CTS 2003-2005

Strut (MacPherson Strut)


Disassembly & Assembly

Spring Replacment

To disassemble the strut for spring replacement, special compressor tools are required to relieve the tension on the top retaining nut. GM recommends their tool set. In your locality, it may be possible to rent a similar tool. Another possibility is to take the strut and spring assembly to a qualified shop with the proper equipment to have the strut disassembled for either spring or strut replacement. The replacement part can then be swapped out and the shop may be able to reassemble the strut for a modest price.

  1. Remove the strut from the vehicle using the procedures found in this section.
  3. Mount the strut in a strut compressor tool.
  5. Use the strut compressor forcing screw to compress the spring just enough to release the tension from the strut mount.
  7. Remove the strut shaft nut.
  9. Relieve the spring tension and remove the spring from the strut.

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Typical strut compressor tools recommended by GM for W-Body front strut disassembly

To install:

  1. Inspect all components for wear or damage.
  3. Install the rear spring lower insulator. Make sure the lower spring is visible between the step and the location mark on the insulator.
  5. Install the rear suspension spring and the dust shield to the lower insulator. Install the jounce bumper and strut mount.
  7. Use a strut compressor to compress the strut, working the strut shaft through the strut mount.
  9. Compress the strut and spring assembly enough to install the strut shaft nut. Torque the nut to 55 ft. lbs. (75 Nm).
  11. Install the strut into the vehicle using the procedures found in this section.


The front suspension struts (in previous years, sometimes called MacPherson Struts) combine the functions of a shock absorber (damper) and a spring mount into one structural assembly, a major component of the front suspension and steering systems. While removing the strut assembly is straightforward, disassembling the strut for spring removal and/or strut replacement requires special tools. Older vehicles had struts that could be taken apart and overhauled. The struts on vehicles covered by this manual do not come apart, except for the coil spring which can be replaced. If special tools are not available to disassemble the strut, it may be possible to purchase an aftermarket spring and strut already assembled.

Removal & Installation

Use care when servicing the front strut to avoid chipping or scratching the coating on the coil spring. Damage to the coating can cause premature failure.