Strut brand recomendation needed/'91 Camry Wagon

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Old 07 Dec 2006, 02:18 pm   #1 (permalink)
Ernie
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Default Strut brand recomendation needed/'91 Camry Wagon



I need new struts for a high mileage '91 Camry Wagon, I-4, auto. I
drive about 8 miles a day on a dirt country road. I am looking for
something long lasting and not "sport" valving. I have done a search
on this group and notice Johngd does not recommend KYB's which seems
like the most readily available strut for my car on all the mail order
outfits. Anyone have any opinion on the Monroe Sensatrac?
Monroematics? Gabriels seem to get positve reviews from you
guys...any suggestions on where to get a good deal on them.

My car also makes an intermittent growling/banging noise from the right
rear. I found that this happenned on some later models (newer than
mine). How can I tell if this noise is from the strut or one of
bearing plate or other part? thanks for any help possible.

Ernie

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Old 07 Dec 2006, 05:46 pm   #2 (permalink)
Derald
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Default Re: Strut brand recomendation needed/'91 Camry Wagon

"Ernie" <bbear505@aol.com> wrote:

>Anyone have any opinion on the Monroe Sensatrac?

I had great success with Monroe Sensatrac on all four corners of a
(recently-deceased @ 327,700.3 miles) 1975 Corolla wagon as well as on a
1991 Ford Crown Vic that's still in the family. A mix of improved and
unimproved rural roadways for much of the time. The struts/shocks on the
'Yota were Sears' warranty replacement units. They seriously
outperformed the Sears Roadhandlers (Gabriel) which they replaced. The
Roadhandlers, in their turn, were warranty replacements for Sears
Steadyriders (Gabriel) which were originally installed in 1983. I
definitely do the lifetime warranty thing....
At present, DW&I are shopping for a Toyota wagon to replace the
dead Corolla and the sensatracs will be the next purchase after Michelin
tires and F/E alignment. Sadly, I know of no one that sells lifetime
alignment service nowadays.
--
HTH,
Derald
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Old 07 Dec 2006, 08:10 pm   #3 (permalink)
johngdole@hotmail.com
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Default Re: Strut brand recomendation needed/'91 Camry Wagon

After looking at both the Monroe Sensatracs and Gabriel Ultras (not the
low end re-boxed struts from either company), I went with Ultras.
Excellent struts that are more comfortable at lower speeds and offer
better control on highways, especially clover ramp where oem struts
just wimp out half way into the turn and the car leans. A set of four
struts w/ "buy-3-get-1-free" coupon is around $240-260 at AutoZone.
Installed myself with new Monroe strut mounts. If your wagon uses
cartridges it should be cheaper but the AutoZone coupon may not apply.

See the G-Force story video:
http://www.gabriel.com/gforce1/eng/default.htm
http://www.autozone.com

However, you may also need strut mounts and rubber boots and spring
seats springs and bearings. In such cases, the Monroe Quick Strut is an
assembly with all new parts (and a new spring too) is more cost
effective. I would have gotten it if it weren't for the Gabriel Ultra.

http://www.monroe.com

The new Monroe Reflex is supposed to be pretty good, but may not be
available for your wagon. Reflex will replace the Sensatracs as the
latter ramps down production. But I'm just not sure about fiber glass
"Fluron" bonded pistons in Monroe units.

KYB GR2 is stiff and bouncy because it's got primitive valving. IMO
it's not worth your time putting these in and the a.k.a. "Keep Your
Bilsteins" belong in the trash.

Most aftermarket struts carry lifetime warranty. So if it leaks, take
it back. Labor is usually $50 per corner if you don't install it
yourself. Alignment is needed afterwards, find a good shop with a
Hunter alignment platform.



Ernie wrote:
> I need new struts for a high mileage '91 Camry Wagon, I-4, auto. I
> drive about 8 miles a day on a dirt country road. I am looking for
> something long lasting and not "sport" valving. I have done a search
> on this group and notice Johngd does not recommend KYB's which seems
> like the most readily available strut for my car on all the mail order
> outfits. Anyone have any opinion on the Monroe Sensatrac?
> Monroematics? Gabriels seem to get positve reviews from you
> guys...any suggestions on where to get a good deal on them.
>
> My car also makes an intermittent growling/banging noise from the right
> rear. I found that this happenned on some later models (newer than
> mine). How can I tell if this noise is from the strut or one of
> bearing plate or other part? thanks for any help possible.
>
> Ernie


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Old 07 Dec 2006, 08:39 pm   #4 (permalink)
johngdole@hotmail.com
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Default Re: Strut brand recomendation needed/'91 Camry Wagon

The Sensatracs with "grooved piston rod" for "positional sensitive"
valving will be phased out and replaced by the new and much improved
Reflex. The Reflex has an impact sensor that softens the ride above I
think 1.5G bumps. But this means the strut will be stiffer at other
times!

The problem with "positional sensitive" valving is that if you load up
the car you'll go past the grooves and end up with a stiff ride. So I'd
go with automatic multistage inertia sensitive valving like the Gabriel
Ultra (not any of their low end struts). BTW Monroe also makes a Rancho
10-stage inertia sensitive unit for trucks with good reviews.

The Reflex is reported to improve pitch and roll stability by 12-18%.
Never tried them, as I've not test driven a late model Nissan Altima
with an otherwise unimpressive suspension system, uhmmm like the Camry.
But I would have gotten the Monroe Quick Strut with all new parts
(boots, rubber spring seats, new spring, fron strut bearing, and mount)
if Relfex were used instead of Sensatracs.

There were good reviews for the older Sensatracs and I'm not against
it. I just decided to pick something without grooved piston rod and
fiber glass bonded piston is all. And IMO any non-racing strut without
inertia sensitive valving system of any kind (and I don't mean a
primitive "valve" like a fixed orfice) belong in the trash.




Derald wrote:
> "Ernie" <bbear505@aol.com> wrote:
> I had great success with Monroe Sensatrac on all four corners of a
> (recently-deceased @ 327,700.3 miles) 1975 Corolla wagon as well as on a
> 1991 Ford Crown Vic that's still in the family. A mix of improved and
> unimproved rural roadways for much of the time. The struts/shocks on the
> 'Yota were Sears' warranty replacement units. They seriously
> outperformed the Sears Roadhandlers (Gabriel) which they replaced. The
> Roadhandlers, in their turn, were warranty replacements for Sears
> Steadyriders (Gabriel) which were originally installed in 1983. I
> definitely do the lifetime warranty thing....
> At present, DW&I are shopping for a Toyota wagon to replace the
> dead Corolla and the sensatracs will be the next purchase after Michelin
> tires and F/E alignment. Sadly, I know of no one that sells lifetime
> alignment service nowadays.
> --
> HTH,
> Derald


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Old 08 Dec 2006, 12:08 pm   #5 (permalink)
Daniel
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Default Re: Strut brand recomendation needed/'91 Camry Wagon

Ernie wrote:
> I need new struts for a high mileage '91 Camry Wagon, I-4, auto.

============
Why not install genuine Toyota struts?
Personally, I do not like the altered ride characteristics of the
aftermarket brands. If I'd known the nearly new Monroes installed by
the prior owner were going to be so popular, I could have kept them for
resale when I had them replaced. Just didn't like the harsh jolt at a
certain bridge crossing every morning and I couldn't believe Toyota
designed the car that way.
When I replaced the shocks in my 1977 Toyota truck it made a huge
improvement in ride quality and I was impressed that I had to count the
number of leaf springs in the rear to get a price quote because Toyota
manufactures different shocks for different applications.
I suspect the aftermarket manufacturers have a more restricted product
line. I don't know, but do they manufacture different struts for 4
cylinder and 6 cylinder or do they simply fit "93 Camry"?
You can shop online for prices.
For a banging noise in the rear also check the stabilizer bar bushings.

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Old 08 Dec 2006, 02:09 pm   #6 (permalink)
EdV
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Default Re: Strut brand recomendation needed/'91 Camry Wagon


Toyota's lifetime guarantee covers Genuine Toyota mufflers, exhaust
pipes, shocks and struts installed at Toyota dealerships. If you pay
for the installation of a part covered by Toyota's lifetime guarantee,
and under normal driving conditions the part fails, bring your vehicle
back to an authorized Toyota dealership and the lifetime part will be
replaced at no charge. The Toyota Lifetime Guarantee remains in force
as long as you own the vehicle. The only requirement for this lifetime
part replacement is a copy of the original service repair order as
proof of purchase.

When you need to install a muffler, exhaust pipe, shocks or struts in
your Toyota vehicle, look for the commitment that stands behind them.

For additional details, please contact your local Toyota dealership.

What Is Not Covered Under This Guarantee:

1. Repairs and adjustments required as a result of misuse (i.e.
racing, overloading), negligence, modification, alteration, tampering,
disconnection, improper adjustments or repairs, accidents and use of
add-on parts/materials.

2. Mufflers, shock absorbers, struts and strut cartridges installed
prior to January 1, 1990. Exhaust pipes installed prior to January 1,
1992.

3. Parts installed on a non-Toyota vehicle.

Note: Valid only in the continental U.S. and Alaska

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Old 09 Dec 2006, 03:14 am   #7 (permalink)
m Ransley
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Default Re: Strut brand recomendation needed/'91 Camry Wagon

My Monrow Sensacraps were bad from Day2, going hard at cold temps, now
rock hard at 0f, of course I have a Lifetime Warranty crapolla but Labor
is 400+. I have 50000 on mine and they are junk-o-maticks-senseacraps-by
Monroe

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Old 09 Dec 2006, 12:08 pm   #8 (permalink)
johngdole@hotmail.com
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Default Re: Strut brand recomendation needed/'91 Camry Wagon

I heard that about Sensatracs, but some drivers claim good experience
with those. Now the Sensatracs are being phased out in favor of the new
Reflex. That with fiber glass "fluon" bonded pistons and "grooved"
piston rod made me back off from Sensatracs, but I am using Monroe
strut mounts Gabriel's top line "Ultra". Gabriel Ultras work very well,
giving more comfort at low speeds without the harshness and better
control at highway speeds than Toyota struts.

IMO, Sensatracs are like Fram oil filters. Some love them but many
others don't.


m Ransley wrote:
> My Monrow Sensacraps were bad from Day2, going hard at cold temps, now
> rock hard at 0f, of course I have a Lifetime Warranty crapolla but Labor
> is 400+. I have 50000 on mine and they are junk-o-maticks-senseacraps-by
> Monroe


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Old 09 Dec 2006, 11:46 pm   #9 (permalink)
EdV
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Default Re: Strut brand recomendation needed/'91 Camry Wagon

is 400 labor bad if you get the struts free? How much would another
shop charge you if you buy new struts and install them. I think both
would even each other out. plus you get to stay in the coffee shop and
pigout on donuts and coffee. hehe. what I actually mean is get the
toyota guarantee and original parts.

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Old 10 Dec 2006, 03:24 pm   #10 (permalink)
johngdole@hotmail.com
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Default Re: Strut brand recomendation needed/'91 Camry Wagon

Each toyota strut installed is about $250. The dealer can swap it out a
few times and still come out ahead. Most shops charge $50 labor per
corner. I can do one in 30 minutes. So bottom rank new hires are
probably paid $5 of labor to change a strut.

It's fine for those who likes to use OEM parts, but OEM struts were
never much a performer for me. Toyota will charge $100 for alignment.


EdV wrote:
> is 400 labor bad if you get the struts free? How much would another
> shop charge you if you buy new struts and install them. I think both
> would even each other out. plus you get to stay in the coffee shop and
> pigout on donuts and coffee. hehe. what I actually mean is get the
> toyota guarantee and original parts.


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