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SolaraGuy.com • View topic - Tokico+Tein Strut&Spring install
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Tokico+Tein Strut&Spring install

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2007 9:15 pm
by (K)
OK, so my parts finally came in. I bought a set of tokico blues and tein s techs off of ebay for a total of $450.88 shipped to my door.

So it began...for the 2002 Solara 4 cyl.

Tools used:
- 12mm sockets/wrenches
- 14mm sockets/wrenches
- 19mm sockets/wrenches
- 22mm sockets/wrenches
- Breaker bar
- allen wrench (don't remember what size...)
- flathead screwdriver
- philips screwdriver
- needle nose pliers
- coil spring compressor(s)
- 2 jack stands and a jack
- a BIG book of swears

The goods:

Stripping the Interior:
1. We began with the rear struts first because they required the most work. First the seats, the bottom half of the seats just come off with a little tugging.
2. Fold the seats down so you can get to the cloth behind the seats, the upholstry holders had to be broken off with a flathead or the needle nose. We managed to save 3 of them...Unbolt the brackets behind the seat. Each seat has two brackets.
3. We unbolted the seats from the brackets, then we took the brackets off too. I suggest you unbolt the seatbelts as well (we only unbolted the tops).
4. After the seats we went for the speaker cover. There's 3 bolts that are covered by these rubber covers, kinda shapped like hooks. Just remove those covers and you can get to the bolts. The speaker cover comes off after that, a little tug should do it.
5. Then we went for the sides of the interior. Unbolt the handles on each side, the bolts are hidden behind rubber covers (two for each handle). After the handles there's also a hook looking thing right over your head, there's one on each side, you can't unbolt those, but a philips does the trick. That's basically all that's holding the sides in, just give the trim a little tug, it should come right off (NOTE: You might hear some "ripping" sounds, but that's actually the interior coming off, it's held in with VELCRO!). My friend also took of the trim near the kick panel, you don't really have to, it's not vital to the removal/install. After all of this, the black plastic trim that's hiding the strut mounts should come right off with a little tug. And this is what it all looks like after!

Interior stripped:

Better angle: That cardboard looking piece is the rear speaker cover.

Location of right strut mount: If you can't see the mounts, it's because they're under the sound deadening material. Just go at it with a 14mm socket, it's not that tight. Same for the left side.

Left mount:

Gangsta ninja. He came with the springs. (Rollerblade weapon optional)

The Removal:
For now I don't have a picture, but they'll be up soon.
1. Once you get the wheels off, spray PB blast or some other penetrating lubricant on the two 19 mm bolts that connect the strut to the knuckle and the 14mm nut connecting the sway bar end link to the strut.
2. The 12mm bolt holding the brake line to the bracket can be removed without PB, you can start on those first.
3. We started to undo the end link from the strut second. The process itself is simple; use the allen wrench to hold onto the bolt while you use a 14mm wrench to undo the nut. Simple. EXCEPT!! The fact that that nut is on tighter than a [insert obscene tight joke here]. You CAN, however, with a little force, get the nut loose first using a 1/2" wratchet (w/14mm socket), then use the allen wrench to hold the bolt and the 14mm wrench to undo the nut. *OR you just do what we did and buy a $300 air compressor tank and air tools (over $400 worth of tools including the tank) and spin it off quickly.*
4. For this next part, I suggest using your floor jack to jack the knuckle up and relieve some weight off of the 19mm bolts. After you get the nut off of the end link, use your 19mm socket + lead pipe/breaker bar to undo the bolts (or the nut, depending on which way you want to undo the dang thing) holding the strut to the knuckle. Use a 19mm wrench to hold the nut on the other side of the bolt to prevent the whole thing from spinning. If you're having some trouble removing the bolt, lift/lower the knuckle a using the jack until it becomes easier to turn. THAT'S IT! You've sucessfully removed the strut assembly from the car.

Removing and installing the springs + various components:
I couldn't get a picture of the procedure, only the finished product. It was VERY cold out and I was kind of strapped for time. Sorry guys. You'll have to play it by ear and make sure everything lines up, it's not too hard really, just pay attention to the position of everything before you start taking things apart. I also suggest you doing one side at a time, either the rears first or the fronts. It gets messy if you try to do one of each, also very confusing since the struts look similar.
1. Use a spring compressor and compress the spring so that it doesn't cause any damage to your pretty faces. You don't have to bottom out the spring...just enough to have some play between the spring and the top of the strut so you can remove the strut mounts. If you don't have a spring compressor, you can rent one at most any auto parts store for around $40-$50. I know at AutoZone you get your money back when you return their tool to them.
2. CAREFUL WITH THISNEXT ONE. BE VERY CAREFUL TO POINT THE TOP OF THE STRUT AWAY FROM YOUR FACE, IN FACT DON'T POINT IT AT ANYTHING YOU WANT TO KEEP (body parts, walls, explosive tanks, small children, etc). The gas filled struts are under pressure, it may or may not be alot of pressure, but it also may or may not kill something, DON'T RISK IT! Now that we got that covered, put the strut down, have someone brace themselves and stand on it, and you can use a 19mm socket to remove the nut at the top of the strut (it's hiding right under the strut mount). Remove slowly but effectively.
3. Everything just comes out after that, remove all the "guts" around the assembly; various boots and bumpstops and rubber. Those must be reused unless they are damaged, in which case you replace them with new ones.
Here's a short list of what you keep from your old assembly (probably imcomplete, my rears were missing bumpstops)
- rubber boot
- foam(?) or hard rubber bumpstop
- strut mount
- spring seats (upper and lower)
- metal washer (I want to say it's more of a bearing since it allows for the strut to rotate)
4. That's it, everything should be lying on the floor now. Just put it back together using your brand new super awesome baby blue tokico HP struts and your super low dropping green tein springs. Just compress your new Tein springs before you put everything back together; work in reverse now. Make sure all your components line up exactly as they did before and your springs seats and the seats themselves are correctly mounted to the strut. Also, the nut on top of the tokico struts are 22mm, they're a bit larger/beefier than stock (19mm).NOTE: Tein recommends cutting 1" off of your bumpstops for the fronts and 1.4" for the rear. Cut from the bottom. It's pretty much cutting them in half, for the fronts anyway, like I said, my rears were missing lol. You'll be ok without cutting the bumpstops, but you WILL be bottoming out much more often and much easier if you DON'T cut them. You can also cut them when the assembly is mounted incase you forge to cut them now, just lift the car up and go to town.

Doing The fronts are exactly the same as the rears with the exception of the massive bolts holding the strut to the knuckle on the fronts are larger, they are 22mm instead of 19mm like in the rears.

That's it!!! DONE!! You're assembly is completed! Bolt everything up, torque it down, use loctite if you have any, put your wheels back on and enjoy your drop. Go pat yourselves on the back, clean up your blood and all your mess, chug a cold one and plan your next mod!

Thanks for reading guys and DEFINITELY THANKS TO ALL THOSE THAT GAVE SOME INPUT/ADVICE (helped alot), I hope this was also helpful enough. PICS SOON!

- (K)

* = MUCH more expensive, I suggest you NOT go this route unless you plan on using that tank and those tools often. We only went that route because we work on different cars often, air tools was just a smart investment. On a side note, DO NOT BUY COBALT BRAND TOOLS/TANK!!! The tank itself is a decent tank for the price, but you can get a much better one for the same price (Craftsman). The tools that came with the tank (value pack lol) SUCKED BADLY. So we returned it and got our money back.*

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2007 9:30 pm
by unbalancedwood
get some PB oil for the bolts too, let them soak for 5-10mins then use your breaker bar. I put a small about of blue locktite on them when i put them back in...

PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 9:40 am
by CamryOnBronze
those bolts can be a huge PITA... I used a breaker bar, PB blaster, a torch, hammer, a friend with huge guns, everything I could think of and still had to use a nut breaker on one of them because it was corroded... I wish you and your ninja luck, as I am a skinny mofo as well :lol:

PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 10:05 am
by Ruski
Iused a breaker bar on all my bolts... and I guess I weigh as much as your ninja ;) damn 3 hrs and you got no where I spent 10 hrs on mine but then replaced them again in under 4hrs .. Good luck just don't strip the sway bar end links

PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 11:17 pm
by (K)
LOL. We just hit a dead stop when we go to the sway bar end links...they're torqued on just tight enough for me to get them loose. BUT, that's all that happened; they got loose and that's it. Now the nut and the bolt just turn together as one lol. So...we decided to buy an air compressor and an air gun set and just spin it off. It sucks because I HAVE a craftsman air gun and all the toys that go with it, but I left it at school in my roll away which I have no access to because it's the weekend.

So we just put the wheels back together and torqued everything back up. It's so horrible because we got those massive 19 mm's off of the knuckle and the strut assembly already, and then we were stopped by this dinky little 12 mm link that's connected to some weak rubber bushing lol. It's such a simple job too, parts off and parts on, shouldn't really take more than a few hours you know? Most of the time was spent hitting walls with the bolts and lack of elbow grease. Thanks to the breaker bar (we found a 4' pipe that was once part of a metal fence) we managed to get those 19 mm's off, but there's really nothing that can be done for the end links, I just ran out of ideas...what did you guys use?

We'll be continuing next weekend...with a vengeance...it was a good thing we didn't finish the suspension in a way, they were doing some construction on the street all the way up his driveway, so it's basically soft dirt with about a 3 inch dropoff from the edge of his driveway to the road. My 240 (that's stock height) almost scrapped even though we were using wood planks, it would have been murder on my Solara...oh well, at least I get to drive around with no rear interior, you can hear the brake shoes making contact with the drum, it's a sound you only get with a stripped car, pretty schnazzy lol.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 7:48 am
by unbalancedwood
^ well you have to use an alen wrench to hold the center of the bolt and then use an wrench to undo it while at the same time turning the alen wrench towards 'tighty' or just hold it. you get the idea?

PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 8:17 am
by PhreakdOut
Keep on going with the tutorial. I moved it to the tut section.

Good luck on the install, don't give up. BTW, Home Depot has plenty of substitutes for your missing breaker bar! :wink:

PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2007 1:56 am
by (K)
All updated!

While under the car for random reasons, I found that my passenger's rear tension rod is damaged...sucks! Even after I fixed my struts, the sound of a damaged strut is still there due to the damaged tension rod. You know that sound; kinda like rolling rocks, that rumbling bumping sound, just with addition of the metallice clink and clank.

How much would those cost lol. One thing after another with this sucker...I thought newer cars had lesser problems.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2007 2:27 am
by woa_its_j3ff
psh. i used all muscle. =)
and a lil trip to Napa for cuttin through 3 of my sway bar links. (Rusted to hell).
the back was a PITA. but damn well worth it.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 11:13 am
great tutorial. i'd love to do mine but this looks very time consuming, especially without a lift.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 8:36 pm
by SleeperSolara
I just looked at the OEM strut and looked at what needed to be torn apart to free it.
I used 2 jack stands, and wrenches, and my upper floor jack bar as a breaker bar, and all muscle, and maybe alittle of Liquid Wrench....

If you cut your bumpstops i suggest usin' the top half if you're usin' TIEN lowerin' springs.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 10:20 pm
by (K)
TRAFFICBLOWS wrote:great tutorial. i'd love to do mine but this looks very time consuming, especially without a lift.

It's not too bad, takes about 6 hours of work if you're by yourself and without a lift and pneumatic tools in decent weather. Just find yourself some free time and some jack stands and lots of lube...with all the right tools and experience it really shouldn't take more than 4 hours or so for the install. It's just you run into issues like rust and stuck bolts. Just remember: Mechanical Advantage.

It helps if your near an auto parts store or something of that sort, or at least an extra car in case you run into any snags along the way.

and I keep promising pictures but I never get around to it...

PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 10:27 pm
by woa_its_j3ff
TRAFFICBLOWS wrote:great tutorial. i'd love to do mine but this looks very time consuming, especially without a lift.

you dont need a lift. i did mine with a jack and 4 jack stands. simple. and it was my first time doin suspension work on any car.