Saturday, September 14, 2013

Strutting around in a Toyota echo?

I have been putting the guy that owns this car off for awhile. He bought the parts and I finally had the time to fit it into the garage. It needed all 4 struts changed. I pulled it in Friday night and here is the process to change them. It is about the easiest strut job you will do.
 These echos are goofy little cars. Isaac calls it the white iguana for some reason. I think it needs it's top chopped about 6 inches to improve the looks. It just looks top heavy to me. Anyways, pop the hood so you can get to the 6 nuts on the top of the struts.
 Pull the wheel off and disconnect the brake line bracket and the 2 bolts that hold the strut to the steering knuckle. an Impact gun makes fast work of this.
 Next, remove the 3 nuts from the strut. You can take the time to remove the upper panel if you want. I didn't bother with it. I just pulled the nuts off using a gear wrench. Just make sure you don't drop the nuts behind the strut tower. The strut just pulls out now. Really simple and easy. If you bought new struts that are completely assembled you could just slap them in now. If not keep reading.
I am too cheap to buy struts assembled so I swap the springs out. If you do this, get a good spring compressor. This one works great and is only about 60 dollars from harbor freight. Compress the spring and remove the top nut of the strut. Keep an eye on the spring because it has the potential of hurting you if it comes apart. After you remove the nut, take the strut mount off and the top spring plate. Remove the strut and the bellows now.
 Here is everything disassembled. Now just install the strut in the reverse order. These springs are tiny and you almost don't even need a spring compressor because they are so small. Ha Ha. I should mention that it will save you some time if you carefully mark the spring location as it relates to the strut and the upper spring plate. If you forgot to do that you can still get it done with a little time testing how to fit it together. It's just a lot easier to match up some paint marks.
 Here it is all assembled and ready to go back in the car. Place it in the car with the upper 3 nuts first. Then you can install the 2 lower bolts and the brake line.
 All done on this side. The other side is just as easy. This really is about the easiest strut job you can do.
Now on to the back ones. The back ones are actually just shocks so they are even easier to do. The hardest part of this job is getting the back seat out. The bottom cushion just pulls up in 2 spots and then move it forward. Push the seat belts out of the seat and put it somewhere out of the way. This seat looks pretty gross. Not sure whats on the seat but I tried not to touch it.
 After the bottom cushion is out, remove the 3 screws on the lower part of the seat. You can then just pull the back seat up and it comes right out. Whoever owned this car previously really liked slim jims. There were about 5 wrappers under the seat.
 Here it is with the back seat removed. Now you have access to the nuts on the shocks.
 Here it is.
The easiest thing to do is use an impact wrench to remove the nuts. It makes quick work out of it and you won't have to worry about the shock spinning.
 Make sure you keep the rubber bushing and washer. The new shocks didn't come with them.
 Hop under the car now and remove the lower nut. The shock will just pull off now.
 New and old next to each other. The old ones had no spring back left to them so it was good they were changed.
Remove this part of the old shock. You need to reuse this also.
 Just slip it on the new shock and your ready to install it. Put the rod through the hole and compress the shock to install it on the shock mount. Install the nut and your done underneath the car. Go back into the car and install the top of the shocks. Re-install the seats and your done.
 We finished just as a big rain storm hit. It rained hard for awhile. Me and Isaac just sat and watched it until it stopped. We had to road test it so that was a perfect time to go get some lunch.
 We hit del taco and this was how all the parking lots looked around the area. The storm dropped a lot of water in a short time. The echo tested good so we headed for home.
We were able to do a bunch of other stuff today but I will blog about that later. It was nice to get the rain and it kept things cool today. If you need to change the struts on a Toyota echo, it is a really easy job. If you own one, well, all I can say is I'm sorry. Until next time, Keep the wheels spinning.

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