Strut spring compressor questions

Messages
7,846
Location
Hudson, NH
I wanted to avoid using a spring compressor and went with a loaded quick strut. Well.. that didn't go so well. The springs are too stiff and the car sits too high in the front. Nothing was wrong with the OEM springs that came off so I'd like to use them. I've used a compressor before so I'm familiar with how to use and take a strut apart. But couple of things are different this time and I thought I would ask.

1) I'm swapping springs on a new quick strut that already has a spring. So I need to completely release the new spring from the spring compressor after removing. I'm wondering how much larger the spring will get and if the spring compressor will be large enough. Maybe there is a way I should attach it so this won't happen?

2) Attached is a picture of the old struts. They have very few coils so there really isn't a flat spot to attach the compressor on either side. Will that correct as I crank down on it? or will there be a potential for a slip of the compression tool?

Appreciate the input. I'm trying to stay safe.
 

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Messages
9,930
Location
MA
New quick struts always sit high for a week or two before they settle down. I wouldn't put back any spring that has 100k on it. That's about all they're good for. At least get new OEM springs. Also I think part of your problem is that your rear springs are probably sagging which is why it looks extra high on the front.

And the safest way to do the swap would be to take it to a local shop that has a spring compressor mounted on the wall. Just pay them $20 or so to swap out each spring. I did pick up an OTC 6494 a while ago as I used it a couple of times, but yeah, I see the problem with yours might be that there's not enough windings so you'd probably have to really compress it down to release it.
 
Messages
3,427
Location
Roanoke Virginia
It’s supposed to do that in the front in it takes a few days to settle down that’s exactly what the ones I just put on a few days ago done. I’ve never seen ones that didn’t. So nothing is wrong with them but if you feel better replacing them that’s fine. I know don’t get a Harbor Freight set of spring compressors I have those and cringe every time I use them. I’d find a shop and have them do it to save you the risk but I wouldn’t reuse the old springs. Or old struts.
 

LeakySeals

Thread starter
Messages
7,846
Location
Hudson, NH
It’s supposed to do that in the front in it takes a few days to settle down that’s exactly what the ones I just put on a few days ago done. I’ve never seen ones that didn’t. So nothing is wrong with them but if you feel better replacing them that’s fine. I know don’t get a Harbor Freight set of spring compressors I have those and cringe every time I use them. I’d find a shop and have them do it to save you the risk but I wouldn’t reuse the old springs. Or old struts.
This is the one I have
 

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Messages
36,113
Location
ME
You'll be fine with those compressors.

You'll see, once you get them attached, that you have several more inches of thread with which you can de-compress the spring when finished. After all, everybody who changes springs will have a bomb on their hands halfway through the job.

However I agree, drive around for a bit on your quick struts to see if they'll settle.
 
Messages
334
Location
WA
those Harbor Freight spring compressors aren't too bad.
I place the hooks well down the spring, away from the last full turn, compressing the 'inner half' of the coils.
The angle of the coils tends to keep the hooks in place for the duration of repair compression/decompression.
Just draw down each side equally as you go. Then, reverse to complete.
I would also try bypassing all that ^^^^work & drive the current set up & see if it does settle to the proper ride height, as was mentioned above.
But I'm also lazy & curious.
 
Messages
3,427
Location
Roanoke Virginia
those Harbor Freight spring compressors aren't too bad.
I place the hooks well down the spring, away from the last full turn, compressing the 'inner half' of the coils.
The angle of the coils tends to keep the hooks in place for the duration of repair compression/decompression.
Just draw down each side equally as you go. Then, reverse to complete.
I would also try bypassing all that ^^^^work & drive the current set up & see if it does settle to the proper ride height, as was mentioned above.
But I'm also lazy & curious.
Lol mine are old ones from Harbor Freight they don’t seem as sturdy as they should be
 
Messages
3,131
Location
Western S.C.
... I wouldn't put back any spring that has 100k on it. That's about all they're good for. ...
If they're defective or inadequate by design? I've never had a single problem with springs beyond 100k with any car, including the 606k on the Mazda, on which I replaced struts two or three times. Nor has my brother had any spring issues in well over 300k on two cars.
 
Messages
776
Location
NH
I usually buy them loaded now, but I used to pay a mechanic 20 bucks to load them for me. I've loaded one set years ago
and didn't think it was worth the trouble.
 
Messages
2,667
Location
Kentucky
If they're defective or inadequate by design? I've never had a single problem with springs beyond 100k with any car, including the 606k on the Mazda, on which I replaced struts two or three times. Nor has my brother had any spring issues in well over 300k on two cars.
I don't replace springs either when I do struts. No reason to, IMO, unless they're defective.
 
Messages
9,930
Location
MA
Unless they break, springs in strut suspensions last pretty much the life of the car.
That must depend on the area and the roads. They're pretty rough around here and I've never had much luck with springs lasting much more than 100k. They look fine at 100k and then at 110k, they're sagging. Certain makes are also infamous for having coil springs that break as they age and rust. Maybe not an issue in a rust free area.
 
Another trick for those spring compressores is to brush on some antisieze or grease on the threaded rods it wll make the job much easier, but i agree your rear springs are shot and the front springs will settle. But you really need to address the rears, no matter how much you lower the front with the rears sagging like they are the front end will always ride high
 
Messages
36,113
Location
ME
Fine setup. go get 'em!

I use your style compressor now. The HF ones side load the main hooks against the threaded rod so the rod chews them up. This is truly a disposable tool-- one that grinds itself down until it blows up in your face.
 

LeakySeals

Thread starter
Messages
7,846
Location
Hudson, NH
Thanks it does say lube it. I put some grease from the grease gun on where the threads are going to tighten. And I'm assuming the two washers stay on top they don't go anywhere else
 

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LeakySeals

Thread starter
Messages
7,846
Location
Hudson, NH
Thanks for the encouragement. I cranked the spring down a lot and it still didn't separate. Rather than stress the tool anymore I decided to give the top fastener a zip with the Milwaukee. Back it off just a little bit and see what happens. Not quite enough so I tightened a little bit more and then I was good. Now that I know how much to tighten it the rest should be a breeze.

Then something I wasn't expecting happened. Figured I would use my beloved Milwaukee half inch impact to loosen up the tool on the spring I removed quicker. It was hammering not turning. I couldn't believe it. So then I put my hand on the ratchet. I could make it hammer and stop just holding on to it. How could that be!!!! "1400 pounds of nut busting power" and I'm holding it in place with my hand. That's depressing. Paid a lot of money for that thought it would be the last one I ever owned. I guess there's something wrong with it. It should have twisted my arm off right?
 
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