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Old 01-14-2020, 10:40 PM #1
keph13 keph13 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 107
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keph13 keph13 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 107
keph13 is on a distinguished road
Rusty suspension swap pro tips

Since I just spent quite a while swapping out (fighting) the fairly rusty suspension on my 2010, here are some things I learned along the way. I generally followed the process from here:
  • The rears are pretty easy - there's a place to grab on the shaft to keep the thing from spinning (Shared album - Karlan Eberhardt - Google Photos), and there's not much tension on the spring
  • There don't seem to be good torque specs for nuts that compress bushings - the best I could find was "until the bushing expands the right amount". Here's what I went with - let me know if I did it wrong: Shared album - Karlan Eberhardt - Google Photos
  • One of my front springs had rusted and broken at the top. I got it fixed under warranty before continuing the install, which conventiently meant that the shop loosened everything up for me. (I apparently forgot to take a picture)
  • The front shocks will almost certainly be a huge PITA to get any leverage on, because the only thing to grab to keep it from spinning while you undo it is a little nub way up in the wheel well. I did the "no spring compressor" method, which meant I couldn't take the whole thing out to work on it. Does anyone know if you can use a spring compressor to decompress the assembled coilover safely?
  • A sawzall is your friend. After I spent a long time fighting that top bolt, dremeling it, heating it, swearing, etc, I realized that the UCA is a perfect thing to rest the guard plate of the sawzall against, and with a ~4-5 inch blade, it took the nut apart without hitting the back of the wheel well. I wish I had just started there when it wouldn't budge.
  • For the top hat nuts (if you're replacing it, which is apparently a good idea - mine was pretty deformed, and the replacements were cheap), crowfoot attachments for a breaker bar are great. If you break the bolts off, all the better since you're putting in a new one. There's a third nut at the back that isn't immediately obvious - and a crowfoot is clutch to break it free.
  • If you're installing Bilsteins, make sure to put the spring seat on the right way. It should cover the clip ring (i.e. sit on it, but then go down from there - you shouldn't be able to see the ring when it's in place).
  • Getting the LCAs down far enough to take the old shock out and put the new one in is a pain if you're by yourself. I used the trick from that thread to put a jack handle through the ball joint to use as a pry bar, and then stuck a 4x4 between the LCA and the bump stop to keep it in place while I maneuvered things in and out. I thought about disconnecting the sway bar to give myself more room, but the bolts on that are completely corroded and I was tired of fighting things that would spin freely but not back out.
  • One thing I didn't see on the other threads until after the fact was that there's some advice to torque the bottom shock bolt after the truck is back on the ground (to avoid the bushings binding up). I was installing bilstein 5100s, which have a metal ring in the bottom - so I'm pretty dubious that it will make a difference. If anyone can give me a good explanation for why that advice is out there (or if it makes terrible noise on the way to the alignment shop), I'll pick it up, loosen, and retorque on the ground.
  • I saw mixed advice on locktite - I used blue (non-permanent) on the ball joint bolts and the lower shock bolt.
  • Since I have the sway bar that a lot of people take off, I'm not sure the hub would have dropped far enough to stretch the ABS harness once the ball joint was disconnected. That said, I didn't want to mess with it, so I did a ratchet strap attached to the other tire: Shared album - Karlan Eberhardt - Google Photos, which seemed to work well. I used a jack at the end to lower it down and reconnect the ball joint bolts after the new shocks were in.
  • Just for reference, here are the FSM sheets with torque specs: Shared album - Karlan Eberhardt - Google Photos

It's going to be sitting for a while before I can get it aligned - but I'll update here if any issues crop up.
2010 4Runner SR5 4x4
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