Author Topic: Suspension Fitting Guide  (Read 1759 times)

Offline Jezza-7

  • Members
  • *****
  • Posts: 3824
Suspension Fitting Guide
« on: March 26, 2013, 03:55:38 pm »
Not sure if this has been posted in past but found this and thought it would come in handy. I take no credit as this is not my work.

You need a long-ass breaker bar and a 30mm socket, or an airgun if you have one, to crack off the driveshaft outer nut. If you know anyone in the motor trade, get them to loosen it off for you first and then tighten it up, but not to the same degree, to make it easier. If its especially tight i personally use a length of scaffold over a breaker bar to sort it, use your imagination.

With the car still on the ground, loosen but do not remove the front strut top mount bolts. On my suspension setup, i lock the strut in place with an allen key and use a swan-necked 19mm spanner to crack the nut loose. Yours may differ slightly, but they are piss easy either way. You may as well remove the driveshaft nut, it may need to be popped back on briefly later to hold the strut, but thats only a minutes work and its easiest to get it gone now.

Once they're loosened off, jack up the car and remove the front wheels. First unbolt and remove the brake caliper and carrier from the strut, and hang it with cable ties from a suitable point to relieve the pressure on the brake hose and avoid any damage. I use a hole in the inner wing, as long as its not fastened to the strut it doesnt matter. It may help you to remove the disc, but thats only 1 screw.

Undo the inner bolt where the steering arm meets the steering rack, and turn the wheel to pop the arm out of its mount. This avoids messing about with (and likely ruining) the balljoint between steering arm and strut. You can later remove the entire strut with steering arm attached, and its easy to refit too. Just hold the steering arm in place and turn the wheel to pop the rack back into place.

Undo the nut at the bottom of the strut that holds it to the TCA, remove the bolt, and use a crowbar to pop the TCA balljoint out of the bottom of the strut. It may help to prise apart the two sides of the bit that bolt goes through. When using the crowbar, use it as a lever to force the TCA downwards. I tend to put one end against the jacking point on the shell, forcing the bar down on the point where the TCA meets the arb by standing on the other end. You may need to bend the brake shield thing to allow for more clearance, but remember to bend it back in place when you're finished.

Pull out the driveshaft, remove the top bolt holding the strut up, and the whole thing should just pull out of the arch.

Spring compressors come in handy to remove some of the tension from the spring against the top mount while you loosen it off. You will need a castle nut removal tool to undo it, or file down a socket to fit the slots. You will understand once you see it, but the nut removal kits arent much more than a fiver from GSF and well worth hanging onto for future use. Note the order of the parts in the top mount assembly before removing them and the spring.

If you're just swapping the springs, then with the new ones in place "refitting is reverse of removal", to quote haynes. Start with the strut top bolt to hold it in place, insert the driveshaft and then pop in the bottom balljoint to secure the strut in place. It helps to lever the TCA down again to locate it, make sure the balljoint is aligned too or it wont go into the socket. You can now put the steering arm back in and bolt everything back together. Dont forget to put the driveshaft nut back on nice and tight once the car is on the ground.

If you are swapping the shocks too, remove the top mounts and everything else from the strut. New bumpstops might be a good idea if the old ones are shagged. Use mole grips or a vice to remove the cap that holds the shock absorber into the strut, and pull out the shock. Bear in mind its filled with hydraulic fluid, so pour that away into a washing up bowl (that poop stinks so dont get it on anything!) and insert the new shock unit. Some uprated shocks are slightly shorter than the strut housing, meaning they are loose when the cap is back on. This can be cured by dropping a 2p coin down flat inside the strut before inserting the shock absorber.

Then follow the instructions above to fit the springs and re-assemble the strut.

Sounds like a mission, it really isnt anywhere near as bad as people make out if you know what to do. The above is how i have come to do it after doing it on quite a few mk2 and 3's, and as i mentionned previously the last time i did it took no time at all - 4 hours for the whole car, both fronts and rears. It will take longer on your first try but i think my method makes it as simple as it can be. The biggest problems you are likely to face will be loosening bolts which are seized after years of use. If these can be cracked off first with an airgun and then re-tightened with only hand tools, then you shouldnt have any trouble.