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Strut disassembly without spring compressors.

 
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joecitizennn  



Joined: 12 Sep 2005
Posts: 2096
Location: no mans land

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 7:57 am    Post subject: Strut disassembly without spring compressors. Reply with quote

With my bare hands, am I friggin nuts? It is possible in this circumstance, but may not be with diffirent struts, stiffer springs, or people weighing less than 200 pounds.


Remove the strut assembly completely from the vehicle. Loosten the top nut in VERY short bursts with an impact gun. Do not take the nut clear off unless you want to play bloody knuckles with a spring!!!!




Notice that I have used a rag folded over and vice grips to slow the damper rod turning. It is not really necessary unless the top nut is really rusty. You want the damper rod to turn a little so the impact gun does not zip the nut off too quick. Dont use the vice grips unless the nut is not coming loose at all.
After each buzz with the impact gun, take the socket off to see how far out the top nut has come. You want it nearly off so the threads of the shock extend about halfway into the nut. Like so.



Now check to see if you can press the spring down enough to take the tension off the nut. If you can great! If you cant, go get a spring compressor or you will never get the strut back together when the nut comes off. You should be able to do this.



Now get a helper to spin the nut off while you compress the spring.



With the nut off slowly let the spring up. Now you can lift everything off the lower strut body and shock, leaving you with this.



Remove the cap to get the damper out. You will need a vice and a pipe wrench because the cap will be quite tight.

Assembly is the reverse of removal. But you will need to use vice grips and a rag to keep the shock from retracting while you try to push the spring down.



The spring cap is shaped to fit on the spring. Line it up right.



Make sure all the holes in the top pieces are lined up perfectally so the damper rod will go through them when you press the spring down.



Press it down and have your assistant install the nut.



Spin the nut tight with the impact and install the strut in the car.

In my case, I just wanted the adjustable Koni that was inside. WOO HOO KONI! Just like Christmas!




DISCLAIMER!!!!! THIS IS NOT A BY-THE-BOOK WAY TO DISSASSEMBLE A STRUT. I AM NOT CLAIMING THIS TO BE GOSPEL OR SAFE! Whew....


Last edited by joecitizennn on Tue Jan 22, 2008 11:00 am; edited 3 times in total
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!tom  



Joined: 28 Aug 2006
Posts: 1905
Location: Victoria, BC Canada

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would think this would be a How-NOT-to article!

Step 2, removing the lower strut mounts, screws up the allignment.

Removing the top nut with the strut fully extended is extremely dangerous, since the stored energy in the spring is released in an uncontrolled manner.

I just did this the RIGHT way (that is, the right way without using a spring compressor, even though the most proper way requires a spring compresor) a couple weeks ago.

I guess I should have done a How-To, but it didn't occur to me at the time.

Step 1: Jack car.

Step 2: Put jack under suspension arm to compress spring around 1/2".

Step 3: Loosen strut retaining nut with pipe wrench.

Step 4: Remove strut top nut completely with impact gun. Hold shaft if necessary with vice grips -- you're not going to re-use the shaft, so it's fine if you mar the finish.

Step 5: Lower jack to release energy in spring in a controlled manner.

Step 6: Finish removing strut retaining nut.

Step 7: Swap strut (dealing with spring perch as necessary).

Step 8: Install strut retaining nut with old-school bicycle bottom bracket spanner.

Step 9: This is the hard part -- getting the strut to go in the upper mount while assembled. It is possible, but will take some fiddling.

Step 10: Compress the spring with the jack under the suspension arm sufficiently so that the upper strut nut can be started with impact gun.

Step 11: Lower the car on the ground.

Step 12: Now that the car is on the ground, you can finish tightning the strut upper nuts with the impact gun. If you hold on to the shaft with a tool, you are at a high risk of marring the finish, which will destroy your struts in short order. The key is using an impact gun, since this allows you to tighten the nut without holding onto the shaft.

This procedure does NOT affect the allignment, whereas the above article does. This procedure does NOT run the risk of things flying apart and removing important parts of the human anatomy, whereas the above article does.

The most proper method involves the use of spring compressors, and like the procedure I outlined, also does not run the risk of changing the alignment.
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joecitizennn  



Joined: 12 Sep 2005
Posts: 2096
Location: no mans land

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 8:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This post is just another method. It this case it is a junk car being stripped of its nice koni shocks. Just another way to skin a cat. Just for the record, I have spring compressors and use them. I just noticed while stripping this car that somebody can compress the spring by hand, and thought it would make a fun write up. If you dont like it. Dont do it. Thats pretty simple.
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Ozzie  



Joined: 12 Mar 2005
Posts: 4447
Location: Townsville, Qld. Australia

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first method can be dangerous and I'd rather not have a 5lb spring chasing me aroung the garage. Can be done if it was really necessary and
1 you are aware of the danger.
2 know you will need a wheel alignment afterwards.
3 you dont give a rats arse.

As for the second method I done it this way but you will still need to use spring compressors if you have a front ARB. (just so you can get things out of the wing)
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!tom  



Joined: 28 Aug 2006
Posts: 1905
Location: Victoria, BC Canada

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ozzie wrote:
As for the second method I done it this way but you will still need to use spring compressors if you have a front ARB. (just so you can get things out of the wing)


I suppose I should have mentioned this, but I just removed the ARB links to the arms, then they no longer interfered. I did not use spring compressors -- I've used them on other cars in the past and wanted to avoid using them if at all possible, since they're such a pain.
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Dan  



Joined: 27 Apr 2008
Posts: 24
Location: Great Yarmouth, UK

PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Elf & safety I wonder?
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sgloki  



Joined: 23 Aug 2008
Posts: 53
Location: Bellingham, WA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you skipped step one:

Lift weights for 15 years....stopping only to eat...steroids.

Kidding, but someone had to say it. What do you bench? VW bugs?
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Martijnus  



Joined: 29 Dec 2006
Posts: 2019
Location: Netherlands

PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 2:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How can you judge, only by seeing his right arm...

for all I know, he's could be single

I tried to disassemble my struts...but it got too risky...tried to compress them with spanners...didn't work.
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dpw928  



Joined: 02 Nov 2002
Posts: 1860
Location: owasso, ok 74055

PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Years ago there was a big safety push to stop this method of changing struts. At that time there had been over 50 DIYer killed by not using spring compression of some sort. In the above case, the spring was weak and the strut had lost its charge, but that isn't always the case.

Dennis
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