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Old 05-21-2016, 10:43 PM   #1
Drives: 2009 Yaris
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 39
DIY: Rear shock, sway bar, and strut brace refit

Park the clown car in the garage, set the parking brake and chock the front wheels in preparation for elevation.

Inside the hatch, remove the plastic access cover trim plates. Remove the rubber boot over the top of the strut.

Break the two top-nuts loose. Using a socket wrench, hold the strut stable while removing and retaining both top nuts (14mm wrench)

Remove the bushing retention plate, and the bushing

So here's the first learning of the day. You really don't need to, nor should you, remove the top and the bushing plate completely. As you jack up the car in the following steps, it's possible that the loose strut will pull out of the support hole, which can cause a bit of a scramble while the lower shock bolt is still attached. So the Top Tip: Remove the bushing, but replace the bushing plate, and loosely fit one of the top nuts back on the strut.

Using a breaker bar and wheel lug socket, break loose all four lugs on both rear wheels.

This went swimmingly for 7 of the 8 lugs. On the last lug on the opposite wheel, it was frozen pretty good- it apparently had been hammered back on the last time the wheels were rotated. I hit it with some PB Blaster penetrating spray (and for that product, I have yet to find a seized fitting it can't cure) and was able to persuade it off without breaking the stud or the lug. That said, the stud and lug were pretty much chewed up beyond use, which prompted an additional step: visiting the tire shop to get the stud replaced, which cut into the celebratory beer time).

From under the center rear of the car, jack the car up, lower on to jack stands set beneath the crimped metal/notch jack point immediately in front of the rear wheels.

Here was another slight problem. I have a small 2 ton hydraulic jack, sourced from Harbor Freight some time ago. It's very servicable- down side is it couldn't jack the center point brace high enough to get the wheels off the ground, so I had to go back to using it under the crimped pinch point in front of the rear wheels.

Remove lugs and wheels. Stow wheels under car, in front of jack stands, for added safety, and reinstall lug nuts on wheel studs.

The jack stands were installed slightly forward from where I had intended, having to use the side jack points, but that all worked out ok. Here's where the first scramble occurred- with the hotdog-in-a-hallway fit upper strut, when I jacked the driver side of the car up, the strut pulled free of the mount location. That was a bit worrisome, and made the removal of the lower shock bolt occur a lot faster than planned, thus the lack of illustrating photos for this part of the process.

Place the jack under the shock, and lightly elevate to assist with lower bolt removal.

No other pictures here, as the car was still on the jack, and I was scrambling to get the lower bolt removed.

Using a 14mm socket, breaker bar, and wrench, hold the retaining nut on the lower shock bolt while loosening the bolt. Remove and retain the bolt and nut.

Remove the shock, including the bumper cushion bushing and cushion support.

Verify installation of cushion support and bumper cushion bushing on shock. Lubricate surface of bumper cushion bushing with sil-glyde synthetic grease.

As I have an industrial size squeeze tube of sol-glide, I liberally coated all sides of both the support bumper (which fits in the support tube at the top of the shock) and the upper bushing. Probably enough buttered on it to last into the next millennium.

The lower photo showed some interesting rust and crud on the right rear shock

Install shock assembly, seating support and bumper cushion bushing to the upper shock mount.

Fit lower shock bolt, but do not refit crush nut at this time. On the opposite well, loosely fit the lower shock bolt, but do not fully seat through the eye of the assembly

Install lower torsion spring / anti-sway bar on exposed bolt end and loosely tighten lower shock nut.

Assuring the torsion bar is correctly positioned, align opposite mounting hole with opposite lower shock bolt, and fully seat the bolt

Here's how the bar wraps and tucks up under the suspension. It's as much a spring as it is a torsion bar- it is not connected not comes in contact with any other part of the body, except the two connection points below the shock.

Install one mounting bolt and nut at designated location on each side of the torsion bar, and torque bolts to specification (44 ft-lbs).

This is a change in sequence from my earlier posted instruction set- per the installation instructions that came with the TRD bar. Installed both positions first, and then went on to the next step.

Install and torque lower shock bolts to 36 ft-lbs. Torque the bolt, not the crush nut on the opposite side

The next step.

And Now, Intermission...

Lubricate upper bushing with sil-glyde and install on shock strut, along with bushing retention plate. Do not install upper nuts at this time.

What follows isn't part of the suspension upgrade, it's a remnant job that had be done with the wheels removed, so here it is. I didn't stop to photograph any of it, because it is difficult to hold the a cordless drill, the work, and an iPad while sitting inside the fender-well. Suffice to say that while you were out in the lobby getting popcorn and cracker-jacks and a big soft drink, the following work was completed.

Locate new splash guards and using existing fastener to pin through bottom of the fender. Using a 6mm drill bit, drill two holes using the guard as a locater template. Install screw retainer and screws.

Now back to our regular program...

Mount rear wheels and tighten lugs.

Raise off of jack stands, and lower vehicle to ground. Torque all rear wheel lugs to specification (80 ft-lbs).

Well, 7 of 8 of them, anyhow.... hey if 3 out of four is good enough for NASCAR, it must be ok for me, right?

Locate and fit upper shock tower support bar over struts, including face washer, with car level on garage floor. Using a socket wrench and shock installation tool, hold upper strut motionless while installing top nuts. Using shock tool and crowfoot 7/8 wrench on torque wrench, torque upper shock nuts to 18 ft-lbs.

This doesn't sound like a bit deal, but as possible presidential nominee might say, "It's YEEUUUUUUGE!" It's important that the car is on the ground, not in the air. As the car settles back on the springs, the shock preloads. As the bushing is compressed, it drives the strut down to the proper preset location. The tools used are a bit involved, but it's all about keeping the center strut from turning while the nuts are tightened- partly because this can damage the shock, and more important, you will never get the nut tight if the strut keeps turning. So what's being used there is a Lisle 20400 Universal Shock tool. It consist of center hex key, which is slotted on either end to fit various sized struts. That fits down inside of an oversized socket. Use a 1/2" ratchet and socket to hold the strut still, and a 7/8" wrench on the shock tool socket. I used a ratcheting wrench for the initial lock down, and then followed on with a crow-foot 7/8" wrench fitted to the torque wrench to set the torque at 18 ft-lbs. (And I screwed up, and forgot to compensate for the 1" offset from the torque axis.. so the wrench should have been set for 16 ft-lbs, which would have yielded 18 ft-lbs. As it is, those nuts are all torqued down to 20 ft-lbs. Feel free to report me to the torque police). The assembly is a bit of a sandwhich- the lubed bushing is installed first, then the bushing retainer washer, then the strut bar, it's supplied flat washer, and then the two upper shock nuts, each torqued to 18 (errr... 20!) ft-lbs in succession.

And here's an edit for clarity... when installing the first nut, tighten it down against the bushing retainer so that 15 to 18 mm of the exposed strut is showing, as measured from the top of the lower nut to the end of the exposed strut. Then, while holding the strut still with the tools described above, install the upper strut nut, and torque it to 18-ft lbs. The wheels should be on the ground at this time

Cut and modify rubber boots to fit over support bar and install. Evaluate and modify plastic access plate covers as necessary and install, or otherwise retain.

I didn't photograph all of this- I cut open the rubber shock nut cover, and refit it over the shock nuts (it's held in place by the rim of the bracket lip holding the bearing). I then marked out the plastic access panels, and cut an opening (test fitting and opening up a little bit at a time) until the fit was clean. The red wire on the right side is for the radio- it's spliced into the reverse light circuit, and tells the head unit to activate the backup camera when the car is in reverse gear.

Remove wheel chocks, police work area, remove car from garage and test drive.

No clanking, banging, driver screaming, or what not. I bounced it around the neighborhood, over speed-humps, through a couple of good size pot holes, and on and off a curb, and heard no complaints out the suspension. The Bilstein's are a bit firmer than the OEM shocks, but it's not really noticeable. The suspension bits really make the car feel more stable in the corners, and hopefully it won't be blown about like a toy boat on a blustery bath when overtaking various semi-trailers.

celebratory beer to mark success!

Well, not yet. But perhaps later. Need to fetch some dinner, first. Hope the illustrations were helpful, and that you found your time here well spent. No refunds or warranties expressed or implied. Read and repeat at your own risk. All Rights Reserved, 2016 Clown Car LLC.

Last edited by Tapokata; 05-25-2016 at 02:21 PM.
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