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98 Deville, '15 Ford Fusion Hybrid Titanium, '12 Ford Escape
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Discussion Starter #1
I think I am going to take the plunge and do the front struts myself on my SLS. I just need some help from you guys before I do this. I don't know when I'll actually get to it but I'm going to order the OEM struts from gmpartsdirect or ebay.

I've got the FSM & Haynes (for a 2nd opinion with pictures!) in front of me and I have a few questions.

first off it says I need mark or scribe a few parts then it says NOT to scribe the Front Spring, Strut, and knuckle. it says to make a chissel mark. that makes sense, but it only says that for the Knuckle (this is on page 3-35 of the FSM)

now on to the individual steps:

1) Remove the three strut mount bolts. (these are the three bolts I see on the top of the strut from under the hood, correct?)

2) raise the vehicle (i can handle that :) )

3) remove the wheel and tire (i got that too)

4) unplug the speed sensor, and bracket from the strut. ( i can handle that)

5) Remove the brake line bracket from the strut. ( got it )

6) Scribe strut to knuckle. (the knuckle is the large part that holds has the rotor and caliper, etc on it correct?) I will scripe this by making a permenant etch in the steel. I will also take digital pictures, because I'll be nervous as hell while I do this.

7) Remove Strut to Knuckle bolts. (just two it looks like with nuts on the end of the bolts?)

8) Remove the strut from vehicle. (that's it!? 5 bolts for the entire thing!? wait! I assume that after removing the bolts from the strut to the knuckle the lower control arm (?) and knuckle will be supported since they will still have the rotor, caliper, bearing and hub, all attached to them still??)

Now I need to get a tool from the parts store to compress the spring coil...

When compressing the spring coil and removing it, upon reinstallation of the spring coil on the new strut does have to be orientent exactly as it was on the old strut? Will I need to buy a new rubber bushing/disc to put on the new strut or can I reuse the old one if it is in decent shape? can I buy that rubber part at a parts store (they're all closed now or else i'd call them).

THANK YOU for any advice in advance you guys have to offer. I need to add some credit card into to paypal before I get the struts.

If I am successful at replacing the struts myself I will save $600 from the local shop, not to mention I will GAIN priceless knowledge by learning how to do it myself. I will still take it to them for an alignment, the car has no history of getting one from what I can tell. they also said the rear struts are bad, but I am more worried about the fronts, and I don't think the rears failed the bounce test that badly at all.

Thanks guys!

-Mark
 

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2015 Mazda3 S GT Hatchback 2013 Kia Optima SXL
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I answered your post in your other thread. But anyways here is a few tips. Raise the vehicle first, put it on a jack stand, and remove the tire. Remove the three nuts in top of the strut that mount it to the body. Rermove the nuts off of the two lower bolts (do not try and turn the bolts as they are splined, and you can damage them or the knuckle). Loosely install the nuts back onto the bolts, and using a heavy hammer, hit the bolts out of the knuckle (the nuts will protect the end of the bolts). The spindle knuckle will not fall, as the sway bar will hold everything up. It may be a good idea to somehow support the knuckle, as it may rotate outward, causing the drive axle to become disengaged. I used a few pieces of wood. Compress the spring, so all tension is off of the upper mount. Use an open end wrench on the nut, and a torx on the strut shaft. remove the top mount. When putting it back together, you will have to position the spring as it was before. It will be easy to see, as one of the insulators, will have a shoulder for the spring end. Also, when reinstalling the strut back in the car, you will have to press down on the knuckle, to position the lower holes. Also, you will have to hammer the lower bolts back through the spindle, as they are splined. It is easier than you think. You sound as if you know how to handle tools. It should be a breeze.

Don
 

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Forgot to mention, when reinstalling, install the upper bolts first, as this will hold the weight of the strut assembly, to make it easier on you. Also, no need to scribe the knuckle. the struts only seem to fit on one way, with no adjustment. The lower bolt holes, are round, not oblong.

Don
 

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Yes, that is the type. Believe me not :D , the front springs on our Seville's are not under tremendous pressure. I was concerned with using this type of compressor, as I have heard how much pressure the front springs have. While compressing the springs, I noticed that it wasn't taking alot of torque to get the job done. That is a good thing. The higher the spring rate, the more stress will be applied to the spring compressor, making this type of compressor no good. Many people will tell you that the bolt type compressors are crap. But, I just did my struts a few months ago, and the compressor worked beautifully. Much easier than I had imagined.

Don
 

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98 Deville, '15 Ford Fusion Hybrid Titanium, '12 Ford Escape
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Discussion Starter #7
I just posted in the other whining thread of mine, but I'll copy and paste it here for anyone who didn't read the other:
I just bought new OEM Struts from the auto parts store listed above in this thread for $995.00 WITH shipping included!! gmpartsdirect.com after shippiing costs was $1,100 or a bit over that, I looked last night and I don't remember what the total cost was exactly.
I plan on taking digital pictures and documenting the entire process to post here for others to use.
for your amusement, when I called Napa to get their price on the electronic shocks instead of passive ones, the guy asked, "are you really sure you want to spend over $500 per strut? that's a lot of money." I responded "It's a Cadillac, why would I go cheap on a repair?" and he laught a little. I feel slightly guilty for not supporting the local guys, but at this huge savings i am making by doing it myself, it's well worth it, with your help of course! Thanks a million
edit: do you think this compressor tool looks too cheap? i'm worried if i go too cheap it'll cost me in bodily harm. :thepan:

http://cgi.ebay.com/2NEW-HEAVY-DUTY-STRUT-SPRING-COMPRESSOR-SET_W0QQitemZ4601997446QQcategoryZ35625QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
 

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I will be willing to bet that all of the bolt type compressors are the same. But, on the side of safety, I made sure to get a compressor that stated in the ad, that it was good to something like 30,000 lbs pressure, or something. I remember that the one that I bought, was exactly like the ones that the auto parts stores rent. With that being said, you should be fine. Unless you want to get one that has the designation in the ad.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter #9
thanks. I'll look for a weight tolerance in the ads. i wish there were parts stores near me that loaned these kind of tools. living in 'touristville' we have more fudge and cookie shops that auto parts stores.
 

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Just watching this install.. I need to do all 4 on my car still. One question for you? What kind of tourists could you have in winter, in Michigan? LOL, sorry..
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Dooman said:
What kind of tourists could you have in winter, in Michigan? LOL, sorry..
SNOW BUNNIES!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, In the summer they come up for Fudge, Lake Michigan, Beaches and Shopping. In the winter they come up for Food, Hot Chocolate, Beer, and SKIIIIIING. And Snowmobiling.

The struts are in!!! They came today as did the spring compressor tool.

Dadillac, What size bolt does the lower part of the strut take? 18mm is too small, I'm guessing 20mm? I need to buy a new socket at Sears (which is 45 minutes away).

I also checked my Struts and I do have the electrical harness like the one below, coming out of my current front struts.

I'm planning on doing the labor the weekend after I go to the auto show in Detroit. :)

 

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I do not remember off the top of my head. I will check tomorrow for you.

Don
 

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The size of the two lower "nuts", is 15/16". You will not have to put a wrench on the bolt, as it is splined into the knuckle. You will notice this as you loosen the nut, the bolt will not turn. You have to hammer them out of the knuckle. You will also have to hammer them back in during installation.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks Don, I don't think i have a 15/16 either. I'll just go buy one at sears this weekend. i might have an opportunity on sunday to do the replacement if i get home early enough.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I did it! I took photos and everything, I posted the procedure here:

http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=62949

the complete set of pictures are here:

http://gallery.iametarq.com/photos/cars/cadillac 1998 seville sls/suspension/front struts/

The front gained I think as much as 1.5 inches of height above the wheel. I'm not a fan of low riders. so I'll take the inch anyday! There is absolutely no more metal on metal rattling noise from the car now when I go over bumps in the road.

There is still a rubber on rubber sound coming from somewhere which I suspect is the rears now, since the shop also said those were bad, but not as bad as the fronts. I'm saving the rears for the fall since with this weather we're having I think by march it'll be convertible weather. :histeric: and I wont be driving the Seville as much!

Thanks Don for all your help, there is DEFINATELY noticeable improvement in the ride quality now. When I go to Detroit next weekend i'll be able to test it out on the highway.

I also feel no difference in steering so maybe I don't need the alignment? I am probably going to take it in anyway. I need a coolant flush as well.
 
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