Edmunds Answers



  • wern10 04/12/08 2:18 pm PST

    first you got to make sure you got the rite tools,ie: spring compressors and heavy duty air tools,and a way to realign the front end.theres really no way a backyarder can align the front suspension without some good alignment knowledge..i do front suspension work all the time and i wont touch a frt. wheel drive outside the shop,they're just to hard.the rear is a little easier,but you still need a spring compressor and some heavy tools...once you get the wheels off the rear, you got to loosen the 2 retaining bolts and they are torqed to around 125 to 155 foot pounds and that aint no joke.and when you put it back together you'll have to retorque to the same.once you get the 2 bolts out of the bottom you'll have to get a wrench on the top nut,and hand wrench it loose, you may want t try and get this bolt loose first to prevent the whole strut assembly from spinning,make sure to take the retaining bolt out of the side of the brake line to prevent damage...once you have the strut out you'll need to place the spring compressors on as the instructions say and then "VERY CAREFULY" alternate back and forth tightening each compressor a little at a time to insure equal pressure...just a little WARNING:IF THE SPRING COMPRESSORS COME LOOSE,THEY HOLD ENOUGH FORCE ON THAT SPRING THAT IT WILL CUT YOUR HEAD OFF,PLEASE DON'T THINK I'M JUST SAYING THIS TO SCARE YOU,PLEASE EXERCISE EXTREME CAUTION...i don't like paying to have work done either but strut springs are the most dangerous aspect of any repair operation,and most alignment shops have a cage machine mounted to the wall,if that gives you an idea of how dangerous they are...once you have the spring compressed use an air impact and the proper impact socket to first tighten the spring retainung nut and then loosen then tighten and loosen...repeat this several times and i guarantee that top nut will come right off in a mater of 5 or 6 on/off cycles.just pay attention to the rubber padding under and on top of the spring and put it on the new one just as it came off the old one or it will make some horrible noises and you'll have to tear it back apart...i hope this helps you along, your local library has repair manuals if you dont want to buy one and you can photo copy any pages you need..if i can be of any more assistance i will be more than happpy to help...goood luck and please be EXTREMELY CAUTIOUS......

  • actualsize 04/12/08 2:32 pm PST

    I'm a big DIY advocate, but this job is tricky for a first-timer, and not something I would advise a do-it-yourselfer to do. Why?

    All four struts are coil-over spring assemblies. You'd be taking the spring and strut out together. And I'm 95% certain you have to remove part of the rear seat on each side to access the upper mount of the rear struts to get the three upper retaining bolts out.

    Then you'd have to somehow compress the springs to remove the tension to remove the top bolt of the strut. When putting it back together, the proper relationship between the three bolts of at the top of the strut/spring assembly and the bottom of the strut are critical--if not aligned exactly right they won't go back in the car, especially in the rear.

    A wheel alignment has to be performed after changing struts. Unlike a double wishbone suspension, where the shocks are not defining the suspension's geometry, struts are a locating suspension member. When removed, the wheel alignment is lost. There is enough slop in the bolts you'll loosen that the alignemnt will have to be reset. It'd be close enough, however, to drive the car to an alignment shop.

    If you haven't done this before, and if you haven't got access to some specific tools, I'd take it to a professional. Someone with knowledge of this car and the procedure could do the job in a couple of hours. At home, trying to sort it out for the first time, you might spend a whole weekend and still not have the car back together to get to work on Monday.


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