Suspension tuning on an All Trac has always been a bit of a mystery. Lack of available bolt on parts is the biggest reason. Here we will try to answer some of the commonly asked questions regarding suspension parts and modification. There are 3 basic categories when it comes to suspension. We will break the questions down into these categories.
Q: My rear struts are sealed. There are no aftermarket replacements in the US other than Toyota. What can I do?
A: Your rear struts can be modified to be replaceable similar to how your front struts work.
The rear struts in Celica All Trac are sealed MacPherson struts. What that means is rather than pull the strut part only and replace it like the fronts, the rears can only be replaced by taking the entire housing out. The whole unit is bought and replaced. If you are lucky you might get your hands on one of the few aftermarket rear struts, like GAB or TRD. For most of us, this is not an option. Toyota struts are even more expensive than the aftermarket in most cases. Toyotas aren't that bad but not designed with performance in mind. Any type of spirited driving meets with a rolling unpredictable suspension. So in order to get some performance struts in the rear, we must convert the rear housing to accept standard type struts. These would be struts similar to the ones we use in the front. To perform the conversion you need to remove the entire housings and shown in the second picture. You will see at the top that the rod is welded into the housing and no way for it to come out. You need to pick up a pipe cutter from a tool store to cut it open. It is recommended that first to make a little hole in the bottom of the strut to drain out all the oil inside. Then you can take your pipe cutter and put it around the top of the strut (a little lower than welds) and get to work. Once it cuts off it top you can remove the oil bad strut rod and bits and drain out any left over oil. Now you will need the top of a donor strut that has the large replaceable screw on top that will come on and off. You can get a set of empty front struts from a 82-85 Supra, 88-93 Celica, or even the older corollas. If you are doing it this way then you will need to use the pipe cutter to remove the top also. Make sure and get enough length that it will be able to over the new strut that is installed in the housing, but not so long that the strut will not be held down by the top screw. It is recommended that you do this with the new strut in hand. Once cut and cleaned, do a test install to make sure your lengths are correct. The top screw should just touch th etop of the strut once installed, and keep it snug. Finally you need to take the struts and tops to a welding shop and have them weld them on. Make sure you go to a good welding shop. Cost should be between 20 and 40 dollars. Once welded do a final test fit and paint over the weld marks to prevent rust. If you like paint the whole thing for that like new strut feeling. Enjoy.
Finished examples, Replaceable Rear Strut Conversion
Q: I understand how to convert the rear struts now, but what struts can I use?
A: You must use adjustable struts, either from Celica All Trac, or MR2 Turbo.
There many struts that would work. The ones we have tried and liked so far are these:
Koni for 90-93 Celica All Trac PN#8641-1211 (Infinite adjust)
Tokico For 91+ MR2 Turbo PN#BZ3125 (5 point adjust)
For information on where to get these items, visit the STRUTS page
Another thing to note is that rear Tokico Adjustable from MR2 turbo would work as well. These have not been tested yet. The rod (shiny part sticking out) of this rear strut is much longer than the stock All Trac rod. We are not sure if this will make the performance better or worse. Our best guess is that for a higher riding All Trac these will work out great. But if you are attempting to lower the car you want the shorter rod.
Q: Is it ok to use a front strut in the rear?
A: It's not the preferred method of replacing struts, but it does work great.
The thing to keep in mind is that you must use an adjustable strut. Now I examined an adjustable Tokico strut from the MR2 turbo, and even on the softest setting it was harder than our front strut and almost identical in dimensions. You could use a non adjustable strut, but if it's not quite the ride you want you won't be able to adjust it out. If you are really concerned about the rear strut not being correct, Whiteline in Australia sells a Koni strut that has been modified and valved properly for rear. Also in the UK Fensport sells the proper rears. Visit the STRUTS page.
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