Toyota did away with the torsion bar front suspension in 1995 with the introduction of the Toyota Tacoma. A coil-over shock was used instead.This lessened the stiffness of the ride for comfort compared to the trucks made prior to the Tacoma. The coil-over shock is often called a strut because the coil spring wraps around the base of the shock. However, it does not attach to the steering knuckle like a strut does. Like a strut, the coil needs to be compressed in order to remove the shock.
Things You'll Need
- Metric wrench set
- Ratchet and metric socket set
- Coil spring compressor
- Replacement shocks
Open the hood to the Tacoma and place the truck up onto a suspension lift. If a floor jack and jack stand are to be used, remove the front tires for easier accessibility to the shocks.
Remove the lower shock retaining bolt and nut from the lower control arm bracket. Use a wrench to stabilize the head of the bolt, while removing the nut with a ratchet and socket. A hammer and punch will help the bolt out if its seat if necessary.
Relocate to the engine compartment and remove the three upper shock retaining nuts located on top of the shock tower using a ratchet and a socket. Remove the coil-over shock.
Use a portable or wall-mounted coil/strut compressor to stabilize the coil. Loosen the top shock center nut slightly. Compress the coil until the shock wiggles loose from the upper and lower seats. Remove the top shock center nut. Remove the shock from the coil.
Insert the new shock into the coil and align the bottom coil edge into the seated notch at the base of the shock. Align the upper seat properly and replace the top shock center nut. Tighten the nut down a few threads, but do not tighten completely at this time.
Release the coil/strut compressor to reapply tension to the coil spring.
Replace the coil-over shock into the upper shock tower and replace the three retaining nuts. A helper to hold the shock in place would be useful. Tighten the three retaining nuts. Reinsert the bottom shock retaining nut and bolt through the bushing into the lower control arm and tighten.
Lower the Tacoma and tighten the top shock center nut until it bottoms out. Repeat the procedure for the other side.
Tips & Warnings
- Two-wheel drive Tacomas offer a slightly different procedure. There are two lower retaining nuts and bolts. Also the stabilizer links need to be separated from the stabilizer bar and the lower control arm and ball joint need to be disconnected. Speed sensors, if applicable, also need to be disconnected. Compressing the coil and then removing and replacing the shock is the same. An alignment is always advised after replacing suspension or front end components. Although the ride height of the new shock may be minimal, it may not affect the alignments specifications. However, if the truck hasn't been aligned in a while, it wouldn't hurt to have the alignment checked and then adjusted if necessary.
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