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Author Topic: Spring Swap "How To"  (Read 28969 times)

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Offline Gentleman Jack

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Spring Swap "How To"
« on: June 12, 2011, 05:10:15 PM »
This is my first attempt at a "How To" thread, so forgive me if it's not perfect.  :violin:

Background:

After recieving a set of Z0K Springs (Thanks CT!) I found some time and decided to try to take a photo pictorial of the job and post the results here.  I have a mostly stock 2007 Solstice GXP.  At the time of writing I have the following mods:

1. Tune
2. DDM Backbone
3. DDM Cross bay brace
4. DDM Coil Cover
5. New wheels (Kazera) and Tires (Yokohama S-drive) in stock sizes
6. a few nice bits from JPM
7. ZOK Springs with stock shocks (as of today :) )

The Job requires only a few basic tools and depending on how AR you are, some detailing spray, brake cleaner, rags, toothbrush, some food bits, beer and some good weather.

Here is just about everything I needed:


In addition to what you see in the picture you will also need the following:
Jack
Jack Stands (4)
19MM (lug nuts.  yours may be different)
beverages, food and some patience.  If you want to track the changes in ride height, you will also need a tape measure. 

Ride Heights BEFORE:









CONTINUED

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Offline Gentleman Jack

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Re: Spring Swap "How To"
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2011, 05:58:32 PM »
REMOVAL:

After jacking the car up and setting it on all 4 jack stands and doing all the appropriate SAFETY checks, remove the wheels and set them aside for a good cleaning all around prior to reinstallation.  This is also a good time to take some brake cleaner and detailing spray and clean out the wheel wells.  Might as well get as much of the grime out now so you don't get it all over yourself.  A final cleaning of these areas prior to reinstallation of the wheels is also recommended.  On the front passenger side, I also removed the wheel well liner.  This was for another project and is not a requirement for this project.

We will start with the FRONT:
WARNING: Disconnect the two wire plug!


There are several nuts and bolts that need to be removed:
1. Upper Ball Joint (18MM) {pink arrow}
2. Top Shock mounting nuts (in my case, I have the DDM Cross bay brace.  I was able to leave it in place and just remove the 15MM nuts) {green arrow}
photo is of the back, but the front and back are mirror images of eachother.  The upper ball joint and shock bolts / nuts and sway bar connection points are equal.



3. Sway Bar (18MM, seems as though either joint could be disconnected.  I removed the entire sway bar so I could grease the bushings while I was under there.  Even if it's not winter, this might be a good idea for all)
You see a strap in this photo.  I used it to keep the brakes from stretching the brake lines.  I also used a coat hanger in some of the other pics.  The coat hanger works better and is less in the way.


4. Lower shock bolts (13MM, will need two wrenches / sockets per)
Again, picture is of the rear, but identical all around.


I used my floor jack to help support the lower control arm / brakes.  This made it easy to control the removal of the sway bar, upper ball joint and the shock bolts.  They are all free and loose at slightly different elevations.  Be careful with the sway bar as it can have tension.  Find it's happy place prior to removing it.  Once all the bolts / nuts are removed, remove the jack.  This is where the strap comes in handy.  It keeps the weight supported, but still allows some travel.  You will need to push down on the rotor to get the lower portion to drop far enough for the upper ball joint to be completely separated.

Now that everything is removed, the shock / spring combo should be able to be fished out in one piece.  Take caution not to damage any brake lines while removing this.

REAR:
The rear is 90% the same as the front, with one additional step.  There is an additional piece to remove (Someone chime in here with the name so I can edit?  Thanks)

the top is 8MM and the nut is 18MM.  One side I needed to hold with the 8MM, the other I did not.  An 18MM ratchet wrench would be great here.  I didn't have one (and couldn't find my 18MM box wrench either...) {not recommened: a 3/4" wrench fills in in a pinch here... but DON'T DO THAT}



Everything should be apart and the shock / spring combo's should be out of the car at this point.

CONTINUED




« Last Edit: June 12, 2011, 06:02:24 PM by Gentleman Jack »
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Re: Spring Swap "How To"
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2011, 06:34:34 PM »
Now that we have everything out of the car, let's take a look at the comparisons between old and new.  As mentioned above, I am replacing the stock GXP springs with GXP-Z0K springs.  Here is a comparison between them.  One set is already swapped and rebuilt.  
FRONT


REAR


REMOVING THE SPRINGS FROM THE SHOCKS:

THIS STEP IS DANGEROUS!  PLEASE USE EXTREAME CAUTION!

Start by gathering the following:
1. a 2X4 about 2 feet long
2. a large towel
3. 15mm ratchet wrench
4. #5 allen wrench
5. something to aim at (yes, you may have a projectile!  make sure you know where you are aimed!  Do not aim at the car, dog, window, wife / gf, or YOUR BEER!)

Set up as follows:


The nuts came loose fairly easily for me, but you may need a bit of penetrating oil.  (hahahah... I used nuts and penetrating in the same sentence....)

As you approach the end of the stud, cover everything with the towel.  Be very mindful of where your hands and feet are!  I had one foot holding the lower end of the shock and my one hand BELOW the spring support ring on the shock.  You do not want your hands to get in the way!

I do not have a spring compressor.  Additionally, I have seen these springs removed before, so I had a good idea of how much tension I would be dealing with.  Even so, the first one still startled me.  Be prepared and take every precaution you can.  I am not responsible for your injuries!  Also, this is not the "right" way to do this, so don't do it this way.  ok, now that that's over with.  Here is what you get once they are apart:


Take this time to clean everything.  I found that a scrub brush in the kitchen sink with some dish soap worked best on the boot.  Yes, I got yelled at.  Yes, I bought a new scrub brush for the kitchen.  The shock and spring clean up easily with some spray and wipe.  

REASSEMBLY:
basically, it's the reverse.  The new springs are shorter than the stock versions.  I was able to compress them enough by hand to start the nut on the top.  Then it's the same set up with the #5 and the 15mm.  Tighten them till stop.

Put them back in the car.  I had to twist them a bit to get all the mounting points to line up, but it's not tough.  Use the jack to raise and lower as needed to reconnect the sway bar, upper ball joint and in the rear the (part to be named later)

Once you think you have everything back together, go over it all again.  Make sure you have tightened everything to it's appropriate torque levels.  A wise young man told me over the phone as I was begining that the LOWER SHOCK BOLTS DO NOT LIKE TO BE OVER TIGHTENED!  Thanks DDM Dave for the tip.  I did not use any air tools or any power tools at all.  The job could be done with power tools, but as this was my first go round, I prefer to use hand tools to be sure I know how much pressure I'm putting on.  I didn't use a torque wrench.  My arms have built in gagues in my elbows, so I know exactly how much pressure I'm applying.

Now that you think you are done, before putting the wheels back on (you did clean them right?) go back and check EVERY NUT AND BOLT again.  You do not want to gloss over this step. Don't forget to reconnect the 2wire electrical plug.  I think this is a wheel speed sensor, but I'm not sure.  Now, while the car is up on jack stands, check the bolts on your DDM Backbone.  Just in case.  Also, take pictures of your rear diff, the bottoms of your fenders, and anything else you find interesting while under there.

RESULTS:
The results are unclear at this point.  I belive it will take a little while for the springs to settle in.  I was expecting some change in before and after ride height, but the truth is, they were EXACTLY the same.  I actually went and checked to make sure I didn't reinstall the original springs after I measured the first corner.  I will give it 500 miles or so and remeasure.  
OK, after almost 100 miles, here are the pics and info:

Measurements:

Corner          Before        After         Change
Left Front      28"            27.5"        -0.5"
Right Front    28.25"        27.375"    -0.875
Left Rear       29"            28.5"        -0.5
Right Rear     29"            28.5"        -0.5

I can only assume the Right Front measurements have as much to do with the driveway as the springs.  I will recheck again in a few hundred miles.

AFTER PICS:





You can see all my photos from this project here:
https://picasaweb.google.com/116869345911340124876/SpringInstallationPictures?authkey=Gv1sRgCOmlk5n7m_nILg#




For anyone that has done this job, if I missed anything or you know of a better way / faster way / safer way please let me know!

Hope this helps someone down the road.

GJ
 (finally... now that that's done, can I go test drive the car?????)
« Last Edit: June 12, 2011, 11:03:21 PM by Gentleman Jack »
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Offline Critterman

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Re: Spring Swap "How To"
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2011, 06:59:40 PM »
Pink crossbrace?

And never never never do this job without a spring compressor, ever.  You are very lucky
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Re: Spring Swap "How To"
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2011, 07:01:26 PM »
Pink crossbrace?

And never never never do this job without a spring compressor, ever.  You are very lucky

Critter,

You are right on all counts.
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Offline elff

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Re: Spring Swap "How To"
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2011, 07:20:45 PM »
I'm going to buy 2 spring compressors.
I hate working with springs so I tend to go on the paranoid side.
Good writeup.

Any reason why you didn't upgrade to Koni's at the same time?

Thanks for the Pictures.  I will be doing this very thing in a weekend or two.

Offline Gentleman Jack

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Re: Spring Swap "How To"
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2011, 07:24:27 PM »
I'm going to buy 2 spring compressors.
I hate working with springs so I tend to go on the paranoid side.
Good writeup.

Any reason why you didn't upgrade to Koni's at the same time?

Thanks for the Pictures.  I will be doing this very thing in a weekend or two.


Koni's were not in the cards for right now.  I'm taking baby steps, and trying to track changes.  When shocks are due for change I will probably go that route.  I have to be really careful how low I go.  Lots of "rain channels" here to tear the front of the car off on. 

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Offline TomatoSoup

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Re: Spring Swap "How To"
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2011, 07:24:52 PM »
Wow!  Great thread GJ.  Thanks!

Did you drive the car before checking the "after" ride height? If not, it may not have settled properly after being jacked up.
"That is my theory, it is mine, and belongs to me and I own it, and what it is too." (Monty Python)

Offline elff

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Re: Spring Swap "How To"
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2011, 07:29:52 PM »
Good point TS
When we swapped in Monicas new runs and tires the suspension disnt settle back down from being in the air until the car was moved a full tire rotation.

Aren't the springs the height factor?

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Re: Spring Swap "How To"
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2011, 07:35:09 PM »
Wow!  Great thread GJ.  Thanks!

Did you drive the car before checking the "after" ride height? If not, it may not have settled properly after being jacked up.

On my way out the door right now!  Yeeeeeee haaaaaaaaaaaa!
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Offline Uranium-238

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Re: Spring Swap "How To"
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2011, 07:55:48 PM »
When I did my koni/ZOK spring swap the car didn't settle till we drove it a ways. Even after that it didn't really fully settle for another hundred miles or so.
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Offline U4EA

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Re: Spring Swap "How To"
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2011, 08:20:47 PM »
Thanks for posting GJ!
New meaning to "tool BOX".
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Re: Spring Swap "How To"
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2011, 08:22:41 PM »
Yeah where is that pink tool bag you got at the meet?
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Re: Spring Swap "How To"
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2011, 08:35:16 PM »
GJ ;Your local Auto Parts Store almost always have the Spring compressor tool to lend out . (some charge for this service) . Very nice write-up and detail to parts and tools .     :thumbs: 
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Offline Kelu

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Re: Spring Swap "How To"
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2011, 08:39:51 PM »
1) Unique tool box
2) You are missing the camera, duuh :lol:

Nice write up, awesome pictures, far better than mine about almost same thing  :thumbs:
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Offline Sol Asylum

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Re: Spring Swap "How To"
« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2011, 08:57:23 PM »
Go figure, Kelu beat me to the "You don't have a picture of the camera."

Buy a spring compressor, let that piece of shit slip, launch the spring into the neighbors house, and at least you can tell the cops/lawyers/judge you tried to do it right.  I have always had better luck with a shop press.

Buy a torque wrench.

Don't wash the bits and pieces in the kitchen sink, :slap: come on you know that's what the dishwasher is for, that way it's less manual work for you (unless your the dishwasher then disregard this sentence).

How much left over hardware did you have?
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Offline Gentleman Jack

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Re: Spring Swap "How To"
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2011, 10:40:08 PM »
No left over hardware...  and I am the dish washer...

Going to post the new AFTER pics in the OP.

GJ
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Re: Spring Swap "How To"
« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2011, 12:37:43 AM »
  I will be doing this very thing in a weekend or two.


Elff,
I imagine you have done springs a bunch on the Jeeps, but if you have any quesitons feel free to call while you are working on the job.  I'm pretty sure your wife has my number since she keeps texting me sexy photos....

GJ
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Offline IBDRINKEN

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Re: Spring Swap "How To"
« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2011, 12:40:51 AM »
Elff,
I imagine you have done springs a bunch on the Jeeps, but if you have any quesitons feel free to call while you are working on the job.  I'm pretty sure your wife has my number since she keeps texting me sexy photos....

GJ


Umm actally those came from me and if you look closer thats not a woman...
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Re: Spring Swap "How To"
« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2011, 12:48:13 AM »
How's that for a swap GJ?
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Offline Gentleman Jack

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Re: Spring Swap "How To"
« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2011, 12:58:46 AM »

Umm actally those came from me and if you look closer thats not a woman...

I never said they were sexy pictures of a woman....  I just said Monica was sending me sexy pictures....

GJ

PS- looking good Elff!


How's that for a swap GJ?

Booooya....  You think I'm that easy SA?
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Re: Spring Swap "How To"
« Reply #21 on: June 13, 2011, 01:10:12 AM »
<------Epic fail.. Back on topic. Good job on the swap.
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Re: Spring Swap "How To"
« Reply #22 on: June 13, 2011, 02:24:47 AM »
Booooya....  You think I'm that easy SA?
Yes
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Offline MARVIC 1

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Re: Spring Swap "How To"
« Reply #23 on: June 13, 2011, 03:01:53 AM »
GJ, how much were you expecting to come down with this swap?
Seems like a lot of work just for 1/2" lowering....  :huh:
 I did my swap with Eibach and went down 1 1/2" front and 2" rear just about right away and 3K miles later still at that height...
Notice you mention noting about wheel alignment after installing your springs....  :huh:
Nice write up BTW....  :thumbs:

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Re: Spring Swap "How To"
« Reply #24 on: June 13, 2011, 04:10:41 AM »
excellent write up GJ and thumbs up for doing it yourself (extra thumbs up for not getting hurt without a spring compressor).
i know i wouln't be able to do that myself, so i admire you.
u are a freaking master tech in my eyes now!!!
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