GM Bonneville/Eighty Eight/LeSabre 1986-1999

MacPherson Strut

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TESTING



The function of the shock absorber is to dampen harsh spring movement and provide a means of dissipating the motion of the wheels so that the shocks encountered by the wheels are not totally transmitted to the body and, therefore, to you and your passengers. As the wheel moves up and down, the shock absorber shortens and lengthens, thereby imposing a restraint on movement by its hydraulic action.

A good way to see if your shock absorbers are functioning correctly is to push one corner of the car until it is moving up and down for almost the full suspension travel, then release it and watch its recovery. If the car bounces slightly about one more time and comes to a rest, the shock is all right. If the car continues to bounce excessively, the shocks will probably require replacement.

REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



See Figure 1

  1. Loosen the strut housing tie bar through-bolts on both ends of the tie bar.
  2.  
  3. If equipped with Computer Command Ride (CCR), detach the CCR electrical connector.
  4.  
  5. Unfasten the 2 strut-to-body mounting nuts from the top of the strut assembly.
  6.  
  7. Raise and safely support the vehicle. Position a jackstand under the engine cradle and carefully lower the vehicle so the weight of the vehicle rests on the a jackstand and not the control arms. The control arms must hang free.
  8.  
  9. Remove the tire and wheel assembly.
  10.  
  11. If equipped with ABS, detach the front wheel speed sensor connector. If necessary, remove the speed sensor bracket from the strut.
  12.  
  13. Disconnect the brake line bracket from the strut assembly.
  14.  

The knuckle must be retained after the strut-to-knuckle bolts have been removed. Failure to observe this may cause ball joint and/or halfshaft damage.

  1. Remove the strut-to-steering knuckle bolts.
  2.  
  3. Carefully remove the strut assembly from the vehicle. When removing the strut, be careful to avoid chipping or cracking the spring coating when handling the front suspension coil spring.
  4.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: Exploded view of the strut-to-body mounting - 1994 vehicle shown, other years similar

To install:
  1. Place the strut assembly in position.
  2.  
  3. Install the washer and tie bar.
  4.  
  5. Install the three strut-to-steering knuckle bolts/nuts. Tighten the upper strut mount nuts to 17 ft. lbs. (13 Nm). Tighten the tie bar through-bolts (outboard first) to 16 ft. lbs. (26 Nm).
  6.  
  7. If equipped with CCR, attach the electrical connector.
  8.  
  9. Install the strut-to-knuckle bolts.
  10.  
  11. Connect the brake line bracket to the strut assembly.
  12.  
  13. If equipped with ABS, install the speed sensor bracket to the strut and attach the speed sensor connector.
  14.  
  15. Tighten the strut-to-knuckle nuts, as follows:
    1. 1976-90 vehicles: 133 ft. lbs. (194 Nm).
    2.  
    3. 1991 vehicles: 170 ft. lbs. (133 Nm).
    4.  
    5. 1991-99 vehicles: 130 ft. lbs. (190 Nm).
    6.  

  16.  
  17. Tighten the bracket line and speed sensor bracket bolts to 12 ft. lbs. (16 Nm).
  18.  
  19. Install the tire and wheel assembly.
  20.  
  21. Remove the jackstand, then carefully lower the vehicle.
  22.  
  23. Tighten the wheel lugs to 100 ft. lbs. (125 Nm).
  24.  
  25. Take the vehicle to a reputable repair shop to have the front end alignment checked and adjusted, as necessary.
  26.  

OVERHAUL



See Figures 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7


CAUTION
The strut overhaul is a dangerous procedure and requires the use of a special spring compressor. If not certain of this procedure or if the proper tools aren't available, it is recommended you not perform this operation.

  1. Remove the strut assembly from the car.
  2.  


WARNING
When removing the strut from the vehicle, be careful not to chip or crack the spring coating.

  1. Install the strut in strut compressor J-23012, or equivalent.
  2.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 2: Install the strut in a suitable strut compressor tool

  1. Turn the compressor forcing screw until the spring compresses slightly.
  2.  
  3. Hold the strut shaft from turning using a using a socket, then remove the 13mm strut shaft nut.
  4.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 3: Hold the strut shaft stationary, then remove the strut shaft nut

  1. Install rod tool J-23012-27, or equivalent, to help guide the strut shaft out of the assembly.
  2.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 4: Use a strut shaft guiding rod to guide the shaft out of the assembly

  1. Loosen the compressor screw while guiding the strut shaft out of the assembly. Continue loosening the compressor screw until the strut and spring can be removed. Be careful to avoid chipping or cracking the spring coating when handling the coil spring.
  2.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 5: Exploded view of the front strut assembly

To assemble:
  1. Install the strut in strut compressor tool with clamp J-23012-10 clamped on the dampener shaft.
  2.  
  3. Position the strut in the compressor with the damper rod clamp clamped on the strut shaft in the compressor.
  4.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 6: Mount the strut assembly in a suitable strut compressor

  1. Install the spring over the strut in the proper position, then move the assembly upright in the strut compressor. Install the upper locking pin.
  2.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 7: Reassembling the front strut using the strut compressor

The flat on the upper spring seat must face out from the centerline of vehicle or, when mounted in the strut compressor, the spring seat must face the same direction as the steering knuckle mounting flange. If the bearing had been removed from the upper spring seat, the bearing must be installed into the upper spring seat in the same orientation as it was previously. Also, the bearing must be installed in the spring seat before attaching to the strut mount.

  1. Install rod tool J-23012-27, or equivalent, into the strut assembly to guide the strut shaft.
  2.  
  3. Start turning the compressor screw clockwise on J-23012-B, while guiding the rod tool to center the strut shaft in the assembly.
  4.  
  5. Continue turning the compressor forcing screw on the strut compressor until the strut shaft threads can be seen through the top of the strut assembly.
  6.  
  7. Install the washer and nut.
  8.  
  9. Remove clamp J-23012-10, or equivalent, from the strut shaft.
  10.  
  11. Tighten the mounting nut to 44 ft. lbs. (64 Nm ),while holding the strut shaft with a socket. You'll probably need a 13mm crow's foot wrench for this task.
  12.  
  13. Remove the 2 retaining nuts holding the strut to the compressor assembly.
  14.  
  15. Remove the 1 locking pins at the bottom of the strut.
  16.  
  17. Remove the strut assembly from the strut spring compressor tool.
  18.  
  19. Install the strut in the vehicle, as outlined earlier in this section.
  20.  

 
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