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Spring seat / strut question

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BrianV70
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Spring seat / strut question

Post by BrianV70 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:41 pm

The ongoing saga of my front end issues...

About a year ago I had the spring seats replaced and it felt like driving a new car. The prior owner (knucklehead) replaces the shocks with Monroe Quick Struts (not OEM) including the strut bearings, but did not do the spring seats. You could see the strut tops moving up and down at least an inch if you bounced on the bumber.

I've driven maybe 5,000 miles since then. Probably less. The ride and handling continues to deteriorate (wandering, vague steering, wander/pull when braking esp on crowned roads). I also feel play or clunking through the steering collumn on rough pavement.

I had a left front control arm and ball joint done since the spring seats, and that helped a little. Tie rods and sway bar links are all within the last 10,000 miles and were inspected by a good Volvo Indy recently when I had front brakes done. Other control arm is good too. Still getting vibration on the highway at 65-70 after balanced tires and an alignment.

Today I popped the hood and bounced on the bumper. The tops of the struts move up and down maybe a 1/4 inch. Subtle, but they're moving. Should there be any movement here or should they stay still? Can't turn the big silver nut/washer by hand.

Maybe the non-OEM strut doesnt mate nicely with the crappy ones the prior owner installed? I feel like my shop would have said something though.

Thanks! Ugggg.....



BrianV70
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Re: Spring seat / strut question

Post by BrianV70 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:49 pm

Clarification - maybe the non-OEM strut doesn't nicely with the SPRING SEAT?



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Re: Spring seat / strut question

Post by JimBee » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:04 am

The strut post has a shoulder that is supposed to sit up against the underside of the bushing in the spring seat. Then, the crossnut that you can't see from above because it's under the large mount washer on top, tightens down onto the top of the springseat bushing. Properly installed, that prevents what you're describing—the up and down play of the strut post in the springseat bushing. The problem, as I see it, is that when you hit harsh pavement the violent up-down thrust of the post in the springseat will eventually, sooner than later, break the bushing out of the springseat allowing the strut post to rise up and hit the hood.
How did it get assembled so loosely?
I found this out on one of mine that I rebuilt. On the workbench it's hard to get the topside crossnut tightened correctly because the spring isn't compressed quite enough. That leaves the strut a little loose in the springseat bushing.

[I'm assuming you have the correct tools to compress the spring to do this job. There are posts on this site for how to proceed if you haven't done it before.]

Solution: On the bench (or the ground is how I prefer to do it) with the spring compressed, tighten the crossnut as much as possible, but only LOOSELY install the rest of the hardware on the topside (just as a safety measure).

Install the assembly, let the full weight of the car down onto the new strut-spring assembly, then take off the top hex nut and washer and finish tightening the crossnut (which might still need a few turns). You can use a pipe wrench to do that.

Then, finish installing the rest of the topside hardware just to lock everything in place.
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BrianV70
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Re: Spring seat / strut question

Post by BrianV70 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:26 am

Thanks JimBee. I'm going to have the mechanic that did the spring seat take a look as well. I may end up tackling it myself depending on the outcome.

And I do appreciate the warning - I've never worked with spring compressors. From what I've read they are scary. I'd probably use four instead of two and wear a helmet!



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erikv11
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Re: Spring seat / strut question

Post by erikv11 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 1:30 pm

BrianV70 wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:41 pm
About a year ago I had the spring seats replaced and it felt like driving a new car. The prior owner (knucklehead) replaces the shocks with Monroe Quick Struts (not OEM) including the strut bearings, but did not do the spring seats.
This is not possible. Quick struts are a complete assembly, including the strut, spring and spring seat. Much more likely is that the poor quality Monroe spring seats failed quickly.
BrianV70 wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:41 pm
You could see the strut tops moving up and down at least an inch if you bounced on the bumber.
Movement there is totally normal, though an inch sounds excessive, like the springs on those quick-struts are weak.
BrianV70 wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:41 pm
I've driven maybe 5,000 miles since then. Probably less. The ride and handling continues to deteriorate (wandering, vague steering, wander/pull when braking esp on crowned roads). I also feel play or clunking through the steering collumn on rough pavement.

I had a left front control arm and ball joint done since the spring seats, and that helped a little. Tie rods and sway bar links are all within the last 10,000 miles and were inspected by a good Volvo Indy recently when I had front brakes done. Other control arm is good too. Still getting vibration on the highway at 65-70 after balanced tires and an alignment.
Agreed the ride sounds bad. Sounds most like bad control arms but certainly could be a strut issue.
BrianV70 wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:41 pm
Today I popped the hood and bounced on the bumper. The tops of the struts move up and down maybe a 1/4 inch. Subtle, but they're moving. Should there be any movement here or should they stay still? Can't turn the big silver nut/washer by hand.
Yes, when you bounce the car some up and down movement of the top washer is totally normal, this is how a strut assembly works.
BrianV70 wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:41 pm
Maybe the non-OEM strut doesnt mate nicely with the crappy ones the prior owner installed? I feel like my shop would have said something though.
More likely, as JimBee said the shop just didn't do the install properly. The movement of the strut top doesn't point to a bad job on the cross nut however it is worth checking since it is so easy to do with the strut still in the car.


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BrianV70
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Re: Spring seat / strut question

Post by BrianV70 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 1:58 pm

Thanks - you folks are awesome.



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Re: Spring seat / strut question

Post by rspi » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:03 pm

Yesterday I seen those cross nuts installed up side down on an 850.

If the installer did not do it correctly, I doubt they will fix their mistake.

If I were you, I would remove the top nut on the strut (with the car on the ground, there is no danger), and see if the cross nut is even installed. From there you can tighten the nut and see if the spring seats are torn again.


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Re: Spring seat / strut question

Post by clifford06 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:13 pm

Greetings. More chance of the quick strut being cheaply . Replaced my struts less than a year ago with some from 1AAuto. Ride got poor over time. Clunk noise over bumps. Yesterday I put a wrench on the top nut and it turned nearly an inch. Bounce test showed nearly 3/4 inch clearance . Put my old strut assembly back on and the ride is much better.



BrianV70
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Re: Spring seat / strut question

Post by BrianV70 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:05 pm

rspi wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:03 pm
Yesterday I seen those cross nuts installed up side down on an 850.

If the installer did not do it correctly, I doubt they will fix their mistake.

If I were you, I would remove the top nut on the strut (with the car on the ground, there is no danger), and see if the cross nut is even installed. From there you can tighten the nut and see if the spring seats are torn again.
Dude - I got a response from the one and only RSPI. Off to buy a a lottery ticket! :wink:



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