How to Replace the Struts on a 2002 Saturn L300


The Saturn L300 is available in four-door sedan and station wagon body styles. The front-wheel-drive L300 uses either an inline-four-cylinder or V6 engine with four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission. The front suspension is the MacPherson strut type, where the shock and coil spring are combined into a unit. A special strut spring compressor must be used when replacing a strut. It can be rented from most parts stores.

Things You'll Need

  • Jack
  • Jack stands
  • Ratchet and socket set
  • Wrench set
  • Strut spring compressor
  • Park the L300 on a level, paved surface and set the parking brake. Move to the front wheels and loosen the lug nuts. Raise the front of the L300 with a jack and support with jack stands. Remove the lug nuts and wheels.

  • Place a jack under the lower control arm and raise it until it just makes contact with the arm. Use a ratchet and socket to remove the bolt from the brake hose bracket on the strut.

  • Use a wrench and ratchet and socket to remove the nut and bolt from the stabilizer link rod where it attaches to the strut.

  • Move to the engine compartment and remove the three nuts that attach the top of the strut to the strut tower. Move back to the fender well and use a wrench and ratchet and socket to remove the nuts from the two mounting bolts on the bottom of the strut at the steering knuckle. Remove the bolts. Push the strut off of the steering knuckle and lower the strut out through the fender well.

  • Attach a strut spring compressor to the strut spring. Use a ratchet and socket to tighten the compressor until the spring is no longer touching the spring seat on the strut.

  • Use a ratchet and socket to remove the damper shaft nut from the top of the strut. Lift off the upper mount and spring seat. Lift off the spring. Slide the rubber bump stop off of the damper shaft.

  • Slide the rubber bump stop onto the damper shaft on the new strut. Mount the spring on the strut. install the upper spring seat and mount. Install the damper shaft nut. Use a torque wrench to torque the nut to 63 foot-pounds.

  • Loosen the spring compressor. As you do this, make sure the ends of the spring fit into the notches in the spring seats at the top and bottom of the strut. Remove the compressor.

  • Slide the strut up through the fender well and guide the three studs on the upper mount into the holes in the strut tower. Mount the bottom of the strut onto the steering knuckle and install the bolts and nuts. Torque the nuts to 133 foot-pounds. Move to the upper mount and install the three nuts. Torque them to 18 foot-pounds.

  • Line up the stabilizer bar link rod with the strut. Install the nut and bolt. Torque the nut to 48 foot-pounds. Remove the jack from the lower control arm. Install the bolt in the brake line bracket where it attaches to the strut.

  • Mount the wheels and lug nuts. Raise the L300 and remove the jack stands. Lower the L300 to the ground and tighten the lug nuts.


  • "Chilton's Saturn L-Series 2000 through 2004"; Mike Stubblefield; 2004
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