How I replaced the front struts on my 04 base model LS430 - Club Lexus Forums


How I replaced the front struts on my 04 base model LS430

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Old 07-18-14, 07:02 PM   #1
rkw77080
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Default How I replaced the front struts on my 04 base model LS430

Here is a quick write-up on how I replaced the front struts on my 04 base model LS430.

Step 1: Put the car on jack stands and remove the front wheels.




Step 2: Locate the sway bar linkage. Remove the nut and washer, and pull out the bolt.




Step 3: Pull out the locking pin and loosen the castle nut. Use a ball joint separator to separate the ball joint from the steering knuckle. My local AutoZone loan me this ball joint separator free of charge.




Step 4: Detach the wire clip on the upper control arm. This will allow you to swing the steering knuckle out of the way.


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Old 07-18-14, 07:16 PM   #2
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Step 5: Swing the steering knuckle out of the way. With the upper control arm and the sway bar linkage disconnected, the steering knuckle can be pushed downward to make room for the removal of the strut/spring assembly.




Step 6: Loosen the top strut lock nut by 3-4 turns. Do not remove this lock nut completely.




Step 7: Remove the bottom strut nut.




Step 8: Remove the 3 nuts on the top strut mount.


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Old 07-18-14, 07:28 PM   #3
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Step 9: Remove strut/spring assembly from the car and attach the spring compressor. My local AutoZone loan me these spring compressors free of charge. Working with a compressed spring is very dangerous - so proceed at your own risk!




Step 10: Compress the spring until it is free from the seat on the strut. Remove the top strut lock nut and disassemble the strut mount from the strut and spring.




Steps 11/12: If you are replacing the top strut mount (highly recommended), be sure the transfer the location where the spring ends to your new strut mount. This is the location where the spring made an indentation on the rubber isolator. This will ensure proper bolt alignments.




Step 13: Put everything back in reverse order. Temporarily install the top lock nut, but do not torque down yet. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the new strut, so the one shown here is the old strut.


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Old 07-18-14, 07:45 PM   #4
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Step 14: Re-install strut/spring assembly on car and temporarily install the 3 strut mount nuts.




Step 15: Temporarily install bottom strut bolt and nut.




Step 16: Re-install castle nut and torque to 64 ft-lbf.




Step 17: Re-install sway bar linkage, and torque to 41 ft-lbf. I used a jack to help line up the bolt holes.


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Old 07-18-14, 07:55 PM   #5
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Step 18: Torque the strut top lock nut to 20 ft-lbf.




Step 19: Torque 3 strut mount nuts to 43 ft-lbf.




Step 20: Torque lower strut bolt to 116 ft-lbf.




Step 21: Install front wheel and torque lug nuts to 76 ft-lbf.


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Old 07-18-14, 09:24 PM   #6
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Great DIY! Don't forget the alignment.
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Old 07-18-14, 10:54 PM   #7
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This is how a DIY is done with plenty of pictures. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 07-19-14, 11:08 PM   #8
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yeah thanks. will you be doing a rear write up soon?
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Old 07-20-14, 09:07 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingkirby View Post
yeah thanks. will you be doing a rear write up soon?
I just posted a write-up for the rear struts - I titled it "How I replaced the rear struts on my 04 base model LS430"
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Old 07-22-14, 12:31 PM   #10
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Default spring compression

Are the front springs harder to compress than the rears?

It seems that the fronts have to compress much more (appx 7 inches total) than the rear.

The shop that is doing mine did the rears, but are concerned that I have the wrong shocks or

springs for the front because of the extra compression required.

The shaft on the front shocks are much shorter than the rears.( By shaft I am referring to the

threaded rod that protrudes from the shock body.)

I ordered all new oem parts from Sewell using part numbers from the forum.

Any comments/suggestions/insight are appreciated.

Thanks,

Alan
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Old 07-22-14, 01:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alanchad View Post
Are the front springs harder to compress than the rears?

It seems that the fronts have to compress much more (appx 7 inches total) than the rear.

The shop that is doing mine did the rears, but are concerned that I have the wrong shocks or

springs for the front because of the extra compression required.

The shaft on the front shocks are much shorter than the rears.( By shaft I am referring to the

threaded rod that protrudes from the shock body.)

I ordered all new oem parts from Sewell using part numbers from the forum.

Any comments/suggestions/insight are appreciated.

Thanks,

Alan
The compression coil springs for the front is slightly thicker than those for the rear, as such, it requires more force to compress as compared to what’s needed for the rear. Typically, you need only to compress the spring enough to remove compression against the strut mount, say, 3-4 inches, until the bottom tip of the spring is lifted off of the seat on the strut.
One quick way to tell the difference between a front strut from a rear strut is by looking at the bottom mounting hole. The front strut has a straight through hole, while the rear one has a “step” hole (that is, the 2 ends of the hole are not the same size).
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Old 09-16-14, 10:03 AM   #12
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Nice write up!

Regarding needing an alignment after installing struts, I've heard some say yes and some say no. It depends on the car. Looking at what had to be removed to change the struts on the LS, why would you need it aligned? Nothing that was adjustable was removed?
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Old 09-16-14, 10:45 AM   #13
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Awesome write up! Thanks for taking the time to do this.
How did you feel about the ride before and after?

I need to just rebuild my entire suspension, I have around 145k miles and I plan on keeping the car for a while longer. I might as well just replace most of the other things while I'm in there. It's just hard to find a weekend to set aside and do it.
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Old 09-16-14, 11:44 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewmyown View Post
Nice write up!

Regarding needing an alignment after installing struts, I've heard some say yes and some say no. It depends on the car. Looking at what had to be removed to change the struts on the LS, why would you need it aligned? Nothing that was adjustable was removed?
I replaced all 4 shocks and afterwards, took my car to NTB to check alignment. Turns out none was needed. I was told that unless I change the spring (height), the alignment should not change.
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Old 09-16-14, 12:04 PM   #15
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I agree with rkw77080...if you only replace the struts and not the worn out springs then you should be fine.

On my 4runner I replaced the entire front strut assemblies and did not do the alignment... few months later and front tires wearing on the outside edge I realized I made a mistake. Got new tires and alignment and all is better now. The new springs were stiffer and forced the tires to 'toe in'.
Great write up and thanks for sharing... I need to do this on my 04 Sport model and hoping it will be very similar.
Thanks.
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