Then I would get another spring compressor that had readable instructions
you could understand. I tried the crappy ones once and was lucky enough to
watch the spring leave my garage and out the drive. Lucky for me it didn't
come my way. Stay safe, you cost to much to patch.
Life is a sexually transmitted condition that is always fatal.
Is it an internal, or external spring compressor?
As best I can recall...
External compressors are usually in 2 assemblies that are each
essentially a threaded rod with 2 short steel hooks/clamps that are
attached (one assembly goes on each side of the spring) to the spring
coils near the top and bottom of the spring with the threaded rod
outside the spring. First position a floor jack under the outer end of
the lower A-arm. The spring compressor rods are then tightened
alternately and equally to compress the spring enough to take the
pressure completely off the A-arms and so that the spring top is out of
the spring pocket; position a floor jack under the end of the lower
A-arm and then the lower ball joint stud can be unbolted. Once the lower
A-arm is free, lower it and the spring to the floor and remove the
spring, still in the compressor, and remove the spring and loosen the
compressor to unload the spring.
Internal compressors have 2 sets/pairs of longer hinged steel L-shaped
finger clamps/hooks (one set has a threaded hole for the threaded rod,
the other has a pass-through hole for the rod)... the whole assembly,
with clamp fingers collapsed, is fed up through the shock mount hole in
the lower A-arm and a pair of fingers placed to hook over a coil near
the top of the spring, and the other pair on hook under a coil near the
bottom of the spring. The top and bottom pairs of hooks should be
parallel in relation to each other, ie, a top hook directly above a
bottom hook on each side of the spring. The nut at the bottom end of the
threaded rod is turned to compress the spring enough to take the
pressure completely off the A-arms, and the top of the spring below the
spring socket, so that the lower ball joint stud can be unbolted. Lower
the A-arm, relieve the spring, etc, as above.
An alternative method is to modify an internal spring compressor for
this job. Here's how I remember it: buy a longer (6 inches or so longer)
hardened-steel threaded rod with the same threads as the compressor,
along with three grade 8 nuts matching that thread. Disassemble the
spring compressor, you will use only the threaded set of fingers. Hook
the clamp fingers under a lower spring coil, lightly grease the threads
of the rod and feed it down through the upper shock mount hole and
thread it through (and an inch or two past) the center of the clamp,
then put several greased washers (with the right size hole for the rod)
on the rod from the top to seat on the shock mount, then thread the
three nuts on the rod. Tighten the top two nuts very tightly together to
"lock" them to the rod, leaving some space between them and the third
nut (it wouldn't hurt to lock 2 nuts at the bottom end of the rod for
extra safety). Using two wrenches, hold the locked nuts with one wrench
while turning the bottom nut against the washers with the other wrench
to first snug up the clamp fingers (check, double check to be sure
they're securely positioned on the coil) and continue turning to
compress the spring up towards the upper spring socket until the spring
pressure is completely off the lower A-arm (then unbolt the lower ball
joint, etc, as above). Unscrew the rod with your wrenches to free the
spring from the modified compressor (probably safest), or leave it hang
there in compression until you are ready to reassemble after replacing
the ball joints.
Before you even think about removing/compressing the springs, note their
position carefully and mark the uppermost coil and the coil socket (and
mark the coil as being the left or right side spring) so that you can
put them back in exactly the same relative position, because the end of
the top coil is oriented in a precise position clock-wise in it's socket
to avoid problems like squeaking noises, car leaning a bit to one side,
spring rubbing on a shock absorber, etc.
The front end of the car should be raised, jackstands solidly supporting
the frame, with the front wheels removed, rear wheels chocked.
Take your time and be very, very, very careful... if a spring goes
SPRONG!!! it can take a leg or a hand or a head with it before knocking
the car off it's jackstands and bashing a hole through the garage roof.
WOW!! Thanks Wayne for your attention to this!! Excellent help.
For sure this sounds like a project that one needs to pay close
attention to. I really appreciate all the text you typed to this matter.
Ever thought of writing a book?
You can get by with using a floor jack and lower balljoint method,
BUT it's best to have done it before, or at least helped somebody do one.
The spring can take your head or fender off, if it gets away from you.
If you are doing front end work, I am assuming that you are removing the
a-arms for new bushings or removing the ball joints. Based on that, here is
the safest and most sure way to compress the spring.
1. Remove the shock. Mark the spring as to location as the spring perch is
2. Insert a long threaded rod, 3 ft x 1/2 in or 3 ft x 5/8 in dia in the
shock mount on top and drop through the shock mount on bottom. This will be
determined by what you can fit in the shock mount hole on top.
3. Install a couple of very large washers on top and a nut or two. (Second
nut is a safety backup.) Grease or oil the rod where you place the nuts and
grease the washers. There should be about 10 inches of rod above the frame.
4. This is the weird part. I use a 3 inch pipe flange to cover the bottom
shock hole. Use what you want to cover the large hole. Then place a couple
of large washers and two nuts on the rod. Snug them against the flange and
lower a-arm so that there are a couple of inches of rod showing.
5. Tighten the nuts on top against the frame until the lower a-arm begins to
6. Remove the bolts on the lower a-arm pivot bar (2 front, 1 rear).
7. Loosen the nuts on top slowly to lower the a-arm.
8. The spring will be loose in about 2 inches of travel. Loosen the nuts
until the spring wants to fall out. Once loose, you can safety remove the
threaded rod from the shock holes and pull the spring out.
To install the spring, reverse the procedure.
Using this, you do not have to fear the spring flying out, a compressor
slipping off (they do occasionally), and you don't have to try to fish
chains around the spring for safety.
The help keeps getting better and better! Thanks Tom. I like your
approach. Worked for you?.....should work for me........and SAFE!!
Even thinking about the explosive potential of a spring scares me enough
to put this project on hold for months.......BUT NOW......I'm going to
Just the design of a spring compressor is enough to comment on....I
think......someone needs to go back to the drawing board.
Tom in Missouri wrote:
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