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Old 03-25-2005, 02:12 PM
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Strut Compressors

Just replaced springs and struts in my G/F's Nissan.

I rented spring compressors from the part store, which were pretty much two cast/forged pieces connected by threaded rods. Worked OK

I also have a set of spring compressors, which are two cast/forged hooks connected by threaded rods, but those tend to slip on the springs used on struts since those springs seem to be more of an open coil than the coil springs used on non-strut suspension.

Dad has a strut compressor that uses hooks on arms that are mounted on a large cylinder with a threaded rod. Worked OK on my Cadillac, but didn't fit the Nissan springs.

With all of the above, the tool doesn't really grab the strut, but instead clamps just the inner coils of the spring. You end up severely compressing the inner coils, because you can't grab the entire spring - the strut mount and cap get in the way.

What I'd really like to find is a tool that actually compresses the entire strut - one mount on the bottom and one mount that toes on top of the "cap" that fits above the spring, and then compresses the entire assembly. My GM service manual for the Cadillac recommends a device like this, but I haven't found anything exactly like it on the web.

The small threaded-rod spring compressors typically go for around $50. I've seen "clamshell" compressors, which also grab just the inner coils of the spring for around $150. Some use threaded rods, and some are hydraulic. Harbor Freight has one that seems a little bit better, but it doesn't grab the entire top cap, it simply holds half of the perimeter it using some hooks. I'd prefer a solid plate that would rule out the whole assembly slipping.

The professional tools that actually seem to compress the whole strut seem to start at $500 and go up from there. Even some of those use hooks. The really good ones seem to also require several sets of adapters which aren't cheap, on top of the original price. The only one that really seems to do what I want is Kent-Moore.

Anyone aware of a decent tool that is somewhere in the middle of those two price ranges? Is it possible to build a tool like that that is still safe to use? I seem to be dismantling struts for someone's car every six months or so for either strut, spring, or bearing replacement. I've never had a problem, but I'm keenly aware of the power of a compressed spring, and I'd like to invest in something more substantial and safe.

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Old 03-25-2005, 02:14 PM
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Actually, this Branick tool seems to be exactly what I'm looking for, although its a little bit pricey at $650, and I'd have to mount it on the wall somewhere.

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Old 03-25-2005, 02:56 PM
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My neighbors have a Branick tool just like your picture, I have used it several times and it is great. If I was ever going to have to do a lot of strut work I would spring the money for one.
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Old 03-25-2005, 02:59 PM
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harborfreight has them just type in strut compressor into thier search.. they have 3 types. 40, 99, and Most expensive is 130 bones. Good luck to ya.
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Old 03-25-2005, 08:15 PM
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-SPX/OTC-

http://www.otctools.com/newcatalog/detail.php3?id=471

http://www.otctools.com/newcatalog/detail.php3?id=553

(Cut and paste these two URLS)

The adaptors will make compressing any spring easier.
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Old 03-26-2005, 03:04 PM
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Thanks for all the replies.

After taking a look at the Harbor Freight model that's $129, I think it will work for me.

Unlike everything but the Branick, it doesn't just grab the inner coils. It actually holds the bottom of the strut itself. However, the top part has to grab the first open coil from the top. Its a compromise, but for the price, and considering its hydraulic, its not a bad one.

The Branick would be nice, but for six bones, I'd rather by a small MIG...
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