GM Corsica/Beretta 1988-1996 Repair Guide

MacPherson Struts

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REMOVAL & INSTALLATION




CAUTION
The struts retain the springs under tremendous pressure even when removed from the car. For these reasons, several expensive special tools and substantial specialized knowledge are required to safely and effectively work on these parts. We recommend that if spring or shock absorber repair work is required, you remove the strut or struts involved and take them to a repair facility which is fully equipped and familiar with the car.

1988-90 Vehicles

See Figure 1

  1. Open the hood , then unfasten the upper strut-to-body nuts.
  2.  
  3. Loosen the lug nuts, then raise and safely support the vehicle, allowing the suspension to hang free.
  4.  
  5. Remove the wheel and tire assembly.
  6.  
  7. Install drive axle seal protective cover, tool J-33162, or equivalent.
  8.  
  9. Use a 2-jawed puller, tool J 24319 or equivalent, press the tie rod out of the strut bracket.
  10.  

When removing the strut assembly, make sure to support it before removing the strut-to-body nuts.

  1. Remove both strut-to-steering knuckle bolts and carefully lift the strut out of the vehicle.
  2.  



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Fig. Fig. 1: Upper and lower strut-to-body attachment - 1988-90 vehicles

To install:
  1. Installation is the reverse of the removal procedure.
  2.  
  3. Tighten the upper strut to body nuts to 18 ft. lbs. (25 Nm). Be sure that the flat sides of the strut-to-knuckle bolt heads are horizontal (see illustration) and torque to 133 ft. lbs. (180 Nm).
  4.  

1991-96 Vehicles

See Figures 2 and 3

  1. Open the hood, then unfasten the nuts and bolt securing the top of the strut.
  2.  



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Fig. Fig. 2: Remove any retainers blocking access to the upper strut nuts



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Fig. Fig. 3: Unfasten the upper strut-to-body retaining nuts

  1. Break the lug nuts loose, then raise and safely support the vehicle, allowing the suspension to hang free:
    1. Place jackstands under the front suspension supports.
    2.  
    3. Carefully lower the vehicle slightly so the weight of the vehicle rest on the suspension supports and NOT on the control arms.
    4.  

  2.  
  3. Remove the wheel and tire assembly.
  4.  


WARNING
Care must be taken not to allow the tri-pot joints from being over extended when either end of the shaft is disconnected. Over extension could result in separation of the internal components.

  1. Install modified inner drive axle seal protector J 34754, to prevent possible boot damage.
  2.  
  3. Remove the brake line bracket.
  4.  
  5. Remove the cotter pin and nut, then separate the tie rod end from the strut assembly, using tool J 24319-01 or equivalent 2-jawed puller to press the tie rod out of the strut bracket. Discard the cotter pin.
  6.  
  7. Scribe the strut flange as follows:
    1. Using a sharp tool, scribe the knuckle along the lower outboard strut radius.
    2.  
    3. Scribe the strut flange on the inboard side along the curve of the knuckle.
    4.  
    5. Make a scribe mark across the strut/knuckle interface.
    6.  

  8.  
  9. Unfasten the strut-to-knuckle retaining bolts, then carefully remove the strut from the vehicle.
  10.  

See FIgures 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9


WARNING
When removing the strut from the vehicle, be careful to avoid chipping or scratching the spring coating. Damage to the coating could cause premature strut failure.



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Fig. Fig. 4: You can use an awl to scribe the strut assembly in the areas shown



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Fig. Fig. 5: You must scribe the area around the lower strut mounting bolts for alignment during installation



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Fig. Fig. 6: Unfasten the two lower strut assembly mounting bolts



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Fig. Fig. 7: Support the strut assembly, then remove the lower mounting bolts



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Fig. Fig. 8: After removing the retainers, maneuver the strut assembly out of the vehicle



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Fig. Fig. 9: Exploded view of the strut mounting - 1991-96 vehicles

To install:
  1. Place the strut into position and hand-tighten the nuts attaching the top of the strut to the body.
  2.  
  3. Align the steering knuckle with the strut flange scribe marks and install the bolts and nuts and tighten to 133 ft. lbs. (180 Nm).
  4.  
  5. Position the tie rod end into the strut assembly, then install the nut and new cotter pin. Tighten the nut to 55 ft. lbs. (75 Nm) for 1990-92 vehicles, or to 44 ft. lbs. (60 Nm) for 1993-96 vehicles..
  6.  
  7. Tighten the nuts and bolt attaching the top of the strut assembly to the body to 18 ft. lbs. (25 Nm).
  8.  
  9. Install the brake line bracket.
  10.  
  11. Remove the modified drive axle seal protector.
  12.  
  13. Slightly raise the vehicle and remove the jackstands from under the suspension supports.
  14.  
  15. Install the tire and wheel assembly, then carefully lower the vehicle.
  16.  
  17. Take the vehicle to a reputable repair shop and have the front end alignment checked.
  18.  

STRUT MODIFICATION



This modification is made only if a camber adjustment is anticipated.

  1. Place the strut in a vise. This step is not absolutely necessary; filing can be accomplished by disconnecting the strut from the steering knuckle.
  2.  
  3. File the holes in the outer flanges so as to enlarge the bottom holes until they match the slots already in the inner flanges.
  4.  
  5. Camber adjustment information is located later in this section.
  6.  

OVERHAUL




CAUTION
The coil springs are retained under extremely high pressure. They can exert enough force to cause serious injury or even death. Exercise extreme caution when disassembling the strut for coil spring removal.

This procedure requires the use of a spring compressor and several other special tools. It cannot be performed without them. If you do not have access to these tools, DO NOT attempt to disassemble the strut.

1988-90 Vehicles

See Figure 10

  1. Remove the strut assembly from the vehicle.
  2.  
  3. Clamp the spring compressor, tool J-26584, in a vise. Position the strut assembly in the bottom adapter of the compressor and install the special tool J26584-400 (see illustration). Be sure that the adapter captures the strut and that the locating pins are engaged.
  4.  
  5. Place the top adapter, J-26584-430, on the strut cap. Note that the adapter has drilled holes designating each specific vehicle.
  6.  
  7. Using a 1 in. socket, turn the screw on top of the compressor clockwise until the top support flange contacts the adapters. Continue turning the screw until the coil spring is compressed approximately 1 / 2 in. (13mm); 4 complete turns. Never bottom the spring or the strut damper rod.
  8.  
  9. Unscrew the nut from the strut damper shaft and place the J-34013-27 alignment rod on the top of the damper shaft. Use this rod to guide the damper shaft straight down through the spring cap while decompressing the spring.
  10.  
  11. Turn the compressor adjusting screw counterclockwise until the spring tension has been relieved. Remove the adapters and then remove the coil spring.
  12.  

To assemble:
  1. Clamp the strut compressor body J 26584 in a vise.
  2.  
  3. Position the strut assembly in the compressor using bottom adapter J-26584-400. Make sure the adapter captures the strut and the locating pins are engaged.
  4.  
  5. Position the spring on the strut. Make sure the spring is properly seated on the bottom of the spring plate.
  6.  
  7. Install all shields, bumpers and insulators on the spring seat.
  8.  
  9. Install the spring strut seat assembly on top of the spring and make sure they are centered together and aligned properly.
  10.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 10: Coil spring and strut assembly - 1988-90 vehicles

The ends of the spring coil are to be located within 0 to 10 mm from the end of the groove in the upper insulator and 10 to 15mm from the end of the groove in the lower insulator.

  1. Place the top adapter, J-26584-430, on the strut cap. Lower the compressor to capture the cap. Pull up the damper rod to full extension and clamp in place with J-34013-20.
  2.  
  3. Insert alignment rod, J-34013-27 through the bearing and spring caps and position on top of the damper rod. Compress the spring and guide the damper rod through the bearing cap using the alignment rod during compression.
  4.  


WARNING
During compression of the spring be sure to use the guide rod to guide the shaft through the exact center of the bearing. If the threads of the damper rod catch on the bearing cap and prevent the rod from passing cleanly through the bearing, stop compressing immediately. Decompress the spring and begin again.

  1. Compress the spring until approximately 1 in. (25mm) of the damper rod protrudes through the bearing cap. Do not compress the spring any further. Install and tighten the nut to 59 ft. lbs. (80 Nm).
  2.  
  3. Remove the damper rod clamp J-34013-20.
  4.  
  5. Back off the spring compressor and remove the strut assembly.
  6.  
  7. Install the strut in the vehicle.
  8.  

1991-96 Vehicles

See Figures 11 through 18


WARNING
When removing or overhauling the strut, be careful to avoid chipping or scratching the spring coating. Damage to the coating could cause premature component failure.

  1. Remove the strut assembly from the vehicle.
  2.  
  3. Mount strut compressor J 34013 in holding fixture J 3289-20.
  4.  
  5. Mount the strut into the strut compressor. Note that the strut compressor has strut mounting holes drilled for the specific vehicle.
  6.  



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Fig. Fig. 11: Make sure the strut is properly mounted in the compressor assembly

  1. Compress the strut about 1 / 2 its height after the initial contact with the top cap.
  2.  
  3. Remove the nut from the strut dampener shaft and place guiding rod, J 34013-27, on top of the dampener shaft. Use this rod to guide the dampener shaft straight down through the bearing cap while decompressing the spring.
  4.  
  5. Disassemble the strut and spring components.
  6.  


WARNING
NEVER bottom the spring or dampener rod.



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Fig. Fig. 12: Be EXTREMELY careful when compressing the spring assembly



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Fig. Fig. 13: It may be necessary to use a back-up wrench to loosen the dampener shaft nut



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Fig. Fig. 14: Remove the strut mount



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Fig. Fig. 15: Remove the strut dust shield



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Fig. Fig. 16: Remove the spring lower insulator



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Fig. Fig. 17: Remove the spring upper insulator ...



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Fig. Fig. 18: ... then remove the jounce bumper from the insulator

To assemble:
  1. Install the bearing cap onto the strut compressor, if previously removed.
  2.  
  3. Mount the strut into the strut compressor using the bottom locking pin only. Extend the dampener shaft and install clamp J 34013-20 on the dampener shaft.
  4.  
  5. Install the spring over the dampener and swing the assembly up so that the upper locking pin can be installed. Install the upper insulator, shield bumper and upper spring seat. be sure the flat on the upper spring seat is facing in the proper direction. The spring seat flat should be facing the same direction as the centerline of the strut assembly spindle.
  6.  

  1. Install the guiding rod and turn the forcing screw while the guiding rod centers the assembly. When the threads on the dampener shaft are visible, remove the guiding rod and install the nut. Use a crowfoot line wrench, while holding the dampener shaft with a socket and tighten the nut to 65 ft. lbs. (88 Nm).
  2.  
  3. Remove the clamp.
  4.  
  5. Install the strut assembly in the vehicle.
  6.  

 
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