot when I take my foot of the gas and coast. If I accelerate it diminishes a lot but when I coast it makes a deep vibrating hum. Is this something in the drive train? I know I have an iffy differential.

11-02-2008, 10:11 PM
Couldn't tell you on that one -- I've got the auto tranny. That, and I've had a persistent vibration which I cannot track down so I doubt I'd be much help in finding yours.

11-02-2008, 11:45 PM
Check your motor mounts for one. Also, with a 17 year old car your bushings are probably done. Get those replaced in order to ensure you're not picking up any slop transitioning through the car from the road.

11-07-2008, 02:52 PM
Ok so thanks guys for the help but the time to really crap myself has now approached as I have bitten the bullet and starting buying parts.

So far I have bought:

Eibach prokit springs (x4)
kyb gr2 struts (x4)
kyb strut mounts (x4)
Strut boots (x4)

Now I know I need the bushings and I have read the threads and gone to 185performance.com but sadly I am getting a little confused. Exactly which ones should I buy out of the following? Please bear in mind that as i said in the first post I am a total novice at this and this will be my first big mechanical project. I'm learning as I go so I want to avoid anything too massively complicated:

Front Control Arm, inner front
SuperPro Polyurethane Bushing Kit SPF1435K +$56.00

Front Control Arm, inner rear
SuperPro Polyurethane Bushing Kit SPF1320K +$50.00

Front Swaybar to Chassis
SuperPro Polyurethane Bushing Kit SPF1335-25K +$16.00

Rear Trailing Arms
SuperPro Polyurethane Bushing Kit SPF0823K +$72.00

Rear Control Arms, inner rear
SuperPro Polyurethane Bushing Kit SPF1221K +$32.00

Rear Swaybar to Chassis (14, 15, 16, or 17mm bar diameter)
SuperPro Polyurethane Bushing Kit SPF0462-16K +$18.00
SuperPro Polyurethane Bushing Kit SPF0462-17K +$18.00

Thank you so much for your help.
I haven't bought a sway bar yet. I was looking at the suspension techniques. Am I really going to notice a massive difference when I drive it? (spirited daily driving only).

Is this something I can do in a day?

11-07-2008, 03:17 PM
The bushings alone are an all day affair.

11-07-2008, 04:17 PM
nice, you're well on youre way. the only thing you should need a professional for, is the alignment.


11-07-2008, 11:24 PM
Thanks. But quick question on the bushings. I posted a list above. Which ones should I get? All of them? From what i can tell i don't need them all. I'm looking to do a thorough job but not bite off more than I can chew.

11-08-2008, 05:27 AM
I believe you can get an entire kit of bushings.

I got mine through www.toyheadauto.com

Rick was really helpful in helping me source everything.

Um... biggest PITA was getting the rear control arms off... in fact, go and buy the bolts as you might have to resort to cutting them off (I did). And find a machine shop with a press in order to get it out of the hub.

11-08-2008, 11:10 PM
Thanks Joey. I'm going to get a shop to do the rear control arms I think.I'm not a skilled mechanic at all so I am going to do as much of it as I can and then take the tough bits to the mechanic and have him complete it as well as check my work. I've bought a haynes manual so am working off that. The most I have ever done on the car is change the wheel, battery, air filter, plug wires etc. So this is a big leap for me. Am changing the starter motor myslef next week too. Fun times! If I F it all have to get it towed to a garage.

11-09-2008, 12:08 AM
well there's your problem right there. Haynes manuals are the worthless.

11-09-2008, 02:48 AM
well I haven't even started yet so it's hardly a problem just yet. I also have a downloaded version of the celica repair manual.

11-09-2008, 02:58 AM
Just be patient with it and be prepared to set aside a weekend 4 it.

11-11-2008, 06:14 AM
Looking at the manual I am wondering about the small components I may need to replace.

Ass you put the strut and coil together it appears there several parts:

1. Spring Seat (assuming this will be fine to re-use)
2. Spring bumper
3. Upper insulator
4. Lower insulator.

Are theseall seperate parts I need to replace too? I am assuming at the least the spring bumper. Anyone have a part(s) number or can help to clarify which parts are best to order in now before I begin.

I already have the struts, strut mounts, shocks, boots and springs. Bushings are on the way.

EDIT: I have also just noticed that the first step of the removal process is to disconnect the brake line. Not a problem but....it says:

Remove the union bolt and two gaskets, and disconnect the brake hose from caliper.

Then on the diagram it has the gaskets marked as non-resuable parts.

Does this mean that i need to buy those little gaskets for all four wheels then? If so how and where, or is there a way around this that I haven't come across?

Sorry, novice questions.

11-11-2008, 06:43 AM
You should be able to reuse the insulators and bump stops (spring bumper) if they're in decent shape.

A little trick on the brake lines. Remove the clip that holds the brake line to the bracket then, carefully, use some sort of cutting implement (I used a cutting wheel if I remember correctly) to cut the bracket that the brake line goes through and bend the remaining part of the bracket in order to snake the brake line through it. This way you won't have to disconnect the brake line. And then when you've got the new shocks together, just bend the bracket back flat and put the clip back on.

Presto chango. I've just taught you a magic ninja trick.

11-11-2008, 10:35 AM
Spring seats are reusable, they're basically part of the strut.

I'd expect the insulators to be in questionable condition, so would suggest having them on-hand and if you don't need them to return them (dealer-only item). That said, it wouldn't be a bad idea to replace them, considering you're talking about 17-year-old rubber that's under constant pressure.

The bump stops are probably in good shape unless you've been truly terrible to your car. My car's two years older than yours (probably more, it was among the very first produced of the fifth-gen) and my bump stops were just a little dirty.

If you do decide to re-use any rubber parts, I'd suggest a soaking in a rubber restorer/preservative.

The gaskets you mention are flat copper washers -- I've never had an issue re-using them, though I do get new ones if I'm replacing a caliper. Joey's trick will work, though you'll want to have something for the caliper to sit on while you do the work, as leaving it hanging by the rubber hose is asking for problems.

11-11-2008, 03:31 PM
Why would the calipers be hanging? No reason they need to be pulled off the hub.

11-11-2008, 05:06 PM
Thanks guys. This is why i am spending so much time here. If I didn't I would be totally lost.
I plan to attempt this whole job sometime very soon so expect me to be back many times with more questions.

Looking at the manual the changing of the actual shocks and springs seems relatively straightforward (famous last words) but I am nervous about the bushings. As a total novice would I best leave that to a mechanic? Can he replace the bushings without removing the suspension I just put in? If not I may as well have him do it all.

11-12-2008, 01:48 AM
If the car's on jackstands as opposed to a lift, I can't see any way to get the strut out of the wheel well without some maneuvering around the backing plate. I actually had my calipers off (or more correctly, not installed yet as I did a conversion at the same time) and found I had little room to spare.

11-12-2008, 02:25 AM
If the car's on jackstands as opposed to a lift, I can't see any way to get the strut out of the wheel well without some maneuvering around the backing plate. I actually had my calipers off (or more correctly, not installed yet as I did a conversion at the same time) and found I had little room to spare.

Sadly I don't think i quite understood that with relation to my question.

My ignorance rather than an issue with your clarity.

11-12-2008, 03:07 AM
Sorry, was replying to Joey's last post about what to do with the calipers while changing the struts. If Joey knows how to get the strut out without moving the caliper, I bow to his superior experience.

On the bushings, all the parts which use the bushings you're talking about attach between the chassis and the axle carrier (assuming I'm understanding the descriptions correctly, as I've found part names are inconsistent between Toyota and other manufacturers). It should be unnecessary to remove the strut from the axle carrier to remove those parts.

11-12-2008, 03:12 AM
Awesome. Thanks. I really appreciate it.
Also glad I am not a total dunce and had reason to be confused by the previous response!

11-12-2008, 06:08 AM
Ok, so I pulled off the brake pads andwent to remove the two caliper bolts to get the caliper and rotor off and I just couldn't do it. The top one was ridiculously tight but after spraying it with wd40 it eventually broke free. But for love or money I couldn't get the second one undone. Dejected I ended putting it all back together again. Dirty, tired and nothign accomplished.

So sock it to me.......what am I doing wrong?
FYI I am using a socket wrench.

11-12-2008, 02:44 PM
try using a longer ratchet with a socket on it, and if you need to, resort to a breaker bar. However when I was doing mine, I was able to break the bolt free using a ton od wd40 and even more mussle haha.

11-12-2008, 05:28 PM
I did use a pretty long ratchetwith a long socket on it. That's what got the top one off. But god damn, the bottom one was madness. Having dabbled in some amateur bodybuilding I'm not exactly puny either if you catch my drift. Any more tips?

11-12-2008, 05:32 PM
if the bolt is a bit rusty, take a wire brush to it and clean it up, if you have an air ratchet, that would probably work.

11-12-2008, 05:33 PM
It may just be fused in there depending on rust, corrosion, etc....

Get some PB Blaster and start soaking it. Make sure you're turning it the right way.

I got mine off with just a normal 3/8s ratchet. But... i'm also ridiculously stubborn, as VikingJZ will tell you after Tuner4life's dad couldn't get his lug nuts off his car.

This'll sound stupid... but find like... an 8 foot length of narrow pipe, put it over the ratchet, and haul away. Something will give. If it's not the bolt, then you've got some work ahead of you. :D

11-12-2008, 05:53 PM
Long pipe over ratchet FTW. That's what I had to resort to in order to get those 2 bolts out that hook the strut to the hub.

Also, I didn't change any of the rear sway bar stuff, but detaching that from the rear struts was a job. Ended up having to use locking pliers and a lot of torque on them, along with a lot of PB blaster, to break them free, after the allen key way totally broke. Ended up getting it detached, but it was a PITFA.

11-12-2008, 10:40 PM
Thanks guys. This is filling me with confidence!

11-13-2008, 07:24 PM
Yes, get some good penetrating rust remover.