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Tips for installing front struts?

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Old 05-13-2011, 11:37 AM   #1
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Tips for installing front struts? UPDATED: Final Pics

Hoping to FINALLY install my OME 90004 struts and OME 881 coils. Im gonna run out to advance and pick up one of these.

http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/web...T|GRP2042_____

I already rented one of these:

http://www.tundrasolutions.com/forum...-bilstein2.jpg

and im using these instructions:
http://www.ncttora.com/fsm/2003/Repa...4wdpr/remo.pdf

http://www.ncttora.com/fsm/2003/Repa...4wdpr/reas.pdf

Is there anything im missing? any tips or advice from those who have performed this already? Thanks in advance! I've done minor jobs on dirt bikes and atvs like top end replacement, countershaft seal change, etc. But I wouldn't rate my overall mechanical confidence very high.
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Old 05-13-2011, 03:33 PM   #2
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alright. well guess im good to go
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Old 05-13-2011, 04:21 PM   #4
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Umm here is a tip.

1. Put truck on jack stands
2. Remove wheel
3. Remove brush guard
4. Unbolt sway bar (loosen on opposite side of what you are working on)
5. Loosen top strut nuts (not the center)
6. I find it easier to separate the upper ball joint to allow more down travel of lower control arm)
7. One strut is no longer compressed loosen and remove lower strut bolt
8. Remove top 3 strut nuts
9. Remove strut from truck
10. Replace strut with new one or newly modified one
11. Reverse steps starting at 8 and go back to 1.

It's kinda tricky if you don't undo the upper control arm. Anyhow those are the exact same steps I follow. Except I have TC upper control arms so undoing the UCA's is a piece of cake.

Good luck! Be safe!
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Old 05-13-2011, 05:39 PM   #5
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An easy way to get the ball joint's taper fitting off is to hit the side of the knuckle with a hammer. Do this with the nut slightly loosened. Make sure you only hit the part where the ball joint goes into, the knuckle, and not the top of the bolt.
Don't use a pickle fork, they are a waste of time.
There is still spring pressure on the strut with the nut holding the ball joint. Jack under the knuckle to relieve the pressure and remove the nut.
Be sure to have the spring compressors evenly mounted and compress the spring evenly, alternating from one compressor to the other. Keep loved ones and body parts away from the compressors in line with the strut.
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Old 05-13-2011, 05:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skytower View Post
An easy way to get the ball joint's taper fitting off is to hit the side of the knuckle with a hammer. Do this with the nut slightly loosened. Make sure you only hit the part where the ball joint goes into, the knuckle, and not the top of the bolt.
Don't use a pickle fork, they are a waste of time.
There is still spring pressure on the strut with the nut holding the ball joint. Jack under the knuckle to relieve the pressure and remove the nut.
Be sure to have the spring compressors evenly mounted and compress the spring evenly, alternating from one compressor to the other. Keep loved ones and body parts away from the compressors in line with the strut.

You forgot to mention paid up life insurance policies & reading of the will if something goes batshit on him....
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Old 05-13-2011, 05:54 PM   #7
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I will pay a shop to swap them out, since I dont have the nice wall mounted(much safer) spring compressor. I will not pay them to remove the coilover from the truck. That is easy to do safely.
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Old 05-13-2011, 07:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4WD View Post
You forgot to mention paid up life insurance policies & reading of the will if something goes batshit on him....
Says the crazy old man....


is this really that dangerous?
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Old 05-13-2011, 07:06 PM   #9
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you guys seem to be mentioning ball joints and sway bars, but the service manual pdf doesn't seem to show that i need to do any of that? is that extra stuff i can do to make it easier?
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Old 05-13-2011, 09:30 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by x2468 View Post
Says the crazy old man....


is this really that dangerous?

Ok bro' physics lesson one: Consider this, a 650 lb coil spring means it takes 650lbs of pressure to compress that coil 1", ok, the struts are under a preload (compressed spring) of about 2" sometimes a little more. So if you take off the center nut without using a spring compressor (or not having it compressed correctly) You are launching a 20 lb chunk of coiled steel , with more than half a ton of energy behind it all at once with a range of about 2ft.

Pretty sure you can do the rest of the math..........
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Old 05-13-2011, 10:23 PM   #11
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SHIT.... the center nut won't come off the stock strut.... it got to the last 2 threads and now its as if the threads are messed up because i can turn it either which way as much as i want and it won't go anywhere...

wtf i hate this man... what now. i either grind the nut off or buy new retainers and wait for them to come in the mail...
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Old 05-13-2011, 10:47 PM   #12
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AH! nvm.... i posted to soon. i switched from a socket wrench to a regular one and realized that instead of the nut turning, the entire shaft the nut was on was turning in the shock without me realizing it. so i clamped it down and got the nut off.
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Old 05-14-2011, 12:35 AM   #13
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I tried to warn you of the dreaded "stud spin". That's why you break the nut before you break the taper joint.
wait ... don't take off the strut nut before it's compressed. It gets really ugly if you do.
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Old 05-14-2011, 03:58 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRDSPORTtaco View Post
Umm here is a tip.

1. Put truck on jack stands
2. Remove wheel
3. Remove brush guard
4. Unbolt sway bar (loosen on opposite side of what you are working on)
5. Loosen top strut nuts (not the center)
6. I find it easier to separate the upper ball joint to allow more down travel of lower control arm)
7. One strut is no longer compressed loosen and remove lower strut bolt
8. Remove top 3 strut nuts
9. Remove strut from truck
10. Replace strut with new one or newly modified one
11. Reverse steps starting at 8 and go back to 1.

It's kinda tricky if you don't undo the upper control arm. Anyhow those are the exact same steps I follow. Except I have TC upper control arms so undoing the UCA's is a piece of cake.

Good luck! Be safe!
Alright i think i see why you said to disconnect the sway bar and loosen the upper ball joint, even though the idiot who wrote the service manual didn't suggest that. my buddy got home from a night of clubbin at 5:30 and him and I spent the last hour trying to force the lower strut knuckle in to place so that the bolt would line up. I didn't try the sway bar, but i took out the pin and nut for the upper ball joint that connects the two a-arms, but it didn't do anything. it was as if some phantom force was still holding it connected. is there something besides the large nut that holds it togethor? I really need to know before i try the next side.

My friend and I finally managed to force the bolt in. However, we put the bolt in backwards. the service manual shows the bolt head facing the cv boot, and the nut facing forward.... Do you think it's a big deal that we put it in backwards?

man i cant beleive it's 7am already... im gonna have to wake up at 10 to do the next side. I have work in the evening.
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Old 05-14-2011, 04:06 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skytower View Post
An easy way to get the ball joint's taper fitting off is to hit the side of the knuckle with a hammer. Do this with the nut slightly loosened. Make sure you only hit the part where the ball joint goes into, the knuckle, and not the top of the bolt.
Don't use a pickle fork, they are a waste of time.
There is still spring pressure on the strut with the nut holding the ball joint. Jack under the knuckle to relieve the pressure and remove the nut.
Be sure to have the spring compressors evenly mounted and compress the spring evenly, alternating from one compressor to the other. Keep loved ones and body parts away from the compressors in line with the strut.
this might explain the phantom force holding the ball joint even after the nut was removed. I had no idea what you were talking about the first time i read this because i was going by the service manual. but now i think i know what you're talking about. so just hit the side with a hammer. what does that do? im looking at the microfiche for the upper ball joint and i cant see how a dust boot and circlip can hold that thing on there so well
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Old 05-14-2011, 01:12 PM   #16
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The ball joint is held in by a taper on the bolt. Hitting the knuckle causes it to deform/vibrate slightly, this releasing its grip on the bolt.
Make sure you have the nut on the bolt to keep it from launching. Jack stand stays on the frame with no jack on the knuckle.
A 2-5lbs hammer will do the job. It takes a good, hard blow for it to work.
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Old 05-14-2011, 06:41 PM   #17
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Skytower speaks the truth about it needing a good whack. It might take a few good whacks. Eventually it will break free and pop out. Have you finished the install yet? Oh and I wouldn't worry too much about the bolt being backwards. But if you can flip it without hassle you should.
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Old 05-14-2011, 09:30 PM   #18
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I got the right side done yesterday with great difficulty. then had to go to work (took a different vehicle). just got home and im starting on the left side. im hoping to do the left side much quicker and easier now that i've learned more about the spring compressing tool. The tool was not designed with a coil and strut of this width in mind, which make it very hard to install and uninstall. But after wrestling with it all day yesterday i learned some tricks. really scratched the yellow and black paint up on the strut and coil in the process of learning. (the yellow paint on these OME struts looks really cheap btw. kind of a put off...)

I wish the service manual pdf was more detailed. it didn't mention anything about disconnecting the sway bar or the ball joint. actually it didn't even have a removal page. it just said "repeat installation instructions in reverse".... ya right. putting the shock in was 10 times harder than taking it out.

I took the bottom bolt out and turned it around because i had two friends to help me put it back in. I decided to turn it around because it looked like the longer side of the screw might hit the CV boot and puncture it. didn't want to take the chance. But the bolt required so much force to get out it almost ruined the threads!. i cleaned them up with a flat head screw driver and the nut twisted on all right with wd 40 after i swapped it around. didn't seem natural for it to be so difficult to put a bolt in. hope it functions correctly.

its half past midnight. really hoping to have this done by 4 am because the GF wants to go to leave for the Keys at 7 and im pretty sure we're taking the truck because he AC is broken.

im using my Dads torque wrench and it only goes to 80 ft/lb -110nwt/m. Some of the bolts require more torque, like the bottom knuckle of the shock, which require 135nwt/m. i twisted it to the highest my wrench would go, then a few more 1/4 turns. hopefully that'll be alright for a while until i can test it later.

however the top three nuts on the strut tower i just cant seem to reach with the torque wrench. they require like 60 something newton meters. not sure how nervous i should be about them
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Old 05-14-2011, 11:14 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skytower View Post
The ball joint is held in by a taper on the bolt. Hitting the knuckle causes it to deform/vibrate slightly, this releasing its grip on the bolt.
Make sure you have the nut on the bolt to keep it from launching. Jack stand stays on the frame with no jack on the knuckle.
A 2-5lbs hammer will do the job. It takes a good, hard blow for it to work.
but wait. after u use a hammer to disconnect it, does it require some special technique to reconnect?
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Old 05-14-2011, 11:23 PM   #20
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I've taken my coils out lots of time but instead of taking the upper ball joint out I just remove the 4 bolts on the lower ball joint. I just keep my bottle jack under the LCA which is no biggy since it's the way I lift the front anyhow and just swing the whole spindle assembly back and you are good to go. Never had a problem doing it this way. It's easier than taking the top ball joint apart I think.
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