Installing Preassembled Struts, but only on the front?

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Neighbor's 2011 Highlander is exhibiting some nasty noises from the Passenger-Front Strut Mount. During a test drive, the struts feel decently worn (140K+) but the fronts are definitely more worn than the rears.

His primary concern is the strut mount noise, he is actually content with how the vehicle drives. So, he just wants the cheapest solution to make the noise go away.

If I price out aftermarket KYB struts, KYB mounts and a genuine Toyota boot/upper insulator, it comes out to $408 for parts. If I price out two KYB Strut-Plus units for the front, it is actually $20 less and the entire assembly carries a lifetime warranty. Plus less work for me.

But here's the issue: if I only replace the fronts with pre-assembled units, what is the likelihood that it will cause a "Carolina squat?" We all know that new springs can sometimes "raise" vehicles...
 
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I installed Mando fully assembled struts in front of our 2012 Traverse and didn't have any squat on the vehicle, but it will depend on how worn the rear springs on the Highlander are.
 
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Shouldn't be a problem. With that said, I would avoid doing any paid work for a neighbor. Who do you think they will call if it starts squeaking a year, 2 years, 10 years later? The struts have a lifetime warranty but so does your labor in the neighbors mind. Offer to help them do it, or do it out of neighborliness, but don't take any money for the work.
 

The Critic

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Shouldn't be a problem. With that said, I would avoid doing any paid work for a neighbor. Who do you think they will call if it starts squeaking a year, 2 years, 10 years later? The struts have a lifetime warranty but so does your labor in the neighbors mind. Offer to help them do it, or do it out of neighborliness, but don't take any money for the work.
Correct, I just take care of the neighbors' stuff for free.
 
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Shouldn't be a problem. With that said, I would avoid doing any paid work for a neighbor. Who do you think they will call if it starts squeaking a year, 2 years, 10 years later? The struts have a lifetime warranty but so does your labor in the neighbors mind. Offer to help them do it, or do it out of neighborliness, but don't take any money for the work.
Just so you know, Michael is very generous with his knowledge and time. I am trying to get him to kick down with his little Corolla as we speak...
 
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It's a non-zero potential. If they make Highlanders in 4 and 6 cyl the spring rate might be some compromise in the middle. Plus they'll be new. That can be his problem, not yours. Advise him of his options then slap those babies in. If his truck looks dumb he might come back for rears later.
 
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Personally I used the quick struts once and had a bad experience, so I'll never do it again. I don't know why my experience was bad, but it was Monroe's on a Nissan Maxima. After the job, the front end was high, and it was as if there was no suspsension, really harsh. So when the time came with my wife's GM SUV? I bought all the pieces online (boots, stops, mounts, sway bar end links, sway bar bushings, all of the components), Bilstein B6 struts and shocks (strusts were Germany and shocks were USA) which did not cost more than GM OE except for maybe $40 total on the rear shocks. My uncle was gonna help me do the job and then the pandemic. So I paid $450 or so to a garage and they did a phenomenal job. I figure my cost was a little less than what Midas would have charged for the quick struts. Now we get to enjoy a better ride than what came with the car. imho if one will keep the car better to reuse the original springs and avoid all in ones.

p.s. I also fulfilled one dream, that is to see a blue boot with a yellow shock under one of my vehicles
 
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I'm a fan of oem strut mounts. How expensive would oem mounts and kyb struts? Keep the original springs.
They are not that bad--on my wife's GM, I simply looked up the part#'s on a GM dealer's website. Then I compared and actually got them on eBay--I check the sellers' reps and often it's an actual car dealership selling the parts. But with the Bilsteins, all the other components were factory GM with the exception of the sway bar bushings which were Moog.

I've been looking on my Lexus--my only real choice is in fact KYB Excel-G. Toyota OE is simply too much, imho supply and demand. Not much demand. When the Bilstein B6's were $116 and $86 and what I consider top quality, not even equivalent to OE but an upgrade, how can a toyota OE be $290 front and $260 rear list lol Lucky I don't have an air suspension...KYB is $106 front and $98 rear. I do wish there were a Bilstein B6 for the car, but there is not.
 

The Critic

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I'm a fan of oem strut mounts. How expensive would oem mounts and kyb struts? Keep the original springs.
Low $600 range for front KYB struts, OE strut mount w/bearing and OE boot/upper insulator.
 
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I installed a set of 4 on my old Explorer a few years back. It did raise, or should I say correct the ride height. I bought a set of SenSen brand off Ebay. They came with a 10 year warranty, which was better than any other's I looked at. I guess you don't realize how sagged out the struts get because it's a gradual progression. My old struts had over 150k on them, and the rears has a couple of broken springs. That I didn't notice until I took them off. If I had just done the fronts, the sagged out rear's would have been real noticeable. I don't think I would ever reuse used springs with new cartridges. In the end the ride was way better than before, and as good as it could be for a 14 year old Explorer.,,
 
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I put 4 KYB struts on my 2009 Venza. They will bring the ride height back up. It is noticeable and if you only do the front it will look like a Carolina squat.
 
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Shouldn’t be a problem. Change front strut assemblies on a different application (Gen.9 Corolla) for a little bit. Unless you went and measured it, it was hard to tell that the backs were sagging compared to the front.

Changed the backs out after I had some spare $ saved up and I still honestly can’t tell you that the ride height in the back changed compared to the front.
 
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remember our physics the shocks dampen the motion. The springs are the ones that imho affect most of the characteristics. I actually see there is a lot of insight on this topic within the forum. But for me, how could an all in one be maybe 1/3 the cost, and deliver 3/3 of the job? It's a timesaver for the shop, meaning a Midas of the world charges $900 to a GM dealer's $1,400, and they push this off to the consumer as saving $500. Big difference the GM dealer reuses the old springs and uses OE mounts, bearings, stops, boots, i.e. not at all the same job. In my personal case I wanna say even paying a shop $450, for all 4 and the sway bar bushings, Bilstein B6, it was less than a Midas doing fronts with quick struts made by Gabriel. To a DIY? The quick strut may be the only choice. I wouldn't compress springs with the device that grabs a coil and you use a drill, I've seen it in action and isn't the safest...
 
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But did the ride height stay higher? I'm wondering if they are only higher initially.
imho there is no reason for height to change after installation. The reason the height is different is the old springs were discarded and the new springs are pre-assembled, imho
 
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I assume its the v6 so the amount of higher ride height should be minimal.
Also the KYB strut mounts on the front of my Focus were very much plusher than OEM, took the edge off sharp bumps better than the new ones in the Outback even. My Focus did ride a bit higher with the KYB springs but its got the lighter mtx, and I suppose some more rear weight distribution with the wagon, compared the hatch or sedans.
 
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