Chevy Impala SS Forum banner
1 - 3 of 3 Posts

Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since I'm at home sick, I'll take the time to share a tip that I think is the best auto maintenance tip anyone has ever told me.
If you don't have an internal coil spring compressor or if one doesn't work in your setup, here is an easy way to install front coil springs.
Use any type of a spring compressor, internal or external, to compress the spring while it is out of the car. Secure the compressed spring with two good quality 1" wide ratchet tie down straps, one on each side. Use the type that has a very short strap between the rachet mechanism and the hook. The ratchet mechanisms go on the outside and the hooks go on the inside of the spring. Place the ratchet mechanisms close to the bottom of the spring. Do not place the straps over the top most or the bottom most coil or you will not be able to get them out when you are done. Carefully remove the spring compressor(s) while the spring is still out of the car. Position the spring so that neither end of the spring is against an obstacle and they are free to move just in case something breaks. Now you can simply push the spring up into the upper spring seat (don't forget the spring cushion up top!). With the two LCA-to-frame bolts in place, jack up the lower arm to meet the spring. The first time you do this you may have to adjust the way you positioned the straps, but it's really easy from then on. As always with a compressed spring, regardless of what type of a compressor is used, avoid having any part of your body under the spring so that it won't get crushed if the spring compressor(s) fail. Also, support the control arm with a jack so that it can't act as a big, deadly "fly swat". Secure both the upper and lower ball joint nut and do a visual inspection. Then remove the straps. This should be easy since the jack should have taken the tension from the straps. If there is still tension in the straps, be careful with the racthet mechanisms so that you don't hurt your fingers.
Some may have concerns about safety, but I have never seen good quality straps break and I have personally seen an internal metal spring compressor that appered to be in good condition fail without warning.
I don't endorse doing this, but when I am lazy or in a hurry (always) I actually use the ratchets in the straps to compress the spring.

Here are some disclaimers:
The energy stored in a coil spring can cause serious injury or death. Always follow all factory service procedures and safety precautions.
If you choose to use straps, use only straps that are in good condition with a ratchet mechanism that is in good condition. Do not exceed the rated capacity of the straps.
This information is provided for entertainment purposes only. The author of this post or this forum shall not be responsible to anyone for the use of or reliance upon this information by anyone. The author of this post or this forum shall not incur any obligation or liability for damages, including consequential damages, or any other type of damages, arisign out of or in connection with the use, interpretation of or reliance upon this information. Any use of this information is done solely at the responsibility of the user. The user alone shall be responsible for all obligations or liability for damages, including consequental damages, and any other type of damages arising out of or in connection with the use, interpretation of or reliance upon this information.
(Yes, I do expect to get flamed for the disclaimer. No, I am not a lawyer.)

Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Sounds like a reasonable way to me.
I'm sure it's not the safest way, but with some of the things I've seen people do with them small straps and think it is safe blows my mind (mostly securing of huge loads).

I can't remember for sure if I read this or if it's a dream but... Someone mentioned doing this without a spring compressor by supporting the lower A-arm with the jack, loosen a ball joint nut, and slowly letting the jack down (maybe beating on the spindle if it doesn't release by itself from the ball joint).
That would be b-body related, so I'm not sure if it'll work in all situations, but I'm sure someone can chime in and tell us.

By the way, for my description above, his disclaimer applies too lol

Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, what you described is the best way to remove the spring. You don't need to use the straps for that. To remove springs, loosen the ball joint nuts a few turns, but leave the nuts on for safety. Use a ball joint separator "pickle fork" and a 4lb hammer to get the ball joint studs loose from the spindle. If either upper or lower ball joint stud separates from the spindle easily (without the use of a pickle fork or some other tool or method) the tapered hole in your spindle is probably worn. Correct this problem before installing new ball joints. Then jack the LCA up slightly, and remove the ball joint nut. You should use a bar or a chain to ensure that the spring can't fly out when you lower the LCA. Some people undo the shock from the top and leave it attached at the bottom before lowering the LCA so that the shock keeps the spring from possibly flying out. lower the jack slowly. You can get the spring out after you push the LCA all the way down.
Using the straps is an easy way to insert springs back in. I like it because I powder coat my control arms and I don't want to scratch the LCA or the spring when I'm fighting to get the bottom of the spring into the pocket in the control arm. Also, it is very easy to get the end of the spring exactly where you want it in relation to the two inspection/drain holes in the LCA. (First hole partially or completely covered and the second hole partially or completely exposed.)
1 - 3 of 3 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.