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I'm trying to replace the struts on my 2011 Outback. I am looking for the correct wrench to remove the top nut from within the engine compartment (isn't that called the gland nut?). My dad has a set of offset box end wrenches, and I tried to use those to remove the nut while keeping the shaft still with an allen wrench. But that didn't work, the offset of the wrench wasn't deep enough.

What is the correct tool to use to remove and replace this nut?

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you need to take the strut assembly OFF the car.. you do not do it with them still in the car.

there are 3 smaller nuts on the top, around that large one, and the 2 large bolts at the knuckle that need to come off to remove the strut assembly.

once you have the assembly off the car, you will need spring compressors to compress the spring enough to remove the nut on top to change the strut out.

Do NOT try to do this job without the proper tools. That is how people get hurt.

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31 minutes ago, heartless said:

you need to take the strut assembly OFF the car.. you do not do it with them still in the car.

there are 3 smaller nuts on the top, around that large one, and the 2 large bolts at the knuckle that need to come off to remove the strut assembly.

once you have the assembly off the car, you will need spring compressors to compress the spring enough to remove the nut on top to change the strut out.

Do NOT try to do this job without the proper tools. That is how people get hurt.

I understand all that. I have a set of spring compressors and I've done this job a few times before, just never on a Subaru. Specifically, I just need to know how to loosen the gland nut. It tends to be easier with the strut assembly still on the car (at least that's how I've done it before). 

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no - take the strut assembly off the car. you will find it much easier to use your box end wrench and allen wrench then.

you do not want to loosen that nut without the spring compressor in place and holding the spring and you will never get that in place with the strut assembly in the car

 

 

Edited by heartless

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this is what the assemblies look like off the car.

obviously one is new, the other old - top is to the right - but the nut you are trying to get at holds the spring under tension under that top plate.

you need to compress the spring before removing that nut.

1014086_10201639343694569_1794220835_n.jpg

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I get what you mean about there not quite being room to get an offset wrench into there.  In the event you don't have an impact driver, another option is a "pass through" socket/ratchet that lets you run the allen key down through it, but they're kinda rare.

Still, though, I'm with everyone else here in that I can't see a valid reason for removing that nut while the strut is in the car, and that makes it unnecessarily dangerous.

 

Edited by jonathan909
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you can use an impact to 'loosen' the nut - if it accidentally comes off - put it back on. (assumes weight of car holding things together - I suppose there is some minute risk the strut shaft could drop ????) better to take the assembly out and get the compressors on it as said above. You're gonna do that anyway.

for reassembly, I had to rig a deep socket with large vice grips and a cut-off 6mm allen wrench and a 6mm socket with adapters. it was crazy but it worked.

pay attention to top perch orientation - there's an arrow or center hols or something that must face the fender side. Also, put the top spacer/washer with the narrow side UP to contact inner race of mount bearing.

 

 

Edited by 1 Lucky Texan
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you could also use a through socket wrench and the allen. But as sid, I would do it off the car, and with the springs compressed.

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I'm going to be trying this job in a month or so.  I was planning on trying to use a pass through socket.  I've done these on other vehicles but never a Subaru.  

 

Any other tips?  What size nut is is?

 

NH

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The pass-through socket is definitely the way to go - I just did a set of four in August.  IIrc, the nut sizes varied between those that were on the car (presumably factory) and the aftermarket replacements I got from Rock.  I think I still have the old ones in the scrap bin and can check a little later.

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Looks like the original nut was a predictable 17mm, while the replacements are an annoying 21mm.

Also appears I'll use this as an excuse to buy a pass-through socket set.  (For the canucks in the audience, Princess Auto has a decent-looking Channellock set on now for $50 that goes up to 22mm.)

Edited by jonathan909

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On 1/1/2019 at 12:02 AM, jonathan909 said:

Still, though, I'm with everyone else here in that I can't see a valid reason for removing that nut while the strut is in the car, and that makes it unnecessarily dangerous.

 

I have no intentions of removing the gland nut until the spring is compressed off of the vehicle. That would be ridiculous. I have found that it can be easier to crack the nut loose when it's on the vehicle, that's all. Just to get a start on it.

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On 12/31/2018 at 5:18 PM, heartless said:

no - take the strut assembly off the car. you will find it much easier to use your box end wrench and allen wrench then.

you do not want to loosen that nut without the spring compressor in place and holding the spring and you will never get that in place with the strut assembly in the car

 

 

The problem is that the nut is deeply recessed into the bearing mount, so a box end wrench doesn't work - and my dad's offset box end wrench won't even do it. Loosening the gland nut a half-turn or so, just to get it started, is just fine before the springs are compressed. That way you don't have to wrestle with it off the vehicle if the nut is stuck. Personally, I like to minimize the time I have the spring compressors on, and the amount of jostling around I have to do. My problem is that I studied physics, and I know damn well what those springs can do.

I'll probably just bite the bullet and buy a pass-through socket set.

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3 hours ago, 5000fingers said:

The problem is that the nut is deeply recessed into the bearing mount, so a box end wrench doesn't work - and my dad's offset box end wrench won't even do it. Loosening the gland nut a half-turn or so, just to get it started, is just fine before the springs are compressed. That way you don't have to wrestle with it off the vehicle if the nut is stuck. Personally, I like to minimize the time I have the spring compressors on, and the amount of jostling around I have to do. My problem is that I studied physics, and I know damn well what those springs can do.

I'll probably just bite the bullet and buy a pass-through socket set.

if you take the assembly OFF the car, you will find it is not as deep as you think.

we have a cheap set of offset boxend wrenches from horrible freight that do the job just fine.  these here

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1 hour ago, heartless said:

if you take the assembly OFF the car, you will find it is not as deep as you think.

we have a cheap set of offset boxend wrenches from horrible freight that do the job just fine.  these here

Here's the thing:  That's what I found while disassembling the strut - that I was able to get a (cheap) offset onto the stock 17mm nut.  However, no way no how was there enough room to get one onto the 21mm nut that the aftermarket shocks came with.  That's why I'm getting a pass-through set.

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I usually use an impact.

But sometimes that doesn't work.  

Happened to me just a few months ago. 

I Drilled a hole in a piece of flat steel.  Welded a 14mm, 3/8th drive socket to the steel over the hole.

Bar with socket goes overt the strut top nut.

5mm allen on a ratchet goes through the hole/socket and into the strut rod center.  Turn allen clockwise to remove nut.

Or hold allen still and rotate the bar/socket combo counterclockwise. 

 

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In other words, you homebrewed a pass-through socket.  You could do it that way.  And if your experience was like mine, you'd be doing it twice - once with a 17mm socket and once more with a 21mm.

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1 hour ago, jonathan909 said:

In other words, you homebrewed a pass-through socket.  You could do it that way.  And if your experience was like mine, you'd be doing it twice - once with a 17mm socket and once more with a 21mm.

 

Sure maybe.  But when I think of "pass through socket" I think of those gear wrench type sets that use a ratchet and sockets with an external engagement.  this is much simpler, cheaper, and just as effective.  good thing theres 2 ends of the bar.  But In my case it was a rear strut.  14mm.  New nut was 17mm but I just used a standard socket and impact driver.  No need to do the pass through

But hey, I am always fine with making tools.  Do it once......never need to do it again.

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True confession:  (Within reasonable financial boundaries,) I'm a total tool queen.  I need very little provocation to buy a new tool so that next time that particular problem comes around, I'm strapped.

These pass-through sockets (which are as you described) are a good example - I don't mind dropping $50 or so in order to not have to stop what I'm doing and start making tools next time.  I'm not a big fan of these "universal" sockets, but given how often I'll use this kit, I think they'll be fine:

https://www.channellock.com/product/39100/

 

 

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20 hours ago, jonathan909 said:

True confession:  (Within reasonable financial boundaries,) I'm a total tool queen.  I need very little provocation to buy a new tool so that next time that particular problem comes around, I'm strapped.

These pass-through sockets (which are as you described) are a good example - I don't mind dropping $50 or so in order to not have to stop what I'm doing and start making tools next time.  I'm not a big fan of these "universal" sockets, but given how often I'll use this kit, I think they'll be fine:

https://www.channellock.com/product/39100/

 

 

 

I here ya.  But I'd rather have my $50.  Besides I do this for a living so I don't buy anything less than Carlyle, Blue Point, or Cornwell at a minimum, if not Mac or Snap-on.  So a good pass through set would cost $200+ for good quality.  For how often I have needed something like this, it's not worth buying a whole new tool when I can make something for basically nothing.   Of the hundreds of strut jobs I've done, I've only needed a tool like this 3 or 4 times. (if I'm replacing a strut and it gives me problems, I just slap channel locks on the strut rod to hold it.)  Only really need this tool if you are trying to reuse a strut.

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