Ideally, front coil springs should last the lifespan of your vehicle. However, driving habits and overall driving conditions can have an effect on the springs' durability. These springs are more durable than suspension struts or shocks but over time, they will show signs of old age. Signs of wear and tear include a broken spring that punctures or rubs against the tire wall, worn-out coating that can be felt when you run your fingers all around the coils, and a creaking noise when you steer the wheel. If you have observed these signs, it's time to install new front springs. Here's how:
Tools you'll need:
- Ball joint separator
- Torque wrench
- Jack and jack stands
Step 1: Prep your car.
Raise your vehicle with a jack and support it with jack stands. Apply the hand brake and chock the rear wheels to prevent them from rolling off. Then remove the raised wheel by unscrewing the lug nuts with a torque wrench.
Step 2: Remove the locking pin, tie bar, and anti-roll bar.
If your car is equipped with a locking pin, remove it before unscrewing the ball joint nut. Use a ball-joint separator to remove the joint from the steering arm. Then remove the tie bar and anti-roll bar if your vehicle is equipped with these components. Depending on your car make and model, you might also have to loosen the U-clamp bolts of the steering rack in order to move it out of the way and to prevent damaging the rack gaiters and fulcrum bolts.
Step 3: Remove the damper.
The damper is usually located inside the coil spring, but make sure to check with your vehicle manual to locate this component. To remove this, jack up the wheel hub and lift it up until the load on the damper is released. Remove the lower and upper mountings of the damper and pull out the damper through a hole on the lower wishbone. Once you've removed the damper, lower the hub and remove the jack.
Step 4: Remove the old front coil springs.
Using compressors, clamp the springs and tighten them carefully. Then remove the locking pin (if applicable) and the ball joint nut found on the lower wishbone. Once this nut is removed, you should be able to separate the ball joint from the steering swivel member, which is also known as the stub axle. Move the stub axle and upper wishbone out of the way. Then remove the fulcrum bolts or inner wishbone bolts with a drift, as well as any rubber cups or insulators attached to the spring. Release tension from the compressed springs by slowly unscrewing the compressor clamps. Keep on unscrewing the clamps until all the tension has been released. You can now pull out the old front coil springs.
Step 5: Install the new front coil springs.
Tighten the new spring with compressor clamps and place it on the lower part of the wishbone. Reattach the ball joint to the steering swivel member by hand-tightening the nut in place. Reinsert rubber insulators into the spring and reattach the fulcrum bolts. Once the spring is securely seated on the wishbone, slowly unscrew the compressor clamps and remove it from the spring.
Step 6: Reinstall all the other parts you've removed.
Reattach the track rod and ball joint, as well as the tie bar, anti-roll bar, and U-clamp bolts for the steering rack. Then place the damper inside the coil springs. Install new pins to reattach the ball joint's nuts in position. Reinstall the wheel by attaching the lug nuts with a wrench. Once you've reinstalled everything, go for a test drive.