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Alternative Method: Strut Removal and Strut Disassembly Combined

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Old 03-29-2010, 06:25 PM   #1
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Alternative Method: Strut Removal and Strut Disassembly Combined

Edit: Andrew H successfully used this method to disassemble and reassemble his coils. If you re interested in more information. Perhaps you could contact him. This method, like any method of coil compression has potential risk. Do so at your own risk.

I've never tried it on a Tacoma but I've seen it done on other vehicles. I can't see why it wouldn't work on ours too. I forgot the trick when I did mine. I may be helping a guy install a lift in the near future and I might try it on his. I'll post pictures and commentary if I do.

It disassembles the struts while removing them. Potentially saving an hour of labor.

What do you think?

1. Frame on jack stands/tires chocked.
2. Front tires removed.
3. Jack under lower control arm just touching it.
4. Loosen and remove nuts/bolts to brake lines as you would for standard disassembly. I also like to unplug the wheel speed sensor at the front of the spindle here to prevent breakage of the sensor or the wires.
5. Disconnect sway bar.
6. Remove three nuts at top of strut.
7. (Here is the big difference) Remove the single nut at top of strut that holds it all together. It is safe at this point because the upper an lower arms are holding it all together.
8. Loosen castle nut from ball joint about halfway and BFH the top elbow of the spindle to break it loose from the ball joint. Carefully remove the castle nut the rest of the way and support the now dangling spindle as necessary.
9. (With bolt still in bottom of strut/ lower control arm. This will keep it from slipping and flying) The strut should now be disassembled but still under pressure and trapped between UCA and LCA with the jack supporting the lower control arm
10. Lower the jack. This will allow the coil pressure to release. When you get low enough, the coil will be "relaxed". Remove the lower strut bolt and pull the pieces out
11. You've both removed and disassembled your strut!
12. Repeat on other side

I've actually even seen this process reversed to re-assemble and re-install the strut but I personally would use a coil compressor to load the strut and re-install it the "standard" way

Anyone who has done this job the standard way before knows the coil compression for disassembly and re-assembly is the bulk of the project. This method could potentially cut an hour off the work time. Not to mention the headaches and busted knuckles. It could also potentially be safer to release the pressure of the coil while still in the truck vs. the standard way using coil compressors.

Questions? Comments? Can you see why this wouldn't work on our trucks? Feel free to tell me I'm insane.
 
Old 03-29-2010, 06:33 PM   #2
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Your insane...j/k

Its sounds right bud...I think it'll work fine
 
Old 03-29-2010, 06:36 PM   #3
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When you're lowering the jack wouldn't the angle of pressure change? Man, one slip and you're talking serious carnage inside the truck. I guess it will work if you're careful about it.
 
Old 03-29-2010, 06:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlurpeeBlueMetallic View Post
When you're lowering the jack wouldn't the angle of pressure change? Man, one slip and you're talking serious carnage inside the truck. I guess it will work if you're careful about it.
Yes, I see what you're saying but the bolt is still installed in the bottom keeping it from moving. Simultaneously, even though the three nuts are removed from the top, the studs are still in place. I suppose you could even leave the top three nuts loosely threaded if you wish. That strut pretty much isn't going anywhere, even if the jack did slip. What do you think?
 
Old 03-29-2010, 07:06 PM   #5
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Good luck.
See you on YouTube.
 
Old 03-29-2010, 07:23 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by P-Hill Tacoma View Post
Good luck.
See you on YouTube.
Like I said, I've seen it done successfully on cars before.

It's definitely faster than using coil compressors.

It's potentially safer because it's secured in the truck. (It's not like those coil compressors are known for their safety.)
 
Old 03-29-2010, 07:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BirdTRD View Post
Yes, I see what you're saying but the bolt is still installed in the bottom keeping it from moving. Simultaneously, even though the three nuts are removed from the top, the studs are still in place. I suppose you could even leave the top three nuts loosely threaded if you wish. That strut pretty much isn't going anywhere, even if the jack did slip. What do you think?


I spent a bit looking for others doing this across the intarwebs and came back with surprisingly little. I understand the mechanics of it based on your description and while the bottom is secured the top isn't... I'm not sure I would trust a floor jack on concrete to hold it's position while the load is shifting on top of it. If you leave the top nuts loosely threaded you won't be able to take full tension off the spring which still leaves you needing to use a compressor to finish the job.

Anyone tried this before? Not something I'm looking to try out, even with my box of 5100s sitting in my living room waiting on me to install them.
 
Old 03-29-2010, 07:30 PM   #8
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NO FREAKIN WAY would I attempt, or recomend disassembly like this. These springs have ALOT of stored energy. More so than other coil sprung vehicles. If that strut slips one little bit, no telling what damage/injury could happen.
 
Old 03-29-2010, 07:30 PM   #9
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the theory is sound but the physics are questionable.
make sure to keep track of all fingers, toes, eyeballs, etc. have 911 ready on the cell just to be extra safe.
 
Old 03-29-2010, 07:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris4x4 View Post
NO FREAKIN WAY would I attempt, or recomend disassembly like this. These springs have ALOT of stored energy. More so than other coil sprung vehicles. If that strut slips one little bit, no telling what damage/injury could happen.
x2............do it the safe way....even tho it may take more time.
 
Old 03-29-2010, 07:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris4x4 View Post
NO FREAKIN WAY would I attempt, or recomend disassembly like this. These springs have ALOT of stored energy. More so than other coil sprung vehicles. If that strut slips one little bit, no telling what damage/injury could happen.

I'm envisioning the classic "threw a piston" dent in the hood except it'd be about 5" around and in the fender... then out of the fender and into your house/random part of your anatomy...
 
Old 03-29-2010, 07:37 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlurpeeBlueMetallic View Post
I spent a bit looking for others doing this across the intarwebs and came back with surprisingly little.
I've never seen it on the web either but honestly, I've never really looked either. I watched a guy do it to a ricer. He then reversed the process and put it back together. That part I wouldn't do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SlurpeeBlueMetallic View Post
If you leave the top nuts loosely threaded you won't be able to take full tension off the spring which still leaves you needing to use a compressor to finish the job.
That's not true. The top plate's 3 nuts would only hold the plate. With the top center nut (strut nut) removed, the strut and coil could drop away freely while the plate stayed behind. Technically you wouldn't have to loosed the top 3 nuts at all. Just the top center nut. The process should still work.
 
Old 03-29-2010, 07:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BirdTRD View Post
I've never seen it on the web either but honestly, I've never really looked either. I watched a guy do it to a ricer. He then reversed the process and put it back together. That part I wouldn't do.
How strong were the springs on that car? Ours are pretty damned strong...

Quote:
Originally Posted by BirdTRD View Post
That's not true. The top plate's 3 nuts would only hold the plate. With the top center nut (strut nut) removed, the strut and coil could drop away freely while the plate stayed behind. Technically you wouldn't have to loosed the top 3 nuts at all. Just the top center nut. The process should still work.


You're right, I mentally glazed over when re-reading your post about the three top nuts.
 
Old 03-29-2010, 07:45 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris4x4 View Post
NO FREAKIN WAY would I attempt, or recomend disassembly like this. These springs have ALOT of stored energy. More so than other coil sprung vehicles. If that strut slips one little bit, no telling what damage/injury could happen.
Yes, there is a fair amount of pressure, say a 600 lb spring. I bet the farm that the top strut mount, control arms, and 2-ton jack are stronger than any coil compressor out there. They're a hell of a lot stronger than those cheesy Autozone things I've used several times.

Even if the jack did slip, there is nowhere for anything to go flying. The bottom is still bolted. The top still has the strut's piston sticking up through the center. By the time that piston is down far enough to allow it to slip sideways out of there, the pressure is removed. Job done.

Obviously, if you're slowly lowering the jack, there is no need to have fingers anywhere near those coils.
 
Old 03-29-2010, 07:46 PM   #15
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I don't see why it wouldn't work. That's the same way you remove a spring from any other coil sprung vehicle, possibly safer because the spring on the Taco is captured by the shock. Use a good floor jack under the lower control arm (not one of those 20 dollar POS ones) and it should be fine. If I had thought about it I would have tried it last week on my truck. Those spring compressors scare me.
 
Old 03-29-2010, 07:59 PM   #16
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Honestly, I still have not heard a valid reason why it wouldn't work. No, it's not "how everybody else does it", but that doesn't make it a bad idea.

I refuse to accept the excuse that "the parts of the truck that are designed to hold the pressure of the strut in combination with a 2-ton floor jack is not strong enough to hold the pressure of the strut". No offense, but that's a fairly lame argument.

Again, the "standard way" uses strut compressors. As most know, strut compressors aren't exactly known for their safety. Now there's some youtube videos to watch.
 
Old 03-29-2010, 08:05 PM   #17
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Not saying it won't work... it should assuming you're able to get enough clearance on jacks to decompress the spring entirely with the LCA still on top of your jack. You shouldn't wind up with any undue sideways forces if you're using a floor jack and lowering straight down, although the LCA would rotate a bit. Get yourself one of those blast shields they use on Mythbusters, a 9' long jack handle and give it a go
 
Old 03-29-2010, 08:14 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlurpeeBlueMetallic View Post
Not saying it won't work... it should assuming you're able to get enough clearance on jacks to decompress the spring entirely with the LCA still on top of your jack.
Now there is a legitimate potential problem. That was the only real issue I could see arising. The guys I saw doing it, had the coil decompressed, and the jack completely down then had to actually push the LCA down with there foot to get the then expanded assembly out of there. In other words, they had to actually go past lowering it with the jack just to get it out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SlurpeeBlueMetallic View Post
You shouldn't wind up with any undue sideways forces if you're using a floor jack and lowering straight down, although the LCA would rotate a bit. Get yourself one of those blast shields they use on Mythbusters, a 9' long jack handle and give it a go
If you had your floor jack lined up so that it could roll inward toward the other front wheel (that's what direction the LCA would be pushing), you should be good. By the time that piston clears the mount, the pressure is gone.

Worst case scenario, even if the jack did slip out, there just isn't anywhere for those pieces to go. Remember, the bottom is still bolted. The top is still stuck in the mount by both the 3 top plate nuts and the strut's piston.
 
Old 03-29-2010, 08:40 PM   #19
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Question: When you remove the nut from the shock top stud, will the spring be completely relaxed? If not, what will prevent the violent expansion of the coil spring when you remove the nut? I certainly wouldn't have my hand in there removing the nut unless I knew the answer. Also, if you don't plan to reinstall using the same method and a spring compressor will be used for reassembly, why wouldn't you just use it for disassembly?
 
Old 03-29-2010, 08:53 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LostRebel View Post
Question: When you remove the nut from the shock top stud, will the spring be completely relaxed?
In this particular case, no.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LostRebel View Post
If not, what will prevent the violent expansion of the coil spring when you remove the nut? I certainly wouldn't have my hand in there removing the nut unless I knew the answer.
The jack you have supporting it from below. You could even remove the top nut before you removed the castle nut from the ball joint as an added precaution.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LostRebel View Post
Also, if you don't plan to reinstall using the same method and a spring compressor will be used for reassembly, why wouldn't you just use it for disassembly?
It would cut the job time nearly in half. Spring compressors are very dangerous in their own right.

Unless you reversed the steps to assemble it (I would not), yes, you would still need the compressor for reassembly.
 
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