Not sure where this one’s going…
We don’t really have any plans to turn the Juke (2011 SV, FWD CVT) into anything more than the reliable daily driver it is.
front strut replacement & tire rotation
So V’s Juke had been pulling right pretty badly for the better part of a year. With all we’ve had going on beyond cars these past two years, I had to let it ride. It also start clunking over bumps, but only at speed.
We took it to the dealer for a final fix-anything-still-under-warranty at 99,990 miles last year. They did a lot for us, but I had this sinking feeling they didn’t torque a ball joint or sway bar end link. I’d jacked it up and given the wheels the obligatory shake top-to-bottom and side-to-side, but it felt solid.
Discovering the FL tire was down through steel cable on the inside recently, I decided it had to be addressed in the name of safety. Through a bit o forum research, I began to suspect the front struts were donezo. When V told me she was due for an oil change, I asked them to diag the front end while they had it.
Here’s what they came back with:
- $1,687 - replace both front struts, tires, & alignment
- $318 - replace spark plugs (due at 100k)
- $99 - replace corroded negative battery terminal
- $20 - replace rear wiper blade
- $??? - replace serpentine/accessory belt
- $??? - replace CVT fluid
All this on top of the $60 oil change. (Good thing we had a coupon.)
Yeah, no thank you.
I had them replace the rear wiper blade because it was shot, none of the local shops seemed to have it when I wanted to replace it a few months back, and $20 is about what they go for anyway—but damn, ya know?
I was fully prepared to pay a premium to have someone else do the work and know it was done right, but I was thinking $600-$800 for struts, tires, and alignment. $1,600-plus is ridiculous.
I checked prices on parts alone, but even then, they wanted $280 apiece for the loaded strut assemblies and $300 for two tires. Fortunately, I’d looked into things in advance and knew that OEM replacements from KYB ran about $150 a pop and the tires were $92 each at Discount.
And I was particularly concerned the tech reported the CVT fluid was dirty, considering it’s been changed twice in the last two years by accident. First time, I wasn’t sure about the engine oil drain bolt and drained the CVT by mistake. Second time, V had it in another shop for a brake job, they recommended changing the CVT (service interval) and she agreed to it. I called them right back to sout “NOOOOOOOOOO!” but the tech had already pulled the drain and went to lunch. I’ve easily got $300 in CVT oil in there at this point—but somehow it’s dirty?
Anyway, yesterday I swapped in the loaded strut assemblies I got off Amazon for $205/pair shipped. Sure, they’re Chinese “Leaccre” units shipped from the jokers at 1AAuto (who branded them “TRQ”), but whatever.
FL Juke strut before
Hit things with PB, mostly because that’s what you do.
FL sway bar end link connection
Things came apart real nice down below.
Up topside, I had to remove the wiper arms, weather strip, and garnish to access the top of the struts—pics follow for spark plug stuff—but the FL strut assy just falling out and almost smashing my toes was a surprise!
Comparing Leacre/TRQ to OEM
Chinese junk on the left. Original on the right.
Pretty close, imo.
Compare how the OE unit’s brake line clip is spot welded flat…
…to the TRQ unit’s tack weld. Fortunately, this merely holds the brake line out of the way.
A very animated, mad scientist-looking dude on YouTube showed how the Leacre units he secretly swapped into his wife’s Lexus had much thicker springs and rode like shit. So I decided to compare spring diameters. OE was 14.0mm.
And I was pleased to see the TRQ units were also 14.0mm.
New strut assy installed. Wo0t!
Oh, and because the TRQ (“turkey?”) units had labels on them saying it might take some time for the springs to settle—and the aforementioned mad scientist dude said cheap fixes like these will raise the ride height—I decided to do before and after with the tape measure.
LIFTED! But how lifted?