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19990-2001 Toyota Camry Rear End Noise: Sway/Stabilizer Bar Bushing Replacement (With Video)

Hardlymoving writes about do-it-yourself automobile maintenance on various makes and models.

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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

  1. Remove the bracket bolt (apply penetrating oil before removal).
  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. Connect bushing mount hook onto the suspension bracket
  7. 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.

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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.

Worn-Out Bushing

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New Bushing

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New Bushing Interior

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2. Clean Sway/Stabilizer Bar Bushing Contact Surface

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3. Grease Bushing Mounting Surface

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4. Split Bushing Open and Mount on Bar

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5. Push Mount Bracket on New Bushing

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6. Connnect Bushing Mount Hook onto the Suspension Bracket

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7. Screw in and Tighten Mount Bracket Bolts

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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.

Comments

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on April 26, 2018:

Michael Pelley,

As I said, without being on-site to evaluate, I'm making assumptions. Get a 2nd or 3rd opinion by going to a repair shops. Some charge and some don't charge for an evaluation.

Michael Pelley on April 26, 2018:

It doesn't make sense for it to b my tires or rims, as the vibration stays even when I get them balanced. I even spent extra on getting a road force balance done and it did nothing. I'm trying my best not to lose any more money to this problem, but if you are sure it's wheel bearings I will get them replaced.

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on April 26, 2018:

Michael Pelley,

Yes ... wheel bearings. They get progressively louder as you go faster. Growling noise? Maybe on the front end when you make turns. Vibrations caused by tires being out-of-round or wheel imbalance.

Michael Pelley on April 25, 2018:

Wheel bearings? Wouldn't I hear noise from them or feel play in the wheel if that were the case? There's no growling noise when traveling down the road and no resistance when free spinning the wheel. Bar is tight to the bushing, however not to the frame. When weight is taken off of one rear wheel, I can see there's about 3/8th of an inch gap between the bushing and the frame. However, that shouldn't cause a vibration, should it?

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on April 25, 2018:

Michael Pelley,

In my opinion, believe one or both of your rear wheel bearings are worn out. Also check that your stabilizer bar bushings are not worn out. They make noise if worn out. You can tell by grabbing the bar and seeing if it moves back and forth within the bushing. For vibration issues, have your wheels checked for balance as well as the tires if they've gone out-of-round.

Michael Pelley on April 25, 2018:

Let's see if I can get a reply.

I have owned my 98 Camry for the past 3 years, and have had the same sound in the rear, coupled with a feint vibration. I initially thought it had something to do with tires, but each season when I switch winters to summers, I realize the noise and vibration is still there, with no change in intensity.

I replaced the rear stabilizer links with a size tighter, and polyurethane and the noise is still there.

I'm taking a guess to say my strut mounts are bad. My struts themselves are still stiff, and do not bounce when pressure it put on the rear end. I'm not sure if rear strut mounts can cause a vibration issue...

I hope someone can reply, the noise and vibration is difficult to diagnose.

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on August 13, 2016:

Tosha,

Hard to say without driving it and looking under the car myself. Can't hurt to replacement the links and bushings. Not very expensive.

Tosha on August 12, 2016:

My 2006 camry feels like it sways in the rear end. It almost makes me feel sea sick. I've replaced the struts, it has new tires. Will the bushings cause this?

Mohammed on July 18, 2016:

Thanks for this great tip.You saved me $120 CAD for repair.All I have to do is to buy the bushings for $25 CAD and perform a less than 20 min job on my work.

Keep doing good to people...

changdamyeuem on January 17, 2016:

Before you do anything since I do not want you to to spend money on anything that you do not need. Please check all your rear suspension bushing. For example: strut mounts, bolts, trailing bushing, lateral/ control arm bushing, swaybar links ect. Jack the rear tire up and move it around to see if there is any play and go from there. Most common noise for this model is rear swaybar link noise when you go over the bump. Also as the car get older, rear lower arm control bushing may have to be replaced otherwise rear tires will wear out prematurely on one side. To make the story short, take your time to see where the noise is coming from and replace that part. It should not be very difficult. If you still have issues, take the car to Belle tire and have them check it out for you, free estimate. Talk to them like you do not know anything about car. Hope it helps!

DAVID BURKHOLDER on January 16, 2016:

SO I REPLACED THE BUSHINGS FOR THE SECOND TIME. STILL DIDN'T FIX NOISE. I WONDERING IF BUSHINGS IN REAR SUSPENSION ARM COULD BE CAUSING PROBLEM?

changdamyeuem on January 16, 2016:

It sound like you are using the wrong size ones. I am not sure if the V6 or 4 is the same size. You can always remove it, wrap around the sway bar with teflon tape and it should be good to go. If there is still noise, check your link. Double check the nuts with the allen bolts , make sure it is tight and there is no play around the link bearing. Vibration, check your tires. Hope it help

DAVID BURKHOLDER on January 15, 2016:

SO I CHANGED MY REAR SWAY BAR BUSHINGS ON MY 1995 TOYOTA CAMRY LE WAGON, ALONG WITH THE LINKS AND STRUTS. THE PROBLEM IS THAT THE THE SWAY BAR HAS A LOT OF PLAY INSIDE THE NEW BUSHING ON THE PASSENGER SIDE ONLY. I USED MOOG AFTER MARKET BUSHINGS. I CAN'T SEE ANYTHING WRONG WITH THE SWAY BAR ITSELF. THE RATTLE AND VIBRATION ARE DRIVING ME NUTS. ANYONE HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT I SHOULD TRY NEXT?

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on April 26, 2014:

Rick Powell,

I really do not know how your problem could be occurring unless you are using a non-factory spec wheel and tire combination. If that is the case, you can get wheel spacers (they go between the wheel hub and wheel) but you may then have another problem; the tire rubbing against the inner fender lip.

changdamyeuem on April 26, 2014:

Rick, I am not an expert but if the strut is the correct one, please double check your instalation. Pay attention to where the arrow on the strut mount matching the position of the struts. Make sure the brake lining with the 10mm bolt face in the correction. If these are right, the installation should be correct. You may need new spring coil as well. In the mean time, you will have to wait for the expert comment. Hope it help!:)

Rick powell on April 26, 2014:

I have a 2000 camry with 234000 miles on it I recently replaced the struts and rear hub and bearing assembly but noticed the inside of my tires are now rubbing on the struts what's causing this and how do I fix it

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on January 08, 2014:

Terryam,

Is the rattling noise coming from the front or rear end? If the rear, probably need new struts.

Terryam on January 08, 2014:

We replaced the bushings and the links. It solved the squeeking noise, but there is still a rattling noise when going over bumps. The struts are probably the originals, as we have never replaced them. We've had this car for about 10 years. Have not tried the strut test you mentioned yet.

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on January 08, 2014:

RodfromAus,

Glad things worked out for you.

RodfromAus on January 08, 2014:

Your description of symptoms exactly what I experienced.

I was thinking the worst.

I Purchased a new set of sway bar bushes and noise has disappeared.

The old bushes were worn but not disintegrating.

Thanks, you have saved me time and a lot of dollars!

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on December 02, 2013:

Terryam,

Did you replace the sway bar bushing? When was the last time the struts were replaced? When pushing down on the trunk, does the rear end go down easily? .... if so, the struts are shot.

terryam on December 02, 2013:

Our 97 Toyota Camry has a very loud squeak/creaking noise in the back end. It has over 300,000 kms. It otherwise runs great. Having trouble locating the noise. Any ideas what this might be?

CelicaST76 on October 01, 2013:

Thank you

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on October 01, 2013:

CelicaST76

The stabilizer bar's paint is usually rubbed off with the constant friction from the old bushings. No need for any special cleaner or sandpaper. Just slip the new bushing on and it'll be good for a long time (perhaps 100k miles). If you want something better, get bushings made of synthetic rubber (poly types). Never seen bushings with grease fittings. Must be expensive. Standard replacement bushings are cheap so I really don't care if they wear a bit faster than bushings with fittings. I use grease or silicone spray only to ease slipping and adjusting the new bushings on the bar along the with the bushing clamp ... that's all.

CelicaST76 on October 01, 2013:

Much appreciated article! What are you doing to "Clean Sway / Stabalizer Bar Bushing Contact Surface?" Any special chemical cleaner or sandpaper perhaps? What to use to grease the bushings? Do they make any rear bushings with grease fittings so they can be greased on a as needed basis? I did see some aftermarket front bushings that come with grease fittings and was thinking maybe there are some available like that for the rear? I found rear bushings Toyota OEM part#48818-07010 for a 2001 US built Camry. I wonder if aftermarket ones would be better? OEM rubber vs the plastic ones?

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on July 31, 2013:

Peter,

When they're really worn out, the sway bar will slide in the bushing by grasping the sway bar then push and pull.

Peter on July 31, 2013:

Changing the sway bar bushings fixed my clunking problem that Toyota could not find. You can't tell if they are worn unless you remove them and check if the grooves are worn or missing from the inside of the rubber bushings. I used Toyota part number 48818-06110 and the job took 30 minutes.

Thanks for your advice.

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on May 10, 2012:

changdamyeuem,

With the mileage being over 176K, I would replace them as well.

changdamyeuem on May 10, 2012:

hardlymoving, I would like to thank you very much for your help. What about the front sway bar bushing? Should I replace it? I've replaced (2) rear adjustable lateral links on my Toyota Camry 94, 176k miles and big improvement even thought the bolts were hard to be removed. Your suggestion would be very much appreciated.

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on May 08, 2012:

Changdamyeuem,

No ... it's shouldn't matter.

changdamyeuem on May 08, 2012:

The bushing of my car installed backward and I wonder it is okay if I install the same way like it was. Thank you very much for spending time helping us out.

Eddie Carrara from New Hampshire on January 06, 2011:

Nice job on your hubs, you can tell you put some hours into detail, keep up the good work.

I worked on hondas for 25 years, we had a lot of similar problems with front sway bar bushings clunking, just replace the bushings and it rides like new.