Anybody who has ever tried installing coil springs on a car with no engine in it knows that putting them in can be a real challenge due to the fact that there isn't enough weight to hold the front of the car down. Here is how you do it easily and safely.
#1 PREPARE YOUR WORK AREA
You want your control arms mounted to the frame and swinging freely. You want to have all your ball joints in and ready to go along with the nuts that go to them. You want your steering knuckles clean and ready to mount. You want to have a large chain to use as a safety chain. You will also need a coil spring compressor and a large socket wrench to turn it. Don't forget a floor jack and a pry bar.....and of course, those crazy coil springs. My coil spring compressor was purchased from National Parts Depot under part # 988-1 for $35.
#2 DROP IN THE COMPRESSOR AND MOUNT THE SPRING
A spring compressor usually comes with two ends that have hooks on them. One set of hooks slides freely up and down the long threaded rod and one actually screws onto the threaded rod. You need to remove the hooks that slide freely and set them aside. You want to use the hooks that screw up and down the rod. Drop the threaded rod down through the upper shock hole in the subframe. Make sure you have a couple stout washers underneath the head of the bolt. Screw the threaded hooks onto the end of the rod.
If you are using the rubber spring isolators, attach them to the top of the spring now with plastic wire ties. Now mount the spring up into the subframe with the spring compressor going down through the center of the spring. Use the hooks to grab onto the spring at the lowest possible point. Make sure the threaded rod is centered in the spring. Make sure that the bottom end of the spring is rotated to the right spot so that when it's compressed it fits into the little pocket in the lower control arm correctly. Now begin to tighten down the big long bolt just tight enough to hold the spring in. Once the spring is supported, use the safety chain to wrap through the bottom of the spring and around the subframe. This is a safety precaution just in case the spring compressor breaks or some other failure happens. These springs are very dangerous when compressed so do this EVERY time.
#3 COMPRESS THE SPRING
Once your safety chain is hooked up, you can begin to tighten the big threaded rod and compress the spring up into the subframe. Once you have it compressed enough to swing the control arm up high enough, attach the steering knuckle to the lower control arm ball joint. At this point you should slide the floor jack under the lower control arm and use it to hold the control arm tight against the bottom of the spring. Use a pry bar to pry the bottom of the spring into the spring pocket on the lower control arm. It will pry in very easily and pop right into place. Now use the floor jack to jack up the steering knuckle high enough to attach the upper ball joint. Once the ball joint nuts are tight, you can remove the safety chain.
#4 DECOMPRESS SPRING AND ADMIRE WORK
Once your ball joints are all attached and your steering knuckle is in and the safety chain is off, you can take out the floor jack and then loosen up the spring compressor to let the full tension of the spring out on the control arms. The spring compressor rod just pulls out the shock hole and the hooks just fall out the bottom hole. Pat yourself on the back....you got your coil springs in without maiming anybody!
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