4x4Wire TrailTalk

97 4Runner Rear Coil Spring Question

Posted By: brink

97 4Runner Rear Coil Spring Question - 04/16/13 01:58 AM

Hello All,
My 4Runner is a 1997 SR5, all stock, 138,000 miles. The rear end is sagging, a common issue as far as I have researched. I want to replace the rear coil springs. Can anyone recommend good stock type replacements that will bring the rear back up? All I have found on this site is for high lift rock crawler applications. I tow a small 17ft fiberglass boat. I replaced the rear shocks last year with stock type. Thanks in advance!
Posted By: kewlynx

Re: 97 4Runner Rear Coil Spring Question - 04/16/13 04:40 AM

What might work for you is an add-a-leaf kit.

I know Rancho was real good about supplying for the older Toyotas, but see now they pretty much play to the Tundra, Tacos, and new FJs these days for that year.

I did a google and found a few things; let us know what you find; my '99 is beginning to look like a butt-sag candidate too. Tow a boat on occasion; haul a trailer with materials all the time.
Posted By: Greg_Canada

Re: 97 4Runner Rear Coil Spring Question - 04/16/13 02:37 PM

You can get new OEM springs from toyota. I think sonoran steel sells them (99' highlander springs)
Or you can order MOOG springs from rockauto.com
Posted By: Dandeman

Re: 97 4Runner Rear Coil Spring Question - 04/16/13 02:54 PM

Another low cost solution to consider is using air shocks.. I've used them for years with relatively little problem..

Even with the extra weight I've added, (rock sliders, rear skid plating, rear dual battery and tool box) the air shocks have provided acceptable lift (I run 95psi in the shocks) to not only overcome the spring sag, but bring the rear height back above original ride height. The shock mounts on the 4Runner are massive and beefy enough to carry weight full time.

I've used both the Gabriels and Monroe air shocks and prefer the Monroes.

The Monroe shock you can use on the 4Runner is the part number MA700..

You may not find it listed for the 4Runner application because the diameter of the lower rubber bushing hole is slightly smaller than what a perfect fit would be.. but, all that means is when you install them, you need to use some WD-40 to lubricate the bushing and a little muscle to get it on the mounting..


[Linked Image]

Shock installed, fully extended....the bushing in red circle is the one more difficult to install due to the hole being on the small side.
[Linked Image]

For off roading, the shock allows a bit longer droop of the axle for better articulation, but not enough to have clearance problems..

One caveat..with ANY aftermarket shock.... the metal bushing support rings that comes with some aftermarket shocks are made of thinner metal than the original toyota shocks. I had one of the after market bushings fatigue fail, and allow the upper shock stud mount and nut pull completely through the upper mounting hole.

The upper (most outer ring next to the stud nut shown in the pic below) metal bushing failed, demonstrating that axle rebound shock force (driving on rough surfaces) is considerable, and more of a factor than the compression loading from the shocks carrying weight to support the vehicle.

Save the original Toyota thicker metal bushings and use those on the outer end instead.
[Linked Image]
Posted By: kewlynx

Re: 97 4Runner Rear Coil Spring Question - 04/17/13 01:59 AM

Great info guys; thanks!

RockAuto is only okay for me in Alaska; their shipping $$ is nothing short of obscene for me.
Posted By: stock87

Re: 97 4Runner Rear Coil Spring Question - 04/17/13 02:35 PM

Quote
Another low cost solution to consider is using air shocks.. I've used them for years with relatively little problem..

Even with the extra weight I've added, (rock sliders, rear skid plating, rear dual battery and tool box) the air shocks have provided acceptable lift (I run 95psi in the shocks) to not only overcome the spring sag, but bring the rear height back above original ride height. The shock mounts on the 4Runner are massive and beefy enough to carry weight full time.

I've used both the Gabriels and Monroe air shocks and prefer the Monroes.

The Monroe shock you can use on the 4Runner is the part number MA700..



Anyone know if they make a model that would fit 84-88 Trucks and 84-89 4Runners in the rear?
Posted By: kewlynx

Re: 97 4Runner Rear Coil Spring Question - 04/18/13 04:58 AM

Try strutmasters.
Posted By: Jeff the marmot

Re: 97 4Runner Rear Coil Spring Question - 04/18/13 06:36 AM

Another option is to replace your rear springs with stock rear springs from a '99 or '00 since it's been proven that those years were slightly higher when stock from the factory. It's not a big difference, but something like 1 inch.

Another option is to install air bags inside the rear coil springs. I know someone that did that on their 3rd gen 4Runner primarily because they occasionally towed something plus they wanted to avoid occasionally hitting bump stops on big bumps. It was inexpensive and they loved the result. Sorry I don't know the specifics.

I don't want to sidetrack this, but I still have my stock '00 rear springs sitting in a box in the garage. I replaced them with lift springs after only a few thousand miles when I bought the vehicle new. I'll sell them cheap. If someone's interested, send me a PM.
Posted By: brink

Re: 97 4Runner Rear Coil Spring Question - 04/23/13 01:10 AM

Thanks to all for such great info. I'm thinking I'll replace the coil springs since I just did the rear shocks last year. I checked rockauto and they have moog. If the year 2000 will fit my 1997 I'd like to know a price.
Thank you!
Posted By: Jeff the marmot

Re: 97 4Runner Rear Coil Spring Question - 04/24/13 06:00 AM

All of this generation's coil springs would fit, so any '96-'02 4Runner springs would fit your vehicle. Moog may or may not have the fine tuning of spring rates for slightly different years that Toyota wanted from the factory. I see that Moog does have different springs for the 4 cyl versus the 6 cyl, so obviously be sure you don't select the lighter springs associated with the lighter 4 cyl vehicle.
Posted By: brink

Re: 97 4Runner Rear Coil Spring Question - 05/06/13 01:03 AM

It's been a while....had to replace the muffler before I move on to the rear springs. I bought the Moog springs and am planning to replace them next weekend. Does anyone know if they can be done one side at a time? I've read about doing both simultaneously, but the idea of having the 4runner jacked up and then jacks under the rear diff. with both wheels off, disconnected shocks, etc. gives me the jitters. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: Dandeman

Re: 97 4Runner Rear Coil Spring Question - 05/06/13 02:38 PM

Personally I feel safer under there with the whole back end of the vehicle up on good, beefy jack stands under the frame (and on a level concrete floor)....

and leaving the jack under the axle. You need this anyway as once you take the shocks loose to let the axle drop enough to get the springs out, you can tear the hydraulic brake hose if you let the axle go down too far... You can see the brake hydraulic line is getting close to tight in the pic above.. I believe you will need to unbolt the brake line mounting on the body to let it hang down a bit..

I would guess the weight of the entire axle plus mounted tires, brake assemblies being in the neighborhood of 250-300lbs or so..

Access is much easier.. and no need to remove the tires..

[Linked Image]

With vehicle weight on one side of the axle and the other side up in the air, there are some pretty powerful forces in there e.g. the roll bar is max'ed out with stored energy and the panhard rod shoves the axle over to one side a bit.. putting a side ways force on the main springs.. I'd be a bit nervous about taking things loose in this position...


[Linked Image]

But, don't take my advice alone as I've only done this to replace shocks..

Perhaps somebody else (Jeff the Marmot?) that's had the springs out can comment..
Posted By: brink

Re: 97 4Runner Rear Coil Spring Question - 05/09/13 12:51 AM

Holy cow! Thanks Dandeman. I can see that I'll be blocking the 4Runner up with jack stands, wood 6X6's, and whatever else I have to put under the frame. Even then I'll be reaching under there while over extending my arms. It's funny when I was a kid I had no problem jacking up my Firebird and taking out the 4spd trans, clutch and not even thinking about it. Now I'm cautious as hell. Thank you for the nice pics and info. Maybe I'll take step by step pics of my job and post them. All this to gain a few inches of height! Thanks Toyota.
Posted By: Jeff the marmot

Re: 97 4Runner Rear Coil Spring Question - 05/17/13 07:05 AM

Quote
Perhaps somebody else (Jeff the Marmot?) that's had the springs out can comment..

Sorry I've had a very busy week, so I'm just getting back to this.

I've replaced the rear springs a few times while trying to fine tune the height, plus I've added different size pucks above them as a spacer with various springs, so you could say I've had the springs in and out a few times.

Assumption:
My 4Runner has 2-3" of lift, which could come into play with this process. If you don't have any lift, I'm not sure if you'll have enough room to flex the axle down to the ground with this method. I'm guessing it'll still work.

I try to be very cautious when I have anything lifted in the air. I'm big on safety.

You might have already dealt with this during the last week, but here's how I do it...

Step 1 - Put the vehicle in 4 wheel drive and drive it forward and back to make sure it's engaged. (And for someone like me who has front manual hubs, engage them). When you park it, pull the e-brake on hard. Even though the e-brake only effects the brakes on the rear wheels, the drivetrain in 4x4 also prevents the front wheels from turning. This makes it far less likely for the vehicle to move or fall off jacks when you're prying on it.

Step 2 - Disconnect both endlinks of the rear swaybar from the frame to allow the axle to articulate.

Step 3 - Disconnect the lower bolts of the shock mounts so the axle can fully extend. The top bolts of the shocks absolutely suck to deal with, so don't mess with them.

WARNING: Like Dan said, if you have a stock rear brake line (above the rear diff), it's extremely easy to reach its max extension and damage it. I have an aftermarket braided brake line there that's several inches longer than stock so I never have a concern about it.

Step 4 - Slightly raise the height of one side of the frame and set a fairly tall jack stand under the frame immediately forward of the frame's rear lower control arm mount. There's only something like 60% of the vehicle in front of this pivot, but it'll be OK. I have a couple of cheap harbor freight 6-ton jack stands for this purpose - not for the weight rating, but for the height and stability.

Step 5 - Remove the rear wheel on that same side as the jack stand. Keep the other rear wheel in place. This is where you need to carefully watch the brake line if yours is stock length. With the floor jack under that side of the axle, slowly set the drum brake on the ground or close to it.

Oh yeah - I have a 2" extension bracket where the e-brake cable is secured to the axle. If you don't have an extension there, you might need to temporarily disconnect the bracket from the axle. That's just left of the diff and to the right of the upper control arm "tower". It'll just flex easier when disconnected.

Step 6 - Replace spring on that side. I stand on the drum brake to flex it down a bit more if necessary. You're only flexing the rubber bushings in the 4 links + panhard. The right side of the axle will be more willing to flex further downward due to the panhard bar being connected to the left side of the axle. When you finish with that side, put the floor jack under the axle again on that side and slowly raise it while making sure the spring seats properly. Bolt that tire back on and set it on the ground.

Repeat for the other side.

Reconnect swaybar and shocks after you're done with the springs. It'll be sitting on all 4 wheels normally (and level) when you do that.

I guess the critical factor here is being able to have lots of flex while not worrying about the brake line. I honestly don't know if you could follow through with this process with a stock brake line even if you're careful with a floor jack under the diff.

What I like about this is the vehicle is close to its normal height and 3 wheels are always on the ground, so it's not going to just "fall". You're flexing the axle down instead of jacking everything way up in the air. The jack stand helps support that side of the vehicle and provides stability, but a majority of the vehicle weight is still on 3 wheels which don't want to move since it's in 4x4.

If for some reason you need to disconnect the panhard bar, you would need to remove all tension and weird torsional forces before messing with those bolts. It's not fun to reconnect it and I recommend you avoid disconnecting the panhard. But if you do mess with it, you'll probably need some hefty trailer ratchet straps to pull the axle and frame one way or the other in order to reconnect the bolt.
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