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Thread: Front coilovers the easy (and fast) way

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date:  Dec 2018

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    Front coilovers the easy (and fast) way

    My car seemed to be higher in the front than the back. I figured if I got some adjustable coilovers, I could even it out. There's several companies that make adjustable rear coilovers, but I only found two companies that make them for the front. Delorean Industries and KW. I called them both for pricing and KW never got back to me. I didn't really like the "clown colors" on the KWs anyways, so I ordered a set from DI.

    IMG_0484.jpg

    Nice looking stuff, but that's not really the subject of this thread. This trick will work no matter who you choose. I watched several videos on changing to the coilovers and they all were pretty much the same. Jack the car up, pull the wheel, remove the swaybar and shock. Then they proceed to install a spring compressor. Of course, it doesn't fit very good and you must grab six coils for it to work. You can't get a ratchet on the one side because something's in the way. Basically, it's a PITA.

    Well I went from this.

    IMG_0494.jpg

    To this.

    IMG_0497.jpg

    In 25 minutes, and a good bit of that time was cutting off the lower spring cup that I found out later I didn't need to remove. Note, in the pic, the swaybar is off the front. This is not required to complete this job.

    IMG_0495.jpg

    How did I do it? Cut off wheel. I wasn't trying save the spring and I knew I didn't need a spring compressor to install the coilover, so I figured "why not cut it"?

    IMG_0496.jpg

    I know what your thinking. We've all heard stories of people killing them selves removing springs without spring compressors. Well, you be the judge. I left the shock in place, so the spring (or parts of it) can't get off the car untill you remove it. After you cut four coils, the spring is loose. You remove the shock and the spring just falls off in pieces.

    Of course, ware safety glasses and don't put your hands around the springs till they are obviously loose. There is one other trick or hint I will give you. You need to angle the cut off wheel slightly from vertical. You need to think about how the spring will "jump" when the final 1/8" of steel gets cut. You want the spring to seperate from the cut off wheel. If you angle it the wrong way, the two pieces of spring will pinch the wheel. If you were to do this, your wheel will be destroyed in one cut. I was able to cut all eight coils with one wheel. (Nearly wore out at the end)

    EDIT:
    I guess my "how to" wasn't very good on the steps. It should be more like this.

    1. Jack up front of car and place jack stands.
    2. Remove wheels.
    3. Unlock steering so you can easily get at what you want.
    4. Back off the upper and lower control arm bolts at the frame. (Just one turn will do)
    5. Cut four coils on each spring with a 4" cutoff wheel. (I started with the lowest coil I could get at) Cut them so the coil releases the cutoff wheel, not pinch.

    Note. The first three coils give a hard snap when they release. The forth not so much. In any case, the spring should not be under any tension when finished cutting.

    6. Remove the top and bottom shock mount bolts and take the shock out the bottom.
    7. Remove the spring pieces.
    8. Remove or modify the lower spring cup.

    Note. The coilovers allow you to lower their car by 4". If you are planing to lower it that much, you need to remove the spring cup. If you are only going to lower the car an inch or two, you can get away with out removing it. At a minimum, I would grind the inner edge of the cup down. It makes the coilover assembly easier.

    9. Disassemble the coilover and hold the two nuts and spring in between the control arms.
    10. Slide the shock up through the lower arm, nuts and spring. Thread the nuts on as far as they will go.
    11. Install the top D-cup on the coilover. This is a little "fiddlily" to get in there.
    12. Install the nut and lock nut on the top of the coilover.
    13. Start threading the spring nuts on by hand till you line up the lower mount holes.
    14. Install the lower mount bolt with the spacers supplied.

    Note. At this point, you need a starting point for your height adjustment. I threaded the spring nut untill I had 2" of threads on the bottom. At that height, I couldn't get the jack out from under the car when I lowered it. So I lowered it on ramps.

    15. Set your height to your desire with the car jacked up and checking it by lowering it on the ramps. (Multiple times)
    16. When you think you have it right back the car off the ramps and take final measurements.
    17. If you like it, pull it back on the ramp and tighten the control arm and shock bolts. Also, tighten the lock nut on your coilover with the supplied spanner wrenches.

    I couldn't edit this into my original post. Maybe admin could move it up there.
    Last edited by Ron; 05-17-2021 at 08:32 PM. Reason: OP request

  2. #2
    LS Swapper Josh's Avatar
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    This is some redneck shit.
    Glad you did not get hurt, but this is hardly advice or a how-to for others.

    KWs will not sell fronts and rears separately. They are sold in black now, not purple and yellow.

    Supercharged 5.3L LS4 + Porsche 6spd
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  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date:  Dec 2018

    Posts:    585

    Quote Originally Posted by Josh View Post
    This is some redneck shit.
    Glad you did not get hurt, but this is hardly advice or a how-to for others.

    KWs will not sell fronts and rears separately. They are sold in black now, not purple and yellow.
    It might sound sketchy, but it really wasn't a big deal. It was more scary pressing the wheel bearings out of the hubs. (Had to put allot of force on them and a little heat. When they let loose it shook the whole press)

    On the KWs,
    So if you buy a complete set and one shock gets damaged, you must buy another complete set?

  4. #4
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    Join Date:  Dec 2018

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    Josh, I know you have a negative opinion of me, but in the interest of safety, could you voice your specific fear here? I took one of the rings and tried to force it around the shock.

    IMG_0500.jpg

    I could not force it by hand. (I probably could hammer it over.) You see it would have to be at 90 degrees to go. There is no way to turn it 90 degrees with the rest of the spring in there. I really don't see how something is going to hurt someone. But I'll let you explain.

  5. #5
    Administrator Ron's Avatar
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    Speaking of necks, I'm going to stick mine out here and guess there are a few steps not listed in the procedure...involving a 2nd floor jack and a pickle fork, perhaps?

    ....Aaand, I have a dumb question. Wouldn't a little acetylene have been cheaper than the disk, and even faster?

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date:  Dec 2018

    Posts:    585

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron View Post
    Speaking of necks, I'm going to stick mine out here and guess there are a few steps not listed in the procedure...involving a 2nd floor jack and a pickle fork, perhaps?

    ....Aaand, I have a dumb question. Wouldn't a little acetylene have been cheaper than the disk, and even faster?
    No other floor jack. No pickle fork. Acetylene would work, but not everyone has that. A 4 1/2" grinder is pretty common. Also, when acetylene breaks through that last little bit of spring, it might flip a molten piece of lava at your face. (Or the fuel tank)

    On that note, I will give another recommendation. Fill the fuel tank. People often think it's better to have it empty. But gas doesn't explode, fumes do. The less room for fumes, the less explosion.

  7. #7
    Administrator Ron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helirich View Post
    No other floor jack. No pickle fork. Acetylene would work, but not everyone has that. A 4 1/2" grinder is pretty common. Also, when acetylene breaks through that last little bit of spring, it might flip a molten piece of lava at your face. (Or the fuel tank)
    FWIW:
    I understood you had acetylene...
    And using the method I was thinking of, there is no danger of that because the spring would not be compressed (no compressors either), but I'm not going there....

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date:  Dec 2018

    Posts:    585

    I guess my "how to" wasn't very good on the steps. It should be more like this.

    1. Jack up front of car and place jack stands.
    2. Remove wheels.
    3. Unlock steering so you can easily get at what you want.
    4. Back off the upper and lower control arm bolts at the frame. (Just one turn will do)
    5. Cut four coils on each spring with a 4" cutoff wheel. (I started with the lowest coil I could get at) Cut them so the coil releases the cutoff wheel, not pinch.

    Note. The first three coils give a hard snap when they release. The forth not so much. In any case, the spring should not be under any tension when finished cutting.

    6. Remove the top and bottom shock mount bolts and take the shock out the bottom.
    7. Remove the spring pieces.
    8. Remove or modify the lower spring cup.

    Note. The coilovers allow you to lower their car by 4". If you are planing to lower it that much, you need to remove the spring cup. If you are only going to lower the car an inch or two, you can get away with out removing it. At a minimum, I would grind the inner edge of the cup down. It makes the coilover assembly easier.

    9. Disassemble the coilover and hold the two nuts and spring in between the control arms.
    10. Slide the shock up through the lower arm, nuts and spring. Thread the nuts on as far as they will go.
    11. Install the top D-cup on the coilover. This is a little "fiddlily" to get in there.
    12. Install the nut and lock nut on the top of the coilover.
    13. Start threading the spring nuts on by hand till you line up the lower mount holes.
    14. Install the lower mount bolt with the spacers supplied.

    Note. At this point, you need a starting point for your height adjustment. I threaded the spring nut untill I had 2" of threads on the bottom. At that height, I couldn't get the jack out from under the car when I lowered it. So I lowered it on ramps.

    15. Set your height to your desire with the car jacked up and checking it by lowering it on the ramps. (Multiple times)
    16. When you think you have it right back the car off the ramps and take final measurements.
    17. If you like it, pull it back on the ramp and tighten the control arm and shock bolts. Also, tighten the lock nut on your coilover with the supplied spanner wrenches.

    I couldn't edit this into my original post. Maybe admin could move it up there.
    Last edited by Helirich; 05-17-2021 at 11:18 AM.

  9. #9
    Guy with a DeLorean Mark D's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Stevens Point,WI

    Posts:    2,300

    My VIN:    6125

    Obvious spring cutting safety concerns aside, you can rent spring compressors for free from auto zone, oreilly, advance auto, etc.

    Plus when you remove the springs intact you could actually make a few bucks selling them instead of throwing the cut up scraps into the bin. Not that there is a huge market for stock front springs, but still.

    I'm glad you didn't get hurt cutting the springs and that the rest of your installation of the coilovers went alright.

    My only other concern would be that removing the spring perches from the LCA's may have weakened them due to the loss of material, and any slight nicks, cuts, or gouges you may have introduced into the remaining sheet metal. The stock LCA's are not the most robust parts to begin with so adding stress concentration points could potentially lead to cracks or fatigue failure later on down the road.

    I know DPI sells their own stainless LCA's without the spring perch for their coilover setup, but those are significantly beefed up in material thickness and there were several rounds of testing and revisions to that design.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Bitsyncmaster's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Leonardtown, MD

    Posts:    8,247

    My VIN:    03572

    For the front you can use an internal spring compressor if you remove the shock first. Then you don't have the space issue or the spring not compressing equally.
    Dave M vin 03572
    http://dm-eng.weebly.com/

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