Tips for replacing struts on 85-93 FWD Deville/Fleetwood
Strut replacement on 1987 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special
Notes from front strut replacement on 9.7.09. Remember – you experience may be different than mine and that these are MY notes – use them at your own risk!
Use air-powered impact gun to remove the large strut bolts – much faster than doing it by hand! Bolts are 24MM or 15/16 in size.
I used three (3) spring compressors – not 2 – to make the job easier. Everyone uses 2 compressors due to cost and they’re sold in pairs. Use 3 and make it easier on your self!
Be sure and paint alignment marks on EACH piece of the old strut assembly. That way you can line everything up correctly.
Yeah, removing the big top nut is a little tricky. Even with the spring compressed, the nut is going to pop off, the other pieces will go flying a foot or two – so be sure and have plenty of space around you when you remove the nut and be sure to point the top of the strut away from people and other cars! Other folks have posted horror stories about the nut flying 50 feet and smashing into things – but that has not been my experience.
When installing the new strut, remember that the center rod is usually NOT spring loaded all the way to the top of it’s travel – meaning that when you are pushing down on the top bearing trying to line everything up and get the top of the center rod to poke through the bearing so you can thread the big nut on it, that the center rod may need to be pulled up ½ inch to enable it to through the hole in the strut bearing. It’s frustrating but it can be done by one person!
Instead of wiring up the steering knuckle to prevent overextension of the tri-pot joint in the CV joint, put a jack stand under the tip of the threaded axle that pokes out of the brake rotor – easier and faster especially if you are working with the car on the ground instead of on a lift. Use a piece of wood to shim the axle from the jack stand to prevent damage to the threads.
Mounting the new strut is easier if you locate and fasten the top 3 studs into the strut tower FIRST, and then line up the strut and steering knuckle.
The 10mm bolts that hold the brake line and ABS sensor wire will cut new threads in the holes drilled in the new strut (at least that’s the way my struts were manufactured).
I used Monroe Sensa-trac struts and the ride improvement was terrific over the old factory struts with 85,000 miles on them. The old struts had NO resistance in the down motion and almost none in the up direction – they were done!!!