scwmcan

front springs

28 posts in this topic

While putting my front summer tires on, noticed that the front spring on the passenger side looked a little odd, (was coiled out and down below the spring seat, but not broken (at this point)) pushe dit a bit and it broke free, so now wondering how hard a job is it to replace these myself (have only replaced one spring before on my 140 volvo, that wasn't too bad, but not a macpherson strut suspension). Have to see where I can get some front springs fairly inexpensively too (will be checking with eddy). For now I have to drive the subaru to work next week, going to be expensive enough for that. After I get the new springs installed need to get a front end alignment, wearing the insides of the front tires way too fast, seems like the front end is all fine besides the springs though, no noticable play in the ball joints etc.I know I have seen threads on the spring replacemnt somewhere, just can't find them at the moment (and a little frustrated).

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The dealer charges about $200. It's hard to do without the special alum clamp as mentioned in evilutions guide.Good luck :D

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Well I have started on the spring replacement, I was doing fine, but cannot get the nut off the top of the strut to take the sturt out. I am leaving it soakig in penetrating oil until tomorrow morning, will be going to get a 21 mm wrnch etc too (the socket and my version of tolsens strut shaft holder aren't doing it, anyone one have any other ideas to stop the shaft from spinning without wrecking the shaft (will see if I can find some version of the special smart tool as well, looks a lot like something I used to use on cables in a previous job....) anyway besides the problem with the nut everything else is pretty easy, it is something that is within the realm of the adventerous backyard mechanic.

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Yes good idea I would say. Also check for rust starting around the strut towers, I am cleaning up around mine as there are definite signs of it, a flat surface for water and stuff to rest is just waiting for rust to develop

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but cannot get the nut off the top of the strut to take the sturt out.

I use an air driven impact gun with swivel socket. If that doesn't work an application of heat will.Good luck!

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Do you need to hold the strut shaft with the impact gun? If so what do you use?

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Even after heat the nut is just not budging. The 7 mm Allen wrench is holding the strut, but the nut isn't going anywhere it is getting frustrating to say the least, am going to do another heat a penetrating oil cycle then leave it for a bit, may have to buy an impact wretch too, getting a bit expensive now ( though more tools isn't a bad thing, just didn't want to go there at this point) . Wondering now if someone over torqued these nuts to start with, seeming a little extreme now....

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If you don't have an impact driver (tsk tsk) - you can sometimes fudge (and abuse tools) by giving the handle of the wrench/breaker bar a love tap with a big hammer. Make sure it is a well fitting, good quality wrench/socket. To do it put tension on the wrench/breaker bar so it is tight on the nut, give it a good whack (watch your fingers) well up the wrench/breaker bar. Sometimes this is enough to get it going. Don't start wailing on it though if it doesn't come after a couple of good whacks - wait until you get the right tool otherwise either the wrench or the nut will get PO'd and pay back is a .....They make good electric impact guns now and you can also rent them - pretty much required for doing work on any car's suspension.I don't think they overtorqued them - they may have put a shot of loctite on them or they may have corroded.Cheers,Cameron

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Thanks Cameron, I have done the tap on the wrench no go. I am going out today after work and picking up an impart driver for the compressor. It was on my list of tools to get just not quite yet, but I don't think I have a choice now :) have managed to get everythingclened up and well soaked in penetrating oil, so think it is just being stubborn, hopefully the impact driver will do the trick. The bonus will be easier removal of stuff in the future .

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Well I finally got the strut off and the new spring on, but am still having a problem I can't compress the strut enough to get it back on the hub, evilution just say to push it back upend in, don't k ow if I am just weak or what but I can't do it. Anybody else have this problem or am I making it ore implicated than I need to?Need to get the smart back on the road using the subi is going to bankrupt me at the price gas is now.Open to any suggestions ( including do it like this stupid :) )

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Evilutions site uses a pair of spring compressors (big long threaded rod things), I think you can rent them at Canadian Tire, but they are probably as cheap to buy.CANMAN

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Thanks CANMAN, but I guess I may not have explained my problem clearly. I have used the spring compressors (got them at princess Auto, so no not expensive) and reassembled the strut, that wasn't a problem at all. The strut is now bolted onto the mount in the car, but I cannot push the strut up high enough to get it onto the stub of the hub for the wheel so I can bolt the bottom onto the car as well and finish the job. I did notice that Evilution did not tighten the top nut, so I am going to loosen that again tonight and try again, but think I tried without it tight yesterday and still was having a problem, from what I can tell I need a small jack or thick pry bar of some sort to get onto the bottom of the strut and lift it up into position, it may just be that I am not strong enough to compress the strut by hand, or maybe Evilutions spring were shorter than the stock smart ones and it can be done by hand with them and not mine. BTW there is no room in the strut tower for the spring compressors to fit (I tried this last night, with no success). In anycase I will have some writing to do when I am done to help others with changing springs and how to avoid the pitfalls I have found. In any case hopefully I will finally have the suspension back together and the car on the road by the end of the day today.

Edited by smart142

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Use the spring compressors off the car, apply baling wire twisted tight in multiple locations to hold them shortened, cut the wire after install. (Wear safety goggles or preferably a face shield, thick gloves and sleeves when cutting for obvious reasons)

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I spent about a 1/2 trying to use the spring compressor and it kept slipping.I was lucky and had a helper, and as Evilution says, you can compress it pulling down with your full weight and your helper puts the nut on the top.Worked for me :D

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I spent about a 1/2 trying to use the spring compressor and it kept slipping.I was lucky and had a helper, and as Evilution says, you can compress it pulling down with your full weight and your helper puts the nut on the top.Worked for me :D

actually I had no problem using the spring compressor to install the spring, it worked like a charm. My problem was getting the strut back onto the car, I did finally mange it last night and am driving my smart again today (yay!!!). I wound up using the wire up the spring which allowed me to get enough clearance to get a 2x4 in to lever the sturt up to the stub for the axle, I don't know if every smart is like this but the control arm seemed very difficult to push down too, maybe this is why I had such trouble (and maybe I need to see if there is something else wrong, though the control arm seemed to go down just fine once the strut was on it) in any case although it has been over two weeks since I have been able to drive the car, it seems to me that it is riding better than it has since I got it, makes me think that the spring has been going for quite some time. I do still need to put the other side on this weekend, but now that I know what I am doing should not be a problem. Will write up the story and process on the weekend when I have a chance. Thanks to all for their helpful suggestions.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Leroy took 8 hours to put on the Eibach springs I bought. Most of the time was spent on the fronts. Next time? I will buy new struts with the springs. It will take out of the process so much frustration, anger, and some choice swear words. Easier to just destroy the struts than try to save them and go through the problem of taking them out undamaged and installing them again.

Edited by Smartspirit

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What do you think of the ride with the Eibachs as compared to stock springs?

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Leroy took 8 hours to put on the Eibach springs I bought. Most of the time was spent on the fronts. Next time? I will buy new struts with the springs. It will take out of the process so much frustration, anger, and some choice swear words. Easier to just destroy the struts than try to save them and go through the problem of taking them out undamaged and installing them again.

That is about how long it took all in all to put in the one spring I have done so far. I think most of the frustration with removing the front strur can be remidied with the impact wrench, if I had had one to start with I think it would have been done in about 1.5-2 hours (will find out when I do the other side, was too busy last weekend, will be doing it this weekend), now that I know what I am doing I don't think it is going to be too bad.

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4 hours ago, ChickenGeorge said:

Can anyone suggest new front strut and spring set, prebuilt? I'd prefer not to buy from the dealer, so appreciate any suggestions.

Smart Parts Direct has them. 

https://www.smart-parts-direct.com/product/555-450-complete-front-strut-kit-01-06.html

 

The struts can be replaced without removing front panels. Access top mount nut through service flaps each side. Undo nuts with impact gun, swivel joint, extension bar and socket. 

 

photo_2.jpg

 

photo_1.jpg

 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

im not impressed with the lesjofors springs i installed 2 years ago

 

the upper loops rubbed each other so much they put in flat spots..both sides were like this

 

..headlights were always too low too ..springs were too soft brand new out of the box

 

 

 

 

 

 

lesjo.jpg

Edited by LooseLugNuts

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Posted (edited) · Report post

On 5/11/2011 at 10:18 PM, smart142 said:

I spent about a 1/2 trying to use the spring compressor and it kept slipping.I was lucky and had a helper, and as Evilution says, you can compress it pulling down with your full weight and your helper puts the nut on the top.Worked for me :D

 

i picked up one of these hydraulic ones years ago dirt cheap from some tool store that was going bankrupt..i think it was $50

 

works like a charm on most but have to be careful with the small smart struts because it can only grab the cap...spring is too small

 

https://www.amazon.com/Ton-Hydraulic-Strut-Spring-Compressor/dp/B000BMGRZY

 

about 20 years ago i was doing some struts with the old threaded rod type compressors and one slipped...the strut mount flew straight up flipping my hat off when it hit the brim ...ive hated those ever since

Edited by LooseLugNuts

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Peugeot 404 factory strut compressor tool by Fenwick, it was free and works a treat.  Might not work on a smart because the spring is so puny.

 

33657816950_33a8290119_h.jpg

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some steel adapter plates would be easy to make for that one to fit smaller struts...it looks like a good one

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