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Replacing rear struts


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9 replies to this topic

#1 mattocs

mattocs

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Posted 22 July 2006 - 11:02 AM

The rear struts in my 96 Outback are pretty much shot.

Anyone ever do their own strut replacment?

I know I would need the tool the compress the springs, which I think can be rented from AutoZone or something of the such.

Cheapest to get them done (suprisingly) seems to be the local Subaru dealer. They still want almost $500 for parts and labor.

I know it will need to be aligned afterward, and i'm willing to pay the $60 or so for that...but if I can take out labor costs, that'd be great.


So, is it pretty simple with the correct tools? Or should I suck it up and have it done by the dealer?

#2 yohy

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Posted 22 July 2006 - 12:11 PM

mattocs.

Do it yourself and save the labor. I replaced all 4 struts on my 97 last summer, KYB GR2's (rockauto has them in the $70 range) and have been very satisfied. One tip is to cut the bracket for the brake line support so you don't have to open up the system, just one less hassle (bleeding and getting 10 year old fittings apart). Just cut the bracket on the old strut, fold one side up and remove the line, then do the same on the new strut. Also, when replacing rears (I would suggest doing all four corners), you don't need an alignment. OH and standard hand tools are all that are required although a torque wrench is handy. If you shoot me a PM with your email address I will send you the FSM pdf on strut replacement.

#3 mattocs

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Posted 22 July 2006 - 12:37 PM

Thanks for the help. I sent you a PM with my email addy so you can send me that fsm.

So I don't need the alignment when doing the rear? Every place i've called has said I do.

My front struts are fine. Work very well...but the rear are about done with. I am suprised it passed the state insepction,


Thanks again.

#4 jon38iowa

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Posted 22 July 2006 - 01:29 PM

Thanks for the help. I sent you a PM with my email addy so you can send me that fsm.

So I don't need the alignment when doing the rear? Every place i've called has said I do.

My front struts are fine. Work very well...but the rear are about done with. I am suprised it passed the state insepction,


Thanks again.

I had all 4 of mine replaced ('99 Forester) last year; I Opted for the KYB, and have been very pleased with this brand. Light years ahead of Monroe, at least in my opinion. Good luck with it.
John

#5 JPX

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Posted 22 July 2006 - 03:04 PM

The rear struts in my 96 Outback are pretty much shot.

Anyone ever do their own strut replacment?

I know I would need the tool the compress the springs, which I think can be rented from AutoZone or something of the such.

Cheapest to get them done (suprisingly) seems to be the local Subaru dealer. They still want almost $500 for parts and labor.

I know it will need to be aligned afterward, and i'm willing to pay the $60 or so for that...but if I can take out labor costs, that'd be great.

So, is it pretty simple with the correct tools? Or should I suck it up and have it done by the dealer?


You can totally do it yourself....it is a bit of physical labor. But not a complex job at all. I did the work myself on rears for my Legacy and the fronts on my Cabriolet.

You need 1/2" sockets (17mm comes to mind). No real special tools for strut only. Consider replacing strut mounts while you are back there. But mine were still good.....just the struts were bad. Front mounts might need replacing since they have an extra degree of movement for rotation (steering).

Here is a walk through of the process......in my photos the axle is removed (overkill for what you are doing although it is a convenient time to change wheel bearings and axles). Breaker bar and BIG socket would be needed for an axle change.
Posted Image

-Remove the wheel.
-Disconnect the brake hose from the caliper and cap the car-side of the hose. This part sucks because you have to disconnect the brake hose to get it out of the bracket on the strut. Don't forget you'll have to bleed brakes when you put it back together.
Posted Image
-Remove the cap on the inside of the car for the top mount. 3 nuts that hold to top of the strut to the fender. Don't mess with the big nut in the center - yet.
Posted Image
-Remove the two nuts/bolts on the bottom of the strut. Make sure you HOLD the bolt head and TURN only the nut. Then you can pull the strut out of the car.
Posted Image
- Spring compressor activity. And DON'T DO IT LIKE THIS! Get that compressor from Auto-zone and use it!
Posted Image Posted Image
Make sure you note the order of all the parts on the shaft so you can but it back together correctly.

Also, make sure you get the spring to seat in the strut base correctly. It likes to slip out of place while you are messing with the spring compressor tool. Reassemble the strut and mount.

- Install top mounting nuts (they don't need a lot of torque so take it easy).
- Install lower bolts/nuts.
- Connect brake hose and bleed the caliper.
- Alignment is probably a good idea - but I never got around to it on my Legacy's rears. For the front struts an alignment is a MUST - it will drive you crazy, make the steering wacky and screw up your tire wear. If you do fronts, might as well get a 4-wheel alignment.....I mean really, when was the last time you had it done anyuway? :P

#6 Olnick

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Posted 22 July 2006 - 03:28 PM

Thanks yohy and JPX. Excellent info.

#7 dmanaenk

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Posted 22 July 2006 - 05:21 PM

I have a question as well, never worked on stuts before. I got some pre-assembled used rear strut/coils and I could not fit one of those (did not get to trying to fit the other) in the strut mounting holes. Seems like topmount is rotated just a little bit compared to the stock strut, so that I can either fit the strut into the body but not the wheel hub, or to the hub, but not to the body (3 studs on top seem to be just rotated 1-2 degrees clockwise)
Now a simple question - is it easy to rotate top mount just a bit so that they fit? Can I do it without compressing the spring or should I compress it first?

And another question - on the other side I could not remove the brake hose clip. Is there any trick that helps? I tried soaking it in PB etc, it did not help. I was planning to cut the bracket with a bolt cutters (worked well on the other side) but with clip in I could not move brake line away from the cutters far enough to cut the bracket completely. Probably not a big deal though - I would have probably cut the whole bracket off the old strut if I didn't get stuck with the first problem on the other side.

#8 porcupine73

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Posted 22 July 2006 - 05:26 PM

Dude do it yourself and save $$$. You will absolutely need a spring compressor, which can be rented or had cheap at Harbor Freight. Make sure to check the springs over well; mine were kind of rusted so I replaced them. I couldn't find springs aftermarket, so I had to go OEM, which isn't a big deal if you order them from a Subaru dealer online or if your local dealer doesn't double the list price like mine does.

The only real problem I had in doing my rear struts [96 Legacy, but not Outback] was that the nuts on the bolts securing the strut to the control arm were like really siezed, but I was able to cram an Ingersoll Rand impact wrench in there and it pounded them off without asking any questions. I think the strut nuts were 19mm socket, same as the lug nuts.

I didn't know at the time you were supposed to replace those nuts any time they are loosend or removed; now I check the manual diagrams for replacement parts anytime I do a job.

I didn't get an alignment after the rears, but now I am having some weird alternating tread tire cupping on the inside edge of the tires, so maybe I need to have that done.

Oh yes and I almost forgot how I dealt with having to disconnect the brake lines when doing this job, just like yohy said. I simply chopped out the little piece of metal on both the new and old strut with a Dremel and popped out the connection without disconnecting. Then I drilled a little hole in the brake clip and put a small nut/bolt in there to hold it in the new one. My old Ford Escort already had the struts like this (didn't have to unhook brake line) so I figured why not! Especially when I started to round off the brake line nut with the flare wrench trying to break it loose.

Best wishes and regards, Louis :burnout:

#9 Strakes

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Posted 23 July 2006 - 10:47 AM

You can do it yourself!!! I've done it to my 93 and my 02.

http://www.ultimates...ead.php?t=60902

IMO: I highly recommend you replace all 4 at the same time because of handling issues.

#10 DerFahrer

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Posted 23 July 2006 - 10:58 AM

You shouldn't need to have an alignment done after doing only the rears. You can't change any of the suspension geometry just by doing rear struts.

The fronts, yes, you have to remove the camber bolts to do the front struts, and unless you're REALLY good with eyeballing them back into place like me :D, you'll need to have an alignment shop set the camber back to spec.




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