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E120 subframe/ crossmember replacing by beginner?


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Hi.

Is it possible for a complete novice to change out the front subframe / crossmember on a Corolla E120 station wagon from 2002. Does it requires any special tools other than the standard socket wrenches, WD40 and jacks?. As far as I can see it should be pretty straight forward as long as the bolts will come undone. And you remove it along with the control arms which then have to unmounted and put on the new part and then again mount the whole thing to the car. There are no bushings that require special tools because the old ones are on the control arm and they wont be removed right?

I am pretty much a novice when it comes to car repairs. But its not because I dont know how to handle tools. I have replaced a dampner in an old BMW E30 years ago. I just havent had many changes to mess around with my cars and now my corolla failed a MOT because of a little rust in the subframe.

To make sure there is no confusion, this is the car.
And this is the part that needs replacing

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Hi,

You want to see this toyota tech doing a clutch replacement by removing the subframe, so you can see how it come out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hCL2s-Gv_0

( however the clutch and gearbox can be diy removed without removing the subframe)

Think we would use an engine beam support  from the start as looks like they allow the whole engine to be supported on just two mounts until they use the support under the sump.

Are you replacing the subframe due to damage or rust, if the latter  probably worth replacing the wishbones which are good value if you get the ones with the rubber bushes and balljoints included.

Be worth replacing the clutch while doing all that work .

 

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Hi Again,

Missed your comment about the "little rust"  mot failure.

Well they all have some rust, just wonder if your mot tester has been over zealous ?  to fail it would indicate serious corrosion leading to failure soon, so wonder why an advisory was not given ?

If it literally is just surface rust , which mine has, might be easier to clean it up and use some rust proofer and put it in for a MOT at a council testing station where you will get an unbiased test.

As you can see from that video you really need a car lift to give access to easily remove the subframe, could be done with some high ramps , but you need a lot of support.

Might be worth asking another garage for a price to do the work, you can show them that video as to whats involved.

Out of interest, what about the rear axle beam ?  they seem to rust much quicker than the front subframe.

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Hi oldcodger and thank you for your answer.

First of all I am not from the UK so its not really a MOT but just a equivalent inspection about safety and pollution of the vehicle. I am sorry for my language. English is not my mother tongue so if there are any misunderstandings I am sorry.

I guess the subframe have had a stone struck it at some point because its a rust "puncture" - i.e. a single point where his little hammer went through. 99% of the subframe is fine and so is the back. Its just an unfortunate happening that needs mending. And I am not allowed to weld it so it needs to be replaced before it can pass the inspection.

I have asked two different shops and they want a lot of money for it. I dont quite understand why. The job seems simple enough and that is why I am on this forum asking if it needs any special tools or alighments or there of. Because then I will just do it myself if not.

I do not have acces to a lift. I only have a couple of jack stands.

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Hi,

No worries, your english is probably better than  mine !   😀

Probably those shops are quoting on the high side as its not a typical job for them either, probably afraid they will have all sorts of unseen problems.

You will need better support than just jack stands, when changing the clutch used those stands along with some car ramps under the body in case the stands wobbled off etc.

If you can raise the back end up a bit that will  give a lot more workroom under the front.

Like when dropping the gearbox, you will ideally need a trolley jack with a diy spreader board to help lower and raise the subframe into position  as doubt you will have the room to do so by hand.

This 2004 model pdf shows the proceedure  though would expect its worth having a full alignment after as so much has been disconnected.

Plenty of penetrating fluild on the bolts first, usually find doing that the day before really helps.

Be interested to hear how you get on with such an unusual job for a Rolla.

 

 

 

 

 

26 - Front Suspension.pdf

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Thanks.

I see now that there are two different subframes. There are minor differences on them. You know how I would find out what part I need (without dissamebling the whole thing prior).

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Assumed from that opening photo you already had a replacement subframe.

Not aware of the two types  ?  and not sure of your exact model /county as to what the differences could be ?

The problem with that part will be getting one thats sound enough as any second hand one is likely to be 20 years old as well and on the chance Toyota may have one new, will probably cost more than the cars worth ?

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If it's only localised rust, but still structurally sound, could you not remove the rust, fill it with something appropriately strong, then hammerite/paint over the whole frame, then take it somewhere else for re-testing?

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Quick question about the Front Suspension Crossmember Sub–assy (subframe)....

Are there any bushes that need pressing into the subframe itself?  I'm looking at a replacement (non genuine Toyota) subframe for an E12 2007 Corolla 1.4 VVTi and the pictures don't look as if there are bushes fitted.   

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On 2/13/2021 at 5:17 PM, oldcodger said:

Assumed from that opening photo you already had a replacement subframe.

Not aware of the two types  ?  and not sure of your exact model /county as to what the differences could be ?

The problem with that part will be getting one thats sound enough as any second hand one is likely to be 20 years old as well and on the chance Toyota may have one new, will probably cost more than the cars worth ?

No that is just a picture from the web. I used that so we all knew we talked about the same part of the car that needed replacing (language barrier).

I have since I started investigating this found two different parts that both say they are a Toyota E12/E120 subframe (pictures attached). There are minor difference but they are not interchangeable.

I dont know how to look up what part I need without removing the part from the car first.
 

On 2/13/2021 at 6:53 PM, gezhenry said:

If it's only localised rust, but still structurally sound, could you not remove the rust, fill it with something appropriately strong, then hammerite/paint over the whole frame, then take it somewhere else for re-testing?

No can do. It is ilegal to weld it as it is a part of the crumble zone of the car. By welding it it will be stronger than OEM spec. It is also listed on the report what was wrong so they will obviously check how it was fixed. But thanks for your answer none the less.

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toyota-corolla-verso-r10-11-mpv-2-2-d-4d-16v-cat-clean-power-2ad-fhv-euro-4-subframe-2006.jpg

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Was thinking maybe if it was a smallish area trying to fill it with something strong like an epoxy or something similarly strong as opposed to maybe welding, if it was still safe, and then painting the whole subframe so it would all look like a new frame?

Are there any other of the same cars in breakers yards in your area of the world you could try and take a frame off, and then clean up, to see if a swap would be a diy-able proposition for you first?

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