Lowering the Front Suspension

Changing Springs, Struts or Coil-overs

By Ginge191, edits Warlord0

This guide is going to explain how to change the springs or fit new front suspension or fit new coilovers.
Made this purely because over a whole weekend, i required new tools/pieces and frustrated me to hell!

Tools required

  • 22mm Swan Neck Spanner
  • 17mm Spanner
  • 13mm Spanner
  • Allen Keys
  • Torx Bits
  • Copper Grease
  • Spring Compressors
  • Jack
  • Axle Stands
  • WD40 / PlusGas
  • Replacement Nyloc nuts
  • 3 Hours spare minimum!

Optional

  • Spring compressors
  • Replacement springs/coilovers
  • Mole grips
  • New suspension top mounts
  • New drop links (recommended)
Few tools needed and all in all a very simple job.

To begin with jack the car up onto axle stands and remove the wheels, doesn't need to be too high, Wheel about an inch above the groung is suffice.

Firstly, use WD40/PlusGas on all the nuts and bolts which are going to be removed

These are shown in the image below:
  • Drop Links (I suggest the top drop link connecting to the strut to be removed, this keeps the drop link attached to the car). I took this to my advantage and replaced the drop links at the same time - a common feature of drop links is to continuously spin as the nut is seized onto the thread. Easiest way to overcome this either grab mole grips behind and grab as hard as possible, or cut it off with a grinder.
  • Steering Track Rod End
  • Suspension / Hub Pinch Bolt (behind the strut where the arrow indicates)

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At this point it's probably a good idea to crack the big nut in the cenre of the strut loose whilst it is held securely. Just a half turn to a turn should be enough. Just to make life easier later on.

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Remove the nuts and bolts from the Track Rod End, Hub Pinch Bolt and Drop Link shown above. Replace all of the nylock nuts with new ones.
 
Next, you need a hammer and need to smash the hub downwards, this part you need to be careful only because you dont want to knock the driveshaft out as your gearbox oil will escape. You may find it easier to remove the brake pipe and abs bracket at this point (13mm bolt) and hammer the hub on the top where the bracket was fitted. But can also hit where the track rod end fits if that works for you.

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The hub may take a beating before the suspension comes out, but you can see it gradually leaving the hub. As you can see circled, bolt to remove and suspension out.

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Now under the bonnet, remove 3 bolts holding in the top mount, and last thing holding the suspension in place.

Here i've removed 2 already, a friend to help is useful, or as i did, put a jack under the hub so when the suspension fell, it wouldn't pull the driveshaft out.

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Gradually ease out the strut and you should be left with this.

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At this point, you can either:
  • Fit new coilovers/standard suspension straight away with new top mounts requiring NO spring compressing
  • Compress the springs to use the old top mounts because you're a cheap ass like me and dont want to spend an extra 50
So, compress your springs, remove the top bolt which isn't easy. It requires a torx bit and preferably a swan neck ring spanner.  Or use my technique, get a pair of mole grips on the damper rod to prevent it all spinning at once. But this will damage the rod which is not a good idea. In this case as the strut was being replaced with a pair of new coilovers, so the condition of the old strut was not relevant.
Goose Neck Ring Spanner
The reson for the swan neck ring spanner is so that you can get it into the top mount and still get the torx bit into the head of the shaft that the nut is screwed onto. If you just use a socket then the shaft will rotate as you turn the nut. So the torx holds the shaft as you turn the spanner on the nut.

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Once the top mount is off. Attach it to your new coilover/strut and refit in using the reverse of above. If you're fitting a new lower spring you'll need to gradually decompress the old one and then compress the new one before fitting onto the strut. Once the spring is on the strut and the top centre nut is tight you can gradually decompress the spring.

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Now you're done, it's all set to refit you wheels and take off the axle stands.