How to Use a Strut Manual Spring Compressor

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A manual strut spring compressor is designed to compress the strut spring on a front wheel drive vehicle. This is a necessary procedure in the disassembly of the strut for the purpose of replacement. The strut spring is extremely strong since it is responsible for supporting the vehicle. Keep in mind that if the spring is suddenly released from its compressed condition, severe damage could occur to anything in its path.

Things You'll Need

  • ½-inch drive ratchet
  • Set of sockets
  • Stand the strut in front of you with the lower mounting facing away. Loosen the adjuster nut on the compressor using a socket and ratchet to expand it enough to fit on the spring. Place the lower two feet of the compressor on the bottom coil of the spring as low as it will go. It is easier to place the feet on the side of the coil spring followed by rotating the compressor toward the center in front of you, which will move the feet down the spring.

  • Place the upper feet on the uppermost coil on the spring. Make sure the upper and lower feet are in the center of the spring. The object is to install the compressor so it has as much room to compress the spring as possible. Rotate the compressor nut clockwise using a socket and ratchet. During the compressing process, continuously monitor the position of the spring compressor on the spring. If the compressor is not centered, it will begin to slide toward the outside and possibly come off.

  • Compress the spring until it separates from the top bearing plate. When the spring no longer touches the top bearing plate, the spring is compressed sufficiently. Remove the top bearing plate nut using a socket. Mark the position that the top plate studs are facing for reference and lift the plate off the spring top.

  • Lift the compressor and spring off the strut and lay it down. Do not drop or bang the spring in any way. Do not face either end of the spring toward a person in case it comes loose. Compressed springs can cause severe bodily damage or even death.

  • Grab the new strut shaft. Push down and turn it to release and allow it to extend. Stand the strut up in front of you in the same manner with the front bracket facing outward. Transfer the rubber spring seat from the old strut to the new one. Carefully pick up the compressed spring and place it on the new strut. As the spring is lowered, match up the end of the spring with the groove in the rubber seat.

  • Install the upper bearing plate with the upper studs facing the same way that they were removed. Install the upper bearing plate nut and tighten with a socket. Loosen the strut spring compressor by turning the adjuster nut counterclockwise using the socket and ratchet. Remove the compressor from the spring.

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