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Several tutorials on here already but IMHO people tend to take too much stuff apart or rely on expensive factory tools. Here's my take on it, minimal disassembly, no special tools required.

Key to rear is unbolting link at long axle side, allows rear suspension to be pushed down far enough that springs just fall out.



Fender liner partially removed for access to shock top.



Here's my "special" tools for the front: 7mm allen, 22mm combo, spark plug socket, length of pipe, ground open end.



Tools in action unbolting strut top.



Unbolt and hang the caliper and loosen lower control arm pivot bolts. Strut assy clears the fender easily.




Ground wrench spreading strut clamp.



Spring rate at front is so soft, no compressor needed. Pretty much it, rest is simple R&R.
 

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Thought i'd chime in after my heavy battle with the front suspension (for those thinking of attempting it), I finally found a great solution to the shock nut "special tool", Sears sells a max axess open ratchet- $20, 13/16 max-axess socket- $6, T45 impact bit from harbour freight- $6, that fits nicely onto a swivel headed ratchet and through the middle. Works like a charm.

This is after i damn near had the front end off, headlights and all and battled with a box wrench and T45 socket. NEVER AGAIN!!!
 

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Wow. Thanks guys. Excellent information here. I yanked a set of Brabus front struts/spring assy off of a rear ended 2013 (among a few other neat things I yanked) in a wrecking yard pick and pull by doing something similar.
 

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Silverbrabus and Sixthgear, you guys are the best.

My wife just did my front springs for me and she never works on cars!

Here is what she did.

0) Day before, open hood and spray top of strut nut with copious amounts of liquid wrench.

1) Purchased Maxaccess Socket set from Sears - $40. Includes 13/16 and 5/8 Sockets and Socket wrench.

2) Loosened bolts on wheel - 15mm deep socket on breaker bar.

3) Opened "hood" on car. Placed 13/16 Socket wrench combo on top of strut nut and braced end of wrench against part of car. Wrench was set to loosen. I think she used the firewall or metal frame as a brace. Used a socket based long 7mm allen wrench on a 3/8 inch socket wrench set to tighten. Placed this in through the max access and into the allen socket at the top of the strut shaft. Loosened the nut held by the Maxaccess by "tightening" the allen. Takes a bit of force so used a long wrench. Do not take the nut completely off at this time, just loosen.

4) Jacked up the front of the car with a rollee wheel based floor jack on the front jacking point.

5) Removed the screws holding the wheel and removed the wheel.

6) Turn the steering wheel to allow more access to the brake calipers. Use an 18mm socket on breaker bar to take off caliper bolts. Remove caliper and set on stand so brake line does not break. (See what I did there?) Turn steering wheel back to dead ahead.

7) On the wheel well, there is a bracket that guides the abs sensor wire. Gently remove the wire from the guide.

8) Use an 18mm Socket to unscrew the Swaybar bracket that holds the swaybar bushing. Bracket then swings open from the bottom. Remove bracket from stud. Remove top of swaybar end link from strut by using a Maxaccess 5/8th inch Socket set to unscrew and a torx or allen that fits snuggly through the Maxaccess and into the end of the stud using this to hold the stud steady so the nut can be removed. She once again used a long torx socket for this.

9) Once she had completed all of these steps, she removed the nut at the top of the strut that she started on at the beginning. She then pulled the strut down and then rotated it out of the wheel well.

10) At this point she needed my help to hold the strut in place as she placed 2 spring compressors on either side of the spring and compresses the spring. This was the "scariest" part. She used a rental set and followed the directions carefully.

11) Once the spring was compressed so there was zero tension, she then removed the spring capture nut with the same arrangement that she used to remove the top strut nut.

12) Success! She pulled off the pieces from the top of the strut (keeping them in order) and pulled the spring off. Put the new spring on. Reversed the process and put it all back together.

13) Moral of the story, if she can do it in less than an hour per side with no experience, this is a piece of cake!

Thanks again guys!!!!
My wife ROCKS!!!
 

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I broke a front spring while driving this week at 118k miles and am trying to figure out how best to remedy the situation. I'm considering replacing only the broken spring, or doing shocks & springs in all four corners given the age of the parts, and any/all combinations in between. Aside from destroying one of my front tires, having the spring break was scary (and embarrassing) and ideally I'd like to do anything I can to avoid that happening again.

In any case, I'm trying to figure out what tools I'd need to get get started and this thread has lots of good ideas!

x29Saab, do you happen to know what make/model spring compressors you used? I've never used one before but agree that I'm scared of it in theory too. I want to make sure I go with the safest option..
 

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I saw this YouTube video sometime back on strut removal for the smart. This guy was super quick in doing the process. Even showing the tools needed. Video is in two parts.


Sent from Tapatalk on Android
 

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Silverbrabus and Sixthgear, you guys are the best.

My wife just did my front springs for me and she never works on cars!

Here is what she did.

0) Day before, open hood and spray top of strut nut with copious amounts of liquid wrench.

1) Purchased Maxaccess Socket set from Sears - $40. Includes 13/16 and 5/8 Sockets and Socket wrench.

2) Loosened bolts on wheel - 15mm deep socket on breaker bar.

3) Opened "hood" on car. Placed 13/16 Socket wrench combo on top of strut nut and braced end of wrench against part of car. Wrench was set to loosen. I think she used the firewall or metal frame as a brace. Used a socket based long 7mm allen wrench on a 3/8 inch socket wrench set to tighten. Placed this in through the max access and into the allen socket at the top of the strut shaft. Loosened the nut held by the Maxaccess by "tightening" the allen. Takes a bit of force so used a long wrench. Do not take the nut completely off at this time, just loosen.

4) Jacked up the front of the car with a rollee wheel based floor jack on the front jacking point.

5) Removed the screws holding the wheel and removed the wheel.

6) Turn the steering wheel to allow more access to the brake calipers. Use an 18mm socket on breaker bar to take off caliper bolts. Remove caliper and set on stand so brake line does not break. (See what I did there?) Turn steering wheel back to dead ahead.

7) On the wheel well, there is a bracket that guides the abs sensor wire. Gently remove the wire from the guide.

8) Use an 18mm Socket to unscrew the Swaybar bracket that holds the swaybar bushing. Bracket then swings open from the bottom. Remove bracket from stud. Remove top of swaybar end link from strut by using a Maxaccess 5/8th inch Socket set to unscrew and a torx or allen that fits snuggly through the Maxaccess and into the end of the stud using this to hold the stud steady so the nut can be removed. She once again used a long torx socket for this.

9) Once she had completed all of these steps, she removed the nut at the top of the strut that she started on at the beginning. She then pulled the strut down and then rotated it out of the wheel well.

10) At this point she needed my help to hold the strut in place as she placed 2 spring compressors on either side of the spring and compresses the spring. This was the "scariest" part. She used a rental set and followed the directions carefully.

11) Once the spring was compressed so there was zero tension, she then removed the spring capture nut with the same arrangement that she used to remove the top strut nut.

12) Success! She pulled off the pieces from the top of the strut (keeping them in order) and pulled the spring off. Put the new spring on. Reversed the process and put it all back together.

13) Moral of the story, if she can do it in less than an hour per side with no experience, this is a piece of cake!

Thanks again guys!!!!
My wife ROCKS!!!
This is an excellent write-up. I've got my springs and tools on order! Did you have any issues with alignment after? I would think not, since you didn't mess with the steering joints.
 
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