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Coil Spring Install

Discussion in '"Stock" Alpine' started by johnd, Dec 13, 2015.

  1. johnd

    johnd Donation Time

    Any suggestions as to how to install coil springs? I have a cross member assy that is not attached to the car (see photo) in which I am trying to install the springs. I have tried using an internal compressor (from Autozone) - I can get the spring installed and the spindle connected but cannot then get the spring compressor out of the spring. I think the tool I used (see photo) may be made for use with larger springs. All suggestions appreciated. Crossmember.jpg

    Compressor Tool.jpg
     
  2. Tom H

    Tom H Platinum Level Sponsor

    John, Simple solution. Go to the hardware store and buy a 2 ft length of 3/8" threaded rod. (I think 2 ft is long enough but look at your suspension and confirm) Then buy 2 nuts and large "fender" washers. Bend one end of the rod, about 1-1/2 in from the end into an L bend.

    Put the spring in place and insert the straight end of the threaded rod up through the bottom of the lower A-Frame, thru the core of the spring and into the hole at the top of the shock tower, where the shock top goes. install one large washer and one nut on top. Insert the bent end into the lower shock mount bracket (after bolting the bracket in place on the lower A Frame). Put the other nut onto the bent end to prevent it from coming out of the bracket. Essentially replace the shock with this threaded rod. Tighten the top nut until the stub axle / spindle assembly will fit into the A-frame. Bolt it all up, remove the threaded rod and install the shock. Done!

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2015
  3. johnd

    johnd Donation Time

    Coil Spring

    Thanks Tom -Funny - I was going to call you about this - I always appreciate having your detailed written descriptions though!!
     
  4. Tom H

    Tom H Platinum Level Sponsor

    For any following this I had to remind myself and John that this method requires that the lower A-Frame be fully detached from the crossmember. As you tighten the threaded rod, the holes in the fulcrum pin will get close to the holes in the crossmember and you can easily adjust the position, align the holes, and install the fulcrum pin bolts and nuts. Then you can continue adjusting the threaded rod until the stub axle / spindle assembly fits into the lower ball joint.

    Tom
     
  5. DanR

    DanR Diamond Level Sponsor

    Tom H's way is a neat way of doing the job....

    But, before I learned of that method, I obtained a set of Coil Spring Compressors ! But, a very difficult to get to work....
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016
  6. Greggers

    Greggers SAOCA Vice President Platinum Level Sponsor

    Like you, I visited Autozone for their loaner tools. After I realized the internal compressor wouldn't work, I went back and picked up a Macpherson strut compressor like DanR described that I managed to get to work. I would imagine it'd be even easier with the crossmember out of the car.

     
  7. johnd

    johnd Donation Time

    Coil Springs

    I see they come in pairs - does that mean that they are external units that require two to a spring?
     
  8. Tom H

    Tom H Platinum Level Sponsor

    Greg, Dan, why would you guys recommend or even suggest anything that was not as simple, easy, and inexpensive as a threaded rod? When I did my suspension this $5 threaded rod solution worked perfectly. The springs and A-Frames are heavy enough without adding the weight of these heavy tools to wrestle with. In previous discussions some have expressed a concern that the rod might break at the bend. If that's a concern then don't bend the rod and instead put a plate with a hole across the shock opening in the lower A frame. Or just drill a 3/8" hole in the middle of the shock bracket.

    Tom
     
  9. Greggers

    Greggers SAOCA Vice President Platinum Level Sponsor

    I don't know about simple and easy. But I do know Autozone loaner tools are free.

    Johnd,
    Yes. Two to a spring.
     
  10. DanR

    DanR Diamond Level Sponsor

    Tom H...., As i said your way was simple and easy, but I had used a AmPro tool way before I learned how to do it for $5.00 or less. Even didn't know of Greggers which is an even cheaper method. Have to try them some time.

    You guys are great thinkers and doers:D

    DanR
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016
  11. Chuck Ingram

    Chuck Ingram Donation Time

    Tom
    So,right. This is the way I,have done it for years. Off setplate for the spring used an impact gun and like so,easy. A 3/8th inch rod will not break as there is no bend required. Just make sure rod is well greased
     
  12. johnd

    johnd Donation Time

    Coil Springs

    While I intend to use Tom's suggested threaded rod method I'm still curious about the AMPRO compressor. I would not think that there would be enough room once the spring is installed to then remove the two clamping rods. Assuming they are installed outside of the spring (i.e., externally) I can't even contemplate that they would permit the spring to fit up into the tower. Are those clamps like really small?
     
  13. DanR

    DanR Diamond Level Sponsor

    See POST # 5

    Johnd, I added a PIC with a tape measurement for reference purposes in POST # 5.

    AND I just removed a couple coils from a SV front end using Tom method.... Threaded rod! I had done it before on several cars over the years, so I tried it again, works smooth as silk.

    DanR
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016
  14. Billm

    Billm Platinum Level Sponsor

    Spring compressor

    I recently used that same tool, Autozone. I did not use the horseshoe shaped piece. I had to ream the hole out on the shock tower a little for the threaded rod. I piled the washers up on top and put grease lube between the washers. It worked okay except it cocked a bit while compressing and I had to push the spring over with a tap of the hammer. I am wary of working with springs. Hope to never do it again. Bill
     
  15. johnd

    johnd Donation Time

    Coil Spring

    I'm presently in the process of installing the coil springs using Tom's threaded rod method. I'm using a 2' foot 1/2" coarse thread rod with some heavy duty washers and a spare steel plate that is used too attach the rear axle. So far so good. Have to attach the fulcrum pins now and need another hand. For under $10 you can't beat Tom's method. I, too, am scared as heck to work around these coil springs but I have gained a lot of confidence in Tom's method as I've used it. Pics below.
     

    Attached Files:

  16. Hillman

    Hillman Gold Level Sponsor

    I've used the threaded rod method, works great. My mods are to use 1/2 inch rod (fits my SII) and a piece of plate/channel on the bottom so the rod doesn't need to be bent. Now all I need is an 10 inch deep socket so I don't have to use a wrench on it.

    Edit to add: Your setup is almost identical to mine. You chose to do a better job of cleaning and painting the parts. Looks good.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2015
  17. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Diamond Level Sponsor

    That is way I have always done it, too. But, I have always been curious about the benefits of bending the rod. Can someone explain to me why bending is better than simply bolting a piece of scrap metal to the bottom of the rod?
     
  18. Fordtootsie

    Fordtootsie Platinum Level Sponsor

    I have found that the best way to remove a spring - large car or my Ser I alpine is to use the following internal spring compressor. It is very simple and SAFE

    Its made by OTC a division of SPX corp model number 7045B.

    I got mine on e-bay

    John in Colorado
     
  19. Tom H

    Tom H Platinum Level Sponsor

    Jim, The reason I used a bend in the rod was because it was simply the easiest way. I realized that all I needed to do was replace the shock with a threaded rod. It seemed easiest to re-install the lower shock mount, and attach the rod to it. Easiest way to attach the rod to the lower shock mount was to bend the end to fit into one of the holes normally used to attach the shock. And just to be safe, I put a nut on the end where it stuck thru the mount, in case it straightened itself out.

    I think there may be additional advantages to the bent rod. 1) You don't need to mess with a locking nut at the lower end. 2)By attaching to the shock mount, which is bolted to the lower A-Frame, you have a solid non'sliding, non wobbling, assembly right from the get-go.With a plate you need to hold the plate in alignment with one hand as you tighten the nut until it is kinda stable. 3) My experience was that it was very easy to pivot and rotate the lower A-Frame to align the fulcrum pin bolt holes and install the bolts.Whereas Billm mentioned needing a hammer tap to align the bolts when using a plate. The bent end of the rod thru the shock mount is a very flexible attachment. AND, by using the shock mount, the attachment / pivot point was well above the A Frame, making it very stable. When i did mine I was very surprised at how "docile" the whole deal was. It did not take a lot of torque on the threaded rod nut to tighten the spring. And as I got it compressed enough to attach the fulcrum pin bolts I found it took very little effort to maneuver, pivot, rotate, the lower A-Frame to align and install the fulcrum pin bolts.

    So that's why I used a bent rod. Mainly out of ignorance, or too lazy to find and drill a plate. But I also think it actually worked better. Many times in my life I have found the simplest solution is often the most elegant!

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2015
  20. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Diamond Level Sponsor

    I have been reading the suggestion to bend the rod for years, but always missed the point about inserting it into the shock mount! For some reason, I always envisioned the rod going straight through and the L bend serving the same function as bolting a plate on the bottom. Now that I understand what you are saying, that makes perfect sense! I think I will bend my rod the next time I need to remove a coil!

    Thanks for clarifying.
     

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