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Before I start, let me say that my brother-in-law and I are not new to doing front coil springs, but this was the first time we did them on a bare frame as he is in the process of re-assembling his 68 El Camino after doing a "frame-off" restore. We have done removals and installs both with the older style internal spring compressor with 4 hooks and without using a tool at all (Hydraulic jack, chains, etc) but that was with the weight of the body and engine on the frame; without that weight is a different matter. While the removal was easy, the installation took some forethought. We did go to Oreilly's and sign out a EverTough #67050 coil spring compressor; this is the one with a plate for one end and hooks for the other. We also did exhaustive research thru years of threads on Team Chevelle on this issue and found that there were many methods, and opinions, on how to do this, most of which did not include using the complete coil compressing tool. There were methods that used part of the tool and went thru the shock hole at the top of the spring tower, compressing the spring into the tower. We found that the shock hole on our car was off-center and could possibly draw the spring closed at an angle that may or may not work for us;plus the shock hole would have to be widened because our tool had a larger diameter. Another method ran the tool thru the hole in the lower control arm (LCA) and compressed the spring to the LCA; again, we were concerned about the angle of the spring as it compressed. There were also the "home-made" tools that seemed to work, and those that didn't use a spring compressor at all. After all of this research and some discussion, we decided to go with the coil spring compressor as it was designed and intended. Since there had been mention in the threads that this would cause some problems, such as a lower wedged plate of the compressor or a threaded center shaft that extended beyond the spring, we took it slow, experimented, measured and took pictures. The passenger side spring took us 2 days as we experimented and documented for the "Team," and the driver's side took under an hour. What we found is that the spring compressor works as designed but you have to be very specific in where you locate the hooks at the top of the coil spring and the plate at the bottom, and they have to be far enough apart so that you are just barely able to catch the thread in the hook portion and start it by hand;this puts the hooks high enough into the tower so that they don't hit the frame or interfere with the slight tilt of the spring. Look closely at the pictures for the coil location and how the plate was oriented in the spring based on the bottom coil properly covering the holes on the LCA as mentioned in the assembly manual. The pictures are of the driver side. Initially on the passenger side, we had the plate turned 180 degrees from the way it is sitting in these pics; this put the handle of the plate to the inside of the LCA and this was a little harder to remove with the pry bar than having the handle to the outside of the LCA as we did on the driver side was. Yes, the plate does get wedged in the bottom when you uncompressed the spring; however, the careful use of a good pry bar will enable you to release the pressure on it and slide it out easily. And, yes, the plate will slightly scratch your finish on the LCA. If you buy the tool, you could shorten the fingers on the plate so that it won't scratch the LCA adn pad your pry bar;you may want to do this if you are powder-coating the control arms.

When you compress the spring for installation, you have to compress it to under 13". We did this and then seated the spring in top perch the spring tower and raised the LCA up so that the spring sat in the lower perch properly adn as close as possible to being correctly over the holes in the LCA. We then lined up and connected the spindle to the lower balljoint, first using muscle and then with a little assistance from a bottle jack to move the LCA just enough to catch threads on the balljoint. Once we caught the threads, we adjusted the spring by turning it to ensure it was properly aligned over the hole in the LCA. We then jacked the LCA a little more with my brother-in-law sitting on the frame to provide extra weight so that the LCA would compress more to expose the entire thread area on the ball joint. We torqued the nut on the balljoint and proceeded to uncompress the spring. Once uncompressed, we found a spot between the coil just over the stuck plate and the LCA and slowly and carefully pried the coil up. CAUTION at this point - make sure that no fingers go between the plate and the coil in case the coil slips off of the pry bar. That's it! As I said the driver's side took less than an hour, and much of that was slowly compressing and uncompressing the spring. Key points are where and how you attach the spring compressor to the spring. Hopefully, this will help you to get it on the first try.
 

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I fought mine this summer for about 2 hours. When I finally had enough, I put the top in place and kicked the lower half 2-3 times and i"ll be. It popped right into place. Took about 10 minutes after that. I know thats not the safest way to get em in but it works. It would have been alot easier but the new springs were 2 1/2 inches longer than the originals.
 
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Ive chained mine to the LCA with a high grade chain and Master padlock while the spring is under tension, before the upper and lower ball joint studs are torqued to specs and cotter pin installed. Might provide an extra margin of safety, I know i feel better working on those springs while they are secured.
 

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It is much much easier to do this in a compete car with the engine in between the frame rails. i know you did not have this option be cause the car is apart-just saying.

i did mine with no spring compressor and just a floor jack. i may have chained or put a cable on the spring for safety but i honestly cant remember. all in all it went very smooth.

i remember it was harder to get the LCA back in the frame with the new bushings that it was to get the spring in place.

crack a beer and toast to getting one more thing done.
 

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Boldly procrastrinating
66 El Camino 57 Chevy pickup 2004 Tahoe
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You can put the spring in the A-arm and fork part under the A-arm and draw the spring down. There's a spring locator tab up in the spring pocket in the frame, can't let the curved fingers of the compressor get on there.

Thanks for taking time to write up your experience.
 
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