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  #1  
Old 10-02-2003, 01:44 AM
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cheap coil spring compressor

In case some of you don't get over to the Tech Help section, here is a post I made over there about how to compress coil springs on my 300D without using the $700 imported spring compressor.

http://www.ohran.com/richard/1977%20mercedes%20300D/index.htm
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  #2  
Old 10-02-2003, 09:01 AM
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Um, that's interesting. How much did that "Autobody Rotisserie" cost? And, that ram from Harbor Fright Tools. And, that a porta-power to work it with?

At $595 + shipping, my Sir Tools spring compressor from Albuquerque Special Tools seems cheap (and, simple) in comparison.
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Old 10-02-2003, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by R Leo
Um, that's interesting. How much did that "Autobody Rotisserie" cost? And, that ram from Harbor Fright Tools. And, that a porta-power to work it with?

At $595 + shipping, my Sir Tools spring compressor from Albuquerque Special Tools seems cheap (and, simple) in comparison.
How do you figure? His set up cost $50, plus shipping, plus the cost of the steel tube (which was probably free anyway). How is a $600 tool cheaper than that?

I also don't get the reference to the "Autobody Rotisserie."
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  #4  
Old 10-02-2003, 10:42 AM
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The ram's from Harbor Freight are pretty cheap. I think I paid less than $100 for my whole set. This system seems pretty simple to me.
There have been quite a few comments on this board about how dangerous it is to compress MB springs without the right compressor. There have been warnings of fatal consequences.

So, give us an assessment of the safety of your system. How strong is that opening link you have at the end of the chain? If you remove the lower control arm. can you completely unload the spring with your system?

It seems to me that you could even make a similar system and substitue a threaded rod with a fat washer at the end of the square tubing for the ram and still have the same effect.
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  #5  
Old 10-02-2003, 11:18 AM
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from: http://www.ohran.com/richard/1977%20mercedes%20300D/index.htm

"The big square steel tube with all the holes in it is actually one of the arms from my autobody rotisserie."


-----------------------------

$59.95 — 10 ton pull back ram
$159.95 — 10 ton, foot operated hyd pump
$899.00 — Standard Auto Body Rotisserie Complete & ready to use, add options at any time (http://www.uscartool.com)

Keeping all of your fingers attached to your hand and spring-shaped dents out of your noggin...priceless!

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And, how do you use that rig to remove rear springs?


Sure, I'm willing to go the Scot's way on some stuff but where my personal safety is concerned, money is no object. Leathermang calls the consequences of a fatal misuse of a tool "posthumous embarassment." I will not be accused of that.
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Last edited by R Leo; 10-02-2003 at 11:26 AM.
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  #6  
Old 10-02-2003, 11:28 AM
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R Leo,

Gotcha. I read too quickly the first time.

Good point on the rear springs. I guess I will pony up for the SIR or Klann compressor and then sell it after I finish my front and rear suspension work. The Klann unit is outrageously expensive, but could probably be re-sold for close to full price.

DSC
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  #7  
Old 10-02-2003, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by kerry edwards
substitue a threaded rod with a fat washer at the end of the square tubing for the ram and still have the same effect.
The 'washers' on my spring compressor are almost 3/8 of an inch thick. I'm telling you, this stuff is nothing to fool around with lightly; there are some serious forces involved here.

I am evangelizing on this simply because I don't want forum newbies to think it's simple and easy to rig-up a quick McGuyveresque something-or-other and yank the springs out of these cars.

I have my reasons too....
In another life, I managed to inadvertantly 'liberate' the right front spring out of the control arm on a TR-6 frame. On it's way into low earth orbit, it missed my jaw by about 2 inches. The event happened so quickly, I never saw it leave the frame and it took me 45 minutes to figure out where that spring landed.

I'm done. I've said my piece and counted to three.
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Old 10-02-2003, 11:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by dculkin

I guess I will pony up for the SIR ....
I'll rent my SIR to you. Contact me via e-mail or pm.
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  #9  
Old 10-02-2003, 11:59 AM
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dculkin:

In my website, I mentioned that the piece of steel tubing was borrowed from my autobody rotisserie project because it happened to a usable size.That's why it has all the holes on the side. I gave the dimensions. It could be bought from a local metal store for five or ten bucks, I imagine.

kerry edwards:

Good point about the link at the end. I only used it because the piece of chain I was using wasn't big enough the get the socket extension through a regular link. I wondered about it at the time, and stood well behind the fender as I pumped it up. It held ok without any ill effects, but I'll probably get a piece of chain with bigger links for future use.

The pull back ram has eight or ten inches of action. It only takes a couple of inches to compress the spring adequately so that the control arm can be removed. That gives you six inches or so to let out the spring. It should be enough.

As far as the overall safety is concerned, I'd probably use this system even if I had one of the expensive ones. I've used spring compressors on at least 5 different cars and the experience has never been enjoyable. This system was quick and painless.
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  #10  
Old 10-02-2003, 12:15 PM
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I would say this isn't that bad of an idea if you only expect it to break the spring free and not to replace it. Also you'd have to beef up that chain and end link, probably put a plate in there too before I'd get anywhere close to that. It seems to me that the extension could ruin the vinyl coating on the spring, ruining the spring in the long run. Nice adaptation but I think I'll be sending R Leo an email when that time approaches.
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Old 10-02-2003, 12:52 PM
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Quote:

I am evangelizing on this simply because I don't want forum newbies to think it's simple and easy to rig-up a quick McGuyveresque something-or-other and yank the springs out of these cars.

...

I'll rent my SIR to you.

Nothing's really ever as simple as it seems, is it? In case anyone is wondering, I am not renting out my pull back ram or my autobody rotisserie.
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  #12  
Old 10-02-2003, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by diesellieber
Nothing's really ever as simple as it seems, is it? In case anyone is wondering, I am not renting out my pull back ram or my autobody rotisserie.
I will give you credit for that spring rig being a very clever and imaginative use of those tools.
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  #13  
Old 10-02-2003, 04:46 PM
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Leo,

A lot of people here, most likely including you since you have quite a few posts here, have provided me valuable knowledge through this forum. My goal here was to try and share something of value as well. I can only hope that anyone who tries this technique has their wits about them. But, if they don't, I think they were adequately warned here and in other threads.

Mach's gut,

Richard
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  #14  
Old 10-02-2003, 07:47 PM
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Everyone keeps talking about how "strong" MB springs are and how you need special this and that. That chain/ram idea is great. The only negative is the split link. Knowing what it is rated for would be a good idea and a link rated at at least 1500lbs+ should be fine. If the spring compresses under the weight of the car then the force to compress it must be at least equal to the weight of the car, correct? Whats a MB weigh? 3500lbs? 4000? And thats TOTAL weight. No way a front spring requires more than 1000lbs to compress it. Granted the springs are progressive and the more they are compressed the more force will be required. Good heavy rigging chain has break ratings in the THOUSANDS. Hydraulic rams produce TONS of force. I've used common cheap spring compressors to do suspension work on heavy duty pickups with spring ratings double and triple what the MB springs are capable of. No problems. The issue with MB's is the neccessity of a special compressor. This compressor is no stronger than it needs to be its just designed to work on MB's difficult to access springs. It is common sense to use caution when working with springs and suspensions in general but using a carefully thought out homebrewed setup is no more dangerous that using the "correct" tool. And MB springs are no more powerful or dangerous than any other springs. RT
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  #15  
Old 10-02-2003, 08:40 PM
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These springs are a bit different than what you would find in the average car. Their length uncompressed is about twice what you see compressed. And yes the necessity for safe tools to work with these springs cannot be overstressed. Typically I can imagine the only time that you would ever remove them is to replace the lower control arm bushings or to replace a busted spring (rare if ever). Pulling the springs is only part of the battle, the bushings are a chore as well. If you have a W123 with over 200K miles on it, you can bet that those bushings are worn out. I had them replaced on my 300D a month ago and I had a good front end shop do it for me plus align the car. It took them about half the day to do them (these guys do them often enough to know how to do it right) for around $450 total. I think for the amount of work involved, it was money wisely spent.
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