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How to: front and rear struts

Discussion in 'Suspension / Brakes' started by jwagner162, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. jwagner162

    jwagner162 Well-Known Member Donated!

    -tools needed:

    12,14,17,19,21,22mm sockets and wrenches. youll only need the 21,22 in sockets, and i used koni yellows so they may be different from strut to strut.
    -locktite, blue
    -silicone spray
    -large pipe wrench 12 or 18 inch
    -1/8 & 1/2" drill bits (rear only)
    -hacksaw or port-a-ban (rear only)
    -macphearson strut type spring compresor
    -impact wrench

    i used koni yellow adjustables, both front and rear.
    -new upper mounts all around (KYB)
    -new bellows, and bump stops. (KYB)
    -any type of straight anti freeze. youll need less than 1/2 qt. (front only)

    -fronts are the easiest and require no modification, so we can start there.

    1. Remove the strut assemblly from the car.
    -take off two large (19mm) bolts from top of knuckle
    -unclip brake line from strut
    -remove 3 14mm nuts in the engine bay (top mount)
    2. use the spring compressor to take the load off the top mount. you really only need to depress the spring till there is 1/8th of an inch or so of gap between the bottom of the top mount and the spring.
    3. use an impact to remove the center nut (19mm) of the top mount.

    -once the top mount is off everything else will fall apart. keep track of everything and replace worn parts as neccisary.
    4. using your large pipe wrench you need to remove the large nut that is holding the strut cartridge into the strut.
    -only put your wrench on this nut and NOT on the strut. if you dont have a vice (like me) and you need leverage, stick a large screw driver or something through the lower mounting holes.
    5. pull out the old cartridge and dispose of the oil. youll also need to run some rags into the strut to clean out any extra oil.

    6. now your ready to to reinstall every thing. pour enough antifreeze into the strut so that a small amount pours out when you install the cartridge. then carefully screw the large retaining nut back on and torque to spec (should be provided by the strut manufacturer)
    7. now reinstall everything in the reverse order.

    -dont forget to clean and silicone spray all the rubber bits, and locktite everything. make sure when you re-install the top mount the ^out arrow is pointing out above the lower 2 mount holes.

    -fronts are very easy, i was really suprised. if you can do a brake job, struts are about as complex.
  2. jwagner162

    jwagner162 Well-Known Member Donated!

    part 2. rears.

    -i thought rears would be a bit more difficult due to the fact that there is some cutting and drilling required, its really not.

    1. basically do the same thing as the fronts. youll then get to the step where you need to remove the catridge and say wtf? theres no nut. well if youve bought kybs or another type of direct replacement you can just bin the whole lot. as your replacement should have a spring cup welded to it already. however if you coughed up the extra dough and bought some agx's or yellows theres a bit more to it.

    2. using a 1/8 drill bit drill a hole in the bottom of the strut. this needs to be centered so use a punch. there will be a small amount of gas charge in there so make sure your wearing glasses. its just enough to throw some fillings in your eyes if your not carefull.

    3. measure and mark your old strut. the koni measurement comes out to 2 1/4" so the mark should be @ 2" on your old strut. use a hack saw or porta-ban to make the cut. this really doest have to be perfect. as you cover it later and have more than enough to serve its function. (i was suprised how non-exact you could really be with this and still be ok)
    -basically the "bumps" on the new strut need to be inside the old housing. this will "centralize" the new cartridge within the old one. this is why you subtract a 1/4" of the measurement when you transfer it.
    4. pull the guts out and clean the inside.

    5. use a 1/2" drill bit to enlarge the hole made earlier in the bottom of the strut.

    6. install the provided rubber neck on top of the cut bit and install the new cartridge. use the provided bolt to bolt through the bottom hole you made.
    7. just like the fronts, clean and silicone all the rubber. install is the reverse.
  3. rickstar22

    rickstar22 Well-Known Member Donated!

    Very well done !!!! Looks like a fantastic stance is in the works !!!! :cool
  4. 187flatliner

    187flatliner Seat Breaker Donated!


  5. rev_head

    rev_head Well-Known Member Donated!

    mmmmmmmmmmmmm konis, so what bank did you have to rob to afford all this awesome
  6. jwagner162

    jwagner162 Well-Known Member Donated!

    until may 1st konis are 40% off from koni. i found a place in the midwest that had them $20 bucks each cheaper than even koni. so delivered to my house i paid $555.65 for the struts. so just slightly more than the agx. :mrgreen

    -top mounts are like $25 ea for rears and $35 each for fronts. and about $15 each for the bellows/bump stops.

    -all said and done around $900 for what is basically an all new suspension. i already have full front poly, and will be doing the rear at some point.

    -187, nope no welding. the front (threaded) comes with 2 different top nuts (different thread pitch) goes right in. the rears are just bolted through the bottom. again i was really suprised how easy this was. it was my first strut job. got a loaner spring compressor from auto zone.

    -i only had 2 issues. the knob p.o. swapped the fronts before. looks like he used 2 pipe wrenches to pull the nut. 1 on the nut and 1 just below on the threads! i had to dremel and grind a bit on the threads to get the new nut in w/o cross threading. the other was we lost the rr lower insulator. (rubber bit the spring sits on) like it f'n vanished. me and the ole lady spent 2 hours looking for it, tore apart the whole garage, house, yard, multipule times. absoloutly f'n vanished. so ill go grab one at the yard when its not raining. its all together, i think i can sneak it in on-car.
  7. Stig

    Stig ST162 Guru Donated!

    Nice, can you list all those p/n for us
    The bellows and bump stops are in kits together?

    Very important to get the top mounts aligned properly, if the slots aren't correct
    the caster/camber will be wrong.
    After a week or so, re-tighten ALL the nuts/bolts - on mine the top nuts had come loose
  8. jwagner162

    jwagner162 Well-Known Member Donated!


    -koni yellows

    -8641-1115 sport (front)
    -8641-1116 sport (rear)
    -come with all hardware needed for straight strut replacement.

    -kyb mounts

    -sm5086 (front)
    -sm5069 (rear)

    -kyb bellows/bump stops (kit)

    -sb103 (front)
    -sb117 (rear)

    -BE CAREFULL with the insulators! i cant find them new anywhere, so looks like junkyard only.

    -also worth noting: i belive gt,st, and gt-s (all 4 years) all have the same suspension. however someone will have to confirm. this was done on an 86 gt-s.
  9. LionTR

    LionTR Well-Known Member Donated!

    Very nice writeup! Thanks!
  10. Stig

    Stig ST162 Guru Donated!

    Mine were so chewed up I stole some from an ST202
    You can't do this unless the struts come with bottom bolts,
    ideally there should be circlips as well in case a bolt comes loose
  11. Djsteviec

    Djsteviec Well-Known Member

    Nice write up! A friend helped me do my KYB silver inserts about 10-11 years ago. I need to change out, preferably to coilovers. When you guys put the struts back in, the way I always did it at the dealership is:

    Put the struts back in the car tighten everything on the bottoms, thread the 3 nuts on top of all the struts by hand, and put the wheels on.

    When the car is on the ground, then I tighten all the nuts! I never had them loosen up, because all the hanging weight is off, they sit in nice!
  12. racerb

    racerb Well-Known Member

    This is basicly the same mod I've made to my GT-S, but with the Coil-over set up.


    racerb :driving
  13. racerb

    racerb Well-Known Member

  14. rev_head

    rev_head Well-Known Member Donated!

    god i would kill for that setup, god i hate being broke lol
  15. cliffmeister3

    cliffmeister3 Well-Known Member Donated!

  16. jwagner162

    jwagner162 Well-Known Member Donated!

    -update on my setup. the handling is phenominal now.

    -to recap. full front polys, including motor and alum crossmember. eibach drop springs. koni yellows. ill end up doing full rear polys eventually.

    -i run the konis on full firm.

    -i wouldnt recomend making your car as ridgid as this if you like comfort, basiccaly every thing is in a constant state of vibration, and pot holes ect are scary. i GODDAMN my car handles like you wouldnt belive.

    -need to get it aligned this week. ill probably max the front camber and 0 the toe or toe out like 09, rest will be to stock spec. car feels like it wants to understeer at speed. im kinda thinking i might be due to the rear spacers (25mm) so ill end up re-working that setup when i do wheels/tires.

    -tried fully soft today. still stiffer than stock and handles great, but i like fully firm.
  17. racerb

    racerb Well-Known Member

    I did a write-up on this in either the After Market Mods section or Suspension and Steering section, but I think it went away when the Boards went down a while back! As for cost, I've got about 300-500 dollars in the whole set-up, would probably cost between 800-1,000 dollars at real world costs. The reason I got out so cheap, was the fact that most all the parts came from parts cars, ebay, and used parts from this very forum. Plus the fact that I did all the work myself, and still have work to do, as in true race tuned and calibrated Koni inserts!!!!!!

    racerb :driving
  18. kevinkyang

    kevinkyang Well-Known Member Donated!

    what was the antifreeze used for? you only say to pour it in, but no purpose.
  19. jwagner162

    jwagner162 Well-Known Member Donated!

    teperature transfer...to keep the struts from overheating. dont need to do it oon the rear either....dunno why.
  20. kevinkyang

    kevinkyang Well-Known Member Donated!

    wow. didnt think it would work to keep the struts cool. =]

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