Jump to content

Strut removal and the three special bolts


shelby4130
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'm trying to remove my struts and can't for the life of me, after days of soaking, get the three special bolts with the safety wire to budge. Is it normal that I'm having a hard time keeping a 14mm wrench on them without nearly stripping them? It's almost like it's a 13.5mm head.

Does anyone have any advice?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Usually,

Rap them with a hammer, or heat them up with a torch. Be careful of using heat, now that you've soaked them.

The other option is to pull everything off the car and get at them with an impact driver while you have the strut on the ground.

If you've mangled them, go get some new bolts to replace them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm trying to remove my struts and can't for the life of me, after days of soaking, get the three special bolts with the safety wire to budge. Is it normal that I'm having a hard time keeping a 14mm wrench on them without nearly stripping them? It's almost like it's a 13.5mm head.

Does anyone have any advice?

You don't have to remove them in order to change the struts. I just compressed the spring and pushed down on the strut, and popped it outside of the fender well. Then replace all the stuff, push back down on the strut and pop it back into the fenderwell. It does require some wrestling and possible scraping on the inner fender lip.

But I had the same experience with those three bolts, rounded them off easily, and gave up and worked around it. Another easier option might be to just remove the control arm and such. I'd have to look at it to come up with a plan to do that without disturbing the bushings too much, but it might be do-able.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I soaked them in PB blaster.

I've considered removing the entire front suspension and doing bushings at the same time....but I would need a hoist to support the motor while I do this, wouldnt I? Id also like to avoid removing tie rods.

As for swinging the the strut out of the wheel well, I've tried. I loosened the control arm bolt but still can't gain enough clearance to get them out. I'm about an inch away from making it fit and that's with me pushing down on the control arm.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just did ALL of this, it's a pita but the bolts will come off with the strut on the car. Takes some creative wrenching and patience. I replaced all bushings at the same time, as well as ball joints and tie rods. Tie rods are easy with the harbor freight tool, but center link is more difficult still for me.

Let me know, over holiday break we can possibly get together.

~Jason

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Anonymous

joint I would suggest you simply leave them intact and unbolt the caliper from the strut, then disconnect the tie rod from the steering arm, and finally unbolt the upper struit bearing from the body. It will be much easier to get a straight forward shot at them with a six point socket once they are removed.

shermanmartinez@hotmail.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the future you might want to consider something other than PB Blaster. check this info out from Mike S.

interesting comparison of various penetrating oils:

Machinist's Workshop magazine actually tested penetrants for break

out torque on rusted nuts. Significant results! They arranged a subjective

test of all the popular penetrants with the control being the torque

required to remove the nut from a "scientifically rusted" environment.

Penetrating oil Average load

None ..................... 516 pounds

WD-40 .................. 238 pounds

PB Blaster ..............214 pounds

Liquid Wrench ...... 127 pounds

Kano Kroil ............ 106 pounds

ATF-Acetone mix... 53 pounds

The ATF-Acetone mix was a "home brew" mix of 50 - 50 automatic

transmission fluid and acetone.

Note: The "home brew" was better than any commercial product in this

one particular test. A local machinist group mixed up a batch and all now

use it with equally good results. Note also that "Liquid Wrench" is about as

good as "Kroil" for about 20% of the price.

I personally use Kroil. Bob Napier

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I soaked them in PB blaster.

I've considered removing the entire front suspension and doing bushings at the same time....but I would need a hoist to support the motor while I do this, wouldnt I? Id also like to avoid removing tie rods.

As for swinging the the strut out of the wheel well, I've tried. I loosened the control arm bolt but still can't gain enough clearance to get them out. I'm about an inch away from making it fit and that's with me pushing down on the control arm.

Shouldn't be any need for a hoist, or I must've done something wrong. I changed all the suspension bushings on my car with it sitting on jackstands.

Tie rods really aren't a problem at all if you figure out the right touch. I put a jack under the control arm and compress the strut until the outer tie rod is laying pretty much horizontal and there's very little tension on it. Then just whack it on the SIDE where the stud is going thru the steering arm. It may take a few hard whacks with a small sledge, but it pops right out without harming anything... other guys say that pulling down on the rod while you hit it helps, but I've never had the need. Same goes for the center link, except you be sure to rest it against the stop on the frame so that you're able to get a solid hit, but there should be no need for removing the center link for whatever you're doing.

I can't remember what all I disassemble when doing the swing-out method, but I've done it 3 or 4 times. I know I take at least the sway bar off, and possibly the tie rod end, and I compress the spring, remove strut bearing, push down on the strut, and do some wrassling....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

'If you've mangled up the heads of the bolts you might try filing 2 or 3 sides of the bolt heads. This will essentially make it the next size down and then you can get a good grip on them. I did this to some rouned off rear brake shoe adjusters. Makes such a difference when you can get a good grip on a bolt. With the heat, I don''t think it was mentioned, try heating the strut, not the bolt so that the strut expands and loosens the bolt. Also if the heat alone doesn''t work, you could try heating it up and then whacking the bolt heads to help shock them free. Good luck.')

Link to comment
Share on other sites

before reinstalling 'em, put some anti-seize compound on the threads. I did that on my '69 when installing new Bilsteins back about 1994, and those bolts came out slick as could be in 2008 when I re-did the front suspension bushings.

Also while you have the bolts out, clean out all the rust in the little compartment that holds the ball joint fastening nut, and pack it with wheel bearing grease. Then the ball joint will come out (more) easily when you have to replace it.

Oh--and don't cheat and use something other than those special bolts with safety wire--you really don't want the strut parting company with the lower control arm while you're driving...

mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

well . . . . might as well use a tiny DREMEL

cutting wheel to remove the 3-screw heads so you can

properly restore the strut. Once the steering arm/ball joint

is seperated from the bottom of the strut tube, you need to clean up

the mating surfaces with a file till true mating surfaces

are made. They willbe RUSTED BADLY! Order 6 new special screws. Clean and paint the strut tubes.

replace the tie rods and lower ball joints! if you don't your

wasting time. order new lower control arms with the rubber

bushings from BMW. Yours are wasted and bent. Your alignment

will improve 100% with the new parts instead of keeping anything old

during this 'repair'. You cannot adjust old tie rods either because of the seized threads or the play inside the ends which you cannot

feel - but alignment equipment can measure.

Search out Bill Williams excellent front axle over haul in his blog

for detailed photos.

02steeringstrutbearings.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone. I suppose the plan now is to try to disconnect the tie rods (new, along with center link, as of 6 months ago) and remove the control arm with the pitman, ball joint, and strut still assembled? Then take the pieces apart from there. The ball joints have been on the car since I bought it (2.5 years ago) but still look very good.

And yeah, I guess I should go ahead and swap the control arms as well. I've got a urethane bushing kit laying around that needs to be used.

I'm afraid of of using heat at this point because it has already been soaking for a few days. Plus, my old motor seems to have oil all over it.

Thanks Bob for the info on penetrating oils....that's one more thing to help get this done.

Michael

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Anonymous

one approach for removing the special safety wire bolts at the bottom of the strut is modifying a deep six point socket on a grinder. Make the end 1/4" or so 'thinwall.' Thin enough to fit to the bottom of the head of the bolt, but not too thin to crack when torque is applied. Bad, unsafe procedure is to put this modified socket on the bolt head, then use an impact driver to nudge it loose. Very dangerous and not recommended but can be done by carefully burping the impact tool. You can of course do it safetly with a breaker bar. Of course if the head was totally destroyed by previous attempts you need CD's procedure of lopping the head off with a dremel tool.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.
With your permission we and our partners may use precise geolocation data and identification through device scanning. You may click to consent to our and our partners’ processing as described above. Alternatively you may access more detailed information and change your preferences before consenting or to refuse consenting. Please note that some processing of your personal data may not require your consent, but you have a right to object to such processing. Your preferences will apply to this website only. You can change your preferences at any time by returning to this site or visit our privacy policy.