M20_fever's spring swap

Springs and shocks. What keeps your car tight around corners?
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M20_fever
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M20_fever's spring swap

Postby M20_fever » Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:00 am

Just a quick DIY for those of you wanting to swap out your old, probably stock springs for something a little lower or stiffer, or both.

This writeup assumes you have the car up on jack stands with the tires and brakes removed.


Begin by unbolting the tie rod and swing arm.
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separating the lower ball joint proved to be more difficult than normal. Usually you can just leave the nut on the end of the stud and smack it with a mallet. This one was stuck good, so I had to break out the ball joint separator. Place the tool as seen in the pic and give it a few good whacks and it should pop loose.
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remove the ABS sensor.
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Once the strut is free from the tie rod and swing arm the only thing holding it in will be the 3 nut on the upper strut mount, remove them.
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You should end up with this.
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Now you remove the large nut in the center of strut mount.
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now remove the top hat, it may be stuck on but it should pop off with a little prying with a flat head screw driver.
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I took the opportunity to clean up my struts and give them a coat of rubberized undercoating.
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Now set the new spring onto the strut, being sure to seat the spring properly with the end butting into the recess on the spring pad.
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replace the spring hat.
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Put the washer back on the strut shaft, and take the washer pictured in my hand and place it back onto the bottom of the upper strut mount.
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Now put the unit back together by tightening the large center nut. I found it easy to hit it with an impact, but it could be done with a ratchet.
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The ball joint boot was torn when I used the separator tool, so I had to replace it with a universal unit.
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I zip tied the bottom of the boot so it would stay in place.
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Now the strut has to go back in. I used a floor jack to hold the strut in place so I could slowly raise it up lining the upper strut mount studs with the holes in the strut towers. Once the studs begin poking up through the holes start the nuts.
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put some red loctite on the tie rod and lower ball joint studs and tighten them down.
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reinstall the ABS and brake wear indicator wires into their keepers on the strut.
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reinstall the ABS sensor.
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now tighten down the upper strut mount nuts.
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leaving you with this.
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onto the rears...

Your going to need a set of spring compressors to do this.

remove the lower shock bolt so the trailing arm can drop fully.
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now install the spring compressors, careful to position them so you can fully tighten them and remove the spring.
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again, I took the opportunity to clean up the trailing arm.
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reinstall the new springs reverse of removal. In my case the new springs were short enough to just slip in without the compressors with the trailing arm at full droop.
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bolt up the shock, replace the brakes, reinstall the wheels and your ready to go.
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Re: M20_fever's spring swap

Postby Yoshi » Sun Apr 10, 2011 1:15 pm

cleaned up the trailing arm but that spring is still rusty as hell.

I do the rear springs by unlinking the sway bar and shock then pressing all the way down. I've never needed spring compressors for the rear :)
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Re: M20_fever's spring swap

Postby M20_fever » Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:46 pm

yeah, I didn't feel like dropping the sway bar also, this worked fine, and the H&Rs slipped right in with just the shock unhooked. I will clean the springs and have them powder coated when I drop the subframe in the fall, I just needed to have this thing together and ready for next Saturday.
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Re: M20_fever's spring swap

Postby ponycarman » Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:08 pm

Awesome! I just did the front dissasembly on mine just the other week. Quite a job on a car that has probably never had any new suspension parts put on it haha. Wasnt too bad though. Great write up. With mine in the front I still had stock springs so I had to use a spring compressor and I had to use a set of vice grips to hold the shock insert shaft in place when I broke the top nut loose.
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Re: M20_fever's spring swap

Postby M20_fever » Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:04 am

yeah if your replacing stock springs chances are its going to fight you a little.
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Re: M20_fever's spring swap

Postby ten2doyle102 » Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:52 am

I got creative with a couple of quick hand clamps when I popped the rear springs out. Went pressed down from the top of the brake rotor to the inside of the wheel well. Then just use a pry bar to pop them out.
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Re: M20_fever's spring swap

Postby M20_fever » Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:36 pm

Yeah, I wasn't lucky enough to have a helper so the compressors acted as a second set of hands. I could have disconnected the sway bar to avoid using them, either way works.
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Re: M20_fever's spring swap

Postby Yoshi » Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:14 pm

when you get HR race springs or lower you can just just forget about the compressors. Then they just pop out by hand.
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Re: M20_fever's spring swap

Postby antil33t » Fri Jul 01, 2011 10:57 pm

my 30mm drop king's popped in quite easy, just needed a prybar.

also, if you have stock front springs you may want a spring compressor.

not that I'm using my stock struts.. I upgraded which was the smart way :p
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Re: M20_fever's spring swap

Postby M20_fever » Sat Jul 02, 2011 1:28 am

What struts did you upgrade to?
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Re: M20_fever's spring swap

Postby Yoshi » Sat Jul 02, 2011 1:55 pm

Didn't know they made aftermarket struts....
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Re: M20_fever's spring swap

Postby M20_fever » Sat Jul 02, 2011 3:07 pm

Me either.
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Re: M20_fever's spring swap

Postby pr0craztinazn » Mon Jul 04, 2011 7:26 pm

I can only assume he's referring to the inserts and not the housings.
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Re: M20_fever's spring swap

Postby Yoshi » Mon Jul 04, 2011 8:00 pm

ah true that.

need to get me a pickle fork.
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Re: M20_fever's spring swap

Postby ponycarman » Mon Jul 04, 2011 8:07 pm

Harbor freight is your friend :D they are cheap. Thats where I got one of mine.
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