Did rear struts on my wagon ... it was worth the time!!

Discussion in 'Suspension' started by Rainman19154, Aug 19, 2010.


  1. Rainman19154

    Rainman19154 FEOA Member

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    I' spotted a 95 wagon with after market struts at the U pull it and I went back today to nab them.

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    I hadn't looked closely at all, and this pic shows why I passed on that car. I did pull the strut, just see what I'd find. That whole top bonnet which holds the spring was rotted away!! As you can see, the body steel where that strut mounts is in bad shape as well.

    After seeing this, I worried what I'd find there on my own wagon.


    On a two door next to the wagon was another set of aftermarket struts. The car had 107K so I guessed they had a lot less wear than my factory originals at 196K. They came off very easily and only showed a modest amount of rust.

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    I had read the manual about taking off the trim in the wagon to get to the strut mount. I looked things over when I was in the cars at the jy.

    I skipped that whole process and cut an 1 1/4" hole over each of the two concealed nuts that hold the struts in place. A standard blank plug from Home Depot or an electrical warehouse will plug that and be just fine long term.

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    Taking the old units off was routine and I'm pleased that my car, moved east from Portland last year, is rust free. The struts I took off showed none of the corrosion I found on the cars at the jy. The little rubber caps were completely intact w/o a scratch on them.
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    The replacements did not look like any sort of upgrade. The rust is evident and the boots not shown in the photo are pretty well shredded.

    But I knew the springs were going to be better than the originals and I had to trust the strut cartridges had some life in them.

    Putting the struts back together with the rear spindles was a handfull but my landlord offered the use of a 6" c clamp and that was the ticket.
    Sorry I didn't pause in the middle to snap a pic but once you get started, you'll see how the clamp is needed to pull the two together horizontally. Getting the vertical alignment right for the bolts to go in was issue enough. Without that C clamp, I was sorta going in circles trying to maneuver the two pieces into alignment.

    And the car is better of with the ugly jy struts.

    It's firmer with a bit of lift in the back and the tendency to drift side to side seems to be at least partially fixed.

    The car got a 4 wheel alignment last year and they didn't try to peg any front parts as bad. It passed state inspection in November of '09, 3 months or so later and again, no mechanical faults.
    It drives well enough. No pulling left or right but it will drift a bit. I can drive on the hwy and changes lanes w/o fearing for my life. Mostly it just feels flat, like riding a go cart with no suspension.

    Having said all that, I'm gonna keep at this and look at the front end next.
    Struts, and outer tie rod ends will be the minimum.
    From what I've read, bearings are a b****, otherwise I'd do those too.
  2. EscorGo

    EscorGo FEOA Donator

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    At 245K I replaced my front bearings. One had some play so I did both. The labor to press them off and on the spindles was almost as much as the cost of the parts, but now I feel confident they won't wear out my tires or seize up on me.
  3. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    Those are replacement aftermarket springs on those rear struts you pulled as well, which is a good thing. I have ones that look just like that. I would not have reused the strut mount from that junkyard strut.
  4. Rainman19154

    Rainman19154 FEOA Member

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    I've thought about doing boots on the cartridges... I could change the mounts then. Dunno what those kits sell for.

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