SW20 MR2 drop-link replacement

Ben Tyrie

As with the MR2 brake rebuild, it was necessary to replace the drop-links after taking the car around a race track! They were knocking really badly, especially on the driver’s side.
Strangely bits of the car seem to suffer after some hard abuse….. 😉

I have put together a couple of images and quick words on the process of swapping out the drop-links. As my MR2 had TEIN Type Flex coilovers fitted, the drop-links were not the same length as the original Toyota parts.
The TEIN items measured at around 20cm (I will dig out the correct measurements – I wrote them down somewhere) and are nigh-on impossible to get hold of separately to the coilovers.
This means that its up to people to source alternative replacements.

I found a couple of references to Toyota Avensis drop-links (on the IMOC knowledgebase) so went and grabbed a pair from Camberly Auto Factors for approx £18 each – the links were ADL Blueprint parts, p/n ADT38546.Avensis Droplinks

On with removal of the worn drop-links then. This part was fairly straightforward for me, just a 14mm spanner on the retaining nut at each end of the drop-link. I have heard of people having a lot of trouble with these nuts being rusted and seized solid. I can only assume that as mine were TEIN drop-links, they were not the original 15 year old links and had only been fitted a couple of years at most. I did have the angle grinder and junior hacksaw handy just in case they were stuck on!

Once the links were off, I offered them up against the new Avensis items – I hadn’t bothered to measure them when I bought them but as you can see they are drastically shorter, about 2 inches or so.MR2 vs Avensis Droplink Comparison

Despite the size differences I decided to fit the Avensis drop-links regardless to see how they would fare on the MR2.
The fitting was pretty much the reverse of removal except for when it came to attaching the bottom of the link to the anti-roll bar (ARB). I found that it was easier to remove both drop-links from either side on the same axle before fitting the new ones, due to the differences in length.
As the Avensis links were shorter, the ARB needed to be pushed further upwards in order to meet the drop-link than previously with the TEIN links – I used a trolley jack to help move to ARB into place.

Old TEIN linkOld TEIN link

New Avensis linkNew Avensis link

So the bottom line?

Avensis links are too short.

They cause the car’s turning circle to be decreased and get stuck somehow (usually caused by going over a large bump), this meant the steering became very heavy and the turning circle reduced further. They snapped back into alignment after turning the steering almost full lock and raising the wheel at the same time, it then ‘clonked’ back into place. I first thought they were getting caught on the the braided brake lines, but after some investigation it appears they were being stretched to such an angle that they simply jammed and became tangled up in themselves. Unacceptable……