96 Camry harsh ride

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Old 26 Feb 2005, 03:05 am   #1 (permalink)
Winston
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Default 96 Camry harsh ride

Hi all.

My 96 Camry wagon has always had a harsher ride than any
other car I have ever driven. My 2000 Camry sedan has a
much quieter, cushier feel, for example. (Yes, I am an
old fart).

This is the second set of tires for the 96. They are
Michelin Symmetrys inflated to 32 PSI.

The 2000 also has a second set of tires, but no matter
what tires I put on it with whatever inflation pressure
I use, it always has a much less jarring ride than the
'96.

The owner's manual and shop manual do not indicate that
there is any adjustment possible with the stock struts.

What is the best way to smooth out this 96 so that it
is not so lively?

Thanks

--Winston
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Old 26 Feb 2005, 04:05 am   #2 (permalink)
kiselink@mindspring.com
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Default Re: 96 Camry harsh ride


>This is the second set of tires for the 96. They are
>Michelin Symmetrys inflated to 32 PSI.


I would presume Michelin has an assortment of different tire
qualities.

Tires are rated for grip and other criteria resulting in different
tradeoffs. A hard tire may last longer but give a poorer ride.

My car was originally equiped with some Michelin tire. I tried to
save a few bucks and used a different tire. The ride was horrible and
so was the grip. I went back to the original tires.

Although the ride is great, the tire is expensive and the longevity is
not so good.

(I've heard that in general sports car tires have short lifes even if
you baby the car - trade off between grip and longevity).
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Old 26 Feb 2005, 08:59 am   #3 (permalink)
m Ransley
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Default Re: 96 Camry harsh ride

Struts can go bad by going hard. Mine were very jaring at 60000m New
struts fixed it fine

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Old 27 Feb 2005, 07:53 pm   #4 (permalink)
Art
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Default Re: 96 Camry harsh ride

One thing to check, which is unlikely, is for spacers in the springs. They
should have been removed during dealer prep but sometimes they forget. They
are used to stabilize the car during shipping.


"Winston" <Winston@BigBrother.net> wrote in message
news:y4GdnQF2IN1Spr3fRVn-jg@speakeasy.net...
> Hi all.
>
> My 96 Camry wagon has always had a harsher ride than any
> other car I have ever driven. My 2000 Camry sedan has a
> much quieter, cushier feel, for example. (Yes, I am an
> old fart).
>
> This is the second set of tires for the 96. They are
> Michelin Symmetrys inflated to 32 PSI.
>
> The 2000 also has a second set of tires, but no matter
> what tires I put on it with whatever inflation pressure
> I use, it always has a much less jarring ride than the
> '96.
>
> The owner's manual and shop manual do not indicate that
> there is any adjustment possible with the stock struts.
>
> What is the best way to smooth out this 96 so that it
> is not so lively?
>
> Thanks
>
> --Winston



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Old 27 Feb 2005, 09:22 pm   #5 (permalink)
Winston
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Default Re: 96 Camry harsh ride

Art wrote:
> One thing to check, which is unlikely, is for spacers in the springs. They
> should have been removed during dealer prep but sometimes they forget. They
> are used to stabilize the car during shipping.
>
>
> "Winston" <Winston@BigBrother.net> wrote in message
> news:y4GdnQF2IN1Spr3fRVn-jg@speakeasy.net...
>
>>Hi all.
>>
>>My 96 Camry wagon has always had a harsher ride than any
>>other car I have ever driven. My 2000 Camry sedan has a
>>much quieter, cushier feel, for example.


(...)

Thanks I will have a look at that.

--Winston
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Old 01 Mar 2005, 07:49 am   #6 (permalink)
Daniel
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Default Re: 96 Camry harsh ride

Replace the struts.
Uncommon, but even brand new Toyota struts can occasionally be
defective out of the box. (or installed on a new vehicle)
Have an old Toyota truck where shocks froze up causing very harsh ride,
and also purchased new struts from the dealer where one was noisy and
replaced under warranty immediately after installation.
BTW, replacement of shocks on the truck made a tremendous improvement,
and with the strut replacement under warranty on the car, they're still
working great - good damping control but smooth ride quality.

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Old 01 Mar 2005, 04:47 pm   #7 (permalink)
Winston
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Default Re: 96 Camry harsh ride

Daniel wrote:
> Replace the struts.
> Uncommon, but even brand new Toyota struts can occasionally be
> defective out of the box. (or installed on a new vehicle)
> Have an old Toyota truck where shocks froze up causing very harsh ride,
> and also purchased new struts from the dealer where one was noisy and
> replaced under warranty immediately after installation.
> BTW, replacement of shocks on the truck made a tremendous improvement,
> and with the strut replacement under warranty on the car, they're still
> working great - good damping control but smooth ride quality.


That makes sense.

I've never been burned by genuine Toyota replacement parts but I'm
very unhappy that this car that I bought *brand new* should have this
issue. The car is out of warranty.

Rather than risk installing parts that were as defective as the struts
originally shipped, who would you recommend to supply a set of
struts that behave properly? KYB? Koni?

Thanks

--Winston
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Old 03 Mar 2005, 08:57 am   #8 (permalink)
Daniel
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Default Re: 96 Camry harsh ride

who would you recommend to supply a set of
struts that behave properly? KYB? Koni?
------------
I am a firm believer in original equipment, genuine Toyota parts.
There is no risk if you have Toyota install them because the
replacements come with a lifetime material and labor warranty. That's
what happened in my case - one made a knocking sound out of the box and
the mechanic checked everything else before finally deciding it had to
be the new strut, but that is the only time I've ever had any problem
with a new Toyota part, so I expect this is extremely rare. My
circumstances were perhaps slightly unusual. I had just purchased the
car that month. Today, I'd be doing the work myself. I was replacing
the Monroe Sensatrac struts in like new condition installed by the
previous owner because there was a certain bridge transition I drove
daily that sent a jolt all the way up through the steering wheel and I
couldn't believe the original Toyota struts would be that harsh.
I'd had aftermarket shocks on other cars, and they never softened up.
Seems to me, my personal opinion only, that a lot of people think a
harsher ride means better handling, but I'm not convinced that is true.
The Toyota parts are designed specifically for your car and should give
the best overall compromise between ride quality and good handling.
They work with the stabilizer bar dimension, and tire size on your
exact model. The stock struts are filled with an inert gas (nitrogen I
think) to reduce internal oil foaming and resultant fade in damping
characteristics.
I was very impressed when purchasing shock absorbers for my Toyota
truck, I had to go out and count the number of leaf springs in the rear
to get the exactly right part. Would expect that generic aftermarket
parts probably don't even differentiate between four and six cylinder
Camrys. Also, the companies you mention may not even offer struts for
your vehicle. Plus you're likely to get a harder ride (over stock)
which doesn't sound like what you want.
There may have been something funny going on with my individual struts
anyway. I felt the local dealer service department prices were just way
too high, and found a better price for installation in the next city,
but had a good relationship with the parts department, so I purchased
the struts and rubber accordion dust shield/ mounting pads, there.
Problem was, they only had one in stock and got the second from another
dealer in a city to the North near the ocean. I suspect that was the
bad strut and will never know if they "unloaded" a questionable part on
the other dealer or was just an innocent mistake. In any event, the
third dealer, who installed my parts, replaced the defective new strut
with one from their inventory at no cost.
---
If I was doing it again today, I'd probably replace the springs at the
same time.

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Old 03 Mar 2005, 09:39 pm   #9 (permalink)
Winston
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Default Re: 96 Camry harsh ride

Daniel wrote:
> who would you recommend to supply a set of
> struts that behave properly? KYB? Koni?
> ------------
> I am a firm believer in original equipment, genuine Toyota parts.
> There is no risk if you have Toyota install them because the
> replacements come with a lifetime material and labor warranty.


(...) Thanks, Daniel. I read your entire post.

What will it cost to replace all four at a dealer?
It's over $600 just for the parts!

--Winston
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Old 04 Mar 2005, 08:22 am   #10 (permalink)
Daniel
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Default Re: 96 Camry harsh ride

Try just working on the front first. Most of the weight is there, and
most of the wear would be there, and it sounds like your problem was
there.
Really no cost savings in doing all at once anyway.
Check several dealers for price. Could be worth driving some distance
if the savings justify it and you may find prices vary considerably.

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