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Old 12-27-2009, 06:02 PM
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Default Front Spring removal and install step by step

Rebuilding the Forum, one thread at a time.

Front coil spring removal and re-install how to. The work was performed on a Fleetwood Brougham but allipes to all B/D bodys. This is the remove spindle method, there are others ways to do it, but in my opinion this is the safer way and least likely to damage something. The other way is to unbolt the lower control arm, i've never done it that way.

First off, apply parking brake, jack up the car so your front wheels are about 3" off the ground, put on jackstands. Leave steering wheel unlocked. Take off wheels (duh), remove the old shocks, unbolt sway bar endlinks, unbolt brake caliper and tie up out of the way. Also remove ABS wheel sensors and tie up out of the way. Pull out the cotter pins from the castle nuts securing the outter tierod end, upper and lower ball joints. When all tear down is done it should look something like this.


This is the ABS wheel speed sensor location, its held in place with a 7mm bolt. If it's stuck in there twist it back and forth and easily pry it out. I guess a better way to remove a seized one would be to remove the rotor and tap it out with a punch.


Break loos the inner tierod first. Loosen the nut but leave it on to help guide the tool and help prevent damage to the threads. This picture is of the lower ball joint but shows the remval tool and the tierod is the same concept.



Place a jack under the lower control arm and apply enough pressure to somewhat compress the spring, but not enough to lift the car off the jackstands. NOw with pressure on the lower control arm break the torque in the upper and lower ball joints. Loosen the nuts but leave it on to help guide the tool and help prevent damage to the threads. Use the front end tools to seperate the upper and lower ball joints.


Remove the spindle and rotor assembly out of the way. Slowly, I repeat slowly, release tension on the floor jack to lower the control arm. Once all tension is released pull the jack out of the way. Use a prybar to un-seat the coil spring from the control arm, you might also have to kick it a few times. NOTE: I tried to use a coil spring compressor but, its not needed and just gets in the way.


There you have it. When re-installing the new springs make the sure the end sits somewhere between these two drain holes, as they are the lowest point in the control arm, to make sure your front end wil be level.


Reinstallation Tips: Make sure the upper end of the replacement coil is fully seated and centered in the upper pocket. If you choose to use the isolators use some good electric tape to take them to the coil so they don't run around on you. Once the upper end of the coil is centered, put the jack under the lower control arm and gently apply pressure as you jack up, begin prying the coil into the lower pocket. Take note on where the end of the coil is going to end up. Once the coilspring is fully seated, continue jacking apply enough pressure to somewhat compress the spring, but not enough to lift the car off the jackstands. Re-install the spindle and everything else.

Torque specs from 1996 Fleetwood FSM

Brake caliper mount bolts, 38 ft lbs
Wheel speed sensor, 71 Inch lbs
Sawaybar endlink, 13 ft lbs
Lower balljoint, 83 ft lbs then align to next slot to allow for cotter pin
Upper balljoint, 61 ft lbs then align to next slot to allow for cotter pin
outer tierod, 35 ft lbs then align to next slot to allow for cotter pin
Shock lower bolts, 18 ft lbs
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Last edited by RollinSlow84; 12-28-2009 at 10:02 AM. Reason: added torque values.
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  #2  
Old 12-29-2009, 05:34 AM
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Added to the sticky.
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Old 01-19-2010, 05:17 PM
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Also I should add....if you have a 9c1..the springs are taller and a lot stiffer than the others..the springs are still under some pressure even with the A arm lowered fully.....DON'T STAND IN FRONT OF IT WHEN ATTEMPTING TO PRY IT FREE...IT CAN POP OUT AT YOU WITH A GOOD AMOUNT OF FORCE!!!!!! TRUST ME

If you are not completly sure of how to do this......let someone who knows what they are doing complete this task...A coil spring WILL and HAS Killed people!
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Old 01-20-2010, 08:39 AM
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FYI, leave the front shocks in, unbolted from the lower control arm, to keep the coil spring from popping out at you when removing it.

Also, you do not need to remove the tie rod ends.
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Old 01-20-2010, 10:31 AM
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I know this is a FRONT overhaul thread, but I figure I would add this in as a lot of guys seem to think the rear shocks are hell without buying those U bolts (if you can get them, go for it!) but if not...

A craftsman 1/4 drive ratchet fits on top of the frame and on top of the deepest bolt just fine. I use the 1/4 drive on top and another on the bottom nut to turn it and it only takes me a few seconds to get the rear shocks unbolted. I know a lot of guys try to fit a wrench up there but the angle makes it a pain in the ass. This way makes it cake coming out and going back in.

And for the front upper isolators, I normally have better luck sticking them up in the spring pocket over the 'claws' up there. They usually stick in there pretty good unless they are real old. This way you don't have to mess with taping them to the top of the spring which is tapered anyway and may get snagged on something when trying to guide them up into the spring pocket. This comes down to preference though. If tape works for you, go for it.

And for the ABS sensor, since many end up breaking it trying to get it out, might be better off just unplugging it, unbolting the one bracket that holds the wiring to the frame and just minding the hanging wire or ziptie it somewhere to the spindle Just be careful you don't hit the sensor with the pry bar or the spring doesn't hit it on the way out but this would be unlikely I think, probably more unlikely than breaking it trying to get it out which happens a lot.
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Old 10-17-2010, 07:11 PM
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Also one thing to note and this is a great write up by the way, if you loosen the lower control arm mounting bolts the arm will fall further and no need to force it down with your foot and have possible damage to an ankle or something like that. Just remember to tighten them back up with full weight on the car.
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Old 10-17-2010, 07:30 PM
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It may not be needed but this tool is priceless and I never do a spring job with out it.



There is a different style compressor that does indeed get in the way (though I MADE one work once) and should be avoided.

Still a very nice write up. One of my ABS sensors shattered while trying to remove it. So now, I just unplug the wire and remove the clamp from the frame. That way I can just remove it with the spindle.
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Last edited by Sinister; 10-17-2010 at 07:33 PM.
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Old 10-17-2010, 07:41 PM
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I will speak up for removing the lower control arm pivot bolts instead of the balljoint.
a good floor jack and a bottle jack to line up the bolt holes when reassembling, no fighting trying to cram a spring in at an angle.
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Old 10-18-2010, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 94MI9C1 View Post
Also one thing to note and this is a great write up by the way, if you loosen the lower control arm mounting bolts the arm will fall further and no need to force it down with your foot and have possible damage to an ankle or something like that. Just remember to tighten them back up with full weight on the car.
That's a good idea. I'll try it next time.
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1996 Fleetwood Brougham, Rear Disks, It handles now, tastefully modified
1984 Coupe DeVille, Budget Lowering Springs, 9C1 3.23 Posi/Disk Rear end, 18 and 20" Coys, awaiting 383/700R4 transplant.
1980 Malibu Coupe, Grandma fresh 100K original owner New Mexico rust free
1978 Pontiac Catalina Safari, old guy fresh 83K original owner New Mexico rust free
1996 Caprice Wagon SOLD

Happiness is driving a Wagon.
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Old 10-18-2010, 10:43 AM
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Like I was saying in my thread, this really should be a sticky. Thanks for taking the time to do this write-up!!
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