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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-15-2006, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
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Compressing Springs

Seems the trend here is to take the springs to a shop and have them compress them and put on your new struts.

1. Will a shop like firestone do this, what do they usually charge, and hopefully they will do it right...

I know these springs have a ton of force but for those of you who have done it yourself what tool did you use. I found the below one ( I know harbor freight sucks) and it looks pretty heavey duty. What do you think

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=43753
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-15-2006, 11:28 AM
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looks better than the one i use from autozone.

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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-15-2006, 11:32 AM
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I've used these several times without a problem.

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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-15-2006, 08:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 97TXBIRD
I know these springs have a ton of force but for those of you who have done it yourself what tool did you use.
A wall mounted spring compressor, just like any competent shop will have. Both of those spring compressors that were posted up can be a bit dangerous.

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-15-2006, 09:08 PM
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Just rap a big blanket around it, unbolt it slowly, let it pop, reinstall with new spring.....don't try this if your not comfortable doing it..

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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-15-2006, 09:16 PM
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-15-2006, 09:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _95badbird
Just rap a big blanket around it, unbolt it slowly, let it pop, reinstall with new spring.....don't try this if your not comfortable doing it..
90% of the time you'll need a compressor to install the new spring.


-Rod

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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-15-2006, 09:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by racecougar
90% of the time you'll need a compressor to install the new spring.


-Rod
true.....for some reason, I was one of the lucky 10% when I installed my eibachs, all those years ago...

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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-15-2006, 10:07 PM
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That 1st one looks good. The 2nd one I've used and had all kinds of problems. I think I ruined the fellows spring compressors. I had to use my impact gun to get them to tighten down.

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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-15-2006, 10:35 PM
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I tried the second ones and bent the long threaded rods. For their price, that's what you probably have to expect. I rented ones from AutoZone last week and they worked great.

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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-16-2006, 12:30 AM
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i did one side at a time and just brought it to a random mom and pop car place. they charged 10$ each
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-16-2006, 09:39 AM
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i have used the cheapy harbour frieght model. I have used them probably 15 times or so. They are OK, don't point the thing at you. I did put some heavy grease on the threads of those to make them easier to tighten. do a little bit on each side moving from side to side. don't do all one side then the other. keep the spring even when you compress it.

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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-16-2006, 10:05 AM
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I don't want to weigh in on what to use because I wouldn't do it myself, I took both sets to Midas to get it done because I have seen what can and does happen with these springs and the hook style compressors. They might be fine for weak springs on little cars, but not for ours.

I think I paid 30 bucks a set at Midas. I removed them as a assembly from the car and only took them in.

Only advise I have is have this handy for you or whoever does it, I marked the springs and upper mount, but if you are getting new springs or want to verify it is all lined up:

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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-17-2006, 08:22 AM
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i used the spring compressor kit that advance auto parts loans out for a deposit and it work just fine. i first layed the stock spring/strut on the ground and marked the length of the compressed spring on the floor, then i knew how much i had to compress the new spring in order to get the nut on. i used an impact gun to run down the spring compressors, going back and forth on both sides to pull it down even. don't forget to index the top mount to the bottom mount for proper alignment so you can bolt it in. i've done this on all 3 of my birds without a hitch.

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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-17-2006, 09:38 AM
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Even a cheap wall mounted spring compresser can be hazardous on our long springs. I highly suggest a branick compressor. The shop down the road bought a cheap compressor and the guy that does the work now has a half smashed face over it. Think of it this way if the thing breaks the medical bills could easily be 30-40 thousand dollars to never recover completely. This is really an issue where using the right tool is a must. I bought a branick for this reason exactly I was looking at a cheap one until i saw that guy and he hated my car. I didn't quite understand until he told me it was one of our cars that did it.
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post #16 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-17-2006, 10:26 AM
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A Thunderbird with the V8 has 330 pounds/inch rate springs (except Sport, which is around 400 if what I have read is to believed, which is what one set I did was).
a 97 camry has 120 pounds/inch rate springs (just used as an example, one that I found numbers for).

EDIT - I guess they are progressive, so the first inch compresses at 270 pounds, and goes up, but still they are pretty hard to compress.

If I remember correctly, and I probably don't, it looked like over two inches to compress it enough to get the upper mount off. That was 660 pounds required to compress it, and it might have been more than that. A co-worker was able to put the strut/coil assembly of his Scion xA on the ground and use body weight to compress it and use zip ties.

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Last edited by Bangster; 11-17-2006 at 10:40 AM.
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post #17 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-17-2006, 11:34 AM
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for one thing i don't have my face near the spring when compressing it, i did it with it laying on the floor and my foot resting on it while i use the impact gun to compress it. you have to be a fool to put your face in harms way plus i'm very aware of what i'm doing so i'm extra cautious. still freak things can happen and i feel bad for that dude.

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Last edited by nickleman60; 11-17-2006 at 11:53 AM.
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post #18 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-17-2006, 11:47 AM
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I'm sure he didn't have his face near it either the thing came at him. A spring like this coming uncompressed could easily fly a couple hundred feet. Nothing is safe it it comes undone.
Alan
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post #19 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-17-2006, 05:21 PM
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If you're close enough to the spring to operate whatever you're using to compress it, your face is close enough to be considered in harms way. If your spring compressor fails, you have no idea which way the spring and the parts of the broken compressor are going to fly.

But hey, do what you want.

-Rod

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post #20 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-21-2006, 10:15 PM
 
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I just replaced the front and rear springs. I did the rears myself, I paid to have the fronts done, 20 bucks. I can tell you that I do my own engine, transmission and brake assembly. I fear no jobs, but know when to take it to a pro. I don't have the tools to build rear ends, so that goes to a pro, same with allignments and mounting tires. Sure, you CAN do it, but is it worth your life and limbs? Not mine!
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post #21 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-21-2006, 11:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plankster
I just replaced the front and rear springs. I did the rears myself, I paid to have the fronts done, 20 bucks. I can tell you that I do my own engine, transmission and brake assembly. I fear no jobs, but know when to take it to a pro. I don't have the tools to build rear ends, so that goes to a pro, same with allignments and mounting tires. Sure, you CAN do it, but is it worth your life and limbs? Not mine!
That right there says it all. A true pro knows what he can and can't, and should and shouldn't do. I love working on and learning about cars. I've done more to the T-bird than I have to any car previously owned. But like Plankster, I value my life and limb, and I know who has the right tools. I can pay the local shop 10 bucks a spring to have them mount the shock/spring assembly so I can then install them. hhhmmmmm 20 bucks vs years of pain, suffering, or worse. I'd call that a pretty easy decision.

using the wrong tools, or cheap tools to work on these springs is like playing with a loaded gun. maybe nothing will go wrong, the first time, or even the second. But sooner or later something terrible will happen.


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post #22 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-22-2006, 08:04 AM
 
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^^^ saving $20~30 bucks just outweighs common sense with some folks.

It doesn't matter if you've done it a dozen times before without a hitch. If anything your just going to be even more surprised when a spring does kick your butt.

The few people I know that have gotten clocked by a spring happen to be ASE certified mechanics. Stuff happens even to the best of us. Given the minimal cost vs the risks I say better them doing it then me...

As for the Harbor Freight deal...
Quote:
Repair Macpherson struts on or off the vehicle. Works on struts with springs up to 7'' diameter. Perfect for body shops, specialty shops, tire shops, dealerships, independent garages and service stations.*
* Who are managed by extremely cheap owners.

Last edited by Southpaw; 11-22-2006 at 08:12 AM.
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post #23 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-24-2006, 06:23 PM
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Ah, just take it somewhere. Git Er Done!

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post #24 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-24-2006, 06:43 PM
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when I have to get new shocks installed I sure as **** am not doing it myself.
Springs are fricken scary! I want to put a set of SC springs onto my car or maybe just lowering springs, but I am so spooked by the springs that I wont go near the job.

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