2,000 Camry 4cyl - noise with new napa strut, mount and bearing ring/race

Hi guys…I’ve changed 2 or 3 struts in my older camrys but need some help this time. Camry 2,000, 4cyl…The new strut is in (drivers side)with new Napa Mount and bearing ring, but I’m getting some clunking noise.I know it could be lots of things, I must be overlooking something…Seems like the strut is rebounding too quickly in small shallow holes- ever heard this before ? All the bolts are snug and tie rod end and sway bar link is good and I lightly pried the sway bar (not loose).Spring is seated properly… Because of a sore elbow, I asked a nearby shop to change the strut(which has a large stand-up hand crank spring compressor) I took the entire unit to his shop thinking i could save time and pain.He seemed unfamiliar with the machine and even tried wrapping a tiedown strap around the spring…took as long or longer than me with my Sears hand compressor. On the strut shaft below the threads are two flats (each side …like the inner tie rod)to lock into the mount so it won’t spin when tightening the nut; i noticed that other cars on Youtube didn’t have these flats.he said it seated OK and the shaft wasn’t turning- I scratched a straight line on the end of the shaft to see if it spun when tightening the nut and to align with the slot (which you can’t see as you feed it in)i suspect this may be the problem…i checked the tightness and tried loosening the nut and turning the shaft which has 10mm nut shape at the top…no luck …still clunks…any ideas before I take it apart again ? Could it be the bearing ring is upside down ? …thanks, Mike


I know you said the sway bar links are good, but if they are the original ones, I would suspect them

Sway bar links can definitely make horrendous clunking noises

The links should be very tight, meaning it should take quite a bit of force to rotate the joint in its socket

the sound is lower than the rattle of the link…But I’ll check it again ( doing one side - other was changed after an accident)

Check the lower control arm bushings for wear. Especially the bushings that connect the contol arms to the subframe.


A lot of guys do not know how to install the struts on a Toyota, including Toyota mechanics. You are right that there are two flats that fit into the top spring seat. The problem is that as you try to run the nut down, the strut shaft spins, so the mechanics often will slip an open ended wrench on the flats as they run the nut down.

This keeps the top spring seat from seating on the shaft properly. BTW, I have seen this method recommended on Toyota web sites by people claiming to be Toyota mechanics. The service manuals do not cover this either.

The proper way to do this is with the spring fully compressed, you put the upper seat in place with the flats lined with the flats on the strut shaft. In the seat, there is a 1/4" dia hole. You stick a #3 long Phillips head screwdriver, or steel rod about the same size through the hole and against the shaft under the seat. This will keep the seat and the shaft from turning as you install and torque the nut down.

Toyota has used this design for a long time.


Scroll down to the second set of pictures.

Thanks Keith…you and Tester are two of the best…(go Oilerrrr… ahhh Titans)They’re looking good. Right now I’m not sure if it is seated or no, but the scratch/cut line I put on the top of the shaft doesn’t turn (change orientation) when I turn the nut. Also I can put a socket on the top-it’s 10 mm and hold while i tighten the nut. I think some have an allen shape. Since, as you said, the compressing of the spring enough to take it apart isn’t enough to put it back together. It has to be compressed enough so that the flats in the spring cap go all the way down to the flats in the strut rod, or else the strut rod just turns when you try to put the nut on the top. Could I jack up the control arm or get a samoan with a bag of rice to lean on the fender. Maybe i’ll just ice my elbow and dive in…we need, along with the “mechanX” list …to have a mechanics apprentice/ intern list in every city…give school credits ahhhh but the lawyers … mike