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FRONT COIL SPRINGS AND STRUTS REMOVAL AND INSTALL
If you don't already have spring compressors, no problem. Autozone has a loan program that lets you borrow their special tools for a small deposit. Don't worry, you get your money back when you return the tool. :-)
For safety measures take off the two front wheels and secure your 190E on jack stands. Don't forget to engage the emergency brake. :-)
I found that it is much easier to remove the spring when the shock absorber is removed from the car because it really gives you much more room to work. However, first use the spring compressors to stabalize the coil spring from recoiling when removing the strut (pictured below). Also, position the hydro jack under the control arm to stabalize it when the strut is removed (also shown below). There are 4 spots on the shock that mount to the car. Two at the base and a nut and bolt about 1/4 way up the shock and at the top of the shock (tower).
Make sure you put the spring compressors on the opposite sides of the spring and also put the compressors top hooks as close to the top of the spring as possible (unlike the picture above) and the bottom hook as well on the bottom of the spring. Then tighten the spring compressors alternately and evenly. For now, only tighten enough to just stabalize the spring from recoil. When the shock is removed it will no longer be holding the control arm up to hold the spring in place.
Remove the anti sway bar. Sorry, no pics but it is easy. The bar is mounted with four (2 on each side) bolt and nut assembly with rubber boots. All that needs to be done is remove all four mountings and presto. Anti sway bar is removed because later when the strut is removed and the spring is fully compressed, the control arm is going to have to be flexible enough to get the spring out. Trust me, it makes things much easier and less stressful.
Here you can see the nut and bolt mounting of the shock. After you get these out, just below this, are the two main mounting bolts. These bolts use a thread locking compound and are very difficult to loosen. However, it can be done but I highly recommend a 1/2" drive socket wrench, it makes a world of difference from the 3/8" drive.
OK, so far so good. This here is the upper mount of the strut. Its difficult to see in the picture but you must use a 7mm allen wrench and loosen the retaining nut with an open end or creseant wrench. After this is done, the strut will be free from the car and ready to be removed. Use the hydrolic jack to lower the control arm, enough to remove the strut, but not too far to where the spring bows out. DANGER!!: The coil spring has around 500-600 pounds of pressure so it is very important that you use caution when lowering the hydro jack without the strut installed. This is why you should use the spring compressors to stabalize the springs from recoiling when you remove the struts.
Don't worry, I know the springs shown are the H&R's but the removal and installation are the same process except the installation is done backwards from removal, so just pretend that the springs that you see in this picture are the stock springs and things will be OK. Now compress the springs fully (this is where the patience comes into play). CAUTION: make sure to compress the springs evenly and also be careful that the compressors don't slide along the coil to one side of the spring. This will cause the spring to bow out and you will have to start over.
Alright it's go time. After the spring is fully compressed you should be able to remove the hydro jack from under the control arm. You may notice that even with the spring fully compressed, there still isn't enough room to remove the spring, this is why we took the anti sway bar out earlier, because now you will have to use a 2X4 board to place on the control arm, while you press down on the control arm, have your buddy remove the spring from the car. I used a 10lbs. sledge hammer and placed it on a convenient spot on the top of the control arm b/c the extra 10lbs. comes in handy.
Wow, if you are still alive by now the install is the same process done backwards. I used Bilstein shocks and H&R lowering springs. Just make sure you get the spring pads back on the new springs and when you put the spring back in, make sure the end of the coil is in the groove correctly in the control arm. Also, install the strut before you uncompress the spring. Use the hydro jack to raise the control arm to the necessary height for the strut mounting bolts. When you put the struts in, make sure you use the thread locking compound on the two lower mounting bolts. After the strut is installed the hydro jack is no longer needed. Remember to use caution and respect the raw power of your car. Any injuries caused by this procedure are of the sole responsibility of the mechanic. Good luck!!!!!
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