Q: Front Spring Removal
How do I remove my front springs? Do I need a spring compressor and/or other equipment?
A: Hey guys, I was a technician and did a lot of front end work, and never needed a spring compressor on a GM F car (first gen) or GM A car (second gen – 68-72) unless it was too much spring. The spring can relax to the point where you can jockey it out with a prybar (very big!), and pop it back in with a push from the heels of both feet (spring needs to be lined up well at bottom). Spring compressors get in the way, unless you get the one that goes inside the spring with each end having 2 hinged hooks. I can’t remember who makes that one though!
A: Once I figured out how to finagle the compressor up through the lower control arm and adequately compress the spring, it was all very easy after that. The second side went much faster than the first. Safety was my prime motivator here, that’s why I used the chain. I’m not sure I like the idea of fooling with that spring the way you describe. I’d sure hate to see it jump out and tear someone up. I’m sure there might of been an easier way of doing it the way I did, but you weren’t around last year. 🙂 The local parts store “rented” the spring compressor to me for free for the weekend.
A: With all that i ll tell you a short story about springs. While a friend was doing a frame off resto to a certain triple black 1968 400 convert. ( see the calander shot someone sent in) he was removing the front springs and one got away from him…. It landed on the nextdoor neighbors roof!!! Keep in mind that a compressed spring has alot of stored energy I like to use a floor jack to help and also throw a heavy blanket over the spring until its complety uncompressed.
A: I have been busy for a while, and actually am still busy, but I wanted to respond to this one. Be very careful with this method!!! I tried it on my Catalina over the summer, and it worked great till when I put the spring back in. I actually used a spring compressor for the job, but I had the frame on jack stands, and the jack under the control arm. Slowly jacked the control arm until I could attach the night for the ball joint…didn’t realize the car was being jacked up, not the control arm. Promptly dropped a two ton car in the driveway. Only thing bruised was my ego.
Be very careful. In my case, the combination of the spring and the location of the jack caused the whole car to lift, not the control arm. Thought I would pass that hard learned lesson on.
A: To put your coils back in you have two options (both require compressing them).
Warning: You must use a safety device like chains to keep an accidental release from killing, maming or destroying someone (maybe youself). I am not the source of safety, so read up on safety somewhere else.
That being said, here are the options:
Utilizing a spring compressor (the type that goes in the middle of the spring), simply compress it and then place it between the “A” arms. Bolt up the ball joints an you are done.
The spindle must already be bolted in place to the upper ball joint. Put the uncompressed spring in place. Jack up the lower A-arm slowly, using the weight of the vehicle to compress the spring. Carefully bolt in the lower ball joint.
Finish up with tie rod ends, etc and you are done. Bye the way, once upon a time, I used the wrong type of spring compressor when removing a spring (a cheapo third world country job). In the process, the compressor bolt broke. Fortunately, I had tied everything up with aircraft cable and chains. When the compressor broke, the spring did not fly out, but it did slam the A-Arm into the concrete and put a deep gouge in the floor of my brand new garage. Safety is oohhhh sooo important….
A: On another note. A few months ago some of you were discussing the best method of removing the front springs. My mechanic neighbor told me how he does it but I wanted to try it before I reported to you all. Well I did it the other day and it went great. No special tools or spring compressors are needed. I don’t think that it is any more dangerous than any other method. First remove the wheel, drum/disk assy., brake line, shock and cotter pins. The car should be jacked up as high as possible so you will have all of the ground clearance you can get. Loosen the upper and lower ball joint castle nuts but leave them threaded on completely. This is where it gets weird-but works. Use a small sledge hammer to deliver a few brisk strikes to the ball joint knuckle casting (don’t know what the correct name for this is.) The ball joint should just pop loose because of the spring pressure. I suppose that after a few hits if it doesn’t work you should use a fork to separate the joint so you don’t crack the casting. Use this method until both the upper and lower ball joints are loose. Once this is done then place a floor jack under the lower A-arm, jack it up enough so that you can remove the lower castle nut then with a chain wrapped around the spring and frame (for safety) lower the A-arm until the spring falls out. Installation is reverse of removal. Please let me know if this is a bad method because it is the only time that I have done it.
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Content last modified: January 20, 2014 at 9:40 pm