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  #1  
Old 11-10-2013, 01:05 AM
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Front spring compression gone wrong, wedged crooked

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.





Last edited by vstech; 11-10-2013 at 07:11 AM.
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  #2  
Old 11-10-2013, 03:54 AM
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Quote:
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.


You need to stop what you are doing and reassess things. You should be able to spin those spring holders to the ends of the spring and then try to compress it. You need to compress more spring to get it out. If you try to hop the spring out by dropping the UCA and the shock, please to the shock last. Keep your face and body away from the spring unless you want less teeth to brush every night.
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2003 S430 - 107K
1983 300SD - Tanoshii - mostly restored ~400K+.
1983 300SD - Good interior. Engine finally tamed ~250K.
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  #3  
Old 11-10-2013, 03:56 AM
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And please replace the shocks while you have it apart. Those are not correct for the car; get Sachs or Bilsiens in there. You will want to source a correct or compatible dust cover because the shocks will not come with them.
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1991 F250 super-cab 7.3 IDI. (rebuilt by me) Banks Sidewinder turbo, hydroboost brakes, new IP and injectors.
2003 S430 - 107K
1983 300SD - Tanoshii - mostly restored ~400K+.
1983 300SD - Good interior. Engine finally tamed ~250K.
Monark Nozzle Install Video - http://tinyurl.com/ptd2tge
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  #4  
Old 11-10-2013, 04:24 AM
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Quote:
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
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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!
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  #5  
Old 11-10-2013, 07:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stretch View Post
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.
First, I guess it's worth mentioning that I do have a fine floor jack under the LCA, which is why I was able to remove the nut on the UCA without dying. I am concerned that since the LCA isn't a flat surface and moves at a curved angle, there is no reliable way to disconnect it (the LCA) without that spring decompressing and shooting across the garage, along with the newly freed LCA. In other words, there is no way I am going to be able to balance the thing just right on the jack.

Any more thoughts? I am also worried that using the external compressor on a spring already bulging (i.e. curved) like this is going to be even more dangerous and maybe impossible.

Thanks.
Mike
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  #6  
Old 11-10-2013, 07:18 AM
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OK, I put all the posts together, and edited everything for continuity.

I've been here before, it's not the end of the world.

can you release the compressor with the spring like that? if so, you need to grab a LOT more coils, and get it back in place.
the problem seems to be the rubber cap on top is not installed correctly.
if you lift the LCA with the jack, and can get the spring to recompress, you may be able to get the tool to grab more coils...
there's no magic with these things, if YOU don't line everything up, and get everything to seat as you release it, this can happen...
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  #7  
Old 11-10-2013, 07:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vstech View Post
OK, I put all the posts together, and edited everything for continuity.

I've been here before, it's not the end of the world.

can you release the compressor with the spring like that? if so, you need to grab a LOT more coils, and get it back in place.
the problem seems to be the rubber cap on top is not installed correctly.
if you lift the LCA with the jack, and can get the spring to recompress, you may be able to get the tool to grab more coils...
there's no magic with these things, if YOU don't line everything up, and get everything to seat as you release it, this can happen...
Thanks for collecting the posts.
Can you offer some advice on how to grab more coils? It was everything I could do to get those five. I mean, it took hours of maneuvering to get the center bolt lined up on the lowest coil I could.
Thanks.
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  #8  
Old 11-10-2013, 08:55 AM
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My Mk1 eye ball tells me that the lower part of the spring in this picture =>



<= is more or less uncompressed. You don't need that much more movement of that lower cup attached to the LCA to get the spring out. It is just snagging it. (Sure the upper part of the spring above the spring compressor will also move a bit)

As you have a jack under the LCA (phew!) then you are able to control that last bit of the removal. If you try and twist / rotate the spring (gently!) then you can feel how much compression there is left in the geometry.

I'd remove the brake stay - separate that big joint from the bulkhead and the stay so you only have the brake stay rod sticking out of the side of the LCA - loosen the eccentric bolts (so you don't nadger the inner LCA bushings) and then lower the LCA and catch the spring as it comes out.

At a guess you only need to lower that dish by about 1 or 2 cm.
__________________
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!
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  #9  
Old 11-10-2013, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vstech View Post
OK, I put all the posts together, and edited everything for continuity.

I've been here before, it's not the end of the world.

can you release the compressor with the spring like that? if so, you need to grab a LOT more coils, and get it back in place.
the problem seems to be the rubber cap on top is not installed correctly.
if you lift the LCA with the jack, and can get the spring to recompress, you may be able to get the tool to grab more coils...
there's no magic with these things, if YOU don't line everything up, and get everything to seat as you release it, this can happen...
I think it could be that the guy that cut the Springs did not bevel the cut end so that the Spring would Sit flat.
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  #10  
Old 11-10-2013, 02:51 PM
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I was able to safely remove the spring by compressing three more coils with the cheap rental (added to the five already somewhat compressed by the center bolt compressor). That's the good news (especially the "safe" part).
The bad news for me is that these springs don't seem to be the right ones for this car. They are wider in diameter than the shim and don't fit in the upper cup at all (see photo below). Obviously, it would have been better if I had put the shim on before trying to insert the spring, but I didn't have enough space to do that, and it never occurred to me to check that it would fit. In retrospect, there are several reasons it should have occurred to me, but we don't need to go into that.
Thanks for the help, everybody. Maybe this will be a lesson to folks in the future.


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