Sunday, January 25, 2009

Installing the Front Coil-Over Suspension

Here's the process I used to remove the existing Civic springs and install the front coil-overs.

The first step is to jack up the front of the car and put it on jack-stands for stability.

Since I don't have a spring compressor, I'm going to use the entire car as my spring compressor instead. I rolled a floor jack under the swing arm and raised it until the car just came off the jack stand.

I then used an allen-socket wrench and a 14mm box wrench to loosen and remove the nut at the top of the shock strut. The allen-socket wrench prevents the strut from spinning while I loosen the lock nut.

This is the top of the strut with the nut and underlying washer removed.

I can now slooooowly lower the floor jack to release the tension in the spring. Even with all the tension released, there's still a bit of the strut top sticking out, as shown here.

Now to remove the bottom of the strut. The first step is to remove the two bolts holding on the brake line. After pushing the brake line aside, I put the bolts back in the nuts to prevent losing them.

Here I'm using a ratcheted socket wrench to loosen the top of the suspension fork.

I also had to completely remove the bolt at the bottom of the suspension fork. Once the nut is off this bolt, you might have to "finesse" it out with a hammer. I had to use a smaller bolt and hammer to slowly push it out. Sometimes you can just twist it with a socket wrench and the threads on the end of the bolt will force it out.

Okay, I removed the strut assembly and, in the process, released the coil spring pressure without a spring compressor.

If you remove the spring and slide off the strut cover, you can see the bump-stop (orange) attached to the strut.

The coil-over instructions say to remove the bottom half of the bump-stop. This seems to be made of a light rubber, so I was able to cut off the bottom half with a sharp utility knife.

The instructions also say to remove all but the top 1 1/2 inches of the strut cover. Here is the strut cover with the top 1 1/2" inches cut off. I used a file to remove the sharp edges.

After washing all the mud off the suspension parts, I'm now ready to put things together. The kit comes with a rubber sleeve to protect the inside of the coil-over thread cylinders.

With the rubber sleeve on, I now can slide on the coil-over threads.

Next is to slide on the custom spring that should handle the extra 400 pounds from the batteries. While this picture doesn't show it, it's best to rotate the gold ring so that there are 5-6 threads showing to the left of it before moving on. The assembly in this picture is at its lowest setting and needs to be raised to give a good ride height.

Next comes the large black "top hat" and the original washer that was above the strut cover.

Next comes the rubber flexible mount that sat on top of the washer. This picture should have the large black "top hat" in it, but doesn't (I had to try this a few times).

Now comes the upper spring perch that bolts to the chassis.

And finally the perch washer and lock-nut. If you rotated the gold ring to expose six threads, you'll have to press down somewhat hard on this perch to get the lock nut on. Ideally, you'd be able to adjust the assembly later, but it's easier to put the spring under slight compression now with the proper height dialed in.

Here's the finished assembly. As I mentioned before, you should really have about six threads showing to the left of the gold ring so that you can start with a good ride height. This picture was one of my first tries before learning about the proper height setting.

Install the assembly back in the car, following the directions in the Helms manual. Don't forget to put a floor jack under the swing arm and put the whole assembly at its normal height before tightening the suspension fork bolts. This will prevent the rubber fittings in the suspension from getting torn when you put the wheels back on the ground.

The above diagrams show the driver side. Repeat for the passenger side.

After I finished this and made sure there were six threads exposed below the gold ring, the front of the car sat at its original ride height of 24.5" from the ground to the fender. With this height, the car seems much less likely to bottom out when hitting speed bumps. There's plenty of adjustment room on the coil-overs to lower my ride in the future, if I so desire.

Have a great weekend,

1 comment:

caamalrandy said...

hey bro i got some Coilover Springs and i just had a question. it brouth a silver rubber that goes on the top of the spring . but wen u put it one i can put the top bult on . ?? is it nesesary to use the plastic sliver ruber. cause the stock one didnt have one. please answer back . thanks CIVIC 93