How- To: MacPherson Strut & Spring R&R

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OB
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How- To: MacPherson Strut & Spring R&R

Post by OB » Mon Sep 08, 2008 9:51 pm

How- To: MacPherson Strut & Spring R&R
By OB



This procedure covers all 2000-2005 PL chassis vehicles. Some slight variations are possible from year to year. Experienced technicians can expect to spend just under 2 hours to remove and disassemble the entire suspension, and another 2 hours to reassemble and reinstall. This is about how long it took me, taking my time and with several breaks. The procedure can more than twice as long for an amateur, especially without the proper tools and equipment.


_______________________________________________________

Tools and Equipment:

3/8 & 1/2 Dr. ratchets + extensions
Various metric and SAE sockets (10mm-18mm, 13/16", 3/4" etc)
Various combo wrenches
MacPherson spring compressor
Various pry bars
Hammer + punch
Jack and stands
Impact gun 1/2" Dr. & air compressor (optional)


_____________________________________________________


STEP 1:
Raise and support the vehicle on jack stands. You can do each corner separatly or raise the entire vehicle.


STEP 2:
Remove wheel(s) from corner(s) being serviced and set aside.


STEP 3:
a) Begin by removing the ground screw (10mm) on the strut body (front), or the brake-line bracket (10mm) (rear). (See pic below).

Image

b) Next, remove the lower strut-to-hub nuts (13/16" front/18mm rear). Use a hammer (and punch, if needed) to gently tap the knurled bolts out of the hub and strut. (See pic below). Do not attempt to thread the bolt out once the nut is off. This will damage the knurled neck and ruin the press-fit of the bolts.

Image

c) Remove the strut tower retaining nuts (13mm). (See Pic below).

Image


*If working on rear suspension equipped with a stabilizer bar, remove the end-link from the bar to the strut body and set aside. (See Pic below).

Image

d) The strut assembly is now free to be removed. Angle the hub assembly to allow space to remove the strut. Be careful not to put too much stress on the tie-rod or axle. (See Pic below)

Image


*Repeat STEPS 1-3 for each corner.


STRUT DISASSEMBLY

STEP 1:
With strut assembly on bench, install spring compressor. If using a manual compressor, make sure the claws are 180 degrees apart before compressing to ensure an even pressure on the spring. (See Pic below)


Image


STEP 2: Compress spring until the top-hat is free from any pressure. Use special tool to remove top-hat from strut assembly. With 10mm socket on strut rod head, turn 13/16" socket counter-clockwise with adjustable wrench. Keep 10mm socket from turning with 1/4" ratchet.

Special Tool:

3/8" Dr. 13/16" spark plug socket
1/4" Dr. ratchet w/ 3" extension and 10mm socket
Adjustable wrench

Image

Once top-hat is removed, clean and inspect. Lubricate strut bearing on front units with WD-40 or equivalent. Remove spring compressor from spring evenly from side to side until free from pressure. Disassembly is complete.

Front suspension, completely disassembled, cleaned, and lubricated:
Image


BUMP-STOP SERVICE


If installing lowering springs, it is a good idea to shorten the height of the stock bump-stops to prevent bottoming out as well as to increase suspension travel. Cut about 1/2"- 3/4" off of each bumpstop. (See Pics below).

Stock bump-stop
Image

Shortened bump-stop
Image


STRUT REASSEMBLY

Reassembly is opposite of disassembly. Install spring compressor on spring, seat properly on strut perch, then install top hat and tighten nut with Special Tool. Remove compressor and reinstall strut assembly in vehicle in reverse order of removal. It is wise to double check tightness of strut top-hat nut once the strut assembly is reinstalled in the vehicle. Make sure all nuts and bolts are tight and everything is back together.


ALIGNMENT
After servicing the strut assembly, an alignment is required to prevent premature tire wear and to return proper handling characteristics. Have this done by a professional on an alignment rack.


All comments and questions welcome, thanks for looking.
-Derek

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bone-yard-racing
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Post by bone-yard-racing » Tue Sep 09, 2008 4:32 pm

Standard 1gn bumpstops(non acr) can be used in place of the stock 2gns for lowered cars. 2gn bumpstops can be used as replacement(may or may not be legal) for 1gn acr in stock class. A big 7/8 in the case of my strut socket works better than the adjustable.
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ThrIsNoSpork
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Post by ThrIsNoSpork » Wed Sep 10, 2008 2:07 am

yus! i will be following this soon.
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Post by latief » Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:13 am

is that the correct orientation of the bump stops?

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Post by OB » Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:41 am

latief wrote:is that the correct orientation of the bump stops?
The bump stops are designed to pop into the protective boot, but to be honest they can go on either way. Their job won't be effected by orientation. What counts is that they provide a spacer between the strut base and the strut tower when the suspension is fully compressed (bottomed out).
-Derek

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Post by latief » Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:58 am

thanks,
does the front strut bearing allow for lubrication ? wouldn't some heavy duty joint lube be better for such a job?

i will be taking the front apart tonight. i appreciate the feedback on this,...

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Post by OB » Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:07 am

The bearing doesn't have a means to lubricate, but a little penetrating oil or WD-40 could probably make it's way in there if you feel the need. Not sure if you could get thicker lubes in there, I can't remember whether or not the bearing is sealed or not. Unless you're having issues with it, I wouldn't worry about it much. Feel free to PM if you need any specific help ;)
-Derek

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Post by c987long » Sat Mar 07, 2009 10:33 am

great write up, also

where did you get your top hats, they look new. im looking for Front and rear for my 01 r/t
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OB
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Post by OB » Sat Mar 07, 2009 7:45 pm

They're not new, I just keep everything spic and span ;)
-Derek

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Post by occasional demons » Sat Mar 07, 2009 8:07 pm

OB wrote:The bearing doesn't have a means to lubricate, but a little penetrating oil or WD-40 could probably make it's way in there if you feel the need. Not sure if you could get thicker lubes in there, I can't remember whether or not the bearing is sealed or not. Unless you're having issues with it, I wouldn't worry about it much. Feel free to PM if you need any specific help ;)
IIRC it is a huge nylon type washer. Latief, if you have any of the lube from the LCA install, that stuff would prolly work best if you coated it before installation.
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Post by anomalous0 » Sun May 17, 2009 3:15 am

bearing pops out real easy-like. At least, did for me, and mine only have a couple months on them.
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Post by dawm » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:58 pm

ok.. ive done this before but im running into an issue.. installing eibach prokit springs on stock struts.

the driver side i cant get back on the ball joint (I removed the entire knuckle since i dont have axles and saves me from 'having' to get an alignment when its road ready..) but its a brand new control arm/balljoint so that could be why.

both sides the top of the springs rub inside the upper fender area when you turn the entire strut/knuckle rearward.. springs are aligned with the indents from the factory springs, and the notch is facing outward (as the FSM states).

im stumped..
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Post by occasional demons » Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:04 pm

dawm wrote:
the driver side i cant get back on the ball joint (I removed the entire knuckle since i dont have axles and saves me from 'having' to get an alignment when its road ready..) but its a brand new control arm/balljoint so that could be why.

both sides the top of the springs rub inside the upper fender area when you turn the entire strut/knuckle rearward.. springs are aligned with the indents from the factory springs, and the notch is facing outward (as the FSM states).

im stumped..
On the ball joint stud, if the notch is not almost perfectly lined up, it will not let the bolt through, if that is the issue you are having. If it just won't slide onto the stud, that could be a problem. :lol:

On the springs hitting the strut tower, IDK, other than being dumb, and suggesting the springs are upside down, probably not, but just putting it out there...
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Post by dawm » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:03 am

lol nah springs arent upside down :P

on the passenger side it seems top rub on the stud for the upper mount bracket.

on the driverside w/ the new control arm/bushings/balljoint i cant get the ball joint straight (up and down) enough to get the knuckle to seat. looks like i may have to un bolt the knuckle from the strut... grr
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Post by Danteneon » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:39 am

Mayhaps the front and rear springs are switched?
If I could just figure out how to meld the Outback and the Neon into one car...

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Post by occasional demons » Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:34 pm

^ that too. the rears are larger than the fronts IIRC. but like you said you have done this before.


Do you have the sway bar links disconnected? Getting the LCA down low enough can be a PITA with them off, let alone with it on.

I have had to use a pipe wrench to pull them down enough to get the stud square enough to slide in.

Yeah, that sounds bad. :lol:
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Post by dawm » Wed Jun 27, 2012 2:08 pm

occasional demons wrote:^ that too. the rears are larger than the fronts IIRC. but like you said you have done this before.


Do you have the sway bar links disconnected? Getting the LCA down low enough can be a PITA with them off, let alone with it on.

I have had to use a pipe wrench to pull them down enough to get the stud square enough to slide in.

Yeah, that sounds bad. :lol:
yeah the entire suspension has been apart, i replaced the lower control arms so sway bar was disconnected. I finally got the driverside on the ball joint after consulting a BFH :P I'm thinking since its a brand new ball joint it wasnt worn enough to slip/move properly into the knuckle. Got all the springs on the car now (didnt remove a single knuckle :P) I'm thinking the passenger side might be rubbing since the suspension isnt loaded, I can forcably turn all the way to the right with the steering wheel and i hear a slight rubbing and it kicks back a little but i'll deal with that once the car is road ready. broke 3 of the 4 rear trailing arm bolts off in the frame tho :(
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Post by Danteneon » Wed Jun 27, 2012 2:24 pm

dawm wrote:broke 3 of the 4 rear trailing arm bolts off in the frame tho :(
Ugg, that's never good :(
If I could just figure out how to meld the Outback and the Neon into one car...

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Post by dawm » Wed Jun 27, 2012 2:58 pm

Image

not good at all.. people/factory need to use anti-seize more often!
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Post by occasional demons » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:14 pm

Are those trailing or rear sway bracket bolts? At least there is a relatively flat surface to drill from. And speaking of anti seize, did you liberally coat the BJ studs?

A propane torch and easy outs will usually get those broken bolts out. Just replace them with ones that are only long enough to clear the weld nuts. The excess threads that stick through, and rust are why 90% of them snap.
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Post by dawm » Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:43 pm

Yeah trailing arms.. just so sick of broken bolts :p
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03 Subaru Forester 2.5XS - #gfscar #butiown
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Post by occasional demons » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:40 pm

Rust FTL...
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Post by fox02neon » Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:44 am

Great write up! Thanks
foxo2neon

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