How can I tell if I need new shocks /struts?

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Thread: How can I tell if I need new shocks /struts?

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    Default How can I tell if I need new shocks /struts?

    Hi all,

    Tire kingdom told me, when I took my 2001 sequoia to balance my tires, that I needed new shocks and struts. How can I really tell if I need them? Now I drive around feeling if my tires bounce on every bump.

    Any tips? My car has 87k miles. Does a replacement at that many miles sound logical? If so, what brands do you recommend and where to buy them?

    Thanks

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    Junior Member indycar89's Avatar
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    Default Re: How can I tell if I need new shocks /struts?

    what is your tire wear like?
    2008 Sequoia Limited
    1984 BMW 533i (Metric Mechanic 3.7l with lots of goodies)
    2006 R1200RT

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    Default Re: How can I tell if I need new shocks /struts?

    Not good. My original Michelins lasted about 55k miles. I have Dunlops and just rotated them . The fronts were somewhat worn especially on the outside. The outside wear could be my driving but they are definately worn more than I expected. within the tread, they are evenly worn.

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    Junior Member indycar89's Avatar
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    Default Re: How can I tell if I need new shocks /struts?

    How many miles do you have on your baby? Millage is not exclusively a good indicator - often manufactures will say change them at 75k, but they often will last MUCH longer.

    One thing to look for is oil leaking down (or dark discoloring) on the struts that will indicate leaking. Look at all 4 struts for this. The oil could be still a little moist, but more then likely will be dried on the strut. And often the oil will be on just a section of the strut - think seal leak, not necessarily making the strut oily all the way around it.

    Then there is the good old bounce test. Push on each corner of the truck (as if trying to bounce it) several times and then let go. It should not bounce more then 1.5 to 2.5 times before stopping. The hard thing about struts is that they wear out slowly, so their diminished capacity is gradual over time and therefore not as noticeable.

    Here is a tire wear chart that you might also find helpful. When check tire wear, its good to run you hand over the tread (both forward and backward) so you can feel if the tire is feathering (it can be hard to see).

    let us know how you come out!


    Misalignment Condition



    Tire Wear Symptom

    Incorrect Camber Setting:
    Premature smooth wear on either inside or outside shoulder.

    Incorrect Toe Setting:
    Feathered wear across tread; raised tread block edges.

    Incorrect Caster Setting:
    Excessive shoulder wear; tread blocks show "heel-toe" wear pattern.

    Unequal Caster setting (either right or left side is out of specification):
    Sharp pulling necessitates steering compensation and feathered wear.

    Unequal Toe setting (either right or left side is out of specification):
    Sharp pulling necessitates steering compensation and feathered wear.

    Combination of two or more settings are out of specification:
    Irregular tread wear with feathering and smooth spots.
    Last edited by indycar89; 11-05-2007 at 06:16 AM.
    2008 Sequoia Limited
    1984 BMW 533i (Metric Mechanic 3.7l with lots of goodies)
    2006 R1200RT

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    Default Re: How can I tell if I need new shocks /struts?

    Here is one way to tell if you need new struts:
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    Default Re: How can I tell if I need new shocks /struts?

    I would recommend looking into new struts and shocks in the near future if it's in the budget. The Sequoia already comes stock with fairly soft shocks, and with that many miles you might enjoy a little better ride even though they might have some life left in them. Mine had about 93k miles when I replaced mine, and I'm glad I did. The ride is completely personal preference, so you may need to provide some information on what you want to do with the Sequoia....like if you want a stock feel, or if you want performance, or more for hauling or wheeling. Sounds like you might also want to consider an alignment check for the best tire wear. I can send you some alignment specs if you need them.

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    Default Re: How can I tell if I need new shocks /struts?

    I guess I might as well ask since I was also told the shocks and struts on our Sequoia were bad. We tow a travel trailer so was looking into the Bilsteins HD's. I do like a somewhat soft ride when not towing as we have a young child and the jarring can be rough on bad roads. Is there a comparable shock that would ride soft while regular driving and yet support the Seq when towing? Maybe I'm asking too much but thought I's ask. TIA

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    Default Re: How can I tell if I need new shocks /struts?

    I would recommend the Old Man Emu OME60002 (comfort ride) or the FJ100 series rear Bilstein shock...both about the same price.

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    Default Re: How can I tell if I need new shocks /struts?

    Last week, I took my Sequoia to a wheels/tires/suspension shop to have one of the tires looked at for abnormal vibrations. They did a simple bounce test in the rear and said that the rear shocks were too soft then normal for a vehicle like that (mind you I have the Bilstein rear shocks on since 05) and he recommended I look into replacing them. Should these shocks last longer or is it typical to be replaced every 5 years?
    2001 Toyota Sequoia SR5

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    Default Re: How can I tell if I need new shocks /struts?

    Quote Originally Posted by iQUE09 View Post
    Here is one way to tell if you need new struts:
    Pardon the ignorance, but what exactly am I looking for to see if I need new struts in these two pictures?
    2001 Toyota Sequoia Limited 160K

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    Default Re: How can I tell if I need new shocks /struts?

    If you're talking about the pictures above by iQUE09, you can see near the bottom where the strut is leaking...on the second image. Normally you cannot tell by a picture.
    TRD Grille, TRD Interior, OME 60002 Rear shocks, OME865 Rear springs, OME861 stone guards, Downey Coilover, 285/65 Dynapro AT's, Total Chaos bushings, Bassani Exhaust, Amsoil on FIPK, Diehard Platinum, SilverStar lights, Formula One tint. (SOLD)

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    Default Re: How can I tell if I need new shocks /struts?

    Quote Originally Posted by big-o View Post
    If you're talking about the pictures above by iQUE09, you can see near the bottom where the strut is leaking...on the second image. Normally you cannot tell by a picture.
    OK, so the bottom where the strut mount to the vehicle? Is that where it's leaking? Otherwise, I don't see anything else. I always thought it was where the cover and the actual strut came together.

    I understand the bounce method, which I can't really do with that large of vehicle. I can't get enough weight to make it even move. I think with 160K the shocks and struts are still original. I don't notice excessive bouncing around when driving on the hwy either. Any other way to check them?
    2001 Toyota Sequoia Limited 160K

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    Default Re: How can I tell if I need new shocks /struts?

    Yes, you're correct...the leaking is at the bottom where it connects to the lower A-arm.

    The bounce method is hard to do, but if the struts or shocks are bad...it doesn't take a lot of effort to get the car to bounce. You can also see bad struts on cars when driving down the freeway at high speed...as one of the wheels may be bouncing up and down a lot more than the other wheels. Bottom line is if your ride doesn't feel as controlled, or the rebound is really sloppy...it's probably time to replace. I'm sure at 160k, it could use some new ones!! Go with Bilstein or Old Man Emu, Tokico or Coilovers..something reliable and comfortable.
    TRD Grille, TRD Interior, OME 60002 Rear shocks, OME865 Rear springs, OME861 stone guards, Downey Coilover, 285/65 Dynapro AT's, Total Chaos bushings, Bassani Exhaust, Amsoil on FIPK, Diehard Platinum, SilverStar lights, Formula One tint. (SOLD)

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    Default Re: How can I tell if I need new shocks /struts?

    Quote Originally Posted by big-o View Post
    Yes, you're correct...the leaking is at the bottom where it connects to the lower A-arm.

    The bounce method is hard to do, but if the struts or shocks are bad...it doesn't take a lot of effort to get the car to bounce. You can also see bad struts on cars when driving down the freeway at high speed...as one of the wheels may be bouncing up and down a lot more than the other wheels. Bottom line is if your ride doesn't feel as controlled, or the rebound is really sloppy...it's probably time to replace. I'm sure at 160k, it could use some new ones!! Go with Bilstein or Old Man Emu, Tokico or Coilovers..something reliable and comfortable.
    What would you recommend for replacements. Bang for buck and where. I heard shockwarehouse plus 10% coupon code or someplace better? No lift on my Seq. Not looking for any kind of lift.
    2001 Toyota Sequoia Limited 160K

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    Default Re: How can I tell if I need new shocks /struts?

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterB View Post
    Hi all,

    Tire kingdom told me, when I took my 2001 sequoia to balance my tires, that I needed new shocks and struts. How can I really tell if I need them? Now I drive around feeling if my tires bounce on every bump.

    Any tips? My car has 87k miles. Does a replacement at that many miles sound logical? If so, what brands do you recommend and where to buy them?

    Thanks
    I replaced the struts on my 2004 Sequoia with Toyota struts at 103,000 miles. The old struts looked fine on removal and I can't say I feel much difference in how the vehicle drives. I think I could have left the original struts on longer.

    From my experience, before you replace any suspension parts, first replace the steering rack bushings. The front tires on my Sequoia were wearing on the outer edges and I'm pretty sure the reason was the soft steering rack bushings that allowed the rack to move a little side to side. I installed the Total Chaos polyurethane bushing kit and the uneven tire wear stopped.

    If you go with replacement Toyota struts, you will probably want to replace the lower shock cushion retainer at the same time. Mine were heavily corroded. The part number (for my 2004 vehicle) is 90080-94195.

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