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Hotchkis Spring Install Notes

Hey guys,

I dont really have any pictures from during the install, but wanted to drop some notes for anyone who wanted to change their springs. First of all, I am a beginner. I have great mechanical aptitude (I should since I studied Mechanical Engineering and love cars!), but almost no hand-on experience (Token engineer!). Therefore, when I bought my car, I promised myself that I would install everything myself. Unfortunately, I have broken that promise, since I will have a shop install my full exhaust at the end of May. However, I installed new springs, and will install the MGW shifter, Dynotech d/s, and change the trans oil this weekend. I should have some notes for the latter sometime next week.

Regarding the springs, I would rate the install a 7/10. It was very time consuming because I had no experience and took as many pre-cautions as I could. Furthermore, I did not have the right tools either, so I had to MacGyver a few things. All in all, I had a blast, and I am pleased with the results.

A couple points,

1. Lifting the car is a little nerve racking. I didnt want to damage anything, so I took my time. For the front springs, I raised the car from the front rocker jack point with a TrueForged billet jacking pad. I raised each side with a low profile jack and placed 6" Race Ramp curbs. Then I went under the front k-member ridged area and raised some more, and placed jack stands with wood blocks under the frame rails. The wood blocks work great to distribute the weight of the car onto the frame rail, but you have to be careful to not use pieces of wood with notches in them. I didnt check, and one piece cracked in half @ the notch as I was lowering the car onto the jack stands. It wasnt a big deal but its worth taking your time to check.

2. Lifting the car from the rear was always easy as I lifted from the differential and placed stands at the axle. However, since the suspension needs to be unloaded during the install, you have to use alternate points. With the car off the race ramps, I attempted lifting the rear and placing jack stands under the frame rail towards the rear of the car (similar to what I did on the front). I found that I had to place the jack stands too far towards the front, and during loading, they would starts to tilt off the ground. I tossed that idea out the door and decided to remove the side-pipes so I could get at the area near the lower control arms. I should have done this right off the bat, as there is a great flat spot on the lower control arm's chassis mount.

3. Disassembling the front strut was more annoying then difficult. The center shaft must be held with large pliers or a vice grip to get the strut nut off the top. I had my dad help me with this, as its hard to alone without vice grips. I place an anti-slip rubber between the teeth on the pliers and the shaft. For the first strut it worked great, but the second would still rotate. So I just said hell with the non-slip, a little marring from the teeth at the top of the shaft isnt going to do anything.

4. The cheap strut plate used by Ford on the front struts sucks! I know there is ample warning about it coming apart, but its just as hard to put back together as well, which is where I kept dropping the bearings. Between trying to align the spring and keeping the center shift still to tighten the nut, the ball bearings kept sneaking out of place. Its a pathetic design, but it works and does its job. I cant wait to replace the whole setup with coilovers with the time comes. Remember, this plate also has to be aligned with the bolts that attach to the suspension arms. I screwed this up after re-installing the front strut, but it was a piece of cake to fix.

5. The rear springs as super easy. Not much to comment on regarding those. For the record, I didnt remove the panhard bar because I could get the springs in with it installed.

Lastly, I torqued everything back together before putting the car on the ground. Is there any benefit in going back, raising the car, loosening some of the bolts, placing it back down, and then tightening? Did I do something wrong because I didnt let the car "settle"? Thanks guys.
 

Senderofan

Having more fun than should be allowed..in my Boss
Great points....I agree with what you've stated with jacking of the car and the bearings. Regarding loosening the bolts....loading the suspension...then unloading and retightening....according to my Maximum Motorsports caster camber plate directions.....they say the lower bolts on the strut ( that bolt onto the spindle ) are considered TTY and should only be torqued once and then replaced. There's been much discussion here and elsewhere regarding the re-use of such bolts....I'm just reporting what one of the manufacturers recommends....I am neither an engineer nor a mechanic. IMHO....I would plan on re-checking all the torqued bolts after a period of use.

I've forgotten...but did you also go with LCA's? If you are using the Ford factory panhard rod....check and see how far the rear axle shifted to the driver's side. If it has shifted far enough...you might consider an adjustable panhard rod at a minimum....which is a super easy install. Also...check your LCA's....making sure they are level or the rear attachment is lower than the front....to help minimize the propensity for wheel hop.

Wayne
 
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Wayne,

I havnt replaced the bolts, and will be checking their torque this weekend. I haven't done any hard driving, but 400 km of city/highway mix should be good enough to cause issues if there are any.

I agree with your regarding the panhard bar and LCA's. I have Cortex LCA's and Watts link and I should have them installed by the end of the month. Watts will center the axle and relo brkts will take care of the LCA angle. Currently im flush on the drivers side with noticeable space on the passenger and the LCA's are not parallel with the ground with the rear higher than the front. Should have it all sorted out by the end of May.
 

Senderofan

Having more fun than should be allowed..in my Boss
sadil said:
Wayne,

I havnt replaced the bolts, and will be checking their torque this weekend. I haven't done any hard driving, but 400 km of city/highway mix should be good enough to cause issues if there are any.

I agree with your regarding the panhard bar and LCA's. I have Cortex LCA's and Watts link and I should have them installed by the end of the month. Watts will center the axle and relo brkts will take care of the LCA angle. Currently im flush on the drivers side with noticeable space on the passenger and the LCA's are not parallel with the ground with the rear higher than the front. Should have it all sorted out by the end of May.

Sounds great! Please report back on the Watt's link. Once you have the complete package....My thinking is you will be extremely happy!

Wayne
 
Please help! I just got T springs today and a little lost on removing front springs from the strut.
Also, does anyone have to torque specs for reassembly?
 

Senderofan

Having more fun than should be allowed..in my Boss
max5ive0 said:
Please help! I just got T springs today and a little lost on removing front springs from the strut.
Also, does anyone have to torque specs for reassembly?

Remove the strut assembly from the vehicle. I put mine in a vice mounted on my bench.....make sure to clamp on the mounting bracket...not the strut tube. You'll need a socket and rachet that the strut rod can pass through....this is so you can use another, much smaller socket on top, to prevent the strut rod from spinning when loosening and conversely when tightening after the new spring has been installed. Or there are specific tools for doing this job....which are better / easier...but more capital invested for an infrequenbt job. The strut retaining nut is torqued to 76 ft/lbs. Take your time when compressing the strut spring and, like a lot of things in life, be careful....awful lot of potential energy waiting in that compressed spring. Only loosen and remove the nut after the spring is compressed. Be careful when removing the strut hat after the nut has been removed....if the halves come apart....you might have several lost ball bearings.

It was a first for me.....took my time...also did MM C/C plates before completing the install. I purchased the MM alignment tool. I was well within Ford's specs for alignment when I brought it in to have it checked. If I can do this and achieve a certain degree of accuracy...anybody can do this.

You learn a fair amount about your vehicle when you do some of your own wrenching.

Good Luck,

Wayne

P.S.

THere are experts here with real mechanical talent...they can probably shed even more light on the subject.
 
Wayne, thank you. I was afraid of this socket on the strut rod, I wasn't sure it was what I should hold on to since it is so much smaller. Thanks for the tips! I wonder if I could also get hold of the strut shaft under the hat and keep it from spinning? I still have a strap wrench, hmmm... I wonder?
 

Senderofan

Having more fun than should be allowed..in my Boss
max5ive0 said:
Wayne, thank you. I was afraid of this socket on the strut rod, I wasn't sure it was what I should hold on to since it is so much smaller. Thanks for the tips! I wonder if I could also get hold of the strut shaft under the hat and keep it from spinning? I still have a strap wrench, hmmm... I wonder?

I've heard of guys doing that....what ever method you use to hold the shaft from rotating you don't want to rough up the shaft. I don't know if the strap wrench would be enough to hold it....76 ft/lbs doesn't sound like much.....but with that very smooth shaft...might be a really big challenge. If the shaft get roughed up....I think it will then start to leak.

Good Luck....I was stressed out at the beginning of my project...but in the end...It was very gratifying and I gained a lot of knowledge about our vehicles.

Wayne
 
max5ive0 said:
Please help! I just got T springs today and a little lost on removing front springs from the strut.
Also, does anyone have to torque specs for reassembly?
see this. Check out the video at the bottom of the page.
http://www.latemodelrestoration.com/item/M5300T/Mustang-Ford-Racing-Boss-302-Lowering-Springs-12-13
 
FRONT:
Brake caliper bracket bolts 98
Dust shield bolts 15
Wheel spindle pinch nut 76
Lower control arm forward bolt 129
Lower control arm rearward nuts 129
Heat shield bolts 89 lb-in
Brake line bracket bolt 15
Strut upper nut 46
Strut-to-spindle bolts 148
Strut-to-body nuts 26
Wheel hub retainer nut 221
Stabilizer bar bracket nuts 52
Stabilizer bar link nuts 85
Anti-lock brake sensor bolt 53 lb-in
Outer tie-rod end nuts 59
Steering gear mounting bolts 85
REAR:
Rear shock absorber upper nut 30
Rear shock absorber lower bolt 85
Lower arm-to-body bolt 129
Brake caliper anchor plate bolts 76
Lower arm-to-axle bolt 129
Panhard rod-to-body mount bolt 129
Panhard rod-to-axle bolt 129
Lateral stiffener bar-to-body mount nut 85
Lateral stiffener bar-to-body bolts 46
Stabilizer bar bracket nuts 52
Stabilizer bar link bolts 85
Parking brake cable bracket-to-lower arm 20
Upper control arm front bolt 129
Upper control arm rear bolts 85
Upper control arm bushing nut 129
Fuel tank strap bolt 38
Brake hose bracket bolt 15
 
Thanks for all your help guys, and for the tech specs Unit5. I think everything is working out, except I had to go to the expensive place for alignment because car was too low for the cheaper place and their tall rack.
 

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