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Front Struts and Springs Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Front Struts and Springs Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

4 hours4 hrs

Tab:

$350 to $800

Talent:

***

Tools:

Jack, jack stands, 19mm, 17mm, 13mm, 10mm sockets, 22mm craw foot socket, 7mm Allen, spring compressors, optional impact gun, wheel chocks, torque wrench, lug wrench

Applicable Models:

Porsche 944 Turbo (1986-89)

Parts Required:

New struts

Hot Tip:

Check your bushings

Performance Gain:

Better handling

The front struts, or sometimes called front shocks, dampen the ride of your Porsche 944 and are critical to keeping the tires on the road. When they begin to wear, ride quality and vehicle handling suffers. If you notice that your vehicle is not smooth over bumps or feels soft when cornering, this could be an indicator of worn struts. To check your struts, push down on the front corner of your vehicle, (the side you want to inspect the strut on). When you give the front corner one good push down, it should bounce up, then slightly down and stop. If it continues to bounce, the struts are worn out. You have the choice to replace your struts with a factory spec set or install a more performance oriented strut and spring. A performance set of struts can greatly increase the handling of your 944 or 951. You can also replace all four springs on your car with performance springs, giving it a slightly lower stance and stiffer handling. If you are planning on installing performance struts or springs, make sure you install them in matching pairs. Installing mismatched struts and springs can actually result in worse performance.

You will need to jack up the car and remove the front wheels to perform this job. Please see our article on safely jacking up and supporting your vehicle.

Open the hood and begin by loosening but not removing the four 13mm nuts and washers on the top of the strut housing (red arrows).
Figure 1

Open the hood and begin by loosening but not removing the four 13mm nuts and washers on the top of the strut housing (red arrows). Do NOT loosen the 22mm nut on the strut shaft (yellow arrow). This holds the spring and strut housing together and is under tremendous pressure; removing this at this point will cause the spring to rapidly decompress and can cause severe damage to both you and the vehicle.

Remove the brake wear sensor (red arrow) and the hydraulic brake line (yellow arrow) from the mounting brackets on the strut.
Figure 2

Remove the brake wear sensor (red arrow) and the hydraulic brake line (yellow arrow) from the mounting brackets on the strut.

Make sure you get the brake wear sensor removed from both mounting brackets (yellow arrow).
Figure 3

Make sure you get the brake wear sensor removed from both mounting brackets (yellow arrow). The strut is held to the spindle by two 17mm bolts and 19mm nuts (red arrows).

The nut and bolt on the top (yellow arrow) have concentric washers on them and are used to set the alignment.
Figure 4

The nut and bolt on the top (yellow arrow) have concentric washers on them and are used to set the alignment. Make sure to mark them before removing. Use a 19mm and 17mm sockets and remove the lower nut and bolt (red arrow).

The bolts are located behind an air diverter for the brakes (red arrows).
Figure 5

The bolts are located behind an air diverter for the brakes (red arrows). You can get a lot more room to work if you remove the two 10mm bolts on the air diverter and remove it.

With the diverter off you can mark both sides of the concentric washer on the top bolt and then remove both nuts and bolts (red arrows).
Figure 6

With the diverter off you can mark both sides of the concentric washer on the top bolt and then remove both nuts and bolts (red arrows).

With the bolts removed you can slip the strut (red arrow) out from the spindle (yellow arrow).
Figure 7

With the bolts removed you can slip the strut (red arrow) out from the spindle (yellow arrow). Your brakes and brake line will still be attached, so make sure when you are removing the strut from the spindle that you do not stress the brake line or let the spindle hang by the line.

Go back to the top of the strut tower and complete removing the four 13mm nuts and washers.
Figure 8

Go back to the top of the strut tower and complete removing the four 13mm nuts and washers. The strut will pass out the bottom of the wheel well (red arrow), so do not let it fall when you remove the last nut.

If you are replacing the strut and keeping the spring, you will need to safely compress the spring to get the tension off.
Figure 9

If you are replacing the strut and keeping the spring, you will need to safely compress the spring to get the tension off. Use a good quality spring compressor (most neighborhood parts stores will lend you one) that has lock outs for the spring compressor (red arrow). Place the compressors across from each other, getting as many coils of the spring that you can. Carefully and evenly compress the spring.

On the top of the strut housing is a 22mm nut that holds the top plate, spring and strut together.
Figure 10

On the top of the strut housing is a 22mm nut that holds the top plate, spring and strut together. NEVER try and remove this without first safely compressing the springs. If you have an impact driver, it will remove the nut with no problem. You will need to hold the shaft of the strut still while removing the nut if you do not have an impact driver (red arrow)

If you do not have an impact driver insert a 7mm Allen into the top of the strut shaft (yellow arrow) and use a 22mm craw foot wrench (red arrow), the type you would remove an O-2 sensor with to remove the nut.
Figure 11

If you do not have an impact driver insert a 7mm Allen into the top of the strut shaft (yellow arrow) and use a 22mm craw foot wrench (red arrow), the type you would remove an O-2 sensor with to remove the nut. Now you can easily slide the spring off the strut and install a new strut. Installation is the reverse of removal. Do not forget to install everything in the right order.

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Comments and Suggestions:
alpine951 Comments: I tried to follow this DIY good pictures but there were some key steps missing:

1 You must disconnect the swaybar from the control arm one nut and the swaybar drop link two nuts ... this will allow the control arm to drop way further. This will give enough space for the strut to be removed and reinstalled. This is shown in your pictures but not given in your instructions.

2 A lightweight jack is very helpful to lift and remove pressure from the control arm. This makes disconnecting the sway bar and positioning the strut to get back into the steering knuckle much easier.

3 I removed the brake calipers for more room.

4 If you are putting in new struts you have to transfer two plastic pieces that hold the brake line and sensor over from the old struts to the new ones. It's hard to get these off without breaking them, if you do, use zip ties to attach the lines to the strut.

5 A pass-thru ratchet / socket set can be used to undo the 22mm nut on top of the strut instead of crawfoot wrench or impact driver.

July 11, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it. I will have the article updated.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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