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Any notable tools needed to replace struts/coils and rear springs and shocks?


gloer
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Next weekend I'm replacing the front coils and struts, and the rear coils and shocks. I've got AC springs, KYB struts/mounts/bellows for the front and LR9447 springs and Bilstein 33-18552 shocks for the rear. Have the 8MILELAKE spring compressor that several mentioned recommended.

 

I've only got basic garage tools, i.e. not a full range of tools that a real mechanic would have. My buddy is coming over (he's an F-35 aircraft mechanic) and he's bringing what he uses on his Tundra.

 

Is there anything specific that you'd recommend to have on hand before getting started? I'd like to knock this out in 2 days or less. Don't want to get part way in and realize I need to fin some tool I don't have on hand. I've looked through the FSM and don't see anything but  those that have done this work know better than the FSM what tools were needed/recommended.

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36 minutes ago, gloer said:

Next weekend I'm replacing the front coils and struts, and the rear coils and shocks. I've got AC springs, KYB struts/mounts/bellows for the front and LR9447 springs and Bilstein 33-18552 shocks for the rear. Have the 8MILELAKE spring compressor that several mentioned recommended.

 

I've only got basic garage tools, i.e. not a full range of tools that a real mechanic would have. My buddy is coming over (he's an F-35 aircraft mechanic) and he's bringing what he uses on his Tundra.

 

Is there anything specific that you'd recommend to have on hand before getting started? I'd like to knock this out in 2 days or less. Don't want to get part way in and realize I need to fin some tool I don't have on hand. I've looked through the FSM and don't see anything but  those that have done this work know better than the FSM what tools were needed/recommended.

You're golden if you have that spring compressor. Just DON'T USE ANY impact tools on it and you'll be fine. A standard ratchet with a pipe on it will give better leverage. You might want to consider getting a pair of camber bolts in case stiffer spring gives too much positive camber. They'd go on bottom hole. Maybe some anti-seize and definitely a torque wrench to do it right.

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Quote

a pair of camber bolts in case stiffer spring gives too much positive camber. They'd go on bottom hole. 

 

I've got two camber bolts from Specialty Products Company (81260), no idea what to do with them, hence my friend that has a clue coming to help teach me what to do.

 

I'll be sure to get some anti-seize before Saturday.

 

Will be sure to not use any impact tools. Thanks for the advice!

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If you've never done this, you might want to scan over my blog posts about doing it. If you've done similar suspension work, then probably not worth reading. I skimmed it again since it's been so many years ago trying to remember any unique tools. My tools are somewhere between not mechanic level but more than your average occasional backyard wrencher.

 

I use a torque wrench on everything out of personal preference, so a 1/2 torque wrench and breaker bar would be recommended. 

 

Personally I haven't used the better spring compressors. But after trying one of the fork spring compressors on the AC 2" lift springs, they are so ridiculously stiff, I wouldn't even consider trying to reassemble them myself. I guess I would if I bought a shop press, which is what my Mechanic ended up using after NTB assembled them wrong for me the first time.

 

http://colinnwn.blogspot.com/2007/12/installing-suspension-lift-on-my-2001.html

http://colinnwn.blogspot.com/2009/06/front-suspension-change-on-2001-nissan.html

http://colinnwn.blogspot.com/2009/06/rear-suspension-change-on-2001-nissan.html

 

 

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12 minutes ago, colinnwn said:

If you've never done this, you might want to scan over my blog posts about doing it. If you've done similar suspension work, then probably not worth reading. I skimmed it again since it's been so many years ago trying to remember any unique tools. My tools are somewhere between not mechanic level but more than your average occasional backyard wrencher.

 

I use a torque wrench on everything out of personal preference, so a 1/2 torque wrench and breaker bar would be recommended. 

 

Personally I haven't used the better spring compressors. But after trying one of the fork spring compressors on the AC 2" lift springs, they are so ridiculously stiff, I wouldn't even consider trying to reassemble them myself. I guess I would if I bought a shop press, which is what my Mechanic ended up using after NTB assembled them wrong for me the first time.

 

http://colinnwn.blogspot.com/2007/12/installing-suspension-lift-on-my-2001.html

http://colinnwn.blogspot.com/2009/06/front-suspension-change-on-2001-nissan.html

http://colinnwn.blogspot.com/2009/06/rear-suspension-change-on-2001-nissan.html

 

 

Awesome, I'll check those out. Torque wrench will be purchased today.

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I like my Tekton 1/2 from Amazon better than my Dads 20 year old Craftsman.

Now their 3/8 only has inch lbs and newton meters, so I'm constantly having to ask Alexa in my garage what the conversion is for my manuals that don't have Nm. Its ratchet teeth are a little coarser than I'd prefer. But for what I paid I can't complain.

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

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Here’s a tip for the strut replacement. Loosen the nut on top of the strut shaft before removing the strut. It’s much harder to break that but loose after the strut is removed. Camber bolts, if used, should be installed on the top strut/knuckle bolt hole.

 

When replacing the rear springs, you do not have to remove the pan hard rod, but it is very helpful to unbolt the sway bar mounts from the axle so that the sway bar doesn’t interfere with flexing the axle during installation. Also, unbolt the rear brake manifold on top of the diff to prevent overstretching the rubber brake line while you manipulate the rear axle. I would also suggest extending the rear differential breather tube to a higher location or possibly up into the cabin through one of the grommets on either side behind the wheel wells. (I routed my breather tube to the fuel filler neck area.)

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Make sure you’ve read about & know the differences in the strut top hat - you need that spacer. The OEM one is welded on, most aftermarket are not.

c872940295300b640774cd5eae7bd3bf.jpg

 

You will be very impressed with these new clamshell spring compressors - they work great.

85fe2f64528a70cb0b82f843704d52cf.jpg

 

03999565a7e7ec0c7b8a55eae8fae3cc.jpg

The notches on the bottom spring seat and the top spring seat must be aligned as shown. Note that the side of the strut shown in the photo is the inboard (engine-facing) side. When reinstalling the struts, orient the "L" or "R" on the strut insulator (aka "top hat") so that the "L" lines up with the notches for the left strut, and the "R" lines up with the notches for the right strut.

[XPLORx4]

 

Finally, I’m not sure with that spring set but you may need to lengthen your rear brake line.

 

Extending the breather never hurts but Nissan did a good job of tucking it right under the cargo area floor & it will still reach fine, even with the Britpart NRC9448 springs. It’s on my ToDo list but really, I’m very unlikely to get that deep - it’s really up there on mine.

 

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3 hours ago, RainGoat said:

 

[this is from one of our threads - it’s not mine & I’m happy to credit whomever if somebody can tell me who]

 

 

LOL. That's a photo I took the first time I had to replace my struts, sometime around 2000-2001. It was the first and the last time I used those spring compressors! Shortly afterwards, I bought a used Strut Tamer.

41SDadoSo6L._AC_.jpg

Edited by XPLORx4
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Holy sh*t @XPLORx4, that Tamer is a beast!

 

Aside: How in tf do you get an image in the post? I searched, I tried, posted a URL instead of the image. Sad (funny?) thing...I'm in tech industry 😞

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LOL. That's a photo I took the first time I had to replace my struts, sometime around 2000-2001. It was the first and the last time I used those spring compressors! Shortly afterwards, I bought a used Strut Tamer.
41SDadoSo6L._AC_.jpg

I’ll tag it as yours in the future. It’s very handy & I’ve sent it to many members who were very happy to have it.
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5 hours ago, gloer said:

Aside: How in tf do you get an image in the post? I searched, I tried, posted a URL instead of the image. Sad (funny?) thing...I'm in tech industry 😞

 

Use the  img /img tag (add brackets around "img" and "/img"). Put the url of the jpg source between the tags.

Edited by XPLORx4
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15 hours ago, XPLORx4 said:

 

Use the  img /img tag (add brackets around "img" and "/img"). Put the url of the jpg source between the tags.

 

Magic. Thx. Post with picture above now actually shows a picture. 

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Thanks all for the tips and hints. Got front and back both done yesterday in ~6 hours, including lunch break. It went really well as we knew what to expect based on your feedback. The clamshell spring compressors absolutely make this install a breeze. They are WELL worth the $120. https://www.amazon.com/8MILELAKE-Macpherson-Spring-Compressor-Interchangeable/dp/B01DP2CDJU

 

Camber bolts definitely needed, but didn't realize it until we got the wheels back on. Will address this in the coming week when new tires (and maybe wheels) are put on. Moving up from 31x10.5x15 to something bigger and either wheel spacers or new wheels. 

 

The only "surprise" were the rubber parts, I didn't have replacements on hand and of course none in stock at the dealer. I have ordered and will take the front and rear springs off again to put on the new rubber parts (e.g. coil spring insulators 54034-0W010, 55034-0W005, etc.). Not sure how critical some of these are, but ordered and unless someone here says they're not worth replacing I'll tear things apart and put on new ones.

 

Front went from 32.75" to 35.5"

Rear went from 33.25" to 36.25"

 

Will post pictures in a bit. Thanks again for all the advice!

 

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Sorry about that- here are my OEM part notes

OEM Replacement Parts
Strut Bearing [54325-5V000] $48.54=$24.27x2
Spring Seat [54034-0W000] $45.42=$22.71x2
Bellows & Bump Stop [54050-0W002] $38.86=$19.43x2
Did NOT use: Upper Seat Rubber Bumper (NOT rubber) [54057-0W000] $22.50=$11.25x2
$173.17 ($155.32+$17.85s) infinitipartsdeal.com

Just reused the rubber isolators on the springs themselves - wish I had new ones when I did it. We did rotate it to a less used surface where we could. @hawairish improvised with some hose or tube if I recall correctly.

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New shoes ordered. Went to Desert Rats Offroad today, getting 32x11.5x15 BFG All Terrain T/A KO2s on Pro Comp Series 7069 15x8 wheels (https://www.procompusa.com/wheels-product-details.aspx?pt=101508&lc=pxa&pqq=2336-1558-1551-1557&pqa=13671-8275-8056-8268&apn=PXA7069-5883_

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Posting in case someone else runs into the same...I need to replace the spring insulators on each end of each coil, 55034+A. They're ~$27 each, need 8 of them (two per coil). Over $200 for a cheap piece of plastic/poly sleeve. Screw that!

Went to Home Depot and I'm using some tubing instead and saving ~$220. I don't mind spending money where it is worth it, but cannot convince myself these insulators are worth it.

 

Top is the old insulator (it's old, thin poly), OEM $27 each , clear is the tubing I'm going to use to manufacture 8 of these for $1.20 each. 


iWEethv.png 

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On 12/28/2020 at 5:59 PM, gloer said:

Posting in case someone else runs into the same...I need to replace the spring insulators on each end of each coil, 55034+A. They're ~$27 each, need 8 of them (two per coil). Over $200 for a cheap piece of plastic/poly sleeve. Screw that!

Went to Home Depot and I'm using some tubing instead and saving ~$220. I don't mind spending money where it is worth it, but cannot convince myself these insulators are worth it.

 

Top is the old insulator (it's old, thin poly), OEM $27 each , clear is the tubing I'm going to use to manufacture 8 of these for $1.20 each.  

 

UPDATE: The DYI insulators worked ok, not great. If you're going to try this, try to get something thinner. Despite heating the DYI versions still had a tough time staying in place given the coil radius.

 

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Sucks to hear it didn’t work so well.

Given the tubing wall thickness, do you think spiral wrapping the coil ends with the tubing would yield a better result and sit in place?

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14 hours ago, Fonze311 said:

Sucks to hear it didn’t work so well.

Given the tubing wall thickness, do you think spiral wrapping the coil ends with the tubing would yield a better result and sit in place?

 

Yeah, that's probably a better approach. The OEM insulators are super thin and any tubing that bends to the required radius is likely going to be too soft to last. Good idea you have to wrap something in spiral fashion. I've got the old coils, I'll give that a try.

 

I'm going to be taking apart the front struts for the third time now that I have the OEM rubber seats for the tops. @R50JR thanks for helping to convince me to buy the tools and do the lift myself! Like you suggested, I now have the tools and I'm closing in on McPherson strut rebuild expert status.

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  • 1 month later...
On 12/14/2020 at 12:15 PM, RainGoat said:

Make sure you’ve read about & know the differences in the strut top hat - you need that spacer. The OEM one is welded on, most aftermarket are not.

c872940295300b640774cd5eae7bd3bf.jpg

 

You will be very impressed with these new clamshell spring compressors - they work great.

85fe2f64528a70cb0b82f843704d52cf.jpg

 

03999565a7e7ec0c7b8a55eae8fae3cc.jpg

The notches on the bottom spring seat and the top spring seat must be aligned as shown. Note that the side of the strut shown in the photo is the inboard (engine-facing) side. When reinstalling the struts, orient the "L" or "R" on the strut insulator (aka "top hat") so that the "L" lines up with the notches for the left strut, and the "R" lines up with the notches for the right strut.

[XPLORx4]

 

Finally, I’m not sure with that spring set but you may need to lengthen your rear brake line.

 

Extending the breather never hurts but Nissan did a good job of tucking it right under the cargo area floor & it will still reach fine, even with the Britpart NRC9448 springs. It’s on my ToDo list but really, I’m very unlikely to get that deep - it’s really up there on mine.

 

What did you do about that spacer on the replacement strut mount not being welded? I see the KYB mounts aren't welded also. The pics in their product description shows it not welded also, but comes with it. 

 

I'm going to replace mine when doing the coils so trying to get all the info in beforehand. 

 

Thanks 

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