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5/28/11 4:43pm - Original Message: 'Coil Spring Compressor?'
daveo76
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Vancouver, WA - USA

Vette(s):
1976 Silver/Firethorn. L48, 4spd. Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.

Joined: 8/25/2005
Posts: 831
Hey guys, what kind of front coil spring compressor do we need to use with our cars?  My ultimate objective is to get them out, along with the A-arms etc.  New springs going in as well as all new bushings on the arms, sway bar, tie rod ends, etc.  

Autozone fixed me up with this one:


It doesn't appear as if this kind that goes through the interior of the spring is going to work - no way to get it in there or out if you're installing new springs.  I'm assuming I'll need to use the type that clamps on to the outside?  I've heard that those can be a bit dangerousOuch - is there a safe type or method to use?  


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1976 Silver/Firethorn.  L48, 4spd.  Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.
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5/28/11 6:37pm - Reply: 'Coil Spring Compressor?'
rod7515 Lifetime Member
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Red Lion, PA - USA

Vette(s):
1974 White 350 Corvette, TH400 Automatic 1972 Tangerine /Go Mango Convertible 383 Stroker, 2004r Automatic

Joined: 10/27/2006
Posts: 1172
Thats what I used when I did mine. Just be careful when you do them. Take your time and make sure you have the compressor solid on the coils.
Rodney


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5/28/11 7:52pm - Reply: 'Coil Spring Compressor?'
ebo Lifetime Member
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Holland Patent, NY - USA

Vette(s):
#1 *1980 White, Red interior 14,000 mile #2 *1980 Red, Oyster interior 93,000 miles Resto project car, rebuilt to 383 stroker

Joined: 6/3/2008
Posts: 4395

Once you have the spring compressed take some chain and wrap it around the spring and bolt it together. In case the spring compressor get bumped or dropped and comes loose the chain will keep it compressed. Once out and it looks secure remove chain and carefully loosen compressor tool. I would use the chain to put new ones back in also just takes a minute and is a good safety plan. Make sure the spring ends are seated properly in the pockets rotate until they are in place against the formed stop in the A frame. Just go slow and easy......

Evil Smileebo



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Evil Smileebo
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5/29/11 10:25am - Reply: 'Coil Spring Compressor?'
daveo76
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Vancouver, WA - USA

Vette(s):
1976 Silver/Firethorn. L48, 4spd. Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.

Joined: 8/25/2005
Posts: 831
Thanks guys.  Good suggestion about the chain.  I was wondering if I can do it without using a spring compressor?  Put an extended jack under the lower arm, break the upper ball joint loose, and then slowly and carefully lower the jack so all tension is off the spring?  Installation would be the reverse: install the spring and then jack up the lower arm to connect the steering knuckle to the upper ball joint.  Could you use the chain idea to secure the spring to the frame to prevent it from flying out if something went wrong?  

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1976 Silver/Firethorn.  L48, 4spd.  Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.
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5/29/11 11:35am - Reply: 'Coil Spring Compressor?'
rod7515 Lifetime Member
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Red Lion, PA - USA

Vette(s):
1974 White 350 Corvette, TH400 Automatic 1972 Tangerine /Go Mango Convertible 383 Stroker, 2004r Automatic

Joined: 10/27/2006
Posts: 1172
Dave, I would not recommend removing the spring without the use of the compressor. Although I know it could be done it is risky and not worth the chance of getting hurt. That spring is under alot of pressure. Once its apart and you try pushing it down to compress it you will understand how much power a spring really has. Dont take the risk! The spring compressor you showed will work great. Just be careful.
Rodney


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5/29/11 2:22pm - Reply: 'Coil Spring Compressor?'
yostusota
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York, PA - USA

Vette(s):
1969 daytona conv. all original 350 350 380 4 sp w/air..and hard top

Joined: 5/18/2010
Posts: 1518
Dave I have never used a spring compressor going in or out..there is no tension at all when you drop the arm the whole way down..just pop it out..to put them in I use a pry bar on the lower part of the spring and fit it in the pocket..then jack it up with the floor jack..easier with a five year old to pump the jack though! He does good work..

Rich

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5/30/11 1:15am - Reply: 'Coil Spring Compressor?'
daveo76
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Vancouver, WA - USA

Vette(s):
1976 Silver/Firethorn. L48, 4spd. Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.

Joined: 8/25/2005
Posts: 831
Thanks, guys.  Rich, when you say "drop the arm all the way down" is that with both ball joints still connected to the steering knuckle?  I'm not sure how to "pop it out" in that case -- still seems like there is load on the spring.  I gotta come clean here: I've already got the driver's side spring out but I don't think the way I did it was perfectly safe.  (I'm OK though).  I got everything ready to the point where I was going to use the compressor and when it didn't fit I broke the upper ball joint loose with a pickle fork.  Of course that caused the lower control arm to shoot down, taking the steering knuckle with it.   It didn't do any damage (to me or parts) but in hindsight I should have put a jack under the arm such that it was extended enough to allow unloading the spring slowly with the jack hydraulics.  Also in hindsight, I should have put a chain on that spring to keep it from flying out.  But it's out now and both arms are off and ready to get new bushings and ball joints.  

I'm not sure which method I'll use for the other side - I'll borrow one of those side spring compressors from Autozone if I feel like it's going to be safer than the jack method, but I've heard that they can fly off and become a hazard by themselves.  



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1976 Silver/Firethorn.  L48, 4spd.  Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.
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5/30/11 5:24am - Reply: 'Coil Spring Compressor?'
yostusota
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York, PA - USA

Vette(s):
1969 daytona conv. all original 350 350 380 4 sp w/air..and hard top

Joined: 5/18/2010
Posts: 1518
Holy#@#&&##&!!!!! Your lucky you didn't have something under there!!! Yeah without a jack under the lower arm the whole assembly will fly down like a rocket..ok square one..jack up car under frame..put jack stands under frame..remove wheel..remove caliper and hang with coat hanger or bungee chord..put jack under a arm..remove shock ..remove upper ball joint nut..hit upper knuckle to release upper ball joint..now slowly lower a arm with jack..about 5 inches..remove lower a arm nut..hit lower spindle to release ball joint..remove knuckle assembly..lower a arm the rest of the way..remove spring..I don't own a pickle fork..all they do is damage the ball joint boots..that could have been a really bad day if you would have had your leg under there..next time pm me and we can talk it thru..springs can be dangerous ..but only if we let them be that way..glad your ok.


Rich

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My first parade at Carlisle 2010
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5/30/11 8:34am - Reply: 'Coil Spring Compressor?'
rod7515 Lifetime Member
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Red Lion, PA - USA

Vette(s):
1974 White 350 Corvette, TH400 Automatic 1972 Tangerine /Go Mango Convertible 383 Stroker, 2004r Automatic

Joined: 10/27/2006
Posts: 1172
Be careful when letting the jack down if you decide to go without a compressor. The pressure on the lower arm can push the jack out from under the arm. This can lead to the spring coming down. Springs always make me nervous! Good luck!
Rodney


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5/30/11 11:28am - Reply: 'Coil Spring Compressor?'
kstyer Lifetime Member
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CUYAHOGA FALLS, OH - USA

Vette(s):
1975 C3 Red, T-Tops, Black Interior. All I need is time and money! Getting there!

Joined: 12/2/2003
Posts: 6410
The compressor is the safest way to go.  But done carefully you don't need it.   I often do springs without them.     If you chose to do so , put a prybar up through the spring to keep it in place.  A long bar (or pipe) through the control arm and spring will prevent it from flying out.  You can take the lower ball joint out,  AND the control arm piviot bar loose if the control are won't give you enough relief after you lower it on a good jack.   Usually this is not necessary.
 
For not having some equipment, and not being experienced, I still recommend the spring compressor.     The new spring installation can be easy.    Take them to a spring shop and have them banded.  The compress the springs, and use steel straps to hold them.  Then you can put everything in place fairly easily, and with some pressure on the spring to be sure they are seated, cut the bands.   Works very well.   Be sure they don't band the top and bottom coil so you can get the bands out when cut.
 
I have only banded springs twice.  But I have done many springs over the years.  Compressors are good.  Whatever you chose, be safe.  A run away spring can mame or kill.
kstyer2011-05-30 09:31:52

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5/31/11 12:05am - Reply: 'Coil Spring Compressor?'
daveo76
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Vancouver, WA - USA

Vette(s):
1976 Silver/Firethorn. L48, 4spd. Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.

Joined: 8/25/2005
Posts: 831
Thanks for all the advice, folks.  Lots of good advice out there, and different opinions.  Bottom line: I have to decide what is safe for me.   Probably leaning towards using a jack (with the casters well chocked) to drop the lower arm for the other side disassembly.  I like the idea of banding the springs for the install, too.  Might check into that.  

So...next question: any way to get the old bushings out of and new ones in to the arms without a press?  There's a good alignment shop near here that I'm probably going to take them to, but just wanted to check to see if there was some other method.  Doesn't look like it from the research I've done so far....


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1976 Silver/Firethorn.  L48, 4spd.  Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.
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5/31/11 7:14pm - Reply: 'Coil Spring Compressor?'
Jeffm Gold Member
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Sebago Lake, ME - USA

Vette(s):
1978 Silver Anniversary L82 4spd (M21) Red Leather. -1978 Pace Car L82 4spd (M21) 20k miles.

Joined: 2/15/2007
Posts: 962
I did the bushings on both my cars. If you're repainting the control arms you can burn the rubber out with a torch. Or drill out the rubber enough to get a sawsall or hack saw blade blade in there to cut the metal sleeve just enough to break it by beating it with hammer and screwdriver or chisel. Penetrating oil helps if rusty. Burning makes a mess. worst than tracking grease in the house on your feet. The first time I took mine to a body shop to have them pressed in, but they didn't fit in their press so they hammered them in. Either way you need something between to support the arms from bending in. I used a piece of 1 1/2" PVC cut to length. Ran it through a table saw to cut out enough to slip it over the cross bars. A large 1/2" drive socket that fits sung over the rubber part of the bushing works good for hammering them in. I did rubber so I don't know if poly would be the same.
I put my springs back in with a section of 5/8" threaded rod up through the shock mount hole. A couple of short blocks of hardwood crisscrossed on the bottom with washers and nuts. Some aftermarket springs are shorter and go in with no help at all.


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6/1/11 12:08am - Reply: 'Coil Spring Compressor?'
daveo76
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Vancouver, WA - USA

Vette(s):
1976 Silver/Firethorn. L48, 4spd. Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.

Joined: 8/25/2005
Posts: 831
Yeah, I read that you can burn out the rubber with a torch and I actually tried that but it took a lot longer than I thought it would (with little progress) so I stopped.  I think drilling out most of the rubber and then burning the rest out will be the way to go - I'll try that next.  Thanks for the other tips on removal and installation, too.  Glad to hear that you successfully used PVC for the support.  I was thinking I'd need to use galvanized pipe but PVC would probably be just as good and a whole lot easier to cut.  

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1976 Silver/Firethorn.  L48, 4spd.  Original 2 bolt, vortec heads, 9.4:1 CR, Speed Pro Cam: 224/224@0.050, 112 LSA, Eagle Steel Crank.
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6/3/11 10:55am - Reply: 'Coil Spring Compressor?'
anips
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sonoma, CA - USA

Vette(s):
72 LT-1 AC coupe,69 l-36 coupe

Joined: 8/9/2002
Posts: 783
as far as the spring comp. I used the int. comp. with the chain without any problem in or out, as far as the bushing the easiest way is to press them in or out if you have a press or take em to a shop  and have em done before you paint em up. 

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