Removing coil spring

Discussion in 'Tips 'n' Tricks Topic' started by MP81, Mar 11, 2018.

  1. MP81

    MP81 Veteran Member

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    So, I spent the better part of the afternoon trying to remove the stock coil spring (driver side). I already have removed the stock spring and put in my new Hotchkis spring on the other side, so I figured that this side would go similarly.

    So of course it isn't.

    Got to the point where I said screw it to using the compressor (I can't come in from the top as the threaded rod is too large, and the inner fender is in the way, anyway; and going from the bottom requires me to use a pickle fork as a plate and I can only use the top hooks, as the rod does not have enough height to use the bottom hooks), and decided just to lower the control arm down slowly with the jack to decompress it.

    Except the control arm stopped (the ball joint shaft end is about even with the spindle now - it's already split, and you can move the spindle around, so it is still loose) and the jack still had plenty of travel downwards to go.

    The spring has managed to keep itself compressed...despite nothing holding it in place. Any idea what the hell I should do now? I did make sure to loosen the lower control arm bolts slightly, though maybe they need to be loosened more?

    Thoughts? What is keeping the lower control arm stuck up, despite a compressed spring and a disconnected ball joint?
     
  2. budro6968

    budro6968 Veteran Member

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    You could run a chain up through the middle of the spring through both control arms and bolt it to lock. just leave it a little loose. Some times the springs will just ease out when you push down on the lower control arm. Some times the spring has pressure so it flies out. Just wear heavy boots and be safe. I saw one fly about ten feet once.
     
  3. Blown Camaro

    Blown Camaro American by birth, drag racer by choice

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    Be very careful! I had a spring compressor break a split second after I moved my hand out of the way. I saw sparks, then I heard the boom! I had a chain around it. Moroso Trick Springs. What a nightmare.
     
  4. MP81

    MP81 Veteran Member

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    Yeah, I had one of the fingers jump off today, a nice spark or two (which I didn't see) - and definitely the smell and the smoke from it. I had the compressor jump around on the other side as I'd whack the spring with a hammer, but the one finger popping off really made me a whole lot more nervous than anything on the other side did.

    I think I'll pick up some chain, just to make sure it doesn't go flying. I can attach it loosely to the lower control arm (my nice new GW upper arm is already installed).

    I just can't figure out why it is stuck - should I give the spring a good few whacks with a hammer before I pull the ball joint nut back off and start trying to drop the arm again?
     
  5. phat80

    phat80 Veteran Member

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    Well, here's how I did mine, maybe a little overkill but better safe than ****ed up. I took a length of 3/4" x 24 tpi ready rod (all thread) put a nut and and 2 washers one one end ( the top). Then insert the rod down the shock hole ( this can be done with the inner fender in place). Let the rod protrude through the LCA.

    So to make a compressor I took a piece of 3/16" steel plate and drilled a 3/4" hole in it so I could slide it up the ready rod from the bottom until it contacts the LCA. Then run up a 2 washers and a nut. You have a compressor.

    Now the deal is of course you can compress the spring but you can't swing the LCA down because it is clamped in this humongous clamp you put on there. So what I did was unbolt the LCA at the horns and lower the entire LCA and spring as a unit. PUT SAFETY CHAIN on spring.

    To install everything reverse the process and install the rear horn bolt first. Now some people may think this is overkill and labor intensive and their opinion is valid for them. I was working alone in a remote area and I was not taking any chances.

    So this is just one way to do it. I will try and load some pix.
    [​IMG]
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    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
    Blown Camaro likes this.
  6. Blown Camaro

    Blown Camaro American by birth, drag racer by choice

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    ^^^ That's the way to do it! My friend put his trick springs in that way as well. They are just too long to swing the lower arm down like you can with a stock length spring. Plus doing it this way, you do not damage the lower ball joint or rip the boot with a pickle fork.
     
  7. Jeep43

    Jeep43 Veteran Member

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    I assume the sway bar end link is disconnected? I would try loosening the lower control arm bolts.
     
  8. MP81

    MP81 Veteran Member

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    Yup, end link is removed, and I did slightly loosen the LCA bolts, though I'm going to loosen the front one a bit more, as I did not get wrenches on both sides to get much (if any) kind of a gap.
     
  9. badazz81z28

    badazz81z28 Veteran Member

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    I have never used a spring compressor to remove old springs or install shorter Hotchkis Coils. All you need to do is lift the car high enough where you can swing the lower arm as low as possible. There will be hardly any tension on the spring at this point....Stand to the side and pry it out. As for the Hotchkis, slip them in and jack the control arm up. As long as you stand out of the way, even if the spring pops out, it wont hit you. AND if it does pop out, its not going very far. I have used chains in the past, realized I didn't need them and the compressors suck azz! You cant install or removed them with the spring in the car.
     
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  10. MP81

    MP81 Veteran Member

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    Yeah, on the passenger side, the Hotchkis spring was as simple as finding where it indexes, adjusting the isolator in the control arm to match that (roughly), and then setting it in and jacking it up.

    I'm trying to get the control arm to drop down past around horizontal, but, despite the spring still being compressed - it refuses to do so. Basically compressing itself, as the ball joint is broken free from the spindle and the nut is off. It's clearly bewitched by dark magic.
     

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