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Old 08-07-2019, 05:12 PM #1
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Los Angeles area: need recommendations for some work

I lurk and read a lot but don't post much because I don't know much. A few months ago I got a 97 SR5 with 194k miles and while it's been well-maintained, it needs some work done. I live in an apartment, have no tools, no space to do work, and little knowledge/experience to do the work myself. More info here for those who care to read it.

Since I can't do this work myself and I don't have a mechanic I trust, I'm hoping that anyone who lives (or recently lived) in the LA area can give me recommendations for a mechanic/shop, starting with the work listed below. Alternatively, when I was researching my leaking axle seal, I saw that mtbtim had offered to do this repair for people in the Bay Area. If there are any forum members in the LA area who enjoy wrenching on their own rigs and want to make some money, I'd like to talk to you. I don't expect you to work for peanuts and would be glad to lend a hand (in fact I'd prefer to, have to learn somehow). You can PM me or contact me by email at LR8 at pm.me

I've read absalom's cookie cutter thread here and want to get started on the DD/WW Pavement Bias checklist. Right now I want to do the following:

1. Replace the LBJs. I haven't had them tested but they're original and it seems like a no-brainer to get new ones after 22 years and nearly 200k miles.

2. I'm nearly certain that my rear passenger-side axle seal is leaking. I don't know how long it's been doing so, but if I had to guess, I'd say 10k miles, maybe more. I looked back through the maintenance records and both sides were replaced once around 2003/2004 and then again in 2007 at 103k miles. It looks like the bearings have never been replaced. I read BigFishAllDay's thread here and mtbtim's post here and I wonder if the Toyota dealership that did the repairs didn't do them correctly. If I'm lucky and I only need to replace the seals that would be great, but if I need to replace the bearings too, I will.

3. OEM ITRE and OTRE, OEM upper and inner control arm bushings, energy suspension poly steering bushings, OEM sway bar links front and rear, OEM sway bar bushings front and rear. I only have a vague idea of what exactly most of these are and how much they cost to replace. I did notice that in my initial post that I linked above, I missed this work that was done 8 years and 40k miles ago. Would this have included any or all of the above?


4. Possibly new shocks and struts. The suspension seems very stiff and squeaky to me but I'm used to cars, not trucks. Both the front struts and rear shocks were replaced 10 years and 70k miles ago, I don't know what their lifespan typically is. I'd like to get an assessment from someone who knows what they're doing/feeling.

5. Possibly new rear brake pads if they're soaked/ruined due to the leaking axle seal.

Thanks for reading.
Levi
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Old 08-07-2019, 05:27 PM #2
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where in LA? if close to the valley, call Steve Summers at Automotive Instincts in Northridge, tell him you were referred by a former member at Valencia Country Club he used to golf with from time to time. he also has a shop in Woodland Hills but that's run by a different dude whose the co-owner.

1) easy enough to do, not sure on the labor cost for a shop to do this but parts run about $200 for both sides.

2) can you post pics? otherwise a shop will be able to easily diagnose

3) short answer is maybe... outer/inner tie rods are included in the assembly but not all the other stuff you listed. would more than likely not be in that work order you listed either, since it looks to be just for a complete steering linkage assembly, not suspension

4) OEM shocks/struts/springs and other potential misc hardware will run about $900+/- just in parts, depending on what else you wanna included (spring seats, upper support, etc...)

5) pads are easy enough

good luck!
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Last edited by socalkid; 08-07-2019 at 05:34 PM.
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Old 08-07-2019, 05:54 PM #3
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I'm willing to go to the valley, thanks for the recommendation. I tried to get some pics of the leaking axle seal with my phone but they came out like shit, will try again this afternoon. I don't have any sag so I think my springs are fine, though I know they're cheaper than shocks and struts.
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Old 08-07-2019, 06:01 PM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by socalkid View Post
3) short answer is maybe... outer/inner tie rods are included in the assembly but not all the other stuff you listed. would more than likely not be in that work order you listed either, since it looks to be just for a complete steering linkage assembly, not suspension
Toyota only includes the ITRE’s with the rack, but that’s a bonus as they are over $100 each when purchased separately. The OTRE are less than half at about $50 each. If the work order states rack replaced and that’s the only charge for parts on the invoice, there’s a good chance they reused the OTRE’s on this job.
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Old 08-07-2019, 06:42 PM #5
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Quote:
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Toyota only includes the ITRE’s with the rack, but that’s a bonus as they are over $100 each when purchased separately. The OTRE are less than half at about $50 each. If the work order states rack replaced and that’s the only charge for parts on the invoice, there’s a good chance they reused the OTRE’s on this job.
i had to double check but there's a good chance the OTREs were included, at least based on looking at the P/N in the invoice and cross referencing the diagram, but that was my thought too and why i responded maybe...
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Old 08-07-2019, 07:06 PM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by socalkid View Post
where in LA? if close to the valley, call Steve Summers at Automotive Instincts in Northridge, tell him you were referred by a former member at Valencia Country Club he used to golf with from time to time. he also has a shop in Woodland Hills but that's run by a different dude whose the co-owner.

I used to work as part of cart staff at Valencia Country Club years ago, under Richard Contreras. One of the best places i have worked.
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Old 08-07-2019, 07:08 PM #7
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i had to double check but there's a good chance the OTREs were included, at least based on looking at the P/N in the invoice and cross referencing the diagram, but that was my thought too and why i responded maybe...
1997 Toyota 4Runner Parts - Camelback Toyota Parts - Genuine OEM Parts

On the link above, it shows this p/n as “item #1 on image”. The image labeled #1 is the square with most parts included, but below that are 3 parts not included. The one labeled #4 is the OTRE and is not part of “item #1 on image”. Super confusing that they would even show the OTRE on the diagram if they’re not included but they did lol.
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Old 08-07-2019, 07:36 PM #8
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Originally Posted by nchacon1984 View Post
I used to work as part of cart staff at Valencia Country Club years ago, under Richard Contreras. One of the best places i have worked.
small world, when did you work there? we were members back around 2004-10.
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Old 08-07-2019, 07:37 PM #9
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Originally Posted by Dezert4Runner View Post
1997 Toyota 4Runner Parts - Camelback Toyota Parts - Genuine OEM Parts

On the link above, it shows this p/n as “item #1 on image”. The image labeled #1 is the square with most parts included, but below that are 3 parts not included. The one labeled #4 is the OTRE and is not part of “item #1 on image”. Super confusing that they would even show the OTRE on the diagram if they’re not included but they did lol.
too funny, good catch.
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Old 08-07-2019, 08:53 PM #10
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Here's a pic of the rear passenger side wheel, where I suspect a leaking axle seal.

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Old 08-08-2019, 12:42 PM #11
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yeah got some sweat up there but its not too bad, hopefully should be just the seal that needs replacing and nothing else. did you check the rear diff breather to make sure its clean? given how little fluid you got up there, i'd guess maybe pressure building in the seal causing it to leak.
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Old 08-08-2019, 03:30 PM #12
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small world, when did you work there? we were members back around 2004-10.
I was there around that time, I think 06-07. I met Rich at Angeles National right when it was just opened before the new club house, they brought him in to manage cart staff there, he soon left and asked if Id work with him at VCC.
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Old 08-08-2019, 06:24 PM #13
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Here's a pic of the rear passenger side wheel, where I suspect a leaking axle seal.

That's not a little bit of oil, the entire backside of the wheel is wet. I would advise doing the whole deal, so new bearings & inner seal along with brake pads. What happens is the gear oil passes through the non-serviceable bearings and washes out all the grease which ends up in the rear drum. The bearings will be fine at first but will fail prematurely.
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Old 08-08-2019, 09:47 PM #14
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That's not a little bit of oil, the entire backside of the wheel is wet. I would advise doing the whole deal, so new bearings & inner seal along with brake pads. What happens is the gear oil passes through the non-serviceable bearings and washes out all the grease which ends up in the rear drum. The bearings will be fine at first but will fail prematurely.
You're correct, the entire back side of the wheel is wet. I was afraid (but not surprised) to hear that it didn't look good. This is the driver's side for comparison:

If the driver's side seal seems OK, should I just replace the seal only? Leave it alone? I think it's got about 12 years and 90,000 miles on it.

The diff breather seems clogged to me. It doesn't move up or down, though it will spin fairly freely. Does that sound clogged? This truck has really only seen pavement with occasional trips on gravel in the LA area, but there was quite a bit of grime on/around the breather.


I wish I had checked this sooner. I've only been driving around 30 miles/week since I got it a few months ago, but for all I know it's been leaking for the last 3-4 years / 5,000+ miles...

Thanks for advice, I really appreciate it.
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Old 08-08-2019, 09:56 PM #15
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The breather cap just spins freely, not up and down. It’s not a check valve, so if you can draw air in and out it’s not clogged.
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