New KYB Excel-G struts are done, and so am I

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After 14 years and 113k miles, my '01 Impreza RS needed new struts. I bought some new KYBs and all related replaceable parts and did the rears last weekend and the fronts yesterday. The firm ride has been restored and my car feels good and solid again, hopefully even better after new tires and an alignment. Thing is, now I'm absolutely shot. Last weekend was worse, having a stiff back and tight hamstrings all week, but I managed to tweak my left elbow yesterday. It appears to be the same thing I did to my right one two years ago when doing struts on my wife's car, and it's not been the same since. But the worst thing is my hands. They are both flaming red and sore with some nice new scabs on my knuckles. I really used to enjoy working on my cars, but now that I have an office job and 'city hands', I'm not sure how much longer I can do this kind of thing. Shame because it feels good knowing I did something myself, did it cheaper and did it right. I just don't know if the trade-off is worth it. frown
 
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Dana Point, CA
Originally Posted By: Bottom_Feeder
..The firm ride has been restored and my car feels good and solid again..
That's the important part! If it's any consolation, groveling about on the garage floor isn't as easy for and on me these days, either. smile
 
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1,797
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Texas
Gloves. I don't wear gloves for everything I do on a car, but if I'm going to be pushing hard on or handling sharp-ish objects I always put on the padded gloves.
 

Bottom_Feeder

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Originally Posted By: Mykl
Gloves. I don't wear gloves for everything I do on a car, but if I'm going to be pushing hard on or handling sharp-ish objects I always put on the padded gloves.
Agreed, of course. I have some and was using them at least half the time. But gloves always seem to get in the way just that one time, so they're taken off. Then your hands get greasy so you don't put the gloves back on, etc.
 
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I use cardboard on my crushed stone parking area. It's a labor of love. I am learning that recovery time grows the older we get. Using the proper tools helps, as does knowing what you are doing. I replaced a tranny in a 91 Civic two winters ago which I swear cured me of my backyard mechanicism, but on it goes. Regular exercise really helps.
 
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Originally Posted By: Bottom_Feeder
Agreed, of course. I have some and was using them at least half the time. But gloves always seem to get in the way just that one time, so they're taken off. Then your hands get greasy so you don't put the gloves back on, etc.
Yeah, I did the same job on the Camry a couple of weeks ago. That one time I wasn't wearing gloves and my hand slipped... and there was blood. Not "emergency room" levels of blood, but "apply pressure and put a bulky bandage on it that gets in the way" kind of blood. For the aches I just take a few Aleve when I'm done and that usually takes care of it.
 
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Philadelphia, PA
Originally Posted By: splinter
[quote=Bottom_Feeder]..The firm ride has been restored and my car feels good and solid again..
This part makes the pain go away for me, while driving. Though, I'm a bit of a masochist when there's a reward in it for me (a happy car, lifting weights, etc.).
 
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NEUS
I definitely contemplate the value of this kind of work. I have a local mechanic that works out of a 2-bay garage next to his house. He only accepts cash and can't do anything electrical, but he has lifts and a good selection of tools. It's $40/hr, which makes it much easier to consider. I had a friend visiting in the winter that needed brakes done. Freezing in my unheated garage vs. paying the mechanic $100 made the decision easier. I would have probably done it myself if it was summertime and not -10f.
 
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Get out and work it off. If doing something as simple as a set of struts leaves you "absolutely shot", then you're badly out of shape. Get out and exercise, strengthen your core muscles, and do some strength training with your hands. Simple things like a using a hand strengthener while you're sitting around watching the idiot box will make a difference. When you're standing around doing nothing, do some toe lifts. Get a set of ankle weights and do a couple hundred leg lifts while you're sitting on the couch each evening. After all, if this 70 year old can do a set of struts without being in pain, then so can you.
 

Bottom_Feeder

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Originally Posted By: Pop_Rivit
If doing something as simple as a set of struts leaves you "absolutely shot", then you're badly out of shape.
No argument there. In another life I worked in a warehouse and a lumberyard. I was built like a truck and none of this stuff bothered me at all. 13 years and a career change later I have a desk job and live in an apartment (no garage, no yard work). I'm also married now so I'll blame the wife. smile I'll get back there someday.
 

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Originally Posted By: IndyIan
Do you have an impact wrench? I find my cheap corded 250ftlb one makes life easier working on the car.
I bought one for this project but couldn't use it for the strut-knuckle bolts due to space issues, so breaker bar & pipe extension was the backup plan. I did use the impact to remove/install the strut top nuts which would have been a pain otherwise but I can't say I really got my money's worth out of it yet.
 
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Milwaukee, WI
Originally Posted By: IndyIan
Do you have an impact wrench? I find my cheap corded 250ftlb one makes life easier working on the car.
First this, get better tools. The often pay for themselves on the first job. Still, in three months you'll forget and in a year you'll be doing another job on something. That's just how these things go.
 
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Da Swamp
Originally Posted By: schuylkill
I use cardboard on my crushed stone parking area. It's a labor of love. I am learning that recovery time grows the older we get. Using the proper tools helps, as does knowing what you are doing. I replaced a tranny in a 91 Civic two winters ago which I swear cured me of my backyard mechanicism, but on it goes. Regular exercise really helps.
I was very pleased last spring to find that my weight training regimen left me in good enough shape that a claying/polish/waxing of the Buick Regal did not leave me sore in the least.
 
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Boston, MA
Should have spent the extra cash and get the quick struts. Pretty straight forward to install and replaces everything. Save sanity and help keep the blood inside you instead of on your front axle haha
 

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Originally Posted By: Bgallagher
Should have spent the extra cash and get the quick struts.
They aren't available for my car or I might have considered it. Actually, swapping over the springs was one of the easiest tasks, just time-consuming. The springs were not under a lot of tension. I did end up replacing all the mounts, bump stops, bellows and spring isolators for about $150. Had I known all the original stuff was in such good shape I wouldn't have bothered. Oh well, it's in there now...
 
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1,524
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FL
Originally Posted By: bepperb
First this, get better tools. The often pay for themselves on the first job. Still, in three months you'll forget and in a year you'll be doing another job on something. That's just how these things go.
This. As a simple DIY'er I prefer plain cheap hand tools over electric or air. A long breaker bar and many extensions will make you life and hands/knuckles much happier. Leverage is your friend!
 
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