At least for the front, I found that ordinary $10 bolt-type spring compressors are adequate if you are careful, and use the technique described below. Some say you can forgo spring compressors entirely with this technique, but this 'hybrid' method seems safer, and easy enough. I have not yet tackled the rear, so no comment.
This is a summary list of steps for the front:
1) Loosen wheel bolts (do one side at a time).
2) Lift car at center crossmember, tire 2-3 inches off of ground.
3) Place jack stand under control arm, as close to balljoint as possible, and lower entire weight of car onto stand.
4) Verify that jackstand is REALLY REALLY secure, and on solid level ground. Note that by placing jackstand under control arm, you are using the weight of the car to compress the spring.
5) Remove wheel, swaybar, disconnect steering arm(or seperate tie rod end), disconnect brake related wiring and remove caliper. Optionally, you can remove the caliper bracket and disk for better access.
6) Mark position of eccentric bolts- I used spraypaint. This will allow you to drive to the alignment shop safely when you are done. Loosen, but do not remove eccentric bolts.
7) Triple check that the jackstand is stable, and remove strut. You can do this because the weight of the car is compressing the spring. Remember to salvage the plastic bracket on the strut that secures the braking wires. Optionally, you could remove the hub at this time for better access, or if you intend to replace the balljoint anyways.
8) Place $10 bolt-type spring compressors on either side of spring. Get as much spring in them as possible, and tighten until snug. Do not bother compressing them- waste of effort.
9) Ok, now the fun part! Carefully jack up under the crossmember until the spring comes loose. Note that the el cheapo compressors make this state happen earlier than if you did not have them, and the possibility that the spring could fly as the control arm reaches a severe angle is reduced.
10) Installation (as they say) is the reverse of removal!
1) This would be an ideal time to replace the balljoint and control arm bushings if needed.
2) Strut bump stops and splash guards are not included with the Bilsteins.
Good luck, be careful, and happy wrenching.
1986 300E 5-Speed 240k mi.
Last edited by csnow; 07-10-2002 at 04:31 PM.