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Strut Swap in Progress...Need Help


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12 replies to this topic

#1 patkennedy78

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 02:26 PM

Hey everyone, I;m trying to change out the front struts in my 92 loyale sedan. I've spent 4 hours trying to get the strut out of the knuckle, an am frustrated. I pulled out 2 different ones at pull n save, so i know how it 'should' go. Right now I've got the 2 bolts out of the knuckle, the swaybar bolt out, the lower control bolt out. I've got a big screwdriver in the pinchbolt slot, and have PB Blastered it and banged on it to no avail. The strut isn't even turning around in the knuckle. I searched around the forum and found that putting the tire back on, and lowering it back down to the ground and bouncing the fender to try and loosen things up may help, it didn't :)

Any advise? I don't want to have to take the whole knucke off, becasue the tie rod end isn't being very cooperative at coming out either.

#2 Ross

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 06:31 AM

Hmm, sounds like you doing everything right, only thing i can suggest is to beat harder! I would guess that you've already done that tho....

You'll need a balljoint puller to get the tie rod off, with one of them (they are cheap if you buy a crap one, and they do the job fine) you shouldn't have too much trouble with that bit....

#3 heartless

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 09:45 AM

had a heck of a time changing mine too...
just curious, do you still have the top of the strut bolted up?
if not, put the top back in, and snug it up. (careful, dont break a stud off - that sucks!)

Completely saturate the lower end of the strut with the penetrating oil of choice - and mean SATURATE. Squirt it in thru the pinch space too...let it sit for about an hour - maybe squirt a little more every 20 mins or so - it takes a lot.
After it has had time to soak for a while - start with the BFH (big F-ing Hammer) beating on either side of the knuckle - i happened to have a nice big chunk of stainless steel rod to use kinda like a punch - was able to direct the blows better. it takes a lot of work/beating, but it will eventually come out of there.
once you get the old one out, give the knuckle a good cleaning out with a small wire brush & rag - get as much of the nasties out as you can before installing the new strut. seems to me i even gave a light coat of anti seize in the knuckle as preventative..

#4 Gravityman

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 10:25 AM

I had the same problem with my 84 brat. The penetrating oil will help, but make sure that it disolves rust also due to that being the main reason that it is stuck. I know a lot of people like to use WD-40 but that is not really a good pen oil. I like Kroil.

You have the right idea of wedging open the pinch bolt. I would try an actual wide chissel instead of a screw driver. Also if you have access to an air hammer with a chissel that would be your best bet.

When I had this problem it took me about 3 and a half months to pull just my front pass side suspension apart with regular hand tool, this is when I broke down and bought an air compressor with a set of air tools. My 3 months were put to shame when I pulled out the air hammer and impact wrench and finished disassembely and reassembely by the end of that weekend. An air compressor is worth every penny!!!

#5 86ruguy

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 10:45 AM

fo those of us po' foke that can't afford air....make sure when you wedge open the pinch bolt slot you are doing so from the TOP not the side so as to not wedge your screwdriver into the strut and actually complicate things more. it took me about twenty minutes to get mine apart with the control arm and sway bar still connected.....after of course a good pen. oil soaking.

#6 msteel

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 10:55 AM

I've heard of people using a torch to heat up the knuckle and make it expand. I've never done it myself, though.

#7 patkennedy78

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Posted 23 October 2006 - 09:55 AM

On Sunday I bought a pipe wrench and a half inch cold chisel. Maybe I had too much PB Blaster (if there is such a thing) sprayed in, but I couldn't get the cold chisel to stay in the pinchbolt slot. It seemed to be too slick and kept slipping out with every wack. I wedged the screwdriver back in and tryed to budge it with the pipe wrench. No dice. :mad: :mad: :mad:

Being my daily driver I had to put it all back together. Maybe I'll take a trip to harbor freight and get a bigger BFH. I'm not sure it will help though, one of my neighbors already commented that I sounded like a blacksmith.

#8 Jerry DeMoss

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Posted 23 October 2006 - 10:41 AM

To get my old front struts out on my hatch I used PB blaster as you said,and a really big pair of channel-locks.I would spray it and then try to twist it with the big pair of channel locks and then tried prying around on the tab that the brake line attaches to on the front strut with a big screw driver at the same time.I got kinda frustrated at mine when doing it but finally got it.Putting them back in is much easier IMO.I also used anti-sieze on the nuckle when reassembling.

#9 torxxx

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Posted 23 October 2006 - 12:28 PM

First off, unhook the sway bar link. Use channel locks to twist the strut and use a big pry bar to pry down on the control arm.

When you get the old struts off, makes sure to anti-seize the end of the strut that goes into the knuckle. that way next time you gotta work on it, the strut will pop right out

#10 daeron

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Posted 24 October 2006 - 06:01 AM

PB Blaster isnt the best thing anymore. Seafoam came out with this stuff called deep creep that is, as much better than PB, as PB is to WD-40. its the bomb-diggity, fo shizzle, as they say.

these people should pay me, i shout about that stuff so much.. its like 6 bucks a can or more, but SOOO worth it. might be worth nabbing a can.

#11 patkennedy78

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 10:45 AM

I tried again to get the strut out of the knuckle, no luck. I got some seafoam deep creep, and used about 1/2 can in every nook and cranny I could. I beat it with a hammer, tried to twist with the pipe wrench, and in general was just mean to it :grin: I didn't have a pry bar long enough to push down on the control arm.

So yeah, the strut is still stuck in the knuckle, and I mean stuck, it won't even twist around. I guess my next plan of action is to unhook the tie rod end and pull the strut / knuckle combo out and beat it into submission. I'm going to grab another knuckle just in case, so I can swap the whole she-bang if it still won't budge.

After getting such great knowledge I think I'll write up something for the USRM. I plan to get pics once everything plays nice.

#12 patkennedy78

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 08:18 PM

So I hit pull n save after work and grabbed another knuckle for my next go round. It was good to get there and be able to take apart the whole knuckle and all it's attchments, it means I'm not smoking crack and doing something wrong, my car is just being sutbborn!

I'll post again after round 3.

#13 patkennedy78

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 10:07 AM

Well, I'm sure glad I grabbed the extra knuckle!

I pulled my whole front passenger side apart. Disconnected the Ball joint, tierod end, axel, and removed the caliper and hub. I took out the strut / knuckle combo. I beat it some more, tried twisting, and some more Deep Creap, and only got it to move about 1/4 inch. Man that thing is frozen in there! I don't know wtf is holding it in???

So I put in the strut and knuckle I got from PnS. But along the way I found that I will soon need a new tierod end. But being my daily driver I needed it back together, so the tierod will be another day.

I got lots of pics and am going to write a little "Front End work for Noobs" article for the USRM.




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