Compress spring or not

Tiny
FONTENOTSEAN@YAHOO.COM
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 PLYMOUTH BREEZE
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
Do I need to Compress the spring if I am going to change the rubber bushings on the front strut if I'm not changing the strut itself? Can I just unbolt the bolts from the suspension mount and lower it to put the lower bushing on and set it back up or will I need to compress the springs before this is done?
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Monday, May 9th, 2011 AT 8:17 AM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
What bushings are you referring to? If you mean the lower control arm bushings, treat the spring and strut as an assembly. You shouldn't have to even unbolt the strut to just let the control arm down a little. Once the car is jacked up and the suspension is hanging down, the strut itself holds the spring in compression. Just don't remove the center bolt on top of the strut's shaft.

One word of warning that most do-it-yourselfers are not aware of is to prevent early failure of any new bushings that can rotate as the suspension travels up and down over bumps, do not tighten the mounting bolts until the car is sitting on the ground and and it has at least been bounced a few times. That will settle and center the bushing. THEN you can crawl underneath and tighten the bolts. Mechanics will do that final step with the car on a drive-on hoist. If you tighten the bolts while the suspension is hanging down, the bushings will be held in a permanent twist when the car is lowered to the ground. That can cause new bushings to fail in less than a year.

If you're replacing the upper control arm bushings, that entire assembly is held in with four bolts on top around the upper strut mount. Those are loosened and slid sideways to adjust part of the alignment so their position is critical. The car should be aligned after that is taken apart.
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Monday, May 9th, 2011 AT 8:32 AM

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