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Need front strut help on Brat


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9 replies to this topic

#1 allanbegg

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 06:01 PM

Have an '82 Brat.

Installed a new front CV Axle today. Inadvertently unbolted the top of the strut, thinking that it was needed, to get the old axle out. The strut/spring combo dropped enough to get the old axle out and the new one in.

Now I can't get the strut back in to the top mount. I rented a strut spring compressor, but can't compress it enough to get the strut stud to go back up into the hole. It has about 2" to go and the spring is fully compressed.

Any suggestions?
I'm obviously missing something.
Thanks, Allan

#2 NorthWet

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 06:21 PM

I assume that the shock-rod is just sliding down into the shock body. (Pretty much all of my strut-shocks are gas pressurized, so usually isn't much of a problem for me.)

If this is the case, you might find some way of softly gripping the base of the rod at the shock body so that it doesn't slide in. No tried and true from me, but maybe a hose clamp around a shop rag might grip the rod enough, yet still be removable.

#3 allanbegg

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 06:57 PM

NorthWet,

Thanks for the quick reply. I'll have to look into that tomorrow. Too cold, dark, and now snowing, this evening.

I did not realize that the strut rod could drop down into the body. I thought all strut rods were under some amount of pressure and would automatically be fully extended.

I hope that's it, as that will be an easy solution.

Allan

#4 l75eya

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 07:12 PM

What bolts exactly did you loosen/remove on the strut tower under the hood.
Was it the three outer bolts
Posted Image
Or just the one in the center?

It sounds like you removed the three that hold the whole upper assembly of the strut in place. If that's the case you'd be able to move the strut around like the one in this picture is off center.

If that's the problem, and you can't get the bolts to line back up, it might be because of limited travel of the whole wheel assembly (can't push it down far enough to get the strut's top hat in position to have the three bolts pass through the body of the car and back into the mount)

Elaborate a little more on your situation if you can. If this is the problem you're having you might have to unbolt and pop out the tie rod end so you can push the whole assembly down far enough.

Hard to give advice without a few more details though if you can.

#5 allanbegg

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 07:15 PM

I only removed the center bolt holding the strut rod into the upper assembly. Also, I only have two bolts holding the assembly onto the body, but that shouldn't matter, as I did not remove them. Allan

#6 l75eya

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 07:19 PM

If your shocks are still in good condition, there is constant pressure in the shock absorber pushing the steel rod upward. The only time it will fall down on it's own is if your shocks are bad.

There's a good bit of pressure pushing that rod up, nothing you can't over-come though. If you have the whole shock out and in your hands you can put the bottom on the ground and then use your hand and with a bit of force you can compress the shock absorber yourself, to give you an idea of the resistance.

With it in the strut assembly, it might be a little tricky to get it to compress, but with a little creativity it should be possible. I'm thinking a rag wrapped around it and a pair of vice grips. Move it downward a little bit at a time and then chock something in there to hold it in it's new position while you re-attach the vice grips at a different point.

Kinda sucks that happened, but you'll get it in the hole! =P lol

Good luck!

#7 TomRhere

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 07:03 AM

I have only used spring compressors on strut assemblies that were removed from the vehicle. Never tried it with them installed.

Can you actually fit them on the spring to get it fully compressed at all coils?
Thinking the shape of the strut tower would hinder that. Don't know...

I would pull the strut off the knuckle, remove the strut top from the tower, and re-assemble it on the floor.
If you do this, be sure you bolt the strut top back in correctly. They will bolt in either way, but it will change the frontend geometry if installed wrong.

#8 skishop69

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 01:32 PM

Previous suggestion of a hose clamp on a shop rag to hold the strut shaft then slowly jack up the control arm to get it in place. Be very careful the spring doesn't pop out. Wrap a towel around it and keep your face out of there! If you still have the compressor, then follow Tom's advice and take the whole thing out. Safest, correct way to do it.

#9 Fairtax4me

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 01:44 PM

Remove the strut/ spring and mount from the car. Compress the spring, put it on the strut, pull the rod up and put the mount back on it.
My only other suggestion would be to use a jack under the control arm to lift the suspension on that corner. This will compress the spring and raise the strut at the same time. Use a n open end wrench to guide the rod into the right place. This second method, as stated before, is quite a bit more dangerous than the first.

Edited by Fairtax4me, 03 February 2013 - 01:47 PM.


#10 allanbegg

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 06:14 PM

Thanks to all for the suggestions and advice.

I pulled the entire spring/strut assembly out of the car today. I found out that the strut was shot. The rod will stay in whatever position that I put it. It does not stay fully extended. It appears that it was also the original strut, as it has the Subaru markings on it.

Now I have to wait a couple more days for the new ones (Gabriel Ultra's) to arrive at the auto store and then install everything.

Thanks again.
Allan




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