how to install front springs?

Discussion in 'Fox 5.0 Mustang Tech' started by D347643, Dec 16, 2003.


  1. D347643

    D347643 Banned

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    i have never installed front springs before and im gonna put 4 cyl springs in my stang next week and i was wondering if anyone has any tech articles or instructions on how to install them properly, how to position car, etc.

    thanks,

    Drew
  2. ram360

    ram360 Founding Member

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    It's really not too hard. Jack up your car and put the front on jackstands. I have some pics of the entire process when I did it on my 88 (Figured I'd write a tech article) Place a floor jack under the a arm the lift it to compress the coil. Remove the strut, calipers (tie it out of the way), rotor, tie rod, and finally the spindle. Slowly lower the floor jack under the a arm. The spring will look like it's going to pop out. You just need a pry bar to give it a little push out of the pocket. Installing the new spring is just reversing the procedure. Place the top of the spring in the upper pocket and pry the bottom in w/ a long pry bar. At least this method works great for me. :flag: Some people say to remove the a arm and do it that way but it seems harder to me. Good Luck.


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  3. 88POSLX

    88POSLX Founding Member

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    Why the spindle? I want to install my drag launch kit over xmas and am interested in the install process as well. But I don't understand why the spindle has to come out...
  4. DJI5150

    DJI5150 Founding Member

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    This is how I did 4 cylinder springs on my brother-in-laws car -

    Unbolt the arm from the inside. Leave the strut attached to the spindle. Take out the two bolts and nuts attaching the arm to the K member with a jack underneath supporting it. Take the bolts out and drop your jack until spring falls to the ground. A arm is now hanging from the strut. Install new spring in reverse order. About 20 minutes per side once you do a couple.

    If you really want to do it the thorough & safe way. MFE has a step by step write up on the corral. Here is the link where I read it -

    http://www.corral.net/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=368274

    Its about 7 posts down. MFE also wrote DIY alignment steps.

    Enjoy
  5. 302@12psi

    302@12psi Founding Member

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    um...when I took them off the 79 camaro for the street rod we used internal spring compressor...call me crazy but I remeber back to physics where PE= a few fingers on the floor. Potentail Energry can be a mess...
  6. ALMOST STOCK

    ALMOST STOCK Founding Member

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    Courtsey of MFE (CORRAL)


    Here's my write-up, if you were using it already, read it again and you shouldn't have any problems. Don't be worried if the car starts to lift off the stands and don't sweat getting them in place, some careful poking and prodding and prying will get everything lined up just fine.

    This is the procedure I’ve used to change front springs in a Fox-body Mustang without the use of a spring compressor, which due to packaging of the front end components is often a source of frustration. And unlike other methods that require disconnecting the struts and actually prying the springs in and out, this one lets the spring completely decompress so that no unsafe prying is required.

    Bear in mind that compressed springs contain a lot of stored energy. I am documenting the steps I took to perform this operation and although I am comfortable performing this task you should know that as with any job if you do it you do so at your own risk.

    Required tools:

    - Floor jack
    - a 2nd jack, a bottle jack is preferred (and cheap) but a small floor jack will suffice
    - 2 Jackstands
    - some blocks of wood or other stand for the bottle jack
    - A roofing bar (preferred) or other crowbar-type thing
    - A good socket wrench is preferred, with the following sockets mandatory, box wrenches a less attractive alternative:
    --- 21 mm deep
    --- 24 mm deep
    --- 15 mm deep
    - penetrating oil
    - a "persuader" made of a roughly 12-inch length of roughly 2-inch pipe. Slipped over a wrench and used to effectively lengthen it, it is invaluable when it comes to applying real torque to really tight bolts.
    - a small hammer
    - a medium sized flat blade screwdriver

    Now on to how I've done the install:

    Block the rear wheels, raise the front, and place jackstands in the inboard ends of the K-member, inboard of where the control arms attach. Keep in mind you'll want all available floor space to place the jacks under the inner side of the A-arm so the stands will need to be pretty close together.

    Remove the front tires. Undo the lower swaybar end links (15 mm deep).

    Spray some penetrating oil on the nuts and bolts that attach the inner end of the A-arm to the K-member.

    Loosen the inner a-arm bolts but do not remove the bolts yet. You won't be able to, but don't even try. Breaking these loose will require a lot of torque on the 24mm. The bolt on the other end is 21 mm, put a wrench on that for leverage.

    With the nuts loose, place a floor jack at the inside lip of the A-arm, between the mounting ears.

    Raise the jack until you can see the tension taken off one of the bolts (probably the rearward one first). Punch the bolt out with a small hammer and jockey with the jack until you can remove the bolt. You may want to insert the screwdriver to keep things roughly centered while you remove the other bolt, just don’t forget to remove the screwdriver before lowering the assembly.

    Place the second jack so it will raise the other ear of the arm while you position the rest of the arm with the first jack. The arm will bend a bit if unsupported so you need the second jack for the second bolt.

    Notice that the spring is in a perch and can't squirt out. Notice it's in a perch at the top too. Notice that when you lower the jacks, the spring will decompress vertically and that thanks to the strut and the tie rod still being attached it is very unlikely the spring will ever squirt out. But don't have your head in the wheelwell nonetheless and if you're the real nervous type tie it to the K-member with a piece of rope or something. Lower it until the spring is fully decompressed, which will happen well before the jack gets to the bottom of its travel.

    With the jack lowered and out of the way, swing the A-arm to the rear and the spring will practically fall out.

    Cut the insulator off the bottom lengthwise so it will come off, then wind it onto the bottom of your new spring.

    Clean off the crud out of the lower spring perch.

    Position the spring so the bottom end (the one that isn't flattened) ends up between the two holes in the spring pocket. Position it in its pocket at the top, which may require raising the jack a bit just to hold it in place, and then get the jack positioned so the A-arm is roughly lined up.

    Raise the jack and guide the A-arms into place. A little WD-40 type stuff on the pockets in the K-member eases the positioning process.

    When you get at least one of the ears situated roughly (probably the rearward one), you'll probably have to pry on the ear out a bit to get the boltholes to line up. Insert the prybar from the bottom between the K-member pocket and the ear on the A-arm and you can move the arm in and out pretty easily. By being precise with the jack and prying a bit if necessary you'll be able to slip the bolt right through and seat it. Place the nut on it for safekeeping but don’t tighten it down yet.

    Place the second jack under the other ear just like you did to remove its bolt, and positioning the jacks and wiggling things around as necessary, pop the second bolt through and install the nut but don’t tighten it.

    DOUBLE CHECK that you haven't bumped a jackstand out of the way in the process. It’s easy to do because raising the A-arm will probably lift that side off the stand and it’s easy to bump it out of the way when you move the jack around. So easy you might not notice you moved it so trust me on this, before you lower the jacks, double check the placement of the jackstands.

    Lower the jacks and put one under the balljoint and raise it until the assembly simulates ride height position. This is so the bushings get torqued down in their natural position (If you don't do this you'll be "preloading" the bushings when at ride height). This will probably raise that side off the jackstand a bit again but that’s OK, leave it right where it is for safety. Tighten the nuts down now. I don't have a torque reading but suffice to say it's tight as hell.

    You're about 1.5 hours into the job and you're done with that side.

    Don't replace the swaybar end link nuts until you finish with the other side.

    Now do the other side as outlined above. Reattach the swaybar endlinks when you’re done. You may have to pry on them a bit to give yourself enough clearance. When all is said and done you should be about 3 hours down with the whole front done.
  7. ram360

    ram360 Founding Member

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    Just to give you some extra working room. I did springs w/ the spindles still on the car as well..
  8. TrophyHead

    TrophyHead Active Member

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    I wouldnt even try it with out a spring compresser. It took me and two of my buddies to get the front springs in. It was a major PITA for some reason. Some springs come already pre loaded. Becareful I've heard people busting there heads open removing the front springs.
  9. ram360

    ram360 Founding Member

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    IMO it's definetly easier and proably just was safe w/ a big pry bar (If you not standing if front of the damn thing w/ the start messing w/ it). Once I have the a arm at full drop I just position my pry bar (probably around 5ft long) in the coil and give it a quick tug. I always stand on the side of the car when doing this (never in front of the spring) It really doesn't have that much stored energy at that point anyways (so it just makes a little thud and falls on the ground. I never had one shoot across the garage. I put my front springs in by myself w/ minimal effort using the same bar.
  10. ram360

    ram360 Founding Member

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    ........But don't get me wrong. IF you dont' feel comfortable doing things that way don't do it. It's very dangerous if you don't take proper precautions.
  11. Ranchero5.0

    Ranchero5.0 The Voice of Reason

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    Done it dozens of times. Found the easiest is to have all four corners on jackstands about 18" high. I use the corners of the subframe connectors for extra jack and work clearance. Pop the sway bar and outer tie rods loose and remove the nuts for the A arm bushings (adjustable wrench on nut and 21 on the bolt), Unload the A arm with a standard shop floor jack (handle sticking out the side of the car) on the A arm between the bushings (so they unload evenly). Pop the bolts loose and lower the jack.

    Doing it strut side is too dang dangerous. Even when the A arm drops out the spring is arched and ready to kill. Parted out a car with the fenders off and just undid the strut mounts. Once the jack was out of the way I popped it like Ram suggested and the damn thing took off across the driveway. They get chained now. Customers cars get the A arms pivot bolts removed, it's just safer.

    Jamie

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