Hardlymoving writes about do-it-yourself automobile maintenance on various makes and models.
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, even if you bounce the car or push 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.
How to Replace the Sway Bar Bushing
- Remove the bracket bolt (apply penetrating oil before removal).
- Clean sway/stabilizer bar bushing contact surface.
- Grease bushing mounting surface.
- Split bushing open and mount on bar.
- Push mount bracket on new bushing.
- Connect bushing mount hook onto the suspension bracket
- Screw in and tighten mount bracket bolts.
Rear Sway/Stabilizer Bar Bushing Replacement
The 2.5 minute video below will show you step-by-step how to replace the rear sway/stabilizer bar bushing on a Toyota or Lexus sedan. The design is the same for the Camry, Avalon, Corolla, Solara, Lexus ES300 as well as later model sedans.
1. 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
2. Clean Sway/Stabilizer Bar Bushing Contact Surface
3. Grease Bushing Mounting Surface
4. Split Bushing Open and Mount on Bar
5. Push Mount Bracket on New Bushing
6. Connnect Bushing Mount Hook onto the Suspension Bracket
7. 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).
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: The rear end of my Toyota Camry shimmies at times when I hit bumps. What could be one of the problems?
Answer: Your struts are worn out. When they're shot, the compression and rebound of the strut springs are no longer being dampened.