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Old 04-21-2011, 10:38 AM
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Front Coil Spring help

Hey guys, im currently in the process of tearing down the frame for sandblasting and powdercoating. I've run into a problem and cant seem to find much answers on the internets. See, I have to take off the front springs, but everywhere on the internet it says to jack up the car underneath the lower control arms and let the weight of the car compress the spring. Since the body is off the chassis, this really isnt an option. Would a spring compressor tool fit in there and work? Or is there another option that I am overlooking? Any help is greatly appreciated!
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Old 04-21-2011, 12:07 PM
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There may be a spring compressor that may fit in there, but that would be a PITA too I would think. You could take a long piece of large threaded rod and put it in where the shock goes and slowly release it....Putting the spring back in will be a pain also.
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Old 04-21-2011, 12:32 PM
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A spring compressor will be really difficult to get in there, when you do and go to remove the compressor from the spring, you will probably run out of threads on the compressor before the spring tension is released.
Are you reusing the old springs? If not, cut them with a torch to release the tension.
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Old 04-21-2011, 01:25 PM
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ill probably end up cutting them. I've already removed the shock absorbers. I'm not reusing the springs, either. If theres another way, though, id love to know it before i go buy a cutting torch.
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Old 04-21-2011, 01:35 PM
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That's an easy one.
Raise the frame and support it totally with stationary jacks. Remove the hub and brakes leaving just the backing plate as a jacking point. Then using a floor jack - hydraulic or scissors place it under the lower ball joint and lift it until it just starts to take the load. Loosen the upper ball joint castle nut until only about three-four threads are engaged. Whang the ball joint a couple times and if you are really lucky, it will come loose (seldom!) Now, since it wont come loose, you will need a "pickle fork". Drive that pickle fork in between the A arm and the ball joint, straddling the taper. Usually with a few solid hits it will come loose. You might have to play around with jacking up and down, but once the taper is loose, remove the nut, let the jack down and yank out the spring. On some, you might have to disassemble the lower arm to pull the spring - that's more "pickle fork" work. Once the ball joints are apart, the spring is out, every thing else is simple greasy grunt work with sockets and wrenches.

Nothing is going to pop out and hit you as it's contained by the castle nut. It might 'pop' to the end of the slack on the taper, but a couple of strokes on the jack will loosen things so it will come apart easily. If you do need some more weight to help compress things, get a couple of buddies and a case of their favorite brew and have them sit on the chassis. 3-400 pounds will be enough.

Do your 'blasting, assemble your new parts and you are ready to put the body in place.

Dave W
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Old 04-21-2011, 02:11 PM
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thanks alot Dave, ill go try it now.
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Old 04-21-2011, 06:35 PM
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okay, im back, and it didnt work

i:
-loosened both castle nuts
-pried on the upper ball joints with the pickle fork
-it isnt coming loose
-i dont have people available to add weight to the spring

so would the extra weight absolutely work? or is there another easier way besides a cutting torch or this way?
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Old 04-21-2011, 06:59 PM
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You dont pry with the pickle fork, you hammer it into the joint to spread it apart......That will split the ball joint apart...

Before you do that, I would REALLY suggest that you get that large piece of threaded rod in place of the shock like I said in the above post. It sounds to me that you have never done this before and when that ball joint releases, that spring could come flying out of there and really do you some damage........
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Old 04-21-2011, 07:27 PM
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thanks for the clarification. yeah, im new to this stuff so please excuse my seemingly stupid comments
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Old 04-21-2011, 08:11 PM
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alright, you guys. ive done it. just took alot of hammering on that damn ball joint. thanks for all your help, couldn't have done it without you. here's a celebratory picture!
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Old 04-22-2011, 05:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1969ChevelleGuy
alright, you guys. ive done it. just took alot of hammering on that damn ball joint. thanks for all your help, couldn't have done it without you. here's a celebratory picture!
Congratulations - well done.

Replacing ball joints is probably one of the physically most challenging projects on a vehicle, especially if the vehicle is a bit elderly. If you have an air hammer and fork kit, it does take some of the "fun" out of the project.
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