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Toyota Corolla

Rear seat and strut removal

If you are in a giving mood  

After unsuccessfully trying to find info regarding the process of changing the rear struts on a corolla, I decided that I would share what I learned while working on this project.

 There are versions of the Corolla that do not have a folding rear seat.  This poses a problem with gaining access to the rear upper strut mounts.  The pictures and details apply to a '98 Corolla, but I'm sure there are similarities through the different model years.

If you are fortunate enough to having a folding rear seat, all you will need to do is lower the seat to gain access.  There may be trim pieces in the way.  Someone please email me and verify these details.

Tools Necessary

  • Jack and Jack stands

  • Socket Set

  • Combination Wrenches (box wrench)

  • 10 mm flare nut wrench

  • Propane torch

Rear Seat

First, you need to remove the rear seat bottom.  The rear seat held in place by two press clips.  All you need to do is use your hand to pry up on the front two edges of the seat.  The cushion will pop out and this is what you'll have:

You still need to remove the seat back. There are three small bolts holding it in place:

With the seat back out, you can get to the upper strut mount nuts.

With the easiest part out of the way, you can get to work on removing the strut.

First, remove the sway bar.  You will need a metric allen wrench and a box wrench to remove the nut.

Next, you will need the remove the brake line.  This is where it can be tricky.  You will have to separate the brake lines in order to remove the strut.  This means that a simple spring or shock replacement will require you to bleed the brakes. Be careful as you may run into a frozen hardware. 

Finally, remove the lower strut bolts along with the upper shock mount nuts and you can remove the assembly from the car.

At this point, swapping the shocks or the spring is as simple as using a spring compressor and dismantling the strut.  Be sure to keep an eye on all of the hardware that you remove and reinstall them in the proper order. 

Once you install all of the hardware, make sure to bleed the rear brakes.  It may be a good idea to bleed the entire system since you've already started.

Front struts

The front struts are very simple to replace.  As long as you have a spring compressor and some decent tools and a torch, you shouldn't have any problems.  The torch will probably be necessary to remove the lower bolts.  A simple, inexpensive torch from your local hardware store is more than enough.  Make sure you use an old license plate or a piece of sheet metal to act as a heat shield as you heat the bolts.

Good Luck!