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Front Spring Removal/Install


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TheKidInBuff

I have a 1995 Buick Regal. Its basically a '96 but still has the Series 1 motor and electronics.

One of the front Coil Spring Seat's is bad. Its the bearing that turns and rotates when you turn the front wheels. This sits below the spring, unlike most cars nowadays that it sits on top of the spring as part of the strut mount. Under normal working circumstances the spring does not rotate with the tire when turning in this design.

Where I'm having trouble researching is how to remove the front springs.. The strut is a cartridge that is slid in from the top under the hood. And from what i have seen, the spring is compressed from the weight of the car.. If you unbolt the top and jack up the car, unbolt the knuckle, the spring would come flying out? I do not feel as if there is a good way of compressing the spring in the car.

Has anyone ever taken this type of suspension apart before?


Thanks!

 

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Many times. Almost killed myself once doing it. Used to have a pretty big hole in my garage wall from that.

In short, no there is no way to service that on the car. pull the entire knuckle and strut assembly to service it.

Once its out of the car you more or less service it how you would any other mcpherson strut. But be careful those springs are no joke. 

 

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TheKidInBuff

Thanks for the reply! Sorry I never got a notification.

So you are saying I have to leave the top end of the strut together, jack the car, compress the spring and then undo the top of the strut and bottom knuckle? The weight of the car compresses the spring in place correct?


If im able to pull the compressed spring out, i dont think ill have to remove the bottom knuckle/wheel hub/cv shaft.

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No,

what Chris is saying is to remove the entire strut as an intact assembly, once removed from the car then one disassembles it in the same manner as any other *conventional* strut, then you can replace the worn parts as necessary.

Edited by 55trucker
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I’ve had much luck changing springs out on the car.  I have coil overs now so makes the job much easier as they can come out the top without taking anything apart down below.  There is a way to unload the factory spring on the car but may need to remove the entire assembly to get enough clearance to  access and remove the spring and change the bearing.

-with the car on the ground remove the strut cover plate - 3 bolts. You may want to mark the position of the nuts to avoid an alignment
-remove the strut shaft upper nut. That’ll be the hardest part as its likely corroded on there and you may not get it off at all. Soak in PB blaster overnight... the shock rod Takes a torx key to keep the shock rod from spinning, use a socket that you can get a wrench on or vice grips to remove the nut while holding the shock stationary with the hex. I  Welded a big  wrench onto a socket and made my own tool for this. The hex has to go inside the ratchet hole for this to work.

- when the upper nut is off put the strut cover back on with nuts finger tight. The shock may push the bushing out so You'll have to push it back down.

- raise the car up on 2 jack stands so front wheels are off the ground. Take the wheel off. 
- Support the knuckle with a jack and reload the spring a bit, disconnect the sway bar from the control arm so the control arm will lower freely later on.

- separate but don’t remove the ball joint.  Put castle nut back on finger tight. Will be a bugger to do later if needed if assembly is not bolted to strut tower.

-disconnect the tie rod. 

-disconnect and cap the brake line

- remove the strut cover nuts again and and remove the cover

-slowly lower the jack.

- that’ll release the tension on the spring and the assembly will come away from the strut tower when the spring is unloaded.
- you might get just enough clearance to tip/pull the top of the assembly out of the wheel well and remove the spring without fully taking it off.  Step on the control arm a bit to get it to lower,
if not you’ll have to remove it the rest of the way. you’ll be glad you loosened the ball joint now.
- if you have enough clearance to clear the fender you’ll have to pop the cv axle out of the transmission at that point to get the assembly to pull away enough to tip it out of the fender or remove the assembly all together. I’d suggest to separate the axle nut from the hub instead and leave the cv behind but you’d have to loosen the nut before you start anything else. It’s fine threaded and a bitch to get off.

There was a video on you tube showing this process. I think it was a regal if it’s still on there I couldn’t find it.

This isn’t it but will give an idea of the first part at least YouTube search: 

GM W body strut cartridge change, Buick Regal 
 

if you do it the other way by removing all in one piece just take it to a shop and save yourself the danger. Spring compressors are horrid if they let go prematurely. I almost shit myself when doing it off the car once and it let go, never again...  Guys get killed that way.  Even using ratchet straps to hold it all together for added security  is dicey. There’s lots of videos of this going wrong on you tube  Watch a few of those as well... Russians are funny dudes..

to each his own of course. It’s a 6 beer,  two busted knuckle job for sure.

 

 

 


 

Edited by GTP091
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TheKidInBuff

I understand now. The schematic explains it all. I couldn't find one that detailed.

Who knew the entire assembly could be removed as one unit. I've had new lower control arm bushings sitting on the shelf for about 2 years now so I may just completely pull the entire assembly out, and do everything at once. The passenger side tire has had a bad case of toe out for years so the alignment doesn't matter. I dont mind compressing the springs. Ive never had a real issue compressing and these are 26 years old anyway. 

I do like GTP091's way of changing the bearings. This is originally how I thought I had to do it. And still may do it this way.. Few months ago I changed the rear shocks and had a hell of a time with the big mono-leaf. So I fear I'm going to end back up in that situation again lol.

I wonder why GM didnt keep using this strut design.. I love the cartridges and how easy they are to change. Its not like the strut bearings go bad any sooner than they do on the mid-2000s W Bodys. By the end of the month I plan on doing this job. Ill be referencing this post and try to post an update...thanks!

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There’s a special tool for removing the collar that secures the shock inside the strut tube.  It’s fine threaded and likely to be a bugger to get out from the top if you can find the tool,  unless it was changed a few times and had anti seize applied.  I took mine apart using big vice grips. 

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TheKidInBuff
18 hours ago, GTP091 said:

There’s a special tool for removing the collar that secures the shock inside the strut tube.  It’s fine threaded and likely to be a bugger to get out from the top if you can find the tool,  unless it was changed a few times and had anti seize applied.  I took mine apart using big vice grips. 

When I took ownership of the car, It needed front shocks badly. So I also ended up using a big pair of vise grips because the tool is difficult to find. I have a bad knocking suspension noise that happens over light bumps. Seemed to come after I changed those shocks so I want to compress the spring and see what part is loose/bad. I think their may be play in the top strut mount. 

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A short time after replacing my front struts and mounts car started having a clunk.

I used Monroe struts and mounts and the struts came with washers that had to be installed between the top of the strut and the large hollow retaining nut. I thought that I might not of gotten the large nut tight enough with the half wore out tool from autozone. I found the same OEM strut kit #27034 on ebay a purchased it.

When I took the struts back out the large hollow retainer nuts were slightly loose but the noise was coming from where the struts clamp to the strut mounts. The off brand mounts had an uneven surface where the top of the strut shaft is clamped to the strut mount. The uneven surface allowed the strut to flatten out the uneven parts that treated a gap that caused all of the noise.

I removed the silver bottom plate from the rubber mounts and attacked the uneven black steel flange with a dremel a drill and grinding stones until I had a solid flat surface. Put it all back together and all the looseness and clunks went away.

Arrow in picture shows where the surface needs to be flat and smooth.

 

Strut Bumper 033AA.JPG

901-007_Alternate2__ra_pA.JPG

Edited by ron350
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TheKidInBuff
On 3/2/2021 at 7:57 PM, ron350 said:

A short time after replacing my front struts and mounts car started having a clunk.

I used Monroe struts and mounts and the struts came with washers that had to be installed between the top of the strut and the large hollow retaining nut. I thought that I might not of gotten the large nut tight enough with the half wore out tool from autozone. I found the same OEM strut kit #27034 on ebay a purchased it.

When I took the struts back out the large hollow retainer nuts were slightly loose but the noise was coming from where the struts clamp to the strut mounts. The off brand mounts had an uneven surface where the top of the strut shaft is clamped to the strut mount. The uneven surface allowed the strut to flatten out the uneven parts that treated a gap that caused all of the noise.

I removed the silver bottom plate from the rubber mounts and attacked the uneven black steel flange with a dremel a drill and grinding stones until I had a solid flat surface. Put it all back together and all the looseness and clunks went away.

Arrow in picture shows where the surface needs to be flat and smooth.

 

Strut Bumper 033AA.JPG

901-007_Alternate2__ra_pA.JPG

This is extremely usefull... thank you. I'll keep it in mind when replacing mine. When I did the struts, i didn't do the top mounts. But I do remember the new struts coming with washers. I had trouble getting the strut housing tight so the struts didnt move. 

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