How To: Swap Front Suspension

This is a quick write up describing the front suspension update I did for my 2003 Spyder. ┬áBasically, some years back when I owned a 2001 Spyder, I purchased a set of struts and springs on the cheap from another owner who swapped out to a Sportivo setup when his 2002 car only had 15k miles on it. ┬áThose parts resided in boxes on the shelves in my garage until a few days ago. ┬áThese are their stories…
First thing is to remove the plastic cover from up front.  10mm ratcheting wrench for the four bucket bolts and a pry tool for those plastic clip thingies:
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After:
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Obligatory before shot of the goods:
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Largely unnecessary step but I did it out of habit, I think all three could be removed without issue up front:
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Remove the upper ABS wiring bracket bolt (10mm):
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Remove the lower ABS wiring bracket bolt (10mm):
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Remove the brake line bolt (12mm):
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Remove the two big strut bolts (19mm):
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At this point I reached up and removed the last of the upper nuts pictured above. I use a pry bar from a manual tire changing machine to force the lower control arm down enough to separate the hub from the strut:
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From here, the strut assembly can be removed by carefully maneuvering around the ABS wire:
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At this point your goals and mine might differ. ┬áI was reusing bits of my original assembly to make use of a lower mileage strut and spring that I had on the shelf. ┬áSo the following is only necessary if you’re doing something similar.
Removing the grease cap from the strut:
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Removing the strut nut (19mm):
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Pop goes the weasel:
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Parts that come from the cup bit from a front strut setup.  The triangle looking thing has the studs as well as a roller bearing doodad in the middle, the metal cup just sits on the rubber donut and is pressed against the roller bearing:
suspension-45.jpg
*It is worth noting that at this point I used brake cleaner and my air compressor to clean up these parts and remove any old grease prior to repacking the reused bearing.
What I hadn’t kept in mind was that there is a grease seal that rides beneath the bearing and the metal cup that sits directly over the spring. Since I don’t plan on keeping this setup indefinitely, I just whipped up a rubber seal out of two pieces cut from an old motorcycle innertube:
suspension-46.jpg
Using a normal strut spring compressor tool rented from Advance Auto to compress the front spring enough for assembly (19mm):
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From here, I put the bump stop on, slipped the compressed spring over the strut and carefully placed the donut/metal cup/innertube bits/bearing triangle on top and threaded down the strut nut (still 19mm). Once the strut nut is fully on, I just loosened the spring compressors until they could be removed:
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From here the assembly goes back in the car in the reverse of how it came out.  Rinse and repeat for the other side.

This documentation in no way replaces the Toyota MR2 Repair Manuals. The purpose of this content is only to provide supplementary information to fellow MR2 enthusiasts. Midship Runabout and its contributing authors will not be held responsible for any injury or damages that may occur as the result of practicing any of the methods or procedures described within this website. Article and photo submissions are property of the contributing author.


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