How To: Swap Front Suspension

by | September 14, 2014 10:25 pm

This is a quick write up describing the front suspension update I did for my 2003 Spyder.  Basically, 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.  Those parts resided in boxes on the shelves in my garage until a few days ago.  These 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:
Obligatory before shot of the goods:
Largely unnecessary step but I did it out of habit, I think all three could be removed without issue up front:
Remove the upper ABS wiring bracket bolt (10mm):
Remove the lower ABS wiring bracket bolt (10mm):
Remove the brake line bolt (12mm):
Remove the two big strut bolts (19mm):
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:
From here, the strut assembly can be removed by carefully maneuvering around the ABS wire:
At this point your goals and mine might differ.  I was reusing bits of my original assembly to make use of a lower mileage strut and spring that I had on the shelf.  So the following is only necessary if you’re doing something similar.
Removing the grease cap from the strut:
Removing the strut nut (19mm):
Pop goes the weasel:
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:
*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:
Using a normal strut spring compressor tool rented from Advance Auto to compress the front spring enough for assembly (19mm):
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:
From here the assembly goes back in the car in the reverse of how it came out.  Rinse and repeat for the other side.

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