The front left strut assembly is shot on my stepson’s 95 Tercel DX. How hard will it be for a novice like me to fix it? What do I need to watch out for, and do I need to rent some sort of compression tool to attach the shock? I will be tearing into it this afternoon, and I’m afraid by this evening I’ll be in my usual state of drunken auto repair frustration, not to be confused with my state of drunken washing machine repair frustration, which is what happened a couple of nights ago.
[b]If it has a strut/spring combination assembly, you’ll need a strut spring compressor of some sort in order to replace the strut.
If you can get the strut and spring as a single unit, the job is fisrly straight foward. But you will have to have the front end aligned as the camber and toe out will be changed. The caster should also be checked to make sure assembly was done correctly.
As Tester stated if you just want to change the strut, you will need a spring compressor to disassemble the strut. You might check with a parts store that specializes in suspension parts which might be able to transfer the spring to the new strut. When the spring is off make sure the upper bearing is checked and renewed if necessary
Hope that helps
You might be better off trying to find what are called “Quick Struts”. These are complete assemblies and much easier to change out.
It can be pointed out that strut repair can be very dangerous, even fatal, if you’re not careful with that spring which is under tremendous pressure when compressed.
I saw a spring come loose in the shop once (by a guy who knew what he was doing also) and that spring bounced off the high ceiling and hit the wall on the far side of the shop.
Luckily, it missed him and a number of parked vehicles.
There is a lot of similarity in the front end of the 95 and the 86 models, in fact most parts can interchange. I’m considering upgrading the 86 wagons brakes with 93 Paseo calipers and rotors.
The like here is the saga of disassembling my struts, gutting them and putting in cartridges, with pictures.
BTW, the spring compressors I used only cost about $10, but they are time consuming to use. I highly recommend the KYB strut cartridges, they are great.
Monroe makes quick struts with the spring already on it, at about 160 bucks each. If you like spending and not working, this is the way. You have to jack both sides of the car up, then change one at a time. The sway bar props up the side you are changing so you won’t have to jack the control arm far. You might not even have to use a jack if a pry bar will do.
If Monroe says to drill the mount holes larger and tells you the size, you may have to go one size bigger than that. The reason is because the drill doesn’t always center itself well. A half inch drill body may be necessary if you have to go to seven sixteenths and you don’t have a stepped drill.