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Discussion Starter #1
I could hear some noise in the front, go take a look and there's not much room in the wheel well....
65051


Looks like this car is going to need new coil springs, at least in the front. Its 10 years old, so I imagine there are going to be other suspension issues along the way.
Time to read...
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks, I'm aware of both Autobahn and SmartMadness as a source for used parts. I was looking a bit and coils seem to be readily available and that I have options to consider. I'm not one to dwell on aesthetics, but a little lower would be nice for ecconomy. I have to say it doesn't seem lke the OEM springs are very durable, though I don't know if any others are any better. Any opinions on OEM vs aftermarket for quality?

I have it up on some stands, front wheels off, but I ran out of time today. A quick look at the suspension didn't expose any other glaring issues yet.
I gave a quick skim of the service manual, but will need to reread later before I try to pull the strut assembly.

Edit: It looks like pulling the front panel might make things easier here, so I will need to figure out how that comes off too.
 

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You don't need to pull the panel. There's a good writeup floating on here on how to pull the strut. There's a YouTube clip too. The Brabus springs are a bit thicker and will lower you. The EV springs are thicker and will raise you. Replace the top strut mount donut. Should probably do both sides at same time.
 

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I could hear some noise in the front, go take a look and there's not much room in the wheel well....
View attachment 65051

Looks like this car is going to need new coil springs, at least in the front. Its 10 years old, so I imagine there are going to be other suspension issues along the way.
Time to read...
Eibach R10200 are about 8mm shorter than the standard 451 front springs according to Eibach. They match OEM part number 4513210204. However, I've measured a pair and they should drop your front end by about 10mm compared to standard 451 front springs.

Here's a pair of Eibach R10200 front springs listed on ebay


If you want standard height front springs for the 451, then Eibach R10145 would be the ones to go for as they match OEM part number 4513210104.

Sachs 998838 also match OEM part number 4513210104 and are another good brand.

If you want lowering springs, then Eibach have a good reputation

Front Lowering Springs
Eibach F11-56-002-01-VA

Rear Lowering Springs
Eibach F11-56-002-01-HA
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You don't need to pull the panel. There's a good writeup floating on here on how to pull the strut. There's a YouTube clip too. The Brabus springs are a bit thicker and will lower you. The EV springs are thicker and will raise you. Replace the top strut mount donut. Should probably do both sides at same time.
While I understand that I don't have to pull the front panel, I am told it makes it easier and it should give me easier access to check everything else. This car hasn't been on the road since I got it so there's no time constraints. I may take the easy route if all the joints look good and everything is firm, but I'm guessing at 10 years old some things are likely to be worn out. Maybe I'll get lucky and find the previous owner had it all replaced. Definitley going to replace both sides, I'll keep the unbroken one as a spare, but I don't see much savings in doing them individually. Changing the donut is in the plan, I'm expecting it's all shot, but we'll see.

Eibach R10200 are about 8mm shorter than the standard 451 front springs according to Eibach. They match OEM part number 4513210204. However, I've measured a pair and they should drop your front end by about 10mm compared to standard 451 front springs.

Here's a pair of Eibach R10200 front springs listed on ebay


If you want standard height front springs for the 451, then Eibach R10145 would be the ones to go for as they match OEM part number 4513210104.

Sachs 998838 also match OEM part number 4513210104 and are another good brand.

If you want lowering springs, then Eibach have a good reputation

Front Lowering Springs
Eibach F11-56-002-01-VA

Rear Lowering Springs
Eibach F11-56-002-01-HA
Thanks for all that, exactly what I'm looking for! I'm not sure I want lowering springs, but it's an option I'm considering. My biggest worry is causing other damage from lowering it, much to learn.
 

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My smart is only 7yo but one of the tie rod ends failed. In the next 6 months I plan on replacing all ball joints, bushings, wheel bearings just to get it out of the way.
BTW, I'm lowered on vogtlands. 2 years now. The springs are thicker than stock and are holding up pretty well
 

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Discussion Starter #8
My smart is only 7yo but one of the tie rod ends failed. In the next 6 months I plan on replacing all ball joints, bushings, wheel bearings just to get it out of the way.
BTW, I'm lowered on vogtlands. 2 years now. The springs are thicker than stock and are holding up pretty well
What tire size(s) do you have? Any problems with suspension travel or tire rubbing?
 

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What tire size(s) do you have? Any problems with suspension travel or tire rubbing?
Stock tire size. I think 175/55r15 and 155/65r15 or whatever they came with. No rubbing, not bottoming it. It handles amazing though. Such a joy to drive in the twisties.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
After really looking at things, I don't think pulling the front panel off is going to gain me much. The ball joints and tie rod ends seem decently tight, the driver's side is the least firm, but it seems good.

The swaybar has some corrosion on it so I will probably pull it, clean it up, give it a coat of POR15 and perhaps replace the bushings if they're worn.
65060


For now it looks like all I need are a set of springs and mounts, for sure; maybe a set of bushings and perhaps new struts....and a 7mm allen wrench. Seriously, how do I have every other size allen wrench known to man, but my only 7mm is a stubby on a socket that won't work where I need it.

Here's the top of the passenger's side strut, note the frayed wire I'll need to fix
65061





Does anyone know what connector that is for the brake fluid reservoir? I might be able to patch it, but there's so little left it's probably less hassle to replace it. Here are a couple of shots for reference...
65062


65063
 

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When I replaced my springs I wished I removed the front clip. I had to weld a piece of pipe to a socket at something like 30 degrees to get the top nut off. It would've been so much easier with the front clip off.
 

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Craftsman makes a set of pass-through sockets to handle the top strut nut. No need to pull the panel. I'd say replace the struts though if you're replacing the springs. Yours are 10 years old, I expect. Age and mileage both contribute. The rear shocks are simple to replace.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Craftsman makes a set of pass-through sockets to handle the top strut nut. No need to pull the panel. I'd say replace the struts though if you're replacing the springs. Yours are 10 years old, I expect. Age and mileage both contribute. The rear shocks are simple to replace.
I've got a 13/16" sparkplug socket I'm going to try and use, it has a hex on the outside so I should be able to slip a 7mm hex down the top and a wrench over it and it fits snug. If that doesn't work, I'll probably pick up a 21mm deep well socket and grind it out like the 'strut nut sockets' as most of the pass-through socket sets I've seen don't go large enough for a 21mm.
 

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Soak the nuts for a day or so with good penetrating oil. There were originally rubber dust caps covering the access holes. Did yours have them?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The sparkplug socket worked like a charm.
It appears the strut with the failed spring is still functional, but I'm probably going to replace them both anyhow since it's all apart.
Thus far it's been significantly easier than I expected.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Replacement parts ordered, I went with the Sachs replacements and decided not to lower it.
Hopefully in a couple of weeks it will be on the road for the first time.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I ordered...
2x Bilstein struts ($130.00)
2x Sachs 998838 ($100.00)
3x Strut mounts + bearing ($40.00)
and some misc hardware that I might not need.
I bought the hardware and spare mount because I hate having to stop mid-project to wait for some odd part to arrive and spares because I have two Smart 451's.
 
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