First time DIY strut replacement and more. Need advice from experienced folk


#1

I’m replacing all 4 struts on my 2007 Accord LX. First issue I have is what struts to buy. I browsed around a little and found people mentioning the Monroe Quick strut assembly (part# 172123L on Monroe’s website would be an example). I’m not sure if I should go for that one or just the OESpectrum strut (Monroe part# 72123). Which would be better for the car in the long run? Any positive or negative feedback from people that personally installed and used either? Additionally, any helpful installation advice or tips will be appreciated.

I’ve never replaced rotors or brake pads before, but I’ll be doing that for the first time as well. I have spoken with a few people that have said it’s easy, and I’m confident I should be able to get through it without much issue. With these I’m more so looking for recommendations as far as which pads & rotors I should purchase. I think I don’t wanna cheap out on these since I have the tendency to drive too fast too often.

Just to give a little background on me and my tech expertise. I’m a mechanical engineer and like taking stuff apart and putting it together. Haven’t been able to do much with my car until now due to not having the time, but now that I do, I’m all in. I’m just very cautious when it comes to my car, I really need it intact (and functioning) for that hour commute to work.


#2

The most dangerous part of strut replacement is compressing and changing the spring. If not done right, it can come loose from the spring compressor and cause great bodily harm. I’ve never used the all in one version but it avoids changing the spring and also gives you all new parts so theoretically it should put it back to like new condition. Can’t speak for the Monroe quality though.

Suggestion would be to get a shop manual if you haven’t already and read all the steps involved to make sure you are comfortable with it. On brakes, don’t forget to open the bleed screw when pushing the caliper back so you don’t send the old fluid up into the ABS system. Its not always in the books.


#3

If you are doing this kind of work for the first time, quick struts are the way to go and much safer. I have read a lot of complaints about Monroe lately, Browse Rock Auto.com for a large selection, I like Wagner and Raybestos for brake parts, you can order them all at once.


#4

First, get the exploded view drawings from the dealer’s parts window. Be sure they have the torque values on them.

I’d also suggest investing in the factory repair manual.

Second, you’ll need a capable torque wrench. The torque values on the bolts that hold the struts to the steering knuckle will be high, so be sure your wrench is capable. You’ll need a good breaker bar to loose the nuts & bolts too.

Third, you’ll need some GOOD spring clamps.

And I strongly recommend that you not try to squeeze this into your evening free hour. Wait for a weekend. Give yourself breathing room.

Monroe’s reputation is sketchy. I use KYB dampers on my Scion. They’re an OEM supplier to Toyota.


#5

If you’ve never replaced struts before, I would suggest that you install Quick Struts. These come all assembled.

If you just replace the strut, you have to come up with a means to compress the strut spring and keep it compressed while the strut is replaced.

Here’s the one I use. http://www.branick.com/products-strut-tools.php

They do make cheaper spring compressors. http://www.ebay.com/sch/sis.html?_nkw=CAR%20TRUCK%20H%20D%20STRUT%20SHOCK%20SPRING%20COMPRESSOR%20SET&_itemId=230145935735

I know people who have used the cheaper strut spring compressors, and have had them slip off the spring. Very scarey.

Tester


#6

Yea, as far as compressing the spring goes, I’m going with a proper compressor or not at all, the cheap ones are not safe at all. That is if I end up not going with the quick struts.


#7

My vote is for quick struts. There’s also the issue of strut mounts which are not really that cheap. Combine that with the price of the strut cartridge and factor in the aggravation of strut disassembly (along with the potential danger) and the quick struts are the way to go.


#8

If Monroe is not such a good brand… what is the brand of choice for quick struts?


#9

Bilstien, KYB, Sachs.


#10

Count me as another vote for quick struts both for safety and convenience. On the Camry forum there are a few that are complaining of the quick strut riding higher than OEM and the jury is still out whether this is because the original spring has settled vs the new strut is taller. Might want to check on an Accord forum for some more input.

I also suggest watching a youtube video on the brake job, You can probably find one on your specific model too. I do this sometimes as a refresher for jobs I have not tackled for a while.


#11

A friend knocked out his 4 front teeth when the spring compressor broke. A very painful and expensive lesson. That’s why I vote for the quick struts. You tube has tons of videos on just about any job you want to tackle.


#12

I put 4 Quick Struts on my 99 Camry, 2 of them didn’t have the top mount on correctly resulting in an annoying rattle. I had to get a spring compressor to correct them.


#13

I believe Monroe is the only one that sells quick struts, but I still recommend against them.

I have one other recommendation: replace everything elastomeric. Spring bushings, bump stops, boots, upper mounts. Your car will ride quieter, and the rubbery bits aren’t that expensive.


#14

2007 Honda Accord, are you sure you even need new struts?


#15

I think its great you are giving it the old college try. Seconding the value of referring to the car’s factory service manual procedure. If you can’t find that manual, the next best reference source is the All-Data computer database of car repair specs and procedures. It’s make/model/year specific. Many public libraries offer this service. Or you can pay for it I think, get a limited time subscription for All-Data, probably doesn’t cost too much. If all else fails Honda may allow you to see the FSM online-- for a few days – in return for a small fee. If you’ve repaired cars in the past, then had some years of not doing it, you may be in for a shock. Cars have very quickly become a lot more complicated. So that’s why you are seeing the suggestions from me and above for finding the manufacturer’s recommended procedures before starting the job.

I’ve never done struts, but the most important thing on brakes is to do one side at a time. There’s lots of spacers, shims, and other gizmos involved and as long as you keep one side undisturbed, you can use it as a reference. If you have ABS brakes, pay particular att’n to the comment above about opening the bleeder before trying to remove the old pad. It’s important to not take any shortcuts, for example take care to install all the anti-squeal shims/springs in the same orientation they were in. And lube the brake parts where the manual says needs to be lubed, especially all contact points between the back of the pads and the puck or backing plates, with the proper brake grease. Note, brake grease is a different substance than other kinds of grease. After installing the pads you’ll probably have to bleed the brake system. Make sure to follow the recommended wheel order, as it varies car to car.


#16

When I first started changing struts, I used the less expensive type that Tester linked to. Mine did come with hooks to help prevent slippage but it still worried me. I ended up buying a new Branick 7200 spring compressor several years ago and have used it successfully ever since. The Branick 7600 is two generations newer than mine. It’s a little pricey for the average home mechanic although I am one but it is quite safe to use.

OTC makes several different levels of spring compressors. It wouldn’t hurt to take a look at them.

One thing you could do is remove the strut/spring assemblies from your Honda yourself and take them to a shop to compress the springs and swap out the struts and then take them home to reinstall. You should consider replacing the upper strut mount and bearings at the same time.


#17

I own many tools I bought to use for a job and seldom if ever used them again. OK if you have the tool disease but lately I’ve been renting stuff like that. The parts stores like Autozone will rent you a compressor if you buy parts from them. Return it and they refund the entire deposit! The tools I have “borrowed” from them are higher quality, likely to avoid liability for cheap tools failing and hurting someone.

That being said, I bought a set of Monroe qwik struts online for my TB. That was two years ago now. No complaints, very quick fix compared to rebuilding.


#18

Many enthusiasts change struts due to the belief that it will help the cars ride/handling. Most oem stuff is so-so to begin with and does not degrade over 100k miles. Installing cheap aftermarket stuff is no improvement. I have tried low and mid quality stuff and have yet to see an improvement. I have yet to see a failed strut. Quite a few old shocks did lose their effectiveness but newer struts are very reliable for aging issues


#19

OEM for the Accord is very likely Showa. They make very good quality stuff in the US (in Ohio). If the struts are not leaking, it is likely they are still OK. I would also not recommend Monroe. They are a very low quality replacement. KYB, Sachs and Bilstein, as others have suggested, are quite good. Koni, and Tokico too. The some are available in sporty versions.

I’ll second (or 3rd or 4th) the replacement of mounts and bump rubbers at the same time. They actually degrade over time faster than the struts.

Check and see if you can borrow or rent spring compressors from the local auto chain store. If they are the clamp-on type, you can save yourself some effort by clamping them on the strut while it is in the car, clearance permitting. Jack that wheel up until the car leaves the jackstands (and you MUST use jackstands!!) and hand tighten in place. Slowly lower the jack, remove the strut and spring assembly. The spring will just about be loose enough to remove the mount nut. Saves lots of wrenching the compressor into place.

Brakes, I like Hawk brake pads and rotors. They are available in ceramic (much cleaner than metallics) You can get HPS versions, too, for a hard applications like autocross or as a mild track pad. Those are semi-metallic and dirty for your wheels.


#20

it seems like you have a good head on your shoulders. with the manual, proper research on you tube, you could do everything yourself…including compressing.

you are a diy-er at heart. give it a go and be safe at all steps. you will have the strut badge soon.

i also agree that i doubt you actually need struts on a 7 year old car.