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Replacing front strut

2003 pontiac grand am gt/ front strut is out of car and on work bench/ in a vice and spring compressors are on the coil. how do i get the retaining nut of the top of the strut with out the dampner shaft turning- not enough room for a wrench to be on the dampner shaft and still be able to get a socket or any wrech on the retaining nut??? special wrench needed? or do i cut the dampner shaft? other than that i m guessing taking the whole strut to a shop and having someone do the disassembly and reassembly

I use a pneumatic impact wrench. Cutting the shaft works too.

When I remember, I loosen that retaining bolt then tighten it lightly BEFORE I remove the strut. But it’s too late for that. So far, I’ve always been able to get a pipe wrench in between the coils of the spring to hold the shaft, but I can conceive that on bad days that might not be enough – especially if you don’t have an impact wrench and have to depend on pure torque to get that nut loose.

Cutting the shaft will give you decent access to the shaft, but you likely will still need to grind some gripping surfaces onto the shaft stub in order to get the retaining bolt off. That’s likely to be a LOT of work. The shaft is VERY hard material and won’t be easy to cut.

If all else fails, you might look into pre-assembled struts (“Quick-struts”), but hopefully it won’t come to that.

You have my sympathy.

wow! pipe wrench on the bottom of the coil spring retaining plate at the top of the coil spring/ strut assembly, 10 seconds of work and the entire strut was loosened and ready for disassembly!!.. normally i would have tried to hit it with an impact, but we just moved and i have to get 220 run to my compressor.