View Single Post
Old 11-10-2013, 04:24 AM
Stretch's Avatar
Stretch Stretch is offline a shield of steel
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Somewhere in the Netherlands
Posts: 14,461
Originally Posted by Mike Rancourt View Post
I am in the middle of installing front springs on my '83 300D, and I would say it is the most terrifying thing of any sort I have ever done.
See, it's like this:
I tried to do the right thing and bought a center bolt compressor clone. Getting the old spring out was easy because the PO had cut the springs waaaay too short (which is one reason why I got the car for $400!). When it came time to put the replacements in, I could only grip 7 coils, and I didn't know about releasing the upper control arm, so it was a very, very tight fit.
I did manage to get the spring into the seat and the upper cup, but the coils above and below the compressed ones were at a great slant. So, when I put it in and loosened the compressor, the whole thing was curved dangerously--and, as you might sort of be able to see in one of the photos below, one side of the spring was not seated in the upper cup and ended up getting caught.
To top it all off, I was backing out the center bolt "a little bit" to see if it would magically pop into place, and--I don't remember exactly what happened, but--I there was less magic and more tragedy. I got to a point where the center bolt was out, and the spring is so dramatically curved, that I cannot get the thing hooked up again with more than 4-5 coils to compress. The tool doesn't compress enough to get the spring out, even with the UCA detached.
My only hope is to use a cheap rental to compress a handful of the coils below the ones I'm currently compressing . I'll be heading to the parts store in the morning to get that. I know it's not a very safe sounding option, but I can think of nothing else.
Yes, this is terrifying.

Ummm yep you've not got enough coils between the plates of the compressor.

I see what you are saying about the additional external compressors - they might help.

First thing I would do is get a jack under the ball joint on the end of the lower control arm.

To be honest I think you now have to deal with the situation as it is and kick yourself up the backside for not installing the spring compressor correctly later on.

Next thing I would do is remove the shock out of the way.

Then I'd loosen the brake stay at the bulkhead and shorten the length of the brake stay so that you can you can remove it from the lower control arm

Then I'd lower the end of the lower control arm and / or raise the height of the vehicle so that the lower control arm flops out of the way. To do this you also need to loosen the eccentric bolts on the chassis end of the lower control arm.

As the lower control arm falls away don't let that spring bounce out.

The downside to my advice is that you will have totally and utterly lost any point of reference of the current front suspension geometry settings. (So if you feel brave enough mark positions and measure lengths before you try this)

Next time something like this happens you are much better off starting a new thread - you will get advice more quickly that way
1992 W201 190E 1.8 171,000 km - Daily driver
1981 W123 300D ~ 100,000 miles / 160,000 km - project car stripped to the bone
1965 Land Rover Series 2a Station Wagon CIS recovery therapy!
1961 Volvo PV544 Bare metal rat rod-ish thing

I'm here to chat about cars and to help others - I'm not here "to always be right" like an internet warrior

Don't leave that there - I'll take it to bits!
Reply With Quote