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DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Guides For all DIYs.


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Old 03-31-2013, 11:49 AM   #1
jeebus
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A simpler spring/strut install DIY -- no compressor needed

I recently installed a set of RCE Yellow springs. I read through a number of guides, including this well written one from DarrenDriven on here: http://www.ft86club.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10842

I also took note of the people that have damaged their stock struts by spinning the shaft during hat removal/install. I wanted to make sure that didn't happen.

There's no need to write another complete guide here, but I want to introduce a few short cuts that work BEAUTIFULLY on the BRZ/FR-S. Do not use this method on other vehicles as it may be dangerous, but for this particular car it is plenty safe.

The first thing you want to do, while the car is still on the ground, is get out your hollow ratchet. I picked up a Kobalt XtremeAccess. You need to have a 17mm and a 14mm socket for this. (The $39 kit at Lowes includes them). You also need a relatively long 6mm and 5mm allen wrench. I used vicegrips to hold them, but you could get one with a t-handle as well.

Now remove the top nut from the front and rear strut piston using said tools (hold the allen in place so the piston can't spin):

(see attached image 3)


After this step, you can go back to the other suspension DIY, loosen your lug nuts, etc, etc...and jack the car up. While you jack the car up, the front suspension will slowly unload itself and ALL spring tension will be released. This is not violent or dangerous with THIS CAR. It is very lightly loaded.

After the car is up in the air you can see what I mean:

(see other attached images)



The rear suspension doesn't unload completely until you remove the swaybar endlink and the bottom bolt. But once again, this isn't violent or dangerous. It's braced in there well enough and it just unloads by itself.

Now you can go back to using the other DIY. But you do not have to remove the strut hat from the front or the back. Yes, you read that right. Don't even bother removing them. Go ahead and follow everything else in the other guides though. Assemble your spring/shock/bump/cover without the hat. Once it's ready to go, feed it up into the top hole and put a few threads on with the top nut by hand. Put everything else back together and then re-tighten the top nut using the same socket and allen combo you used to remove it.

It's really that easy. I did all 4 on the BRZ, by myself, without a lift, in 2 hours from start to finish. That includes prep time.
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Last edited by jeebus; 12-01-2013 at 06:04 PM.
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Old 03-31-2013, 01:53 PM   #2
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I wish i had this before, i did mine yesterday, but had printed out the diy a while ago, just had time now. I fear i ruined some of my struts. it drives fine, but it makes so much ratltle noise. Is there anything besides a spun strut that could make these noises on bumps. It still seems to be working though.
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Old 03-31-2013, 03:43 PM   #3
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rattling noises can be from a number of things. But you shouldn't have them. Years ago I had a clunk after a suspension install and it took me forever to find the culprit. Ended up being some sand/dirt that had gotten into the bearings of the front strut hat. After cleaning them out and regreasing, the clunk went away for good. Since you can do that while the car is sitting on the ground, I say you do that first.

But yeah, you could have blown out the struts if you let the piston spin around.
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Old 04-01-2013, 12:47 PM   #4
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wow this looks like it would be A LOT easier than using a spring compressor...
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f0rge View Post
wow this looks like it would be A LOT easier than using a spring compressor...
It is. I have spring compressors and I've done around a dozen suspension installs on various cars. I hate the compressors but I use them when needed. I first tried this method on my NB miata and have since done it on an NC miata, and now the BRZ.

When re-installing the rears, use a piece of wood or something else hard to push in the strut piston a bit so you can wedge the strut into place easily. The strut takes a a few seconds to rebound so you have to be quick, but not too quick.
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:11 PM   #6
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Love the write up! Good notes on this. especially for the in-experienced do-it-yourselfer who has not tackled this type of job.

i have worked on all sorts of cars and this "short-cut" does apply to other vehicle's too. you don't always need a lift and air tools to get the job done, however it makes it easier... SOMETIMES.

im doing suspension soon, probably after my first service.
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRoldy View Post
Love the write up! Good notes on this. especially for the in-experienced do-it-yourselfer who has not tackled this type of job.

i have worked on all sorts of cars and this "short-cut" does apply to other vehicle's too. you don't always need a lift and air tools to get the job done, however it makes it easier... SOMETIMES.

im doing suspension soon, probably after my first service.
Yeah, the only reason I put the disclaimer in about not doing this on other cars is I don't want to be responsible for someone trying it on something with lots of suspension pre-load and travel and getting themselves hurt. I can only say with certainty that it works safely for THIS car.
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Old 04-01-2013, 02:16 PM   #8
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i know what you mean!

and sometimes even if someone uses a spring compressor, does not necessarily mean that they are using it correctly, i saw someone trying to compress the spring on the strut while its still installed on the vehicle..

he was amazed on how much faster the job was once the entire assembly was removed. :happy0180:

anyways, good wrenching!


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Old 04-01-2013, 07:06 PM   #9
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Where would this shortcut be in the numbered steps of the linked guide?
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:37 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Osiris View Post
Where would this shortcut be in the numbered steps of the linked guide?
- do this right before #4 for both front and back struts.
- proceed back to the normal guide.
- skip #19, 20, 21, and 22
- back to the guide
- skip #27 and 28
- in #29, you will instead be tightening the strut top bolt and not the hat bolts (because you never removed them)

in the rear:

- skip #41
- back to the guide
- in #46, tighten the top bolt, not the hat bolts (just like the front)
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Old 04-01-2013, 10:03 PM   #11
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So good news on my part, i couldn't except that i ruined the shocks. Never failed a spring install. I lifted the vehicle and found no shock leaks So i questioned what could the rattle be> After checking over ever last step of my install i found that because i was not using a allen wrench on the shock , the bolt was not fully tightened, allowing play> Problem fixed.
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Old 04-02-2013, 12:33 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeebus View Post
- do this right before #4 for both front and back struts.
- proceed back to the normal guide.
- skip #19, 20, 21, and 22
- back to the guide
- skip #27 and 28
- in #29, you will instead be tightening the strut top bolt and not the hat bolts (because you never removed them)

in the rear:

- skip #41
- back to the guide
- in #46, tighten the top bolt, not the hat bolts (just like the front)
So should I be loosening all four struts BEFORE lifting the car up? Because, from my understanding, lifting the car will slowly take the pressure off the springs. Excuse me if the answer to the question is the obvious one. I want to make 100% sure I'm doing it right.
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Old 04-02-2013, 12:01 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Osiris View Post
So should I be loosening all four struts BEFORE lifting the car up? Because, from my understanding, lifting the car will slowly take the pressure off the springs. Excuse me if the answer to the question is the obvious one. I want to make 100% sure I'm doing it right.
Yes, before lifting loosen all 4.
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Old 04-21-2013, 01:22 AM   #14
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I just finished my install using this DIY. Took me... 4.5 hours. But I had never done anything like this before.
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