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Maybe you've thought about installing struts or springs yourself, but thought it would be too tough, take too many specialized tools, etc. Well, it's not as hard as you might think. You should only need a jack, a socket set, extensions, vice-grip pliars, combination wrenches, and a break-away torque wrench. All pretty common stuff. You shouldn't even need spring compressors, but you can rent them if you want [many auto parts stores offer these for a refundable deposit]. If this is your first time dismantling the suspension, the total job could take you 6-10 hrs. If you're a pro with a good lift and experience, you could do it in a couple hours.
First, you should jack the car up [being sure to put blocks around the wheel opposite of the corner you are raising]. Then, remove the lug nuts on the wheel and pull the wheel off. Below is a pic of the front hub with the wheel off.
Now you should remove the nut that holds the sway bar link to the damper fork. You'll need a 14 mm crescent wrench and 14 mm socket. You may have to use a second jack to push the suspension up to get some pressure off of the sway bar link bolt. You might want to douse the nut with WD-40 to loosen it up. Remove the second jack when you're done with this part.
Now you can loosen the upper strut tower nuts. You don't have to fully remove them now. They will keep the strut from dropping on you when you pull out the last bolt later. I think a 14 mm socket will do it.
Now, spray some WD-40 on both ends of the strut's lower mounting bolt. Let it work its way into the threads for a while. I think you need a 17 mm socket on a breaker bar and a 17 mm box wrench to work that bolt loose. It should take some force to get it loose. After the nut is off [you should be able to move the suspension with your hands], you can use a rod and hammer to beat the bolt out of its resting place.
Wet down the damper fork mounting bolt with some WD-40. Let it sit and then pull that bolt out. A 17 mm socket and breaker bar should do. Now you can wet down the connection where the strut bottom slides into the damper fork. You should be able to wiggle these apart. Push the damper fork out of the way, fully remove the loose upper strut mounting nuts, and the strut you just come out.
Below is a picture of the old strut next to the new one. You should not need a spring compressor to dismantle the strut. You can use one if you don't feel safe. If you are pulling off stock springs [not shorter aftermarket ones] you may also want to use compressors.
To pull off the locking nut, you will need a 14 mm crescent wrench and vice-grip pliars. Lock the pliars onto the flat spot on the strut shaft [never put a tool against the smooth part of the strut shaft unless you are throwing the strut away]. Then use the 14 mm wrench to undo the lock nut. Once that nut is off, the whole assembly will come apart.
This is how the strut will come apart. Pay attention to what parts go where as you will have to reuse the bump stops and assorted parts.
Now you can put the new lock nut on using the vice grips again [be careful not to damage anything]. then install the strut just like you removed the original. After you repeat this on the other front wheel, you can quit for the day or go on to the back ones [I quit until the next evening after work]. The rear struts are much easier and can be done in half the time of the fronts. First step is to get the car way in the air to give you alot of room to remove the bottom bolt [this is where having a lift would have helped]. First you need to remove the plasic trim pieces in the trunk and loosen the upper strut mounting nuts with a 14 mm socket.
Now it's time to get that lower bolt off [use plenty of WD-40]. A breaker bar with 17 mm socket will do. You don't have alot of room to move, so it is a little tough to get that big breaker bar in there. Once that bolt is off, the strut should come right out. Get the spring of this strut just like the fronts. Do the other rear strut and you're done. Go out and drive the car now and test the new struts you've works so hard to install. If they are adjustable, try several settings to find a good one.
Contributed by Corbin
Cars Modifications Control Suspension_and_Handling Struts Strut/Spring Installation
Cars Modifications Control Suspension_and_Handling Springs Strut/Spring Installation
Last modified on 2008-12-28 16:59:42