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Re: 90 front shocks - step by step, long

I would like to add a little bit to Andrei Kogan's post. This is not 
at all to imply that I have any better expertise in strut work. Just think 
it might be helpful.

My BDTD experience is based on similar jobs on the cars mentioned in the 

On Wed, 10 Mar 1999, Andrei Kogan wrote:

> Hello. since there apparently is a fair amount of interest, I will try to 
> recreate the events of that Sunday with as much detail as possible...
> Before you read any further, be aware that apparently the shocks can be
> done without removing the strut assemblies etc from the car. 

The same is true for Golf. However, I would advise to remove the whole
assembly anyway instead of disconnecting the strut housing from steering
knuckle.  This saves a trip to alignment shop where yahoos would easily
round off the nuts on the tie-rods (ask me how I know :(  )

> 1. A cheap ($5) offset box wrench to use on the top nut.
> ...
> 2. a 19mm socket

An alternative is an o-ratchet ($50 from sears with complete socket set 
up to 17 mm) plus a 19 mm socket to it ($2 directly from the company). 
The off-set on the wrench is not enough for many cars. O-ratchet will 
work for any VW/Audi and is useful for many other car jobs

> 3. A set of allen keys for 3/8" ratchet ( an overkill for this job, but
> Iwanted them for a long time). you will be fine as long as you have a 6 mm
> and possibly a 7 mm allen keys.

If I remember right, 8 mm is required on some Audis.

Also, a special tool for a slotted nut is advisable. Once I did that with 
a screw-driver and a hammer but that's not the right way. The tool is 
only $10 from GPR.

> To do everything right ( which I didn't because I didn't have this list in
> front of me), you need to make sure you have the following available before
> you start:
> 1. tie-rod Self locking nuts -1 per side

They usually come with the new strut

> 2. self locking nuts for strut assembly bolts  , 19mm --2 per side

I would advise not to touch those and save on wheel alignment (see above)

> 6. spring compressors ( can be rented at Autozone)
Or borrowed for free (with $50 deposit) from Pep Boys

> 7. A universal gear puller can be helpful when doing the tie rod, however
>    a pair of big pliers worked fine for me.

This work might be a bitch! Sometimes the purchase of a special tool
called tie-rod separator cannot be avoided. It's not a fork like but is
more like a C-shaped puller. I've seen one for $70 at local store. The
fork tool is useless. 

> 3. Don't do what the Bentley says and don't worry about the ball joint/
> drive shaft bolt

If I convinced you to remove an assembly, you have to separate a 
ball-joint and a big 30 mm nut (would require a 30 mm socket, a breaker 
bar with a cheater pipe on and car on wheels).
> 4. Break the nuts on the two horisontal bolts loose...

Only if you choose not to take assembly off the car...

> 5. Remove the tie rod end nut, and press the tie rod out of the strut
> shoulder.
> 	to prevent the shaft from turning, apply pressure to the bottom of 
> the tie
> rod end with either a gear puller or pliers. I used a big socket between
> the puller tip and the tie rod so that the pressure is applied  to the case
> and not to the bottom dish. Not sure if it matters. 

It might also help to tap on the tie-rod to misalign it. That would
increase friction and prevent it from turning with the nut. If got stuck
separating a rod, use a lot of lubricant.  Once I left the puller on the
rod that was extremely stubborn to go off. I was thinking what else I can
do and heard a "bang" ... It was off.  So, long term force might help too... 

> Once the strut assembly is out, the best thing to do is to put it on a
> bench with  a vice available. compress the springs till the top cover is
> loose, remove the slotted nut, remove everything from the top, remove the
> spring. The threaded cap that now has to be removed can be somewhat
> difficult I don't know how well the special tool works, but a pipe wrench
> always worked for me. 

Yeah, a big one. Be careful though not to grip accidentally the thread on 
the strut housing when working on that threaded cap with the pipe-wrench.

> Hope that helps,

It certainly does. Hope, my 5 cents/kopeck are of some help too

> Andrei 

Andrei :)

Golf and 4kq