Toyota Sienna: New Rear Shocks

After the last annual inspection, the Nice Man told me that the rear shocks were rusted out and, although they still worked and he couldn’t fail the van, he wished he could. After 13 years and 88 k miles, yeah, they looked pretty grim:

Sienna OEM rear shocks - removed
Sienna OEM rear shocks – removed

The loose steel snippet came from the bottom of the outer shield; it had completely rusted off and dropped free around the lower mount. I suppose that was what got his attention.

Anyhow, the removal went astonishingly well:

  • Back the van out of the garage until the wheels line up with drop to the driveway apron
  • Pop inside dress covers over the struts
  • Remove top jam nuts, cushion, cups
  • Remove bottom bolt from wheel carrier (easily!)
  • Spritz penetrating on rubber bushing
  • Compress shock, twist until bushing slides free

And the installation was equally smooth:

  • Install shock on wheel carrier
  • Torque bottom bolt (29 ft·lb)
  • Aim strut at hole in body
  • Cut restraining wire, guide strut through hole
  • Install OEM bottom cup, new cushion & cup, new nylock nut
  • Tighten to same length as OEM nut
  • Install dress covers

The OEM cup fits snugly into the body hole to center the strut, so it seemed like a Good Idea to reuse it. Despite the rust stain inside the body, it was in reasonable condition.

You’re supposed to jack the van up while fiddling around underneath, but the driveway slopes down from the garage enough to provide access. I did chock the wheels, of course, but not jacking the van and putting it on stands looked like a major safety win right there.

The bottom view, which shows the effect of a dozen New York State winters on ordinary steel:

Sienna replacement rear shocks - bottom
Sienna replacement rear shocks – bottom

The top view, which shows that the bushings did leak a bit of water over the last decade:

Sienna replacement rear shocks - top
Sienna replacement rear shocks – top


I suppose, just for completeness, I should do the front shocks, but those aren’t nearly as easy and I’d have to start by buying a spring compressor.