Suspension replacement questions

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jmbreland
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Suspension replacement questions

Post by jmbreland » Tue Aug 27, 2019 10:33 pm

The rear suspension is worn out on my 2003 Baja, made plain by excessive bouncing, so it's time to replace all the assemblies. I have a couple questions regarding the selection of replacement shock/strut assemblies:

1. From my experience in towing things with a 1999 Toyota Camry with new rear suspension, the suspension wore out pretty quickly after just a few years. (I was careful to remain below the car's maximum towing capacity.) I wonder if there are specific assemblies better suited to the extra strain of towing and carrying a lot of weight in the back on the Baja? I want to move the towing burden from the Camry to the Baja so I want to make sure that the suspension will handle it well and also last.

2. Are the shock/strut assemblies interchangeable across all models? I know that the later models sit higher than the 2003 model but would those longer assemblies cause any issues if they are installed onto the 2003 model?

TIA

ZUBAJA
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Re: Suspension replacement questions

Post by ZUBAJA » Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:58 am

I recently installed rear struts from an 05 Baja on my 03. It raised the rear by 1". It also appeared the springs were a slightly larger diameter. Dennis

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jmbreland
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Re: Suspension replacement questions

Post by jmbreland » Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:29 am

@zubaja

Is installing struts something a home mechanic can do or best left to a trained professional with specialized tools?

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Re: Suspension replacement questions

Post by ZUBAJA » Sat Aug 31, 2019 3:32 pm

The difficult part about it is you have to have a way (lever, etc.) to push DOWN on the lower arm to get the bottom bolt to go into the hole (I used a small scissor jack :D ). There s some trickiness ot removing the plastic around the rear seat (folded down) to access the upper strut bolts (2 on each side). I undid the bottom bolts, popped them out of the lower arms, and after undoing the 2 14MM top nuts on each side, the struts dropped out. Taking them out of the boneyard Baja (a RARITY, but it had been well picked over only 3 days after going in the yard), in about 10 minutes. Of course, the whole interior had been scarfed.
If you intend to replace just the shock part of the strut, you will need a spring compressor (did that too). Dennis

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jmbreland
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Re: Suspension replacement questions

Post by jmbreland » Mon Sep 02, 2019 12:36 pm

Thanks, Dennis!

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Re: Suspension replacement questions

Post by ZUBAJA » Mon Sep 02, 2019 2:56 pm

FWIW if you are doing ANY kind of lift, I suggest you loosen ALL arm ends - sway bars, trailing arm, whatever. This will allow the rubber cushions to pivot which: A. makes fitting the "longer" strut / spacer in a little easier, and B. to do it properly, "load" the suspension by having rear tires on ramps, etc and weight of vehicle on the wheels, THEN tighten the bolts. Dennis

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Re: Suspension replacement questions

Post by tomato_88 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:51 pm

I have done it before in the garage with just home tools and a spring compressor (borrowed from AutoZone or cheap on Amazon) Depending on where you are located you should consider how much corrosion/rust the exposed parts of your rear suspension might have.

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