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Safe to use TWO strut dust covers (strut bellows?) And a few other questions. #5111903 05/22/19 12:08 AM
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lizpat Offline OP
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I'm replacing the factory shocks and springs (but keeping the strut mounts) for my 2007 Corolla. The new shocks and springs come as a kit from Bilstein and Eibach, it's called the Bilstein B12 kit: it consist of their B8 shocks (a shock designed for lowering springs) and Eibach pro-kit lowering springs which lower the vehicle about 1 inch. It's supposed to be a match.

Today I did the driver side front. I was planning on doing all four but a single side took five hours. I started the other side at 6pm but couldn't get the stabilizer link off--instead I stripped the nut. UGH. I'm going to hacksaw it off and replace it with a well-reviewed MOOG unit.

A few questions:

I used TWO rubber strut bellows (dust covers) to cover the entire strut piston, I used zip ties to join them together and another zip tie to hold the piece to the base. I believe I am creating something of a vacuum and keeping all dust out. Do you think this is a good idea?

I added Sil-Glyde brake grease to the strut mount bearing (I believe it comes from the factory with MP No.2 grease (according to the factory service manual) basically mixing it with whatever was already there from factory.

I reused the factory top mount nut rather than the one Bilstein provided. The factory nut seemed perfectly fine and the Bilstein nut was larger (22mm vs 19mm factory) and it was a blue nylon locking nut which worried me, I was worried I wouldn't be able to torque this thing.)

--------------------------

After installation, I will share pics and give the reader my driving impressions. I've considered lowering my car for a decade now but was always hesistant about it. I haven't been able to find anyone online who has installed this kit.

Last edited by lizpat; 05/22/19 12:11 AM.
Re: Safe to use TWO strut dust covers (strut bellows?) And a few other questions. [Re: lizpat] #5111925 05/22/19 02:18 AM
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Char Baby Offline
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Using 2 bellows should be OK. I don't see why it would create any issues.


"Retired"
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'80 Firebird FORMULA V8/4bbl-purchased "NEW"
'15 Nissan Altima 2.5 SV
'15 Honda Civic 1.8 LX
Re: Safe to use TWO strut dust covers (strut bellows?) And a few other questions. [Re: lizpat] #5111955 05/22/19 05:13 AM
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Imp4 Offline
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It never ceases to amaze me when a person says that instead of following the installation instructions, they changed 5 things. But they're hesitant about it and are they going to be ok?

Why not just follow the advise of the people that manufactured the parts? In the preponderance of circumstances it is the best available course of action.
Is that so hard?


2001 Mitsubishi Galant 2.4 - 165k+
Grandma's creampuff...
Re: Safe to use TWO strut dust covers (strut bellows?) And a few other questions. [Re: Imp4] #5111957 05/22/19 05:18 AM
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lizpat Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Imp4
It never ceases to amaze me when a person says that instead of following the installation instructions, they changed 5 things. But they're hesitant about it and are they going to be ok?

Why not just follow the advise of the people that manufactured the parts? In the preponderance of circumstances it is the best available course of action.
Is that so hard?


That's a fair point but I'll say this: I don't have a garage (I have to make do right on the public streets) and I didn't anticipate certain issues. I wasn't sure I should even add any additional grease since the bearings appear to be well greased from the factory and it was fairly clean.

The Bilstein kit came with generic instructions, I lost confidence in it because the translation was pretty awful. It also had sentences that directly CONTRADICTED each other.

For this project, I sort of had to use my brains, I'm not sure I used it correctly though smile

Re: Safe to use TWO strut dust covers (strut bellows?) And a few other questions. [Re: Char Baby] #5111958 05/22/19 05:19 AM
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lizpat Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Char Baby
Using 2 bellows should be OK. I don't see why it would create any issues.


One possible concern is that there shouldn't be a vacuum against the strut rod: in fact, it may need to inhale and exhale air. Sound weirds but I thought of it.

Re: Safe to use TWO strut dust covers (strut bellows?) And a few other questions. [Re: lizpat] #5111983 05/22/19 06:16 AM
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Kira Offline
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lizpat: Do tell us how the lowering (of your very stock vehicle) goes.

A friend's son tells me to lower a sedan I have in order to sell it. However, his plan includes darkening the windows-the car is dark green-and adding quiet, tasteful wheels.

None of that is going to happen.

Re: Safe to use TWO strut dust covers (strut bellows?) And a few other questions. [Re: lizpat] #5111986 05/22/19 06:19 AM
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DuckRyder Offline
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Did the Bilstein not come with dust boots?

In any case the use of two dust boots as described should not create issues as long as they are secure. Some dust boots have a hole to allow air to pass so if yours don’t you could create a small hole in the bottom of the lower bellows but I don’t think it is necessary.

I would use the provided nuts.


Robert
  • 2019 Volkswagen Jetta R-Line
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Re: Safe to use TWO strut dust covers (strut bellows?) And a few other questions. [Re: lizpat] #5112078 05/22/19 08:12 AM
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WyrTwister Offline
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Originally Posted by lizpat
Originally Posted by Char Baby
Using 2 bellows should be OK. I don't see why it would create any issues.


One possible concern is that there shouldn't be a vacuum against the strut rod: in fact, it may need to inhale and exhale air. Sound weirds but I thought of it.



I was thinking much the same thing . Also , concerned any vacuum might " pull " in contamination ?


Wyr
God bless
Re: Safe to use TWO strut dust covers (strut bellows?) And a few other questions. [Re: lizpat] #5112119 05/22/19 08:42 AM
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meep Offline
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dust boots will not produce any kind of real vacuums, pressures, at all. Nothing that could impact the seals on the unit. The shaft will still be exposed to dirty atmosphere, but will be protected from rocks, sand and other larger debris.


2018 F150
2015 crv (wifey!)
Re: Safe to use TWO strut dust covers (strut bellows?) And a few other questions. [Re: lizpat] #5112146 05/22/19 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by lizpat
Today I did the driver side front. I was planning on doing all four but a single side took five hours. I started the other side at 6pm but couldn't get the stabilizer link off--instead I stripped the nut. UGH. I'm going to hacksaw it off and replace it with a well-reviewed MOOG unit.
LOL

Originally Posted by lizpat
I reused the factory top mount nut rather than the one Bilstein provided. The factory nut seemed perfectly fine and the Bilstein nut was larger (22mm vs 19mm factory) and it was a blue nylon locking nut which worried me, I was worried I wouldn't be able to torque this thing.)
When I put my Bilsteins on my car, I just gunned the nut on. I've pulled those shocks three times now and they are still OK. I'm not sure torquing them makes any difference other than selling tools you will never use again. That being said, I have plenty of tools I will rarely if ever use.


97 GMC RCLB K2500LD L30/4L60
Re: Safe to use TWO strut dust covers (strut bellows?) And a few other questions. [Re: lizpat] #5112229 05/22/19 10:18 AM
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slacktide_bitog Online Content
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Always use the nuts supplied with the new struts!

And you should replace the strut mounts, especially if you live where there is rust.

Re: Safe to use TWO strut dust covers (strut bellows?) And a few other questions. [Re: lizpat] #5112254 05/22/19 10:36 AM
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KrisZ Online Content
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Why are you worried about creating vacuum? These plastic bellows lack the precision reguired to create a good seal. Don't worry about it.

Last edited by KrisZ; 05/22/19 10:36 AM.

2015 Grand Caravan 3.6L - 31k miles.
2006 Mazda 3 2.0L - 171k miles
Re: Safe to use TWO strut dust covers (strut bellows?) And a few other questions. [Re: lizpat] #5112375 05/22/19 12:59 PM
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You do not want, or should not create, any vacuum on a strut. This thing move in and out and you will have some air going around. You can shield some of the dirt and mud splashed from the bottom but if you vacuum seal it, the boot will break or rub the rod (try it with a balloon with a rod partially sticking out, and see what it looks like).

I would use a new top nut just to make sure the nylon is new and will grab the thread tight, but it is not really that big of a deal either way.

Not sure if mixing 2 kinds of grease will do anything at all, but most importantly it is the grease inside the bearing that counts, so unless you took that apart and grease it, not going to do much.


"You keep asking questions PandaBear and you'll end up a vegetarian like my wife" - Camu Mahubah
Re: Safe to use TWO strut dust covers (strut bellows?) And a few other questions. [Re: Kira] #5112495 05/22/19 03:04 PM
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lizpat Offline OP
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Thank you all for chiming in.

Originally Posted by Kira
lizpat: Do tell us how the lowering (of your very stock vehicle) goes.

A friend's son tells me to lower a sedan I have in order to sell it. However, his plan includes darkening the windows-the car is dark green-and adding quiet, tasteful wheels.

None of that is going to happen.


I know this sounds stupid but I've been driving the car with just one side lowered on Bilsteins (out of necessity.) I have observed that the motion is well controlled--------and I may be imagining this but it seems turn in has improved (yes I know it's just ONE side out of 4.) I'm happy so far, can't wait to get the other sides done. I'm breathing a sigh of relief here, I could have really regretted doing this.

--------------------------------

I've decided to cut a hole at the top of the strut boot just to safe and to adhere to OEM Design, and to not lock in moisture.

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