Looking to buy a spring compressor

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Mar 2, 2004
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As the title suggests I'm looking to buy a spring compressor that will disassemble struts (mostly passenger car/crossover type stuff), and hopefully do some larger springs like the coilovers / struts (seem to go by different names) found on GMC 1/2 ton trucks. Nothing bigger than that.

Affordability is a criteria as is safety.

I've used the rent-a-tool Autozone stuff that has the all thread and cheap hooks, didn't die from it, but made sure the spring wasn't pointed at me and that I was in a large open space. But it worked. Looking for something somewhere in the middle of "afraid to be next to it" and super expensive mechanic shop stuff.

Does such a thing exist?
 
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You can do a hassle-free job using compressors that hook and compress the springs.

What ever you buy, look for compressors with screws that have Acme threads. I've used ones that have regular threads and these have a tendency to rotate about the spring and come together when tightening them down. What you end up with is a banana shaped spring.

Look for a compressor with these type of screws (not for use on General Motors “A”, “C”, “J”, or “X” body cars):
spring compressor.jpg


These are Ken-Tool compressors.
Ken-Tool No. 39730.jpg
 
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My solution to this is to use multiple compressor kits. E.g. - instead of using the two compressors that typically come in a single kit, use three. You can position them in 120 degree increments instead of 180, and ratchet a smaller amount on each one when compressing. You could go further and put one every 90 degrees, but I've found that unnecessary.

This makes a tremendous difference in safety and stability.
 
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dnewton3

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I would concur. I, too, have used many types and I'd say this one above is good quality and easy to use. While not cheap, consider the money you're saving by not paying someone else to do it. And each time you use it, you save over and over and over ...
 
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In my opinion you should be afraid anytime you are using a spring compressor, no matter how much it cost. Improperly used, even pro quality ones can easily kill or maim the operator. Fear keeps you focused on making sure the spring is centered and being compressed evenly.

The danger increases the more the spring compresses, and is greatest when trying to loosen or tighten the top nut, often holding the shaft from rotating using vise grips between the coils. It's easy to forget, at that moment, the massive potential energy inches away from your face, and how easy it would be to knock the spring loose if you slip.

Also, you can never fully eliminate the risk of a old spring cracking while you have the shock out.

Personally, I will never do it again. Cheap to outsource or use ready-struts, unless you're doing dozens of them. And in that case why not get a pro model?

Source: Have compressed a whole bunch of springs and struts using professional quality tools. Never lost one, but a few were dicey. At least a couple were refused due to the poor condition of the spring.
 
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Since you mention GM trucks, the first strut spring compressor GM used for strut-type (technically a coil-over shock) truck springs was the J-45400, back when the Trailblazer was introduced (GMT800 trucks of the time were still using torsion bars). J-45400 was a Branick 7600.

I love the Branick 7600. It is my favorite spring compressor, feels totally safe in use, and I'm lucky to have access to one from a friend. You'll sometimes see them go at auction for less than $400, but I can never seem to catch one for that price. New is over $800.

GMT900 was the first full-size GM truck to use a strut-type front suspension. Bigger and heavier than the Trailblazer, GM went to a beefier spring compressor to handle the springs, the CH-48845. CH-48845 is an OTC 6637 Strut Tamer Extreme. This is still the tool for current T1xx GM trucks.

I've used a CH-48845. The latest version doesn't hook the spring at the top for trucks. Instead, it uses a bridge that rests on top of the upper mount and applies pressure from there. This feels way more secure than hooking the spring at each location. It is a bulkier tool than the Branick, feels more chunky and solid, and is no doubt more heavy duty. Because it's still a current tool, not many come up used and if they do, they're still expensive. You're looking at over $1,000 for a new one.

I type all this out because this is what an OEM is providing their techs to safely compress springs and service suspension components.
 

D60

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Yeah I'd at least try regularly searching whatever local classifieds you use (FB MP or CL or KSL or whatever) for Branick.

As noted the older models come up from time to time and they're all nice. I sourced an old one for a couple hundred and just had to replace the upper bearing.
 

D60

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As you said there are knockoffs. Given that I'm pretty sure Eastwood doesn't actually manufacture a single thing, I gotta wonder if they're not just throwing their name on one of these?
20221113_065857.jpg
 
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APTEAM? DASBET? Let me guess. Noname Chineseum that will break the first time you use it? Got nothing again't the Chinese tools if they are name brand like Astro, OTC, Harbor Freight so at least there is some accountability if they do break.
 
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If you're going to be doing strut work somewhat frequently (I do a few jobs a year), suggest you eschew all the Chinese junk and buy a proper piece of kit. The super-expensive mechanic-grade stuff costs thousands, so I'd guess spending several hundred for something decent is in the cards?

I have the Redline RESC2, which I bought in 2015 for $300-something. Mine is floor-mounted and I can take down a strut in under a minute.

1668348647817.jpg


My model has been replaced by the SK2000, which is $500.00.


For safety and ease of use, this tool is one of the best things I've ever added to the garage.
 
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This style are basically a Klann ($$$$) knock off.

 
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I’ve seen some Uputube videos on DIY spring compressors. Of course, making a spring compressor is a project for capable fabricators, not for everyone.
 
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D60

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This style are basically a Klann ($$$$) knock off.

Wow one must wonder how there's $1700 worth of steel and machining there. I'm sure they're nice but either the margins are huge or import fees are quite high
 
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I would concur. I, too, have used many types and I'd say this one above is good quality and easy to use. While not cheap, consider the money you're saving by not paying someone else to do it. And each time you use it, you save over and over and over ...
What it's all about. ROI...
 

92saturnsl2

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I’ve seen some Uputube videos on DIY spring compressors. Of course, making a spring compressor is a project for capable fabricators, not for everyone.
This has me intrigued. A quick Google search turned up a lot of videos of folks using ratchet straps, somehow those make it to the top. Not sure I'm brave enough for that :)

I did stumble across a couple good ideas after diving down a couple pages.
 
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