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Old 03-10-2024, 08:28 PM #1
utmba95 utmba95 is offline
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Stock suspension replacement questions

Hi, I have a 2003 with original non-XREAS suspension at 220K miles. The front end is a bit loose, and I noticed the rear shocks are leaking. Can anybody tell me what all needs to be replaced, what needs to be inspected (if anything), and recommendations on brands of replacement parts to keep it stock? I see tons of resources for lifted suspensions, but not much for stock replacements. Thanks!

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Old 03-10-2024, 09:11 PM #2
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In the front your LCA ball joint and possible bushings, UCA ball joint and your inner and outer tie rod ends are the prime culprits. That will likely feel like your vehicle will want to pull left or right especially on the highway when you run over the grooves in the pavement. It will possibly want to pull left or right when braking, and not always the same side. A wheel hub could also be a culprit. I had one start to go bad at ~130,000 miles. When I disassembled everything, I found the inner hub/CV joint seal had failed long ago and water was getting into the hub and setting there. The bearing didn't like that.

It definitely sounds like your front struts are likely bad too if the back ones are leaking. This will feel like you're floating or in a boat when driving over uneven surfaces because the struts and shocks aren't stopping/dampening the vehicles up/down motion.

My personal opinion on critical parts I go OEM. I've seen lower ball joints fail on cheap LCAs. I don't ever want to be resting on a horizontal front tire. I would have stuck with OEM uppers too if I could get my alignment right with my tires and lift. They will last longer that aftermarket IMO too. That's just me, other may disagree. For your shocks, struts and springs, there's plenty of aftermarket options to keep it stock. If you're never going to off-road, go with your budget. No need to spurge, just go with a quality manufacturer. Dobinsons and OME are brands I've used and personally like for shock, struts and springs. sites like Exitoffroad and wheelers will list how much lift to expect from springs so you will have an easy time choosing something that will fit stock height.

Also, here's where I like to go for usually the cheapest, genuine OEM parts, often shipped free if you spend enough. Suspension Control Arm (Left, Front, Lower) | Part #4806960010 | Toyota Auto Parts
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Old 03-11-2024, 10:47 AM #3
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Thanks for the info! I drove a Nissan Rogue for a month, and when I got back in my 4Runner, the steering just feels loose. Especially on windy days, it feels like I have to put more correction against the wind than I should. I watched some videos on replacing the control arms and struts, and it doesn't look too bad.
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Old 03-11-2024, 11:55 AM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by utmba95 View Post
Thanks for the info! I drove a Nissan Rogue for a month, and when I got back in my 4Runner, the steering just feels loose. Especially on windy days, it feels like I have to put more correction against the wind than I should. I watched some videos on replacing the control arms and struts, and it doesn't look too bad.
Check your PS fluid, but not just the level. Don't know if you've owned the truck since new but many people who buy 4th Gens used don't know that they use transmission fluid, not power steering fluid, in the PS system. If you don't know when the last PS flush was done, go to the sticky on maintenance and repair writeups above the 4th Gen section here and look up the PS process. It may already have the correct fluid and changing it may not solve your issue, but fresh fluid never hurts. My steering was noticeably tighter after I did mine the first time.

As for your suspension, the relevant post linked in my sig may be helpful.

Last edited by Bluesky 07; 03-11-2024 at 11:58 AM.
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Old 03-11-2024, 12:01 PM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluesky 07 View Post
Check your PS fluid, but not just the level.
Interesting. I flush it fairly regularly with the right fluid, last time being 1.5 years ago. I'll check the level and see if there are any leaks from the steering rack.
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Old 03-12-2024, 09:28 PM #6
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I lifted the front wheels, and there is no obvious play in the camber direction, but in the toe direction (left/right), I hear a click that is probably coming from the steering rack. Some of the bushings definitely don't look great, and some dust boots are shot.
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