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Discussion Starter #21
dpvoiceguy said:
Well said, Greg. I work in a manufacturing environment, and because I have to wear safety glasses on the floor I now feel uncomfortable doing jobs around the house without them! Even mundane jobs like mowing the grass! I've seen too many "freak" accidents to take chances.
Hey Tom, I know a guy who was weed-wacking a couple of years ago with no eye protection.
A piece of debris shot up from the ground and hit him square in the eyeball, slicing the lens of his eye.
When he went to the local hospital emergency room, he was transferred to a large hospital where an eye specialist had to do surgery on his eyeball...all because he didn't have eye protection on while weed-wacking.

Regards,
-Greg
 

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the way he did it, he tied the spring to the frame so that the spring doesnt shoot out when the balljoint is popped out. the chain does not harness the energy of the spring in a way that would cause it to become compressed within the chain.

if you are working with a frame that has no motor or trans on it, you DEFINATELY need a chain or at least some spring compressors(even WITH them i'd use a chain). i see no other way of doing it without the possibility of injury. i am not saying that there isn't always a slight possibility of injury, but taking safety precautions DRASTICALLY reduces it, and in many cases has saved people's lives

he is by all means smart in using the chain to restrain the coil, after all it can kill you without warning. i dont know about you but i wouldn't risk getting knocked out by an airborne coil spring, i value my health and safety. we all have different ideas, apparently yours and other's don't coincide.
 

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As the spring pushes the lower A-arm down, the A-arm swings to an angle with the floor jack and starts putting a side load on the floor jack's wheels. I've had the floor jack suddenly slide sideways and release the spring at once. The jack could break or a dozen other oddball things. IMO the chain is absolutely necessary unless you like to gamble with your life. Once something unexpected happens it's too late to say, "It shoudn't have done that".
 

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I can see a floor jack moving like Von mentions, that poses a safety problem too but the chain .Like I said in my other post. Because the spring sits in a pocket it has very little chance of popping out at you unless it bounces down and if by some miracle has enough tension left on the rebound you may get injured. Unless you layed down right underneath the lower control arm your not going to be injured with the belief that a spring is going to come springing out at you like some cartoon. The real injury here is preventing yourself from getting injured from a control arm that comes swinging down violently from the pressure of the spring. If you choose to use a chain to help contain that, by all means, im not against it so dont get me wrong, there is no problem with extra safety measures to prevent the arm from slamming down and either damaging you or the arm itself.

But if you really want to get technical, many service manuals call to remove the inside bolts on the control and not bother with the ball joint in the first place until the spring is out. Which ends up coming out from the frame side and all the tension is towards the frame instead.

Also keep in mind that if you have a painted frame and suspension, a chain can put some pretty good scratches in a nice detailed finish.
 

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Alright I have been trying to separate the upper all joint since yesterday. I have a pickle fork and I'm still unable to separate the joint. It pickle fork is all the way in and I'm unable to wedge it apart. The parts aren't rusted and the boot is off of the ball joint so I can see that the pickle fork is all the way in. Any ideas?
 

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pickle fork is all the way in and I'm unable to wedge it apart. The parts aren't rusted and the boot is off of the ball joint so I can see that the pickle fork is all the way in. Any ideas?
There are different sized pickle forks, you might be using one for tie-rods which is too small for a ball joint. You need to get the one that has the biggest "ramp"
 

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What worked great for me. Jam a wood block between the upper control arm and the frame so the upper arm is not sitting on the upper rubber bumper. Loosen the upper and lower ball joint nut about 1/2 of the threads (DO NOT REMOVE). With car on blocks at the firewall part of the frame and motor in the car. Hold a big hammer behind the steering knuckle and hit the front part with a big hammer (3lb), both will probably snap loose, if not, go the the top with the hammer. After they snap loose, continue as indicated previously. This way you can save the grease cover/boot, expecially if they are original.
 

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I've been working on cars for 40 years and I was taught and have always used a chain or cable on coil springs. Even when using a spring compressing tool. You never know what oddball or unsuspeced wierd thing might happen!
Always "better safe than sorry" if not for you, maybe then for anyone else might be around at the time!:thumbsup:
 

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Concerning chains:

My '79 GM Service Manual, using the removal of the lower A arm bolts to frame method, which is probably the safest way to do it, states:

"Install a chain around the spring and through the control arm as a safety measure"

I hate removing springs but I always use a chain. Never say never when it comes to "freak" accidents.....

John
 

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As the spring pushes the lower A-arm down, the A-arm swings to an angle with the floor jack and starts putting a side load on the floor jack's wheels. I've had the floor jack suddenly slide sideways and release the spring at once.
That is because the jack is in the wrong spot. It should be be under the lower ball joint with the wheels facing the travel of the arm. I also completely remove the spindle prior to lowering the control arm so as not to have to deal with the weight and mass of it while lowering the arm. If just changing the spring and nothing else it can be left attached to the upper arm and tied up out of the way. A chain wrapped through the shock hole in the lower arm, through the coil and attached to itself under the lower arm will give the safety required if something goes wrong, but honestly in 40 years of wrenching and removing springs from 50 or so cars and trucks none have ever "shot across the shop", most times after lowering the arm I had to pry them out of the arm and frame.
If you are removing original springs they are usually sagged enough to not pose a safety hazard. I removed the springs from my Nova this past weekend without the engine in the car with out any need to chain the jack to the frame. If you really want to safely remove the spring and it is not going to be reused cut a piece of the coil out before starting, now you do not have any tension to deal with. The spring in the photo was cut to remove the front suspension on a 72 El Camino with the body off the frame. Was it necessary, maybe not but it made the job easier and safer to perform. I can not stress safety enough in all we do, but there is a point where some have gone way beyond what is necessary and in doing so make the task harder then it needs to be. It would be like wearing 2 pair of safety glasses cause one might fail.



In the next few months I will be changing the springs in 72. They are new, not sagging or weak, but did not give the ride height I was looking for. I'll have Mary video tape the procedure to show the ease of spring removal when performed correctly and safely.
 

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I just changed my fronts last weekend. I own an internal spring compressor and used an impact to tighten the tool.... stripped out the threaded part of the tool. I went out and rented a tool - internal spring compressor - and used the ratchet to tighten it.

I compressed the spring after removing the shock. Once the spring was compressed, I then dismantled the lower ball joint and went from there using a floor jack to lower the control arm. At all times I kept myself out of the line of fire should the compressor fail.
The assembly was the reverse of the dismantle. I did not use a chain.
 

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great thread.
It reminds me of the days of pulling springs to find that perfect ride height. Thank god for coilovers!

As for the chains, I was a young mechanic once, and was attempting to pull springs from a car without any chain, or method of holding in the springs. One shot out and hit me square in the chest, knocking me on my arse. Bruised ribs, and a bruised ego were my lesson plan, and I learned right then and there that isht happens. Now it's all about the safe way to do it.

I saw a guy grinding and welding without any protection once, while visiting Tijuana.
Think about it.
 

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I leave the ball joints connected and remove the lower control arm bolts, then let the jack down. just as easy going back with the spring too.
 

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Won't get into the chain debate, nor offer how I do it... but I will offer a time-saver:

In regard to removing the front shocks.... if you're not going to reuse them...
Up here in rust country, trying to remove the upper nut off the shaft will take longer than the entire spring change! Try this instead:
Get the correct sized deep-well socket (six-point preferred) and a 1 foot extension. Push it down on the nut & stud and just reef back & forth on it until the shock's shaft snaps off. It'll always snap somewhere under the nut inbetween the rubber biscuits!
Try it next time! It'll save you at least 1/2 hr. per side.
 

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I used the threaded rod with nuts and home-made washer for the bottom method. Worked great, although after 2 spring installs, the threaded rod was just about stripped of its thread as it was regular every day allthread with no heat treating to make it harder.

As said, in theory this is a much safer method but as long as the other methods work and safety precautions are taken they will work as well.
 

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Thanks Greg, very useful info. Perhaps the mods could make it a sticky thread. I'm in the middle of pondering whether to do it myself or take it to
a shop. Pls hurry with your installation thread :beers:
 

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I write in this thread in stead of making a new one. One question when you put the spring back again it says in the Chevrolet manual (Chevelle -72) that the end of the spring should be over the hole in lower control arm. I have two holes in my lower control arm. How import is this and does anybody know witch hole it should be over. Take a look on my picture, it is right side of the car. Back is right on the picture. Hope you understand.

 

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you just want to get both springs somewhere between the 2 holes in each arm so they are close to the end of the pocket they rest in. If you were off a little and wanted to turn it in place, you could use a little oil on the lowest part of the tail and a good leather strap wrench around one of the middle coils. It looks like from your pic you are in between the holes already so if I'm seeing that right you shouldn't need to move it.
 
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