Suspension Install

P1010015P1010016So, here is everything to install.  In the front there are a few parts not related to the suspension (steering wheel, instrument hood, ac replacement duct, hood pins, window holders, and an antenna hole plug).  I’ll cover the installation of these in another post.  Today is all about the suspension.

This includes: shocks, springs, bump stops, sway bars, and all control arms.

I painted the control arms last weekend.  The paint is still just a little soft, but its time to put them on!


The first job is to disassemble the old struts in order to remove and resuse the top hats (the oblong stamped metal piece at the top of the spring holding the spring onto the shock).  The usual approach is to use a spring compressor.  I don’t have one, and I couldn’t see buying one just for this one job.  These springs aren’t particularly stout.  So, I figured I would just lace the spring with strong nylon chord…remove the parts, and them remove the chord.

So, I laced the chord around the top coil and bottom coil and worked my way around the spring.  Once I’d laced it 5 or 6 times I pulled it tight and tied it into a knot.  I used the C-clamp to help hold the shock still while I removed the top shock nut.  I twisted slowly as I got to the last few threads.


It just barely sprung loose with barely any drama.  I removed the top hat, and shock, and bump stop.


Next it was time to release the spring.  One quick snip….just a little more drama here!  But, really all it did was go “boing!!!” and vibrate in place.  Repeat 3 more times.


Here’s a picture of the old springs next to the new ones.  Pretty dramatic difference!  I still can’t get over the size difference.  The Front springs are shorter, made of thicker wire, and have a 700 printed on them.  The Front shocks are the taller shocks with the small metal tab at the bottom.


Ok, so…here’s the stackup.  From bottom to top:

Shock, coilover perch, spring, bumpstop, tophat, spacer, nut.


The coilver kit has a small ledge on the inside.  This faces downwards and rests on the ridge of the shock.


Set the perch about 1” above the bottom of the threaded portion.  This is just an initial setting which will be fine-tuned during the setup process.  Next comes the spring.


Next comes the bumpstop.  The bumstop has a cone shaped side, and a flat side with some dimples.  The dimpled side faces the spring, the cone side faces the tophat.  Then slip the tophat over the bumpstop.


The hardened washer comes next, and then the nut.


Repeat three more times!  Read for install.


Before installing the suspension I took a moment to set the new adjustable links to the same length as the stock links.  This makes installation of the links just a little easier.


Installing the front suspension started with the control arms.  First the top A-Arm, then the lower arm, then the shock/spring.  I slipped the shock through the hole in the upper arm, then attached the top hats to the shock tower.  Finally, I attached the lower shock bolt.


Next came the knuckle.  Finally, I installed the swaybar: grease the bushings, wrap them around the bar, and slip them into the mounting brackets.  Bolt it into place.  The links come with two spacers for each end.  I slipped one on each side of the top and bottom end links.  On the driver’s side, I needed to place both spaces on the rearward side of the lower mount…to keep the link from binding.


The rear is much the same.  But, it is a little easier to start at the bottom and work upwards.  I used a rubber mallet to coax the knuckle into the control arms.


Some close-ups of the final install.  I like the look of the orange control arms with the yellow shocks, and red springs and swaybars.


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