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Air strut maintence and repairs


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#1 subeman90

subeman90

    Soobologist

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  • 2,779 posts
  • Akron PA

Posted 12 May 2006 - 11:05 PM

Written by grossgary:
if you have any specific questions about this writeup please address them to Gary and he will be more than happy to help you. If you are an XT coupe owner you should also be a member of www.XT6.net there is a wealth of great info over there for xt coupes.

here are some pictures showing how to extend the life of air struts. bought my car over 4 years ago at 105,000 miles. i have never replaced the struts, just keep them clean and i'm now at 220,000 miles on the same struts that were in there when i got the car. i'm going through this preventative maintenance again and they still appear to be in very good shape after at least 115,000 miles and 4 years.

basically the first picture shows the strut as it was on the car (and another picture of a spare strut with similar rust). you can see the rust forms right where the air bag meets the bottom of the strut. here the air bag rolls back on itself and is held in place by a clamp/ring like mr. radon discovered when he disassembled one. when rust forms here it rubs against the air bag where the air bag rolls back on itself and against the metal. the rough rust will gradually wear through the air bag. on the other picture of my spare strut you can see the rust on the air bag where the bag travels up and down with the changing conditions of the strut.
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here's the strut adapter to fill the strut with a standard tire inflator. as you're working be sure to keep filling the strut as any leaking around or through this adapter will make the strut loose height and you will miss rust/dirt. best to make sure it holds air and doesn't leak otherwise primer and paint will get rubbed off as it deflates when you get to that stage. but if you can't keep the adapter from leaking, keep filling the strut as you work your way around to clean it at least. taking the strut or a matching threaded nut into a hardware store is the easiest way to make one of these adapters. a good hardware or auto store should be able to help you get these parts. i don't have any part numbers or sizes handy, these are old.
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here is the filed down and cleaned strut almost ready for primer and paint. i also take a thin flat bladed screw driver and carefully slide it flat to the metal but at an angle under the lip of the bag (sort of hard to describe, but simple enough). be careful when filing and putting tools close to the bag, it is very tough obviously since it supports the car, but no need to nick it up. slide the screwdriver under the lip of the bag and sort of tilt it up on the uppermost corner and scrape out the dirt/rust. work your way around and you'll be able to clean it all out under there. only takes a couple minutes. again make sure the strut is fully extended. might have better access if you give it more PSI than i did. i think i only went to 150 psi, not sure i didn't even check the compressor. not sure what these things can hold either. i think i went to 150 psi, but again i didn't actually check. file carefully and get it all cleaned up. clean it down and prepare it for a good primer/paint job.

the second picture shows the final primered and painted strut. this seems to be a good way to keep those 250 dollar or more struts in good shape. i typically spray the struts down every now and again (rarely but couple times a year) to keep them clean and free from dirt and such collecting up under there.
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