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  View original topic: Strut Insert Question
Beeble1 Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:29 am

I'm having a heck of a time getting the steering knuckle and the strut housing separated. I've soaked in in PB blaster, hit it with a hammer, and nothing. I've gotten nowhere. I know I can remove the strut with the steering knuckle still attached, I just have to unhook the brake line. But can I compress the strut and replace the insert with the steering knuckle still attached? Or do I have to remove the steering knuckle in order to replace the strut insert?

Chad1376 Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:59 am

Is yours the early 3-bolt strut? (sorry, I'm not sure when they switched to the 2 bolt style.)

On my three bolt, I used heat, PB blaster, and a 5lb sledge hammer after it was out of the car and on the work bench. It worked on one side, but the other was too rusted. I finally had to use an air chisel. I first hit the bottom of the strut housing to get it to move a little, then got the chisel between the strut housing bolt flange and knuckle, and worked it around from different angles to get it all the way out. It was really stuck.

Beeble1 Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:10 am

Yes, it's the 3 bolt strut.

Chad1376 Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:47 am

I don't know for sure, but it might be possible to compress the spring enough to get it out from under the strut tower, but you might need to remove the fender to get it all apart, without removing the strut entirely.

Hopefully someone else can chime in on this.

beetlenut Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:05 am

Beeble1 wrote: I'm having a heck of a time getting the steering knuckle and the strut housing separated. I've soaked in in PB blaster, hit it with a hammer, and nothing. I've gotten nowhere. I know I can remove the strut with the steering knuckle still attached, I just have to unhook the brake line. But can I compress the strut and replace the insert with the steering knuckle still attached? Or do I have to remove the steering knuckle in order to replace the strut insert?

Yes, one has nothing to do with the other. In fact they're at opposite ends of the strut. As long as you can get the steering knuckle unbolted from the rest of the steering linkage, the entire assembly should drop out from the strut support housing of the body. Then you can use a spring compressor to compress the spring and change the cartridge.

H2OSB Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:33 pm

That is one bad issue with the early 3 bolt lower strut mounting. If rust gets in there, they are VERY difficult to get apart. I would imagine applying heat would help get that apart. Once you DO get it apart, I would recommend slathering it up with anti-seize so you don't have that issue in the future.

H2OSB

Hatracks Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:30 pm

I used the same method as Chad. BFH, heat, and wedges to drive everything apart once it got moving.

volksworld Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:53 pm

basically if you remove the clip where the metal line from the master joins to the rubber hose and bend the bracket slightly you can get the end of the rubber hose out of it ( on the fender well... not on the strut)....this allows enough play in the brake line to not have to disconnect it....remove the 3 nuts from the top of both struts and let them hang....you can now put your foot on the drum and push down far enough to yank the top of it out from under the fender (both tops need to be unbolted or the sway bar wont let it drop far enough)....you'rebetter off putting some blue masking tape on the fender so you dont scratch the paint....you can now compress the spring and change the strut insert....this is how struts were changed when you were getting paid flat rate for the job...nobody actually removed them from the car....and in the northeast it was impossible to get the strut out of the spindle on a daily driver

vamram Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:09 pm

Heat, chisels, and a 4lb sledge hammer did it for me. It was not fun. Made me consider buying a Toyota. Putting it back in was a bit of a challenge as well because of the sway bar on the control arm. I used a 6-ton bottle jack between the control arm and the frame head to force the spindle down to fit the strut back into the spindle. Worked like a charm.

I've done it enough times and hate it more each time that I'm wondering if it's possible to swap in the front suspension from a '74... :-k



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