TOYOTA - MK3 Supra - Shocks and Springs

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Shocks and Springs

Difficulty(0-10): 4
Time: 8 hours
Tool Specialty(0-10): 4
Parts/Tools Needed
New Shocks
New Springs (optional)
Front Spring Isolators
Spring Compressor
Epoxy Paint (optional)
Shock Mounts(optional)
12mm Socket Wrench
14mm Socket Wrench
17mm Socket Wrench
19mm Socket Wrench
Hammer
Steel Brush (Optional)
Razor Blade
Torque Wrench
Phillips Screwdriver
Pry Bar (Optional)

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Shortcut Links

Overview - You're already here. Don't go anywhere, read below.

Removal, Front - You're already here. Don't go anywhere, read below.

Installation, Front - page 2

Removal, Rear - page 4

Installation, Rear - page 7

Before and After - page 7

01Overview

Given the age of the MK3 Supra it’s common that the shocks are completely blown or at best partially functional unless they have already been replaced with aftermarket units. Blown shocks will make the car feel old in a couple possible ways. One – it could feel harsh and uncomfortable; or two – it could feel like a boat swaying in the water. I’ve owned a few A70 Supras and the TEMS shocks seem to blow in a way that makes the car feel like a boat. My non-TEMS Supra felt very harsh and shaky. This may be coincidence or a result of the difference in the shock assemblies as they fail.

Whether your goal is easy cruising or quick response an aftermarket option is probably needed in a 20+ year old car.

From the factory many A70 Supras were fitted with electronically adjustable shocks. This system is called “TEMS” by Toyota and this stands for Toyota Electronic Modulated Suspension. This system uses the following sensors to determine how your suspension should behave:

  • Throttle Position Sensor
  • Stop Light Switch (Brake Switch)
  • Steering Sensor
  • Mode Select Switch (in cabin)

Using these inputs the system calculates whether you might want a stiff ride or a soft one. Under hard braking, acceleration or cornering the shocks stiffen to reduce body movement. It’s a very nifty system indeed. Even more impressive is that this system was released in 1987.

Replacing TEMS shocks and retaining this feature limits your choices. OEM units were manufactured by Tokico and may still be available through a dealer in 2014. Tokico (at least up to 2013) sold aftermarket units under the “Illumina” line which were fully compatible. In 2013 Tokico went through major business changes and availability of these shocks has since been scarce.

If you are ditching the TEMS system then you will have many options to choose from. KYB makes excellent stock replacements, but they aren’t necessarily intended to work with lowering springs. If you are keeping the factory springs KYB is a great, cheap option. If you intend to lower the car with lowering springs you may want to consider Koni, Bilstein, Tokico Blues (if you can find them). The Koni’s are adjustable, but only OFF the CAR. This makes them difficult to adjust. Unless you track your car you may never feel the need to adjust them, as it requires removal from the car and disassembly of the shock and spring assembly. If you decide to go the route of “coilovers” then you have loads more choices. “Coilover” is a misnomer because it literally means a shock which has a coil spring mounted concentrically around the shock body. In this sense nearly all car suspensions include “coilovers”. However, in the aftermarket car scene, “coilovers” generally refer to a complete shocks/spring assembly manufactured by one company and sold as one complete assembly. They often offer a lot of adjustment both in damping force and ride height.

The A70 Supra uses a multi-link suspension. The front is a double wishbone set up. This multi-link configuration means that the compliance in the shock top mount has little impact on performance. In some vehicles some rigidity can be gained from using hard top mounts. For the A70, skip the hard mounts and stick to the OEM rubber mounts. They are quieter and offer enough stability for any driving style.

02Removal - Front

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