Coil Spring Compressor Question - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old May 17th, 07, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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Coil Spring Compressor Question

I'm in the process of changing out the front coil springs in my 68 Coupe.....I have the passenger side spring out already.....It wasn't too hard however the lower control arm hung up on the left side as I was lowering the floor jack and had to give it a little tap with the sledge hammer......It's a good thing I had that spring tied with a chain around the control arm because when I tapped it, the spring let loose with a little force then it dropped!.....I have one of those internal spring compressors and my question is will I be able to compress the spring enough to fit it between the spring seats with the control arm bolted to the frame?......It seems that the distance between the upper and lower seats is around 12 inches or so, with the control arm bolted up, and the free height of the spring is 16 inches.....I believe it would be alot easier if I can fully compress the spring between the seats and would make the control arm easier to bolt up
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old May 17th, 07, 11:36 PM
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Re: Coil Spring Compressor Question

I have an internal spring compressor and had to cut it to be able to use it, but it may still help.
An easier way I found is to sit the extended spring onto the lower control arm and into the seat in the spring housing, and use a floor jack to raise the arm until the ball joint and stub-axle meet and you can thread the nut on.
This is only possible on a complete car and not a relatively bare subframe which is not heavy enough (unless you chain it down like I once did!).

Nov 68 Van Nuys. 327 floor-shift-auto, Frost Green and not much else when new.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old May 18th, 07, 08:15 AM
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Re: Coil Spring Compressor Question

I took a bar of all thread, cut a couple thick metal plates, one upper one lower, pulled out the shocks, put a chain around the spring, I then attached the all thread the the bottom plate and pulled it up through the upper control arm, installed upper plate, put a couple of nuts on the tip and began to tighten them to release the ball joint, then backed them off. put back together the same way. It took me a bout 3 minutes per side! Oh, yeah, you have to drill holes for the all thread in the plates and retain them with a nut

69 x-11..LS1, 420.88 horse to the tires,750 Holley Ultra DP, Torquer V2, darksides headers, PRC heads, 10.8:1 compression, forged bottom end, 5 speed. 2008 King Ranch F150 4x4.

Last edited by trex70; May 18th, 07 at 08:15 AM. Reason: misspelled word
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old May 18th, 07, 08:46 AM
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Re: Coil Spring Compressor Question

You should be able to compress the spring enough. Put the spring in a vice to compress it. It is a pain, but patience helps. When you relace the spring, make sure it is seated correctly in the upper pocket. Swing the lower control arm under it and hold it there with a floor jack. Then carefully take the tenson off the compressor. Fully unscrew the compressor bolt and work the jaws out of the shock hole in the lower arm. It is possible, but takes patence and time. Most of all - be safe
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old May 18th, 07, 10:11 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Coil Spring Compressor Question

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Originally Posted by Dynawolf View Post
You should be able to compress the spring enough. Put the spring in a vice to compress it. It is a pain, but patience helps. When you relace the spring, make sure it is seated correctly in the upper pocket. Swing the lower control arm under it and hold it there with a floor jack. Then carefully take the tenson off the compressor. Fully unscrew the compressor bolt and work the jaws out of the shock hole in the lower arm. It is possible, but takes patence and time. Most of all - be safe

Yes, this is the exact procedure I'm doing however I'm finding it a little difficult to correctly seat the spring in the upper pocket because it's hard to see up there!!.....And yes, the spring was a pain but I did compress it down on the vise.....Is there an easy way to determine whether the spring is seated properly such as making a reference point on the outside of the shock tower and the coil spring?......How did you do it?
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old May 18th, 07, 11:47 AM
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Re: Coil Spring Compressor Question

Ron, I felt the upper pocket with my fingers to find the place where the edge of the coil is supposed to sit. It is sort of a depression that is obviously where the end of the spring fits. I then marked the outside of the pocket with a paint pen and market the spring about halfway with a paint pen. Then, I knew the spring was seated if the two marks were approximately lined up.

Another way to tell is to rotate the spring in the pocket. It kinda catches when it is seated correctly.

Also, if you get aftermarket lowering/performance springs, they go in easier because they are shorter before they compress.

Good luck
-Rob
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old May 18th, 07, 08:49 PM
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Re: Coil Spring Compressor Question

i did it like blackoutsteve did............only with just the engine on the subframe......i put a 4x4 up to the beam in my garage to hold the frame down..........worked like a charm.......no spring compressor needed. i've done several vehicles that way.

Joe

69 Z-28 Fathom Green />93 Z-28 Pace Car/>86 Corvette...Red
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old May 18th, 07, 09:44 PM
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Re: Coil Spring Compressor Question

Good stuff!
I wrapped a chain around my bare subframe (& heaps of rags) and slung it low enough to support the jack.
I found that the spring compressors just don't compress enough to fit the springs "text-book" style.

Nov 68 Van Nuys. 327 floor-shift-auto, Frost Green and not much else when new.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old May 19th, 07, 09:50 AM
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Re: Coil Spring Compressor Question

The shop that did mine had me go to a spring service and get the springs compressed and banded. They band them from the second coil from the top to the second coil from the bottom. This allows you to set them in place according to the assembly manual then tighten everything up and cut the bands. It cost me 20 bucks. Saved a ton of labour at the shop as well. Also safety was an issue.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old May 19th, 07, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Coil Spring Compressor Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dynawolf View Post
Ron, I felt the upper pocket with my fingers to find the place where the edge of the coil is supposed to sit. It is sort of a depression that is obviously where the end of the spring fits. I then marked the outside of the pocket with a paint pen and market the spring about halfway with a paint pen. Then, I knew the spring was seated if the two marks were approximately lined up.

Another way to tell is to rotate the spring in the pocket. It kinda catches when it is seated correctly.

Also, if you get aftermarket lowering/performance springs, they go in easier because they are shorter before they compress.

Good luck
-Rob

Rob.....My car was a project when purchased and the front end sat up way too high!!.....After removing the old springs, I discovered they weren't even the correct height springs for my application!.....They had a free height of 17 1/4 inches where the correct springs are a little over 16 inches and on top of that, they weren't even seated properly!!......I'm using stock OEM "Moog" springs, #6312......But yes, the reference marks are a must when installing springs.....I have the passenger side completed and it really helps when you have the spring fully compressed upon installation, the bolt holes on the control arm line right up easily!!......One thing I noticed though, the installed spring doesn't appear to be straight, it appears to be sort of arched or curved at the top, is this normal?
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