Suspension Front LCA rebuild **FAIL**

JohnG

Member
Mar 21, 2020
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19
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I had made plans to replace the bushings in my front LCAs this weekend. Did not go as planned. Spring compressors will not work and the spring did not just "pop out" like using lowering springs do. I tried to separate the spindle from the ball joint. It said no. Then I tried to separate the tie rod end and leave the spindle with the LCA. Again, no dice. The separator tool got spread out while trying the ball joint and would not grip on the tie rod end. Bummer. I read online about how to take the inner bolts out and drop the arm by the inside. I had the bolts out and it was looking quite dicey. And my jack was not the best. It would leak down slowly and cause binds while I was trying to get other things sorted out. So, I decided to cut my losses and put it all back together instead of going to the ER. I did buy new struts and sway bar links. So, they went in without issue. Then I went to the other side to put in the new strut and link. The new strut was defective. The instructions stated to do a twist on the shaft and it will extend under pressure. The first one worked fine, the other side was stuck. Did not extend and was tough to turn. I bought all the parts from Rock Auto. I will try to source one locally tomorrow and ship the defective one back. Has anyone else had issues with RA quality? The cheap price is quickly forgotten when I have to take it all apart a second time.

So, does anyone have experience swapping LCAs while using the stock/factory springs?

Anyone in the San Antonio area who needs a case of free beer?

I am considering buying a new pair, instead of rebuilding my original ones, and having a shop install them. I replaced my ball joints about 10 years ago, and aside from the boots being all torn up, they feel tight. New LCA assemblies will come with new ball joints.

So, after a long day, I have little to show for it, and more than a little pissed.
 
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96pushrod

I think they're a little easier to get off
May 15, 2018
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if you can get a good jack underneath, the stock springs will come out if you pull everything apart minus the lca bolts. You’ll need a pry bar to get the spring the rest of the way out. I always pull the struts off the spindle, but usually leave the spindle on the lca.

Putting it in once you get it back out is the real bitch, stock height springs suck royally to put back. I’ve never had a spring compressor that works all that well on the fronts. What I’ve discovered actually works quite well is to use a pair of spring compressors to compress the spring outside of the car, then tie it down with a couple straps (the ones you pull to Tighten). It’ll hold the spring while it’s bound up to get you get it in the perch. Then you can release it once it’s together somewhat and pull the straps out.

As far as replacement struts go, spend a little extra and get something like the kyb ones if you’re staying on a budget.
 

nickyb

WAIT,you now have a pair?
10 Year Member
Apr 3, 2009
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I did mine a few year s back,it was a bitch getting stock springs back in with rent a tool compressor.
I drilled out old rotted bushings and left the shells then put in prothane bushings.
 

Bullitt347

I have been doing it wrong this whole time
15 Year Member
Mar 23, 2007
2,811
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Or you could do this:
1647775369512.png


Just a bunch of zip ties...Lol
 

vristang

15 Year Member
Mar 31, 2005
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Lmao, you guys are crazy!

In the past I’ve used the plate style compressor above, and the type that compresses from the outside of the spring.

I recently found this thing on Amazon for my coil overs. Best compressor I’ve used…
Shankly Spring Compressor Tool (2 Pieces) - Heavy Duty Build, Ultra Rugged Coil Spring Compressor, Strong and Durable Spring Compressor with Safety Guard and Carrying Case Amazon product
View: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071DQJG24/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_TS5JZHYXWDXS5E81GGFB?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
 

limp

wrap a little cheese around it and its a done
Oct 4, 2020
2,962
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The few times I have used a spring compressor I constantly think of the power being stored in it and what would happen if the compressor broke...
 

JohnG

Member
Mar 21, 2020
36
19
18
Thanks guys. I appreciate the compressor suggestions. This Mustang is not the only one I have, so whatever I buy should also work in my 1965, along with other makes I currently have in inventory. The tie wrap solution looks a little dicey. The hose clamp solution looks a little better, but I think a real spring compressor would be safest. I live alone, so if I took a spring in the forehead, it would be a while before help came. The Macpherson strut spring compressors don't work because the coils on my springs are too thick and too close together.
 
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JohnG

Member
Mar 21, 2020
36
19
18
UPDATE, with some good news!!!

No Hospital bills

Last weekend I gave it a try. I bought the above mentioned spring compressor, the kind which fits on the outside of the spring. I was able to drop the ball-joint side of the control arm and get the spring out, but it looked dicey.
I pressed out the old bushings and pressed in the new ones. You do have to put a spacer between the walls of the control arm to keep them from collapsing. All went well. I used a shim to keep the larger bushing from being pressed in to far, but had to test fit and adjust several times to get it right.
Getting the spring in was a bit more of a challenge, since the outside spring compressors were always in the way of the A-Arm. I even made my own internal spring compressor, which was moderately useful, but still questionable and dicey. I ended up jacking the rear of the control arm up into place. Things did not want to cooperate. Needless to say, it was a big pain in the rear. It fought me for hours. I even used the external spring compressors to pull between the top of the spring and under the A-Arm sides. It was a major pain.
All in all, it took me a day to get it all apart, and another day to press the bushings and put it back together.
Yesterday, I tackled the driver's side, and had the whole job done in about 10 hours, at the same time helping a friend change the lower struts on his 2016 Mustang GT. On this side, I went and dropped the inside of the A-Arm first off, and that went easily. Press the old ones out and new ones in. Then, I had an idea. I took out the 2 bolts which hold the strut to the spindle, dropped the spindle down 3" and put 1 bolt back. Then, jacked the A-Arm back into position. The extra 3" may have made the difference. It went together very easily. After it was in and bolted loosely, I reset the spindle-to-strut bolts. I could not believe how easy the driver's side went compared to the passenger's side. I did not even need a spring compressor. The biggest pain was inserting and torquing the inner bolts.

I highly suggest this method to anyone attempting this repair.

Now, off to the alignment shop.
 
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Gs1987GT

Active Member
Sep 25, 2019
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Working with stock springs, when I rebuilt my front and rear suspensions a few years ago, (front new struts, springs, lower control arms, inner and outer tie rod ends, new sway bar bushings and end links,) the easiest and most safe way to do the spring replacement was to start by placing a Jack under the lower control arm and removing the two inner lca bolts, then lowering the lca to the ground and removing the spring. I disconnected the sway bar end links first of course. I also broke the ball joint nut loose and backed it off a few turns so I could break the ball joint stud free from the spindle before I removed the two rear lca bolts.

I bought new stock LCAs from lmr. Then connected the new lca to the spindle with the ballpoint stud and nut on several turns, then seated the spring with new insulators in its upper perch and jacked the LCA up until you can get the two rear LCA bolts in. Then you can set final torque on the ball joint and LCA bolts.

With the ball joint connected first the spring is captured and cannot fly out the front if something slips.

I did need my son to work the Jack for me however, so it's not a one man job and it take some good drifts and such to get the rear LCA bolt holes lined up. However if you have a good sturdy Jack and a good helper I think this is the best way to get the work done.

I couldn't find a spring compressor that would work for me so this was the best option for me. Still a royal pita no matter what. I'm glad it's done.
 
Last edited:

LX1993

Active Member
Jan 4, 2018
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Tighten the spring compressor as much as possible. Chain inner coils on two sides of spring. Put MMS tool (genius) on control arm, jack strut end into place. Bolt cutter & pry bar to get chain out.