Improving handling on 2003 Camry -- struts recommendation

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Old 23 Jan 2006, 11:38 pm   #1 (permalink)
Ron
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Default Improving handling on 2003 Camry -- struts recommendation

Just replaced the struts with KYBs on my aging 98 Corolla and it handles
great, though the ride has stiffened up a lot. The lack of body lean and
excellent cornering control is amazing.

Now I am looking to perhaps install aftermarket struts in my 2003 Camry LE
to reduce body lean and swaying. Very soft, Buick like handling that is
fine over bumpy roads, but "floaty" on normal roads. I would like stiffer
struts than OEM for better handling, but maintain ride composure over bumpy
roads. Any recommendations? Perhaps installing SE struts in my LE ?(the
Toyota dealer does show different part numbers) Monore Sensatracs? KYB
GR2s?


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Old 24 Jan 2006, 09:00 am   #2 (permalink)
Daniel
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Default Re: Improving handling on 2003 Camry -- struts recommendation

instead of focusing on the struts - why don't you focus on the
stabilizer bars aka sway bars - they limit body roll in corners with
minimal effect on straight ahead ride quality. If both wheels move up
or down, no effect, it does stiffen the straight ahead ride when one
wheel moves though, but less than stiffer struts which make every bump
feel harsher.
Perhaps start with stiffer bushings in the stock sway bars, (cheap,
simple and easy to change) then go to larger diameter bars front and
rear if needed.
Search the Internet for additional information on sway bars - there are
sites geared for racers that get into the detais of suspension tuning -
for example how to correlate front and rear sizes for best handling,
and which to change first. Some found stiffening the rear bar first
made the greatest improvement but you will need to preserve a balance.
That's why I suggested firmer bushings in the stock bars first. I think
that's what Toyota does to differentiate the SE model from the LE. You
might check the Toyota parts counter to see if you could just retrofit
SE suspension components to your LE.
SE being "sport edition" and LE being "luxury edition."

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Old 24 Jan 2006, 11:14 am   #3 (permalink)
Jason James
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Default Re: Improving handling on 2003 Camry -- struts recommendation


"Daniel" <nospampls2002@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1138114851.069354.245290@o13g2000cwo.googlegr oups.com...
> instead of focusing on the struts - why don't you focus on the
> stabilizer bars aka sway bars - they limit body roll in corners with
> minimal effect on straight ahead ride quality. If both wheels move up
> or down, no effect, it does stiffen the straight ahead ride when one
> wheel moves though, but less than stiffer struts which make every bump
> feel harsher.
> Perhaps start with stiffer bushings in the stock sway bars, (cheap,
> simple and easy to change) then go to larger diameter bars front and
> rear if needed.
> Search the Internet for additional information on sway bars - there are
> sites geared for racers that get into the detais of suspension tuning -
> for example how to correlate front and rear sizes for best handling,
> and which to change first. Some found stiffening the rear bar first
> made the greatest improvement but you will need to preserve a balance.
> That's why I suggested firmer bushings in the stock bars first. I think
> that's what Toyota does to differentiate the SE model from the LE. You
> might check the Toyota parts counter to see if you could just retrofit
> SE suspension components to your LE.
> SE being "sport edition" and LE being "luxury edition."


Excellent advice. You dont have to sacrifice ride quality to stop a car
body-rolling. You simply add a stiffer roll-bar (sway-bar).

If you wnat to limit "pitching" and wallowing,..then the springs and shocks
will need attention (they have to be matched other wise stiffer shocks with
a much weaker spring, will overload the shock and give a horrible ride)

..

Jason


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Old 24 Jan 2006, 06:46 pm   #4 (permalink)
Hachiroku
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Default Re: Improving handling on 2003 Camry -- struts recommendation

On Tue, 24 Jan 2006 07:00:51 -0800, Daniel wrote:

> instead of focusing on the struts - why don't you focus on the
> stabilizer bars aka sway bars -


That was going to be my recommendation. It's already got the KYBs. Only
springs and sway bars remain.


--
A young girl I know told me I drive like an old man

I told her, actually, I drive like Mario Andretti.
It's just that too many other people on the road
drive like Paul Tracy...

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Old 24 Jan 2006, 10:00 pm   #5 (permalink)
ma_twain
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Default Re: Improving handling on 2003 Camry -- struts recommendation

Toyota has its own "performance" parts, its called TRD. These parts are
made for Toyota to specifically fit certain Toyotas - no guessing.

Hachiroku wrote:

> On Tue, 24 Jan 2006 07:00:51 -0800, Daniel wrote:
>
>
>>instead of focusing on the struts - why don't you focus on the
>>stabilizer bars aka sway bars -
>>

>
> That was going to be my recommendation. It's already got the KYBs. Only
> springs and sway bars remain.
>
>
>


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Old 25 Jan 2006, 09:47 pm   #6 (permalink)
Wolfgang
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Default Re: Improving handling on 2003 Camry -- struts recommendation

The SE model also has a strut bar --- a bar that connect the struts on
either side to reduce body flex.

"ma_twain" <ma_twain@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:43D6F7F0.4060405@yahoo.com...
> Toyota has its own "performance" parts, its called TRD. These parts are
> made for Toyota to specifically fit certain Toyotas - no guessing.
>
> Hachiroku wrote:
>
>> On Tue, 24 Jan 2006 07:00:51 -0800, Daniel wrote:
>>
>>
>>>instead of focusing on the struts - why don't you focus on the
>>>stabilizer bars aka sway bars -
>>>

>>
>> That was going to be my recommendation. It's already got the KYBs. Only
>> springs and sway bars remain.

>



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Old 25 Jan 2006, 11:18 pm   #7 (permalink)
Ron
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Default Re: Improving handling on 2003 Camry -- struts recommendation

Sounds like a good plan. I crawled under the car and studied the stabilizer
bar. The rear bushings look easy enough, but the front looks tough. The
bolts for the front stabilizer bracket are on the hidden upper side and held
on with square nuts underneath. The bushing seems to be held in place along
the bar by a crimped metal clamp. Clearance is tight. How do you replace
these easily?


"Daniel" <nospampls2002@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1138114851.069354.245290@o13g2000cwo.googlegr oups.com...
> instead of focusing on the struts - why don't you focus on the
> stabilizer bars aka sway bars - they limit body roll in corners with
> minimal effect on straight ahead ride quality. If both wheels move up
> or down, no effect, it does stiffen the straight ahead ride when one
> wheel moves though, but less than stiffer struts which make every bump
> feel harsher.
> Perhaps start with stiffer bushings in the stock sway bars, (cheap,
> simple and easy to change) then go to larger diameter bars front and
> rear if needed.
> Search the Internet for additional information on sway bars - there are
> sites geared for racers that get into the detais of suspension tuning -
> for example how to correlate front and rear sizes for best handling,
> and which to change first. Some found stiffening the rear bar first
> made the greatest improvement but you will need to preserve a balance.
> That's why I suggested firmer bushings in the stock bars first. I think
> that's what Toyota does to differentiate the SE model from the LE. You
> might check the Toyota parts counter to see if you could just retrofit
> SE suspension components to your LE.
> SE being "sport edition" and LE being "luxury edition."
>



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Old 28 Jan 2006, 02:20 am   #8 (permalink)
johngdole@hotmail.com
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Default Re: Improving handling on 2003 Camry -- struts recommendation

Ummm, KYBs (Keep Your Bilsteins) are used as OEMs these days. The
bargain basement OEM struts should be changed around 50K miles before
too much of the damping goes away and leave you with a boat to handle
as you have found out.

But the GR-2s are cheap struts without modern valving and priced
accordingly. If you want to stick with KYB, get the Gas Adjust if it's
available for your model. But they have only 3-stage valving, not very
advanced by today's standards.

Bilstein HD or Sport are excellent choices if you are for handling. But
these are fairly stiff but you can crank it over like you are on rails.
I like their softer Grand Touring class. www.bilstein.com

Monroes Reflex is now becoming available. These will replace the
Sensatrac line which has older position-sensitive damping. Monroes are
softer struts than Bilsteins but are good choices if you like a softer
ride. Get their Quick-Strut for faster replacement. www.monroe.com

Gabriel Ultra is similar to the Reflex with inertia sensitive damping,
It's got 9 stages of variable valving and they deal with road
conditions better than the Reflex or KYB. With your preference, do
check these out at www.gabriel.com

Just about all aftermarket struts come with lifetime warranties today.
If you are lowering, use only those approved or they'll wear out in no
time.

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Old 28 Jan 2006, 10:01 pm   #9 (permalink)
Ron
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Default Re: Improving handling on 2003 Camry -- struts recommendation

Thanks for an excellent reply!

I think I will stay away from the KYBs. The GR-2s on my Corolla are stiff
and a bit bouncy. I have read very little good things about Gabriel
struts/shocks, but the Ultra looks very promising. Some folks are saying
that the Bilstein Grand Touring shocks are also somewhat stiff. Overall I
am looking to maintain much of the Camry's feel on bumps and smooth ride,
but better handling and body control.

<johngdole@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1138436433.845540.43320@g14g2000cwa.googlegro ups.com...
> Ummm, KYBs (Keep Your Bilsteins) are used as OEMs these days. The
> bargain basement OEM struts should be changed around 50K miles before
> too much of the damping goes away and leave you with a boat to handle
> as you have found out.
>
> But the GR-2s are cheap struts without modern valving and priced
> accordingly. If you want to stick with KYB, get the Gas Adjust if it's
> available for your model. But they have only 3-stage valving, not very
> advanced by today's standards.
>
> Bilstein HD or Sport are excellent choices if you are for handling. But
> these are fairly stiff but you can crank it over like you are on rails.
> I like their softer Grand Touring class. www.bilstein.com
>
> Monroes Reflex is now becoming available. These will replace the
> Sensatrac line which has older position-sensitive damping. Monroes are
> softer struts than Bilsteins but are good choices if you like a softer
> ride. Get their Quick-Strut for faster replacement. www.monroe.com
>
> Gabriel Ultra is similar to the Reflex with inertia sensitive damping,
> It's got 9 stages of variable valving and they deal with road
> conditions better than the Reflex or KYB. With your preference, do
> check these out at www.gabriel.com
>
> Just about all aftermarket struts come with lifetime warranties today.
> If you are lowering, use only those approved or they'll wear out in no
> time.
>



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Old 30 Jan 2006, 12:25 am   #10 (permalink)
johngdole@hotmail.com
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Default Re: Improving handling on 2003 Camry -- struts recommendation

Yes, even the Bilsteins' softest GTs are somewhat stiff compared to
what many consumers like. But they sure offer the state of the art in
terms of suspension engineering. These guys know how to build struts.

I personally don't care much for KYBs (Keep Your Bilsteins). The
bargain basement KYBs are bouncy because they don't have much of a
piston valve to let oil through compared to the other smart valving
inertia sensing struts taking the main stream today.

Monroe Reflex, was introducted in 1999. The Gabriel Ultras, introduced
in 2003 won the Popular Mechanics's 2003 Editor's Choice Awards. True,
like the Reflex, the Gabriel Ultra is not the class of Gabriels that we
used to know (or don't want to know). I've read both good and bad
reviews for both companies, depending on preference I guess. But the
smart valving technology sure is in the right direction.

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