Twisted damper fork with holes not lined up?

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17,484
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Silicon Valley
97 Integra, front left. I was doing axles the other day and part of the work is to unbolt the lower control arm from the damper fork. Previously I've replaced the shock/strut/damper on the car and the spring's end wasn't lining up at the "valley" of the shock/strut/damper, but about 1" away. You can think of it as the spring was installed with about 5-10 deg off at the bottom of the strut. When I install the damper fork back on, I noticed that I couldn't push the bolt back in unless I use a lot of force to pull one side of the fork to line it up. My understanding is that the 2 holes on the damper fork that bolt to the lower control arm should line up instead of off center from the factory by design. This corner of my car has a toe out type of tire wear, and I suspect that this is the reason (the fork is constantly trying to bent the control arm outward). However the control arm doesn't "look" bented and the bushing seems to be in acceptable shape (minor cracks expected at 240k miles). Should I replace the fork and the lower control arm? what about compressing and lining up the spring inside the strut again? Is it normal at all? and was it caused by curbing anything?
 
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Location
Melbourne, Australia
The reassembly of the damper and spring doesn't sound right. The spring end should contact the spring seat correctly. Try correcting this first by compressing the spring and rotate the damper body.
 

PandaBear

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It is the OEM fork that came with the car when it was build. The reason the spring and the spring seat was "off" is likely due to the spring compressor not able to line it up correctly, and the spring compressor has very little clearance to work with because the dust boot is a metal cup instead of a rubber boot.
 

PandaBear

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Spring sitting on a fork, fork sitting on the lower control arm. Upper control arm connect to the knuckle via another link, the typical 90s Honda setup.
 
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1,909
Location
Tracy, CA
Typical Honda double wishbone suspension: Double Wishbone Suspension Item # 15/16 is the fork Panda is referencing. The top of the fork is attached to the bottom of the strut with a pinch bolt (Item #20). The fork attaches to the lower arm with the bolt (Item #24) through a bushing. I believe when Panda ties to line up the fork and lower arm to install the bolt (Item #24) he has to force the fork/strut over to one side.
 
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MA, Mittelfranken.de
Thanks for posting that. I was having a hard time visualizing the strut location. I would think not having the spring in its seat properly would be more of a ride height/possible noise issue more than contributing to tire wear. It seems this uses a normal strut held in with a pinch bolt like VW/Audi correct?
 

PandaBear

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Originally Posted By: paulo57509
Typical Honda double wishbone suspension: Double Wishbone Suspension Item # 15/16 is the fork Panda is referencing. The top of the fork is attached to the bottom of the strut with a pinch bolt (Item #20). The fork attaches to the lower arm with the bolt (Item #24) through a bushing. I believe when Panda ties to line up the fork and lower arm to install the bolt (Item #24) he has to force the fork/strut over to one side.
Thank you. Yes the 16 is twisted and 24 won't go in unless I push 1 of the fork on 16 a bit away to line them up, and the spring on 16 is seated a bit rotated.
 
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1,909
Location
Tracy, CA
I don't think it's a big deal to have to force the fork a little bit to get the bolt through it and the lower control arm. However, it may be an indicator that it is out of alignment. There is no caster or camber adjustments that can be made on a 1997 Integra. Only toe is adjustable. I would put it back together and have the alignment checked and the toe adjusted as required. If they do find caster or camber out of spec, something is bent or seriously worn out.
 
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