90 Accord Tie Rod Ends Contd

Let's talk front struts for just a minute... the strut is secured at the top with three 14mm nuts that tighten against the inner fender well. At the
bottom, it is held in place by the damper fork. There is a pinch bolt at the top rear of the damper fork that holds the fork/strut in place. The other end of the damper fork bolts to the lower control arm with a 17mm through-bolt and nut.
I'm omitting some of the removal details here... once you've got the strut out, look carefully at how it's assembled. Note that the center space between the square mounting brackets (where the brake line attaches) a little way up from the bottom of the strut is in line with a small rectangular square of rubber protruding at the bottom edge of the damper mounting base. Before you attempt to disassemble the strut/coil spring, take some nail polish or chalk and mark the spring coils from the top to the bottom so that there is a straight line down the side of the coil spring from the rubber square at the top to the bottom coil in line with the center space between the square brackets. Note also that the end of the bottom or last coil is dead against the stop on the strut.
Notice that the strut has another set of hooked-shaped brackets for brake line attachment opposite or to the rear of the square brackets. At the top you will see a small rectangular indention in the bottom edge of the damper mounting base that lines up perfectly with the center space of the hook-shaped brackets. Also up at the top, you see that one of the long sides of the triangular-shaped spaces between the mounting bolts is at 90 degrees from the line you made on the spring and from the lower square brackets space. All this alignment is what we want when we put it back together. It is essential.
Now let's take the thing apart hopefully without injury to us or to the part. A good set of two spring compressors is essential to do this. You want to put them on so that the adjusting head of the compressor faces the bottom of the strut. Also, you will need another person to help you do this. Tools needed include the aforementioned spring compressors, an air compressor, impact wrench, a regular pry bar, an extra large pry bar, 14mm socket, a 17mm deep socket, a 5mm allen wrench, maybe a 17mm open end wrench, torque wrench, a rubber mallet, some chalk or nail polish and maybe a few other things.
Start by having a good working space available. Then lay the strut down so that the square brackets at the bottom are facing up. Have your partner/helper put the regular pry bar down between the coils at a point about one or two coils below the top. Have the helper twist the pry bar so the coils are forced apart. Then you can insert the lower ends of the compressors while the coils are open. Once you get that done, go to the other end and have your helper put the pry bar between the coils at the bottom of the strut at a point about one or two coils from the spring bottom. Once the coils are open, slip the compressors in. If the compressors have safety clips, push them in now. What you should have is a strut/coil spring with two spring compressors attached and directly across from each other with the top ends or adjusting ends of the compressors facing the bottom of the strut/coil spring.
Get the correct socket size for the spring compressor ends and a ratchet and start tightening up. Tighen a certain amount on one compressor, then switch and do the same amount on the other compressor. You will be able to tell when the coils start to shorten; the ratchet gets steadily harder to work. Pull the coils down in compression so that there is about a 1/2" or less between them.
Take the air wrench and the 17mm deep socket and set the wrench to loosen. Put the socket on the nut at the top of the strut and let fly. It may take a couple or three loosenings to get the nut all the way off. If you don't have an air compressor and an impact wrench, insert the end of the 5mm allen wrench into the top of the strut rod to keep it from turning as you loosen the nut with a 17mm open end wrench and remove the nut by hand.
You will want to lay the parts out in order as you take them off the strut/spring. First off is the nut, then washer, then damper mounting base( there's a sleeve and a rubber bumper in it), then a very small washer, then a large dust cover plate (washer), then the dust cover, then the stopper. That's how it was on our car. Yours may vary but it should be close to that.
Remove the restraining wire on the replacement strut. Take the replacement bellows and assemble the bumper in the bellows, then slide the bellows on the new strut rod with the bumper facing to the top and put the works into the coil spring. Put the dust cover plate (washer) back on, the small washer, the damper mounting base, the washer and the replacement nut. Make sure everything lines up. Double check your mark, the bottom brackets and the little rubber square and make certain that it's all in alignment.
Don't be surprised if it's difficult to get the damper mounting base on the strut rod in exactly the right position. Just keep working at it and it will happen. Make sure too that the end of the bottom coil is against the stop on the strut.
Once it's all in line, get the impact wrench and the 17mm deep socket and drive the nut down on the strut. Or use the allen wrench and the open end and tighten it up. There should be about an inch or so of threads showing on the strut rod when it's tight. Now remove the spring compressors.
If you are rebuilding the front suspension, installation of the strut will probably go easier if it's done before the steering knuckle is replaced. Whether the knuckle is in place or not, take some kitchen dish soap and lube the top of the damper fork and the bottom of the strut. If you removed it, the damper fork goes on with the pinch bolt behind the strut. Then put the strut back in place. If your prior alignment is correct, the strut goes on with the square brackets facing out directly behind the steering knuckle. Put the top bolts through the holes in the fender well and have your helper put the nuts on loosely while you support the strut below. Then bring the damper fork up and move the strut bottom over so that the fork slides up over the strut. Push up on the fork as best you can and wiggle it vigorously to make it go up on the strut. Using an extra large pry bar will help if the suspension parts are in place and if the assembly proves difficult. Slide the pry bar behind the backing plate down on top of the stabilizer and under the bracket behind the lower control arm and push down to get some leeway for getting the damper fork and strut together.
Once you get the damper fork onto the strut, get the mounting holes of the fork and the lower control arm lined up and replace the through-bolt and nut. The head of the bolt faces the front of the car with the nut to the rear. The 17mm nut torques to 47 ft. pounds, and you will need an opposing wrench to tighten. Replace the pinch bolt, again head to the front, tighten to 32 ft. pounds, replace the nuts on the damper mounting base and tighten to 28 ft. pounds.
Take a break and get something cool to drink. Congratulate yourself and your helper for doing a job that would set you back at least $450 if a shop did it for you.
More later...
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