It can be VERY dangerous so be careful, if its your first time id strongly recommend having a buddy thats done it before help you out.
I always do it buy seperating the lower ball joint with a pickle fork, make sure to use one thats the correct size. Just put a jack under the lower control arm and disconnect the swaybar endlinks, remove the front shocks, seperate the LBJ, slowly lower the jack and pray that the spring doesnt kill you (because it can)...pull out the springs. if the new sprints are a bit shorter then stock uncompressed then installing them will be easy. When doing so be sure to note the 2 holes in the bottom spring pocket...you want the end of the spring to cover one of the holes and leave the other one exposed, make sure that the top of the spring is seated squre on top (the metal tabs can bend and cause a slightly cocked spring...make sure they are all straight, if not just bend them straight with some channel locks. a bottlejack makes setting up the spring pretty easy but with the sprints id assume you could just turn them by hand sense they are so short, also get some new spring isolators as your old ones might be pretty torn up (they go on top of the spring)
you will need to have the car realigned soon after your done
Edit: ive never removed a 9C1 spring, the buick front springs seem to come out easy but the 9C1 springs might need to be compressed with an internal spring compressor to be removed. Infact i think ive heard that mentioned here a few times...so i would go rent/borrow an internal spring compressor before getting started
Its not hard...it actually is fairly easy... but its not something id try alone for the first time, thats my .02 anyway
Just put a jack under the LCA and back the castle nut off to the end of the stud. As long as the LCA will be supported by a jack when the BJ stud loosens from the spindle, you won't have any problems. Then, remove the castle nut and slowly drop the LCA down. Make sure the jack is perpendicular to the car because it will want to pull the jacking point toward the car. If the jack is perpendicular, it will roll easily, rather than tip over. Once the LCA is all the way down, the spring will have hardly any pressure on it and your risk is pretty much zero. Just step on the lca to force it down as far as it will go and play tug of war with the spring. It might "jump" or "clang" when it comes out of the LCA, but you're not at risk at this point.
I've done a few of these...no need to worry about the spring getting you...just leave the front shocks in...it's the only way to go.
- Unhook the bottom of the shock
- push it up through the hole in the LCA, and move it off to the side so it doesn't go back down through the LCA
- then discombobulate the lower ball joint
- loosen LCA pivot bolts
- lower LCA as far as possible
- pop the spring out...it CAN'T jump out, because it's contained by the shock (which won't be harmed)
The first time I swapped front springs took me about 14 hrs...the last time I did it, took me 2.5 hrs...that included washing up. - JM.
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