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Old 18th March 2010, 14:08   #1
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Default Corolla Suspension Overhaul

Hi all. My 2003 Corolla is fast nearing the 80k mark and desperately needs a new set of tyres. So before I got my hands on a set of Continental CPC2 tyres I thought I should get the suspension checked. The last thing I wanted was poor suspension eating up my new tyres.

First stop Lanson Toyota, Pallikarnai. They removed both the front suspensions and reported that both of them were showing age, especially the front left and hence replacement was in order. I didn't want to take their opinions for granted and straight headed to HI REV. I had heard a lot about these guys from Nitrous and some other friends so I thought I'll let them handle the issue. On a side note I must say Krupesh's absence in Electra Automotive is really showing. The new guys though are enthusiastic don't seem to have Krupesh's touch. And that puts a rather big dent in my loyalty to Electra.

I met Chikki there at HI REV and immediately were off for a test drive. I was told that the suspension did need some work but replacement might not be required yet. I am leaving the car there first thing on monday morning. My clutch also begs replacement so might get that done there too.

Now I need some tips from the forum as to what to expect in a suspension overhaul? Is 80k premature suspension wear? Should I insist on OE part replacement or should I consider non-OE parts too? Currently the car has had its Lower arm, Ball joint, Tie rod ends replaced. Also is there any sure shot way of telling if the rear wheel bearings are gone? One bearing went bust earlier and I got it replaced, now I am hearing a very faint noise which could also be tyre noise. Any sure way of checking the same?

P.S - The recently replaced tie-rod ends have a coat of rust entirely on it! And when Electra installed it for me they said it was the OE part. Should I insist they replace it free of cost for me or should I just live with it because its just rust on the exterior of it?

Last edited by flipsyde : 18th March 2010 at 14:10.
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Old 18th March 2010, 14:12   #2
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for bearing noise check, you can jack up the rear and flip the wheel manually. if you hear the same humming sound, it would be bearing noise.
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Old 18th March 2010, 14:42   #3
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@Narayan - See thats the thing the noise is very very faint. Hardly audible. In fact its only even faintly audible between 70-80kmph and 110-120kmph.
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Old 18th March 2010, 20:52   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flipsyde View Post
Is 80k premature suspension wear? Should I insist on OE part replacement or should I consider non-OE parts too?
Your stock suspension is WAY past its prime, I can tell you that. Even though the stock suspension will continue to "work", after 40 - 50K kms, it is pretty much beyond its optimal performance envelope. The ideal suspension overhaul mark is anywhere between 40,000 - 50,000 kms.

The '03 Corolla had a lousy stock suspension setup. I'd consider brand name aftermarket components.
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Old 18th March 2010, 21:10   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Your stock suspension is WAY past its prime, I can tell you that. Even though the stock suspension will continue to "work", after 40 - 50K kms, it is pretty much beyond its optimal performance envelope. The ideal suspension overhaul mark is anywhere between 40,000 - 50,000 kms.

The '03 Corolla had a lousy stock suspension setup. I'd consider brand name aftermarket components.
I totally agree with what GTO says of the Corolla suspension. It's really bad , know that first hand because I own one.
And what after market suspension would you recommend GTO ? And indicative rough prices for the same.
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Old 19th March 2010, 12:52   #6
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@GTO-I would love to consider after market parts but the prices are a little putting off for a normal consumer. Some of the brand I have come across are KONI, Peddars and Bilstein. Correct me if I am wrong aren't most of these after market shock absorbers more performance oriented? I am looking more at comfort. That said I don't want a very bouncy setup.

I am now considering a complete overhaul anyway so can you please suggest some brand which are economically priced and are better than the OE shocks?

@ArjunRudra-Hi. Where do you get your parts replaced? At the Toyota A S S? How much has your car done?
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Old 21st March 2010, 15:18   #7
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I need a little more help with some reasonable after-market options guys. I've come to understand that the OE struts are of KYB make. I checked with methods automotive for KONI Special and FSD they retail at 39k and 49k respectively.

I have no intentions of paying that much for a suspension overhaul simply because this car is never going to see a track nor is it going to be thrown around corners like that. Please suggest something slightly better than stock which would be slightly stiffer at high speeds which is where I personally feel it needs improvement.
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Old 21st March 2010, 18:04   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flipsyde View Post
I need a little more help with some reasonable after-market options guys. I've come to understand that the OE struts are of KYB make. I checked with methods automotive for KONI Special and FSD they retail at 39k and 49k respectively.

I have no intentions of paying that much for a suspension overhaul simply because this car is never going to see a track nor is it going to be thrown around corners like that. Please suggest something slightly better than stock which would be slightly stiffer at high speeds which is where I personally feel it needs improvement.

The 9G Corolla went thru a suspension tweak in Sept 2005 and the car received a long overdue refresh with new 10 spoke alloys and LED tail lamps.

As you are not interested in after market fitments, you may want to ask Toyota's SC and confirm if those tweaked suspension components can be fitted. Not sure of those parts are available outside of the dealerships.

Cheers!

Last edited by R2D2 : 21st March 2010 at 18:17. Reason: typo
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Old 21st March 2010, 18:09   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flipsyde View Post
I need a little more help with some reasonable after-market options guys. I've come to understand that the OE struts are of KYB make. I checked with methods automotive for KONI Special and FSD they retail at 39k and 49k respectively.

I have no intentions of paying that much for a suspension overhaul simply because this car is never going to see a track nor is it going to be thrown around corners like that. Please suggest something slightly better than stock which would be slightly stiffer at high speeds which is where I personally feel it needs improvement.
Most aftermarket stuff is tuned for sporty handling and not ride.

For mild sporty, you can try to source parts from TRD used in the 180bhp Corolla XRS. Has to come from overseas though.

Now tell me why you are changing the whole control arm and not just the bush kit
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Old 21st March 2010, 23:48   #10
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@Mpower - I was told the replacement bush kits were of poor quality and that it would wear out very soon and hence I'd be paying double in labour charges when I came back to get them replaced and so I was advised to replace the entire control arm.

I don't have anyone to source it from the US for me and besides I am always scared of ordering the wrong parts. I'd much prefer buying it from any dealer in India.

@R2D2 - Thats a brilliant idea. But I was under the impression the entire suspension setup was changed for the facelift and not just the struts and springs. That said if the struts in the facelift version were interchangeable with the older car then I'd close my eyes and go for it.

And I don't think getting the newer suspension parts will be difficult in the outside market after all its a Japanese car and its almost been 5 years since the facelift.

Any other tips?? I'll be at HI-REV in less than 12 hours from now. Any advice is most appreciated. As I said earlier I don't want to blow away cash on unnecessary stuff I don't need to replace.
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Old 22nd March 2010, 07:55   #11
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Flipsyde mine is a 75k km run Corolla. I always get it serviced from Lanson .
And the suspension has become really bad.Lot of noises which keep coming up even after servicing.
Can you please tell me what you have done to your car's suspension ?
What did Chiki Suggest ?And costs for aftermarket ?
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Old 22nd March 2010, 14:19   #12
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@ArjunRudra - You'll have to wait a day. Chikki has just taken my car and said he will let me know what has to be done by the evening. I will post what he says as soon as he lets me know.
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Old 22nd March 2010, 14:42   #13
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I would have suggested to go with the dealer workshop and full replacement of required parts with OE stuff, for jobs like suspension. Unless you plan to upgrade to performance set-up. These are straight plug and play job and with OR parts another 80k kms of trouble free operation, which an aftermarket garage might not guarantee.
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Old 22nd March 2010, 19:56   #14
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@Jaggu- I totally agree which is why I have told the Chikki from HI REV to get only the OE parts for replacement and not after market parts. I have learnt my lesson the hard way, from now on I am going to insist on OE parts only.

@ArjunRudra- I got a call from Chikki HI REV in the evening and he says the rear suspensions seem OK and don't require immediate attention. Its the front left strut which has given way and has to be replaced pronto. But since suspension parts are better replaced in pairs I have asked him to replace both front struts and also check all the other suspension components against wear and see how they are holding up.

Apart from the suspension I am also getting the clutch replaced which is long overdue. It was starting to be a pain in the city. All replaced parts are OE parts. I did have some rattling issues from the door pads and the dashboard which I asked to look into. The OE struts cost Rs.2200/- each and the clutch assembly with labour around Rs.7500/-.

I did mention to Chikki clearly that I was not going splurge money on the car and so to keep the replacements to the bare essentials which is why I guess he asked me to skip replacing the rear suspensions.

I also asked him to look into the rear disc rotors which seemed like they either needed to be skimmed or replaced. I surely hope skimming is all they need.

Anything else you people think I should get checked on a 2003 Corolla which has run 80k kms? Please let me know even if I spend the cash now I'd like to be sure I have a trouble free car.
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Old 22nd March 2010, 20:43   #15
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Hi Flipsyde,

Where is your mechanic getting these OE parts from ? As far as i know, these parts are only available with authorised service centers & Toyota doesn't supply these parts to anyone else in India. Are they sourcing a clutch set & struts from overseas ?

Toyota had corrected the problem of harsh ride to some extent by modifying the suspension in the face lift version. Am not sure whether both shock absorber design and coil springs damping rate was changed. You can check with the A** for more details.

The Corolla comes with a sealed 3rd gen rear hub bearing and doesn't require any maintenance. It should ideally last the life of your car, with a fair bit of bashing around on rough roads.Check the link below, you will get more details
http://www.nsk.com/products/automoti...hub/index.html

Last edited by nirmaljusdoit : 22nd March 2010 at 20:47.
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