Rocky Mountain Club B5

Discussion Forums => Modifications => Topic started by: 92UrS4 on December 04, 2004, 10:17:56 PM

Title: B5 Shock/Spring Procedure
Post by: 92UrS4 on December 04, 2004, 10:17:56 PM
This is an old link I used when I did my spings myself that night before the National GTG in 2002.  I noticed the link still works and I thought it might be helpful to folks here.  This is specific to the B5 and should work for the B5.5 as well, but no guarantees.

This link is hosted by our favorite Arizonan mghunt:

Since this is hosted on a geocities free account some antivirus/firewall software may incorrectly identify this site as being a virus.  I have not received any virus from using the site and believe it to be virus free.

Ported the page to the forum below and hosted images locally "just in case."

This is a set of instructions sent to me by Nathan Kear.
These instructions were originally written by James Finn and subsequently
modified by Herman H, and Nathan Kear. The original instructions
are for the removal and replacement of the springs and shocks. As I replaced
the springs only, I cannot comment on the accuracy of the steps related
to shock replacement.
-HTML conversion done by Mark Hunt.
-PHPBB Conversion done by Jay Gietl

Rent a McPherson strut spring compressor from you local auto
parts store; Autozone, Checker, Pep Boys etc. will all lend spring compressors
with a credit card deposit. You want a strut (external) type compressor
which means that the hooks go on the outside of the spring as opposed to
a conventional spring compressor which are used on the inside of a spring.
The kit will actually have two spring compressors, always to be used together
180 degrees apart when compressing springs.


Loosen the lug nuts of the front tires, or all four if your doing all
four corners at the same time. Open your hood. Jack up the front of the
car. Use jack-stands to keep it high enough to lift both wheels up at least
3". You will need to have both sides up at the SAME TIME!

Remove the front wheels.

Remove the nut (16mm) attaching the sway bar to the lower sway
link and separate the link from the sway bar. Do this for both sides before
doing anything else. This frees up the front arms to move downward independently.

lower shock mount and sway bar mount, left side

Remove the lower existing shock nut and bolt (18mm). The suspension
arms may drop a bit at this point. The bolt comes out of the hole easy
but the head of the bolt bumps into the lower arm. Do your best to remove
it without too much scraping damage. On reassembly, put the bolt in from
the front, it will be easier to if necessary. It makes it easier to remove
this bolt if you can get your floor jack and a block of wood on the bolt
and raise it just enough to clear the lower arm.

bolts removed from lower shock mount and sway bar mount, right side

The bottom of the shock will be behind the half-shaft. You need to get
it in front of the half-shaft. Do this by pushing down on the rotor disc
or caliper to allow enough room for the shock to pass over the top of the
half-shaft. BE CAREFUL with the rubber CV boot. You can use a piece of
cardboard to protect the boot if you’d like. You can get more clearance
by turning the steering wheel to the right or left, depending on which
side you’re doing.

Remove the two nuts that mount the strut assembly to the top of the
engine compartment. Remove the two plastic access plugs on each side, they
are located inside (looking from the top) the triangle formed by the 3
bolts that hold the upper control arm assembly to the frame. You can’t
miss them. Remove these two nuts (13mm) and the struts are ready to drop.
Make sure you that you support the strut from the bottom so that it doesn’t
fall out.

knockouts removed revealing upper strut mounting studs and nuts,
right side

Repeat step 4 – 6 for the other side.

At this point you should get out your safety glasses. Compressing springs
is somewhat potentially dangerous. Mount your spring compressor 180 degrees
from each other on the spring as best you can. Also mount the hooks as
far apart as you can on either end of the spring. Before you do anything
else note the location of the upper strut mounting studs with respect to
the lower mount, this will save you time with reinstallation. Use liquid
paper or another good marker and place a dot on the bottom and top spring
seats (the round things) exactly in line along the axis of the assembly.
This step will allow you to line up the top and bottom mounts when you
reassemble with the new springs. It is much easier here if you clamp the
entire strut assembly to your bench when removing and installing the springs.

strut clamped to bench via screwdriver inserted through lower mount,
compressor mounted but not yet compressed

Loosen the nut on the top of the shock stem. DO NOT remove the nut.
Just loosen it a bit. Use a rag and vice-grips on the stem to keep it from

If your spring compressor came with safety hooks, use them. They attach
to the compressor and the spring so if something breaks, you're semi-protected.

Start compressing the spring evenly! This takes no time with an air-powered
tool. If you compressed the spring enough, the shock stem will move up
and down where you loosen the nut on it. This indicates that you can remove
the stem nut all the way. If the shock stem doesn't move at all then the
springs need to be tightened a bit more. There is no exact science on this
one but do your best to tell if there is enough pressure removed from the
assembly to remove the stem nut all of the way off. In my case, there was
a little tension on it. In any case, use caution when removing the stem
nut and be certain to "aim" the spring away from you if you decide to remove
the nut all of the way. It may fly off or just bump a bit. Once you have
it off, be certain to pay close attention to what pieces go where.

order of assembly

I did not have an impact wrench so doing this by hand and ratchet wrench
proved to eat up about 45 minutes on the first shock (about 20 to compress
the spring, 5 to uncompress, 10-15 to compress the new springs, and another
5 to remove the compressor.) The next one took about 30-40 minutes. I speculate
that an air wrench would have saved me a good hour for both shocks (20
minutes instead of 80 minutes.)

If you are doing this by hand, I recommend you grease the bolt and washer
on the spring compressor; this really helps when you doing this by hand.
This explains why my first one took so long; I realized this when I kept
seeing metal flaking off the compressor every time I tightened the large


Take the top assembly off. Remove the spring. You may have to tap off
the spring base off of the shock (N/A for springs only). It will come off
with a light tap.

12a. Remove the spring compressor, carefully. The spring will expand
much more than what it was on the shock.

Put the spacer ring onto the new shock (N/A for springs only). It will
slide all the way down to the c-ring
Slide the ring that came with your new shock onto the top of the cylinder
portion of the stock. You will have to tap it on. I used a metal tube that
fit around the shock stem to hit down squarely. The ring is just to protect
the seals on the shock (N/A for springs only).

Slide the old spring base onto the new shock (N/A for springs only).

Put your new spring on.

Slide the rubber bumper onto the stem. If you are installing the Eibach
Pro-kits you need to trim about an inch (1.2 in) from the top of the bumper,
a hacksaw works well.

Mount your spring compressor again on the new springs.

Tighten the springs down until the stem is just above the top of the
spring. Put the top assembly onto the spring. The rubber is formed to meet
the end of the spring. Put the stem through the hole. Make sure that the
marks you made on the spring seats are lined up before continuing to tighten
the spring compressors. You should be able to rotate the top seat to line
up the marks.

Tighten the springs until you can put the stem nut completely onto the
stem . Tighten the nut. Use some vice grips with a soft rag on the top
part of the stem to hold it steady while you tighten the nut. IT IS CRITICAL

Remove the spring compressor. Repeat for the other shock

Use your floor jack to support the strut assembly in position and start
the nuts on the top mounting studs to hold the strut in position. Make
sure the strut is in proper position and not 180 degrees out.

floor jack holding strut up to start upper mounting nuts

correct orientation, short side of lower spring seat faces out

Work the lower strut mount back over the half shaft. Position the steering
wheel to maximize the clearance. Again, be careful not to damage the CV

Install the lower strut mounting bolt, this time from the front of the

Tighten the top mounting nuts.

Reinstall the sway bar to the sway links and tighten the nuts on both


Loosen the lug nuts if you haven’t already done so. Jack the
rear up the same way as the front. Both wheels up at the same time.

Remove each wheel.

Remove the lower shock bolt (16mm) for BOTH SIDES. This allows
both sides to drop down.

lower shock mount removed

Remove the two bolts at the top of the shock where they mount to the
body. They are facing downward. Remove the shock. Do this for both sides.
for springs only).

upper rear shock mounting bolts

You can now remove the springs. You may have to push down a bit on the
arms to get it out but not too much. I ended up using a crowbar to help
facilitate removal.

left side rear spring removed

Put in your new springs. It should be easier since they are shorter.

Eibach rear spring installed

Remove the nut from the shock stem (N/A for springs only).

Swap any pieces from the old shocks to the new ones and reassemble (N/A
for springs only).

Be sure to tighten the stem nut as you did for the fronts (N/A for springs

Reinstall by reverse procedure. IMPORTANT: The lower mount point on
the new shock might have a protruding tube. This faces the wheel or outside.
In this step, it makes things a little easier if you have your jack lift
the trailing arm a bit to get the 16mm bolt aligned with the hole.

Tighten everything up and lower away.

Take a test drive and listen for any "clunks" or sounds you didn't notice
before. In my case, I didn't get the stem nuts down tight enough the first
time, which made an obvious sound.


VARIATIONS: If you just do the springs you will still need to do most
of the above steps except where you exchange the shocks. If you do just
the shocks you will still have to most of the steps for the fronts. The
rears are a no-brainer.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: James Finnigan, Herman H, Nate Kear, Mark Hunt
and RMCB5 take no responsibility in any way shape or form to anyone
who is injured during this procedure. These steps are for reference only
and are to guide you in doing this procedure yourself. None of us claim
to be licensed mechanics.