90 - 01 Toyota Camry Rear End Noise: Sway / Stabilizer Bar Bushing Replacement
Symptoms of a Worn Bushing on the Rear Sway Bar
A common wear item, on Camrys approaching or exceeding 100,000 miles, is the rubber bushing on the rear sway bar (also called stabilizer bar).
When these bushings wear out, you hear a distinct rattling or clunking noise when driving over rough surfaces. You can't duplicate the noise when the car is stationary, including by bouncing the car by pushing on the trunk or bumper. But in very bad cases, you can grab the bar and move it within the bushing, and then you know the bushing needs replacement.
Penetrating oil, grease or any other type of lubricant will not make the noise disappear. As a stop gap solution, you can secure a thin, hard rubber strip between the bushing contact surface and the sway bar.
A common mistake for many Camry owners is to assume the reason for the noise is that the rear suspension struts require replacement. Although the struts may be worn, replacing the bushings will likely eliminate the annoying rattling noise, and should be considered first before performing an expensive strut replacement.
Step by Step: Replacing the Sway Bar Bushing
Bracket Bolt Removal - Apply Penetrating Oil before removal.
12 mm Bracket Bolt Removal
These bolts have a tendency to shear off if too much torque is applied. The rust buildup on the threads can be overcome with penetrating oil and perhaps a little heat from a torch. Use a 1/4" socket wrench with a 12 mm socket. A 3/8" wrench provides too much torque and runs the risk of shearing off the bolt head.
New Bushing Interior
Clean Sway / Stabalizer Bar Bushing Contact Surface
Grease Bushing Mounting Surface
Split Bushing Open and Mount on Bar
Push Mount Bracket on new Bushing
Connnect Bushing Mount Hook onto the Suspension Bracket
Screw in and tighten Mount Bracket Bolts
Replacing the Sway Bar and Strut
If you do end up replacing a strut and sway bar, the video below shows how to do it on the '90s Camry and similar cars (an Avalon in this case).