2013 GT - Spring compressor needed to change front struts? - Ford Mustang Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-07-2014 Thread Starter
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Question 2013 GT - Spring compressor needed to change front struts?

I had a 94 GT and swapping the struts was easy. Remove the top nut on the strut and the two bolts that attach to the spindle. Spring just falls out, install new strut, raise lower control arm with jack and bolt everything together.

I just ordered a set of Koni STR orange struts for my 13 GT. These are made for my year car so I don't need the GT500 parts like the earlier (05 to 09) GT's needed. I am not changing the springs. I am not sure if the procedure is the same as my 94GT.

Do I need a spring compressor to swap the new springs onto the new strut?

Do I need a new front end alignment?

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-07-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NASCAR Mike View Post

Do I need a spring compressor to swap the new springs onto the new strut?

Do I need a new front end alignment?
Yes and Yes


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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-07-2014
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I would think it is much easier to use a spring compressor to change struts. Parts will likely go together truer and it will be easier to torque the top nut correctly with no spring pressure on the strut mount or should I say that a loose strut mount that will cause popping noises will be more evident while it has no spring pressure on it. Auto parts stores have spring compressors to loan which makes it easy to do it correctly.

As far as needing to have the car aligned after just a simple strut replacement, I would say on a stock configuration car, just changing struts should not cause the alignment to change. The caster and camber are engineered in and non adjustable and the toe is set with the tie rod ends and if taken apart correctly should not be affected. Also, a worn strut does not affect the static ride height so toe will not be affected due to ride height. However, if the alignment is off before the strut replacement it will be off after the strut replacement.

2011 GT Coupe Premium, Black exterior with Charcoal black turned leather interior. Rapid spec 400A with 6-speed MT, 3.73 limited slip axle, 19" painted aluminum wheels, HID headlamps, comfort package. FRPP tune with K&N air filter. FRPP Touring axle back exhaust with Borla 2 3/4" over axle pipes. ST Suspensions coilovers w/GT500 mounts. Spohn poly/del sphere adjustable lower control arms and Spohn adjustable panhard bar with Steeda panhard bar brace. Hotchkis Sport sway bars.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-07-2014
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Re spring compressors, you'll need one. They are not expensive, get a pair for $25 or 30 at a parts store.

Re: alignment, you may want to check your camber because there is some slop in the steering knuckle-to-strut bolts. A level and a ruler will work (just measure out of plumb angle of the wheel with load, you can google the camber spec).

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-07-2014
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You can rent a spring compressor from Autozone for a $50 refundable deposit.

Invest the money you will be saving by doing your own labor into a cordless impact wrench. I have a Milwaukee 2663-20 and have done this job on two different cars. The impact wrench makes this job cake as opposed to the manual heaving and horsing around it takes with hand tools.

A nice kit for a 1/2 dr. impact wrench from Milwaukee will run about $250, give or take and that comes with a charger and batteries along with the tool. Then a nice set of impact socket will run about $100 - Sunex makes a great kit for about $120 that has short and long metric up to 30mm. Check tooltopia.com

But yes, definitely will need spring compressors.

2011 Mustang GT M6 3.31s

Matt HONEYCUTT Tune, Lethal Off-Road X, GT500 axlebacks, J&M LCAs, UPR UCA, Whiteline LCA relocation brackets, Eibach Pro-Kit Springs, Koni STR.T shocks/struts, GT500 strut mounts, SR Strut Tower Brace

Best 1/4 E/T (05/18/14 MIR - no tune, X-pipe, or UCA): 12.920 @ 109.40 mph (2.059 60ft)
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-07-2014
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By the way, I have the same shocks and struts you do, and am very happy with them.

If you are willing to come up to Northern Viriginia, in the Alexandria area, I'll be happy to give you a hand with this job.

This is a half assed write-up, I submitted for my local mustang club:

So since I enjoy working on my cars and am pretty stupid, throughout the years, I've always appreciated potato head style write-ups for mods. Knowing I was going to do struts/shocks and springs for my 2011 GT, I thought it would be sort of fun and a little beneficial for less experienced technical members (like me) in the club to do a detailed write-up. However, about 45 minutes into the project with the heat, grease, and sweat covering me, I diverted off my objective and the below is the best I managed. Im embarrassed to say that this project took me 8 hours to do the struts/shocks & springs at all 4 corners - but this included no less than 2 and maybe as much as 3 hours wrestling with spring compressors. I think a normal, technically savy human being can do this job in about 4 hours - less if you've done it before.

I will tabulate a list of required tools later and update the post with it so this will be a place holder.

1.) First things first use a breaker bar and a 21mm socket to break the lug nuts on the wheels loose.

2.) Next, you must elevate your car to get the wheels off the ground. There seems to be some confusion as to where the best place to put jackstands are - I've pretty much settled on the front and rear frame rails. The area designated by the blue circles in this photo (obviously not my photo) is where I put my jackstands:



I used the area designated by the green squares to elevate the car with my floor jack on each side to get the jackstands in place. The result looked like this:





As you can see, I am using the wheel as an "oh ****" fail safe in case for some reason the car falls. However, with this method, if you take care to align the jackstands (my 3 ton Harbor Freight stands fit perfectly on the rail) it is very sturdy and secure. For this job you don't need to get a whole lot of elevation.

3.) With your tires off the ground, remove the lug nuts and secure them somewhere where you wont kick them around and remove the wheels and place them under the car for added security. If you're a novice, work on one side at a time so if you get confused you have the unmolested side to reference.

Lets take the drivers side....

4.)There are a couple of ABS sensors and lines that are connected to the strut assembly by plastic 'trees'. One of the abs line has a 10mm bolt going into the strut bracket. There is also an ABS sensor that plugs into the rotor and is secured by a 10mm bolt. Unbolt and unclip these sensors/wires and slide them out of the way. I dont have detailed photos, but this is very common sensical and you will see them just by looking at them. The purpose of this is to move your brake claiper out of the way so that you can drop the axle arm to free the strut/spring assembly.

5.) Once you have cleared the ABS sensors/lines. You need to loosen the top bolt of the end link (the silver metal bar that runs vertically on the strut. Use an 18mm socket with a breaker bar to jolt it loose at first. Then stick a 11/16 or 13/16 (I cant remember which) wrench on the back end to secure the nut while you turn the bolt with your 18mm socket from the front. You will need to use a lot of force at first to get this bolt moving. Once you separate the bolt from the end link, pull the end link out the strut and let it dangle free.

6.) Now you need to remove and secure your brake caliper. The brake caliper has two 15 mm bolts that hold it on to the rotor. A good idea is to get in the car and turn the wheel so that the bolts face you better (for example, if you are trying to remove the driver's side caliper - get in the car and turn the wheel all the way to the RIGHT). Once you have clear access to the caliper bolts, attach your 15mm socket to the breaker bar and bust both bolt loose. Once loose, you can switch the breaker bar out for a regular socket and remove both 15 mm bolts. Once both bolts are out, you need to grab the caliper and carefully slide the caliper away from the rotor - being careful not to mess up the way your brake pads sit. Once you free the caliper - use a zip tie to hang the caliper from the wheel well sheet metal. At this point your wheel well should look like this:



Better angle shot:



7.) Now go ahead and pull your brake rotor off - it just slide right off. Put it in a clean, dry place so it doesnt get dirty or contaminate with anything. Might be a good idea to hit it with some brake cleaner if you have some handy.

At this point, you're ready to attack the strut...

8.) If you have one, remove your strut tower brace from the engine bay (4 13mm nuts on each side) but leave one 13mm nut on the strut studs to keep the strut from falling down when you remove the strut bolts in wheel well.

9.) Go ahead and turn your wheel all the way LEFT so you can have access to your strut bolts. The strut bolts are 18mm monsters that Ford thankfully put a locking mechanism on the back end so you can just crank away with a socket without worrying about using a wrench on the back end to hold the nut. These bolts are on very sturdy. You will not be able to get them loose unless you use a breaker bar. Here is how I set up this angle of attack:



Once you have the socket on there, you will need to crank the hell out of that bolt to break it loose (REMEMBER - rightie tightie - lefty loosey). Both bolts will break loose eventually with a satisfying slow rotation. Once you have them loose, finish them off with a socket wrench and pull them out one at a time. At this point, only the 13mm nut up top on the strut tower will be holding your strut assembly up. While holding the strut with one hand, you a 13mm socket to remove the lone nut up top. Once that nut is free you can smoothly pull your strut/spring out from the wheel well, leaving you're wheel well looking like this:



Here is the OEM strut assembly on the ground:



10.) Now, this is the hardest part of the job - you need to break the OEM strut mount nut loose and remove the spring from the strut. I only did this because the instructions with the springs directed that I re-use the stock insulator and bushing from the OEM strut. If you feel like buying these from the parts counter at your local dealer (Tedd Britt - 15% club discount) you can skip this little bit of torture. So I rented a set of spring compressors from Autozone ($55 deposit - 90 days to return). The spring compressors are pretty self explanatory - you hook on one each side of the spring and use a 21mm socket to wrench down alternating on each one to compress the spring so it doesnt shoot out once you remove the strut mount. This is how it looks with the left side compressed:



I eventually did the right side to match the left. This is a very physically demanding job and it will tire you out - especially in the heat. I made the mistake of over compressing the spring which made removing the compressors later a hell of a job. Once you are satisfied that the springs are safely compressed (you dont need a hell of a lot - just enough for the compressors to have sturdy tension - you can actually see the springs get shorter as the compressors cinch down on them) you can move on to the next step which is removing the strut mount bolt.

11.) The strut mount bolt is I believe a 21mm bolt. An impact wrench would come in very handy here - but alas I have none. You cannot just use a socket on this bolt as the top of the strut mount will just spin - not allowing you to get any torque on the bolt itself. The trick here is to lodge the whole assembly under something sturdy - like a truck tire in this case and jam a pry bar or a sturdy screwdriver in the studs coming out of the top of the strut mount - this locks the top of the strut mount in place and allows you to use a breaker bar to break the strut mount bolt loose. Kind of like this:



By holding the screwdriver handle down, putting a foot on the strut against the tire and blasting the breaker bar with some power, I was able to break the strut mount bolt loose. But your adventure doesnt end here - you need to take a sturdy pair of thick jaw pliers, pull the plastic insulator away to expose the actual metal strut rod, hold the strut rod with the pliers and continue to turn the bolt with a 21 mm socket. At some point you will here a satisfying 'pop' and the bolt and strut mount top will come loose. Luckily, if you have a 2011+ car, you will need to use GT500 strut mounts so I didnt car when I heard the cling of ball bearings hitting the ground:



Still, take care to remove the strut mount in a manner in which it doesnt come apart and spray these little bearing everywhere. I had to use my magnetic wand to pick each one up individually - but like I said - I wasnt too worried since I had to use new GT500 mounts in the place of the OEM mounts to fit the struts.

Here is the compressed OEM spring removed from the strut assembly (note the nifty jaw pliers and overly compressed spring):




12.) So now, transfer your little yellow bushing on the new strut, put the black insulator (my instructions called for me to use the Eibach one instead of the OEM) put your spring in place, top it off with the GT500 strut mount. Because your aftermarket springs are shorter, you will not need the spring compressor. Just push down on the GT500 strut mount and thread the bolt in by hand. Once you have the bolt started, work it in good with a 21mm socket and then finish it off by torquing it down to 48 ft/lbs. With your trusty torque wrench:



Hopefully your finished new strut assembly looks like this:



So now all you need to do is the reverse of the above steps to put it back on the car. This is actually very easy and should take you about 20 min or so to do it and properly torque everything down. You may need to jiggle with and wrestle with the brake pads and caliper to get it to sit on the rotor, but it will go in place, just persuade it the right way. Make sure to use some blue lock tite on your caliper and strut bolts. You strut bolts are monsters and MUST be torqued correctly. The torque specs for your caliper and strut bolts are:

front calipers: 85 ft/lbs
struts bolts: 148 ft/lbs

When you are all done, you should see something like this:



The passenger side is the exact same as the driver's side.

Unfortunately, I dont have a write-up for the rear as I was too tired to take photos. But the rear is MUCH easier as the shocks and springs are separate items and the spring litterally falls out when you drop the axle and unbolt the rear shock.

2011 Mustang GT M6 3.31s

Matt HONEYCUTT Tune, Lethal Off-Road X, GT500 axlebacks, J&M LCAs, UPR UCA, Whiteline LCA relocation brackets, Eibach Pro-Kit Springs, Koni STR.T shocks/struts, GT500 strut mounts, SR Strut Tower Brace

Best 1/4 E/T (05/18/14 MIR - no tune, X-pipe, or UCA): 12.920 @ 109.40 mph (2.059 60ft)
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-08-2014
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If your strut mounts don't fall apart on you while removing you'll be lucky, there junk, do yourself a favor and upgrade them!
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-10-2014 Thread Starter
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I will not be able to use the GT500 mounts because I am using the 11-14 model Koni struts on my 13 Mustang. Before Koni released these newer versions, you had to use the 05-09 version and use a GT500 strut mounts to make them work.

Why can't you remove the top nut from the strut using impact wrench, remove the two bottom bolts and slide the strut and spring out together?

To reinstall, place new strut and spring into place, install two bottom bolts loosely. Then place jack under control arm and lift strut into place. Use air impact wrench to install top bolt.

This is how I did it on my 94 GT. I don't see how it would be any different here?

I can see how the spring compressor would make it safer but I am trying to avoid removing then upper strut mount.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-10-2014
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Yes, you can do that, but its my understanding that the bearings in the new strut mounts are not captive, they could go all over the place when you pull the spring and strut out. Look at one of the pics posted above showing the strut mount bearings, I would not want to fight that. Easier just to pull the strut out as a unit, put back together then replace as a complete unit. Why are you trying to keep from removing the strut mount any way.

2011 GT Coupe Premium, Black exterior with Charcoal black turned leather interior. Rapid spec 400A with 6-speed MT, 3.73 limited slip axle, 19" painted aluminum wheels, HID headlamps, comfort package. FRPP tune with K&N air filter. FRPP Touring axle back exhaust with Borla 2 3/4" over axle pipes. ST Suspensions coilovers w/GT500 mounts. Spohn poly/del sphere adjustable lower control arms and Spohn adjustable panhard bar with Steeda panhard bar brace. Hotchkis Sport sway bars.


Last edited by BLK 5.0; 04-10-2014 at 11:26 PM.
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This is why, please read!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fatopotomus View Post
By holding the screwdriver handle down, putting a foot on the strut against the tire and blasting the breaker bar with some power, I was able to break the strut mount bolt loose. But your adventure doesnt end here - you need to take a sturdy pair of thick jaw pliers, pull the plastic insulator away to expose the actual metal strut rod, hold the strut rod with the pliers and continue to turn the bolt with a 21 mm socket. At some point you will here a satisfying 'pop' and the bolt and strut mount top will come loose. Luckily, if you have a 2011+ car, you will need to use GT500 strut mounts so I didnt care when I heard the cling of ball bearings hitting the ground:



Still, take care to remove the strut mount in a manner in which it doesnt come apart and spray these little bearing everywhere. I had to use my magnetic wand to pick each one up individually - but like I said - I wasnt too worried since I had to use new GT500 mounts in the place of the OEM mounts to fit the struts.

2011 GT Coupe Premium, Black exterior with Charcoal black turned leather interior. Rapid spec 400A with 6-speed MT, 3.73 limited slip axle, 19" painted aluminum wheels, HID headlamps, comfort package. FRPP tune with K&N air filter. FRPP Touring axle back exhaust with Borla 2 3/4" over axle pipes. ST Suspensions coilovers w/GT500 mounts. Spohn poly/del sphere adjustable lower control arms and Spohn adjustable panhard bar with Steeda panhard bar brace. Hotchkis Sport sway bars.

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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-11-2014 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLK 5.0 View Post
Why are you trying to keep from removing the strut mount any way?
I don't want to do a front end alignment after I change struts.
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