GM Full Size Vans 1987-1997 Repair Guide

Coil Springs


Coil springs are under considerable tension. Be very careful when removing and installing them; they can exert enough force to cause serious injury. Always use spring compressors or a safety chain when removing a coil spring or releasing spring tension!


See Figure 1

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: Typical installation of the coil spring - 1997 model shown, others similar

  1. Raise and support the van under the frame rails. The control arms should hang freely.
  3. Remove the wheel.
  5. Disconnect the shock absorber at the lower end and move it aside.
  7. Disconnect the stabilizer bar from the lower control arm.
  9. Support the lower control arm and install a spring compressor on the spring, or chain the spring to the control arm as a safety precaution.

On vans with an air cylinder inside the spring, remove the valve core from the cylinder and expel the air by compressing the cylinder with a prybar. With the cylinder compressed, replace the valve core so that the cylinder will stay in the compressed position. Push the cylinder as far as possible towards the top of the spring.

  1. Raise the jack to remove the tension from the lower control arm cross-shaft and remove the two U-bolts securing the cross-shaft to the crossmember.

The cross-shaft and lower control arm keeps the coil spring compressed. Use care when you lower the assembly.

  1. Slowly release the jack and lower the control arm until the spring can be removed. Be sure that all compression is relieved from the spring.
  3. If the spring was chained, remove the chain and spring. If you used spring compressors, remove the spring and slowly release the compressors.
  5. Remove the air cylinder, if so equipped.

To install:
  1. Install the air cylinder so that the protector plate is towards the upper control arm. The Schraeder valve should protrude through the hole in the lower control arm.
  3. Install the chain and spring. If you used spring compressors, install the spring and compressors.
  5. Slowly raise the jack and lower the control arm. Line up the indexing hole in the shaft with the crossmember attaching studs.
  7. Install the two U-bolts securing the cross-shaft to the crossmember. Tighten the nuts to 65 ft. lbs. (88 Nm) for 10/1500 and 20/2500 series; 85 ft. lbs. (115 Nm) for 30/3500 series.
  9. Remove the jack.
  11. Connect the stabilizer bar to the lower control arm. Tighten the nuts to 24 ft. lbs. (32 Nm) on 1987-95 models and on 1996-97 models tighten the bolts to 36 ft. lbs. (35 Nm).
  13. Connect the shock absorber at the lower end and tighten the bolt.
  15. If equipped with air cylinders, inflate the cylinder to 60 psi.
  17. Install the wheel.
  19. Lower the van. Once the weight of the van is on the wheels, reduce the air cylinder pressure to 50 psi.
  21. Have the alignment checked.