Front spring removal/replacement procedure:
Submitted by: George Dumpit (gdumpit at corp.auspex.com)
If you are going to be replacing the coil springs, it would be a good
time to replace shocks and sway bar end link bushings since you have to
remove them anywise...
This is the procedure that I used when I did the 12" brake upgrade on
the Grim Reaper.
With air tools I have done this procedure (both coils) in about an hour.
If it's your first time it'll probably take an afternoon or so, especially
if you will be compressing/decompressing the springs manually.
Rent coil spring compressor (local rental yard will carry these). The
correct spring compressor will have two upper hooks, and two lower hooks,
with a long threaded rod connecting the two.
If you will be using air tools, verify that the coil spring compressor
tool is air tool compatible.
Chalk rear tire (with wheels chalks, not you kids blackboard chalk ;-)
Lift car as high as your floor jack will allow, and place onto jack stands.
Remove front tires.
Remove sway bar end link on side that you will be working on.
Remove shock on side that you will be working on.
Install coil spring compressor and compress coil. Make sure to position
the spring compressor so that the threaded rod will go through the upper
shock mounting hole. (This part is tricky and will take some time)
Place floor jack securely under the lower arm and lift to just before the
the coil spring starts to compress, and then give it one more pump.
Remove cotter pin from lower ball joint castle nut.
Loosen the castle nut until the top of the castle nut is at the top of
the ball joint bolt.
Lower the floor jack to where the coil spring decompresses a little, and
just before the floor jack cup come out of contact with the lower a-arm.
Take a 5 lb. mallet and give the spindle a good whack where the lower ball
joint threads through the spindle. You may have to do this a couple of
times before the spindle will let go of the lower ball joint bolt. The
castle nut, and floor jack will prevent the lower a-arm from getting away.
Don't let the 'ka-thunk' scare you, just make sure that the castle nut
isn't removed prior to this.
Lift the floor jack up just enough to relieve pressure so that you may
remove the castle nut on the lower ball joint. Remove the castle nut.
Now carefully lower the floor jack. The lower a-arm will swing down and
depending on how much you could compress the coil spring, the spring may
or may not fall right out. It should, but if it doesn't, don't worry it's
compressed enough that with a little pressure to the lower a-arm it will
Decompress old coil spring. (If you're doing this manually, it's much
easier decompressing than compressing... ;-) )
Place coil spring compressor onto new coil and compress coil. Make sure
you don't put the coil spring compressor on the outer most coil, otherwise
you won't be able to remove the tool. If I recall correctly, placing the
top of the spring compressor on the third coil from the top and bottom
hooks on the second coil from the bottom will work.
Tape (electrical tape works) or RTV the rubber donut spring gasket onto
top of coil spring.
Place coil with compressor into upper spring pocket, make sure that the
threaded rod of the spring compressor goes through the upper shock mounting
hole. Place the bottom of the coil into the lower a-arm spring cup. Make
sure that the coil spring is positioned so that the drain hole isn't blocked.
Place the floor jack under the lower a-arm and lift up. Make sure that
the threaded rod goes through the upper shock mounting hole, and that the
spring still isn't blocking the drain hole in the lower a-arm.
While jacking up the lower a-arm, guide the lower ball joint back into
the lower ball joint mounting boss in the spindle.
Install castle nut, torque down to spec, and install a new cotter pin.
Remove the coil spring compressor.
Follow the same procedure for the other side.
Install sway bar end links.
Double check everything you've done (you better not have any extra parts,
other than the old springs... ;-)
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