GM Grand Am/Achieva/Calais/Skylark/Somerset 1985-98

MacPherson Struts

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REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



See Figures 1 through 7

  1. From inside the engine compartment, remove the three nuts attaching the top of the strut assembly to the body.
  2.  
  3. Raise and safely support the vehicle.
  4.  
  5. Place jackstands under the frame.
  6.  
  7. Lower the car slightly so that the weight rests on the jackstands and not on the control arms.
  8.  
  9. Remove the front tire and wheel assemblies.
  10.  


CAUTION
Whenever working near the drive axles, take care to prevent the inner Tri-pot joints from being overextended. Overextension of the joint could result in separation of internal components, which could go undetected and result in failure of the joint.

  1. Some vehicles may use a silicone (gray) boot on the inboard axle joint. Use boot protector J-33162 or equivalent on these boots. All other boots are made from a thermoplastic (black) material and do not require the use of a boot seal protector.
  2.  
  3. Remove the cotter pin and nut, then separate the tie rod end from the strut assembly, using tool J 24319-01 or equivalent. Discard the cotter pin.
  4.  



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Fig. Fig. 1: Use suitable pliers to remove, then discard the tie rod end cotter pin



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Fig. Fig. 2: Unfasten the tie rod-to-strut retaining nut



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Fig. Fig. 3: Separate the tie rod end from the strut assembly

  1. Disconnect the brake line bracket from the strut assembly.
  2.  
  3. Scribe a mark on the strut flange as shown in the accompanying figure.
  4.  



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Fig. Fig. 4: Scribe a matchmark as illustrated, for alignment purposes during installation

  1. Unfasten and remove the strut-to-steering knuckle bolts. Make sure to loosen the nuts (while holding the bolts stationary) since the bolts are serrated.
  2.  

The steering knuckle MUST be supported to prevent axle joint overextension.



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Fig. Fig. 5: Unfasten the strut-to-steering knuckle retaining bolts

  1. Remove the strut assembly from the vehicle. Be careful to avoid chipping or cracking the spring coating when handling the front suspension coil spring assembly.
  2.  



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Fig. Fig. 6: Remove the retaining bolts, then ...



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Fig. Fig. 7: ... detach the strut from the steering knuckle

To install:
  1. Move the strut into position, then install the three nuts connecting the strut assembly to the body.
  2.  
  3. Align the steering knuckle with the strut flange scribe mark made during removal, then install the bolts and nuts. Tighten the nuts to 133 ft. lbs. (180 Nm).
  4.  
  5. Position the tie rod end into the strut assembly, then secure with the tie rod end bolt and new cotter pin. Tighten the tie rod end bolt to 35-50 ft. lbs. (50-68 Nm).
  6.  
  7. Tighten the nuts and bolts 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. Slightly raise the vehicle, then remove the jackstands from under the suspension supports.
  12.  
  13. Install the tire and wheel assembly.
  14.  
  15. Carefully lower the vehicle, then final tighten the lug nuts to 103 ft. lbs. (140 Nm).
  16.  

OVERHAUL



See Figures 8 through 17

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Fig. Fig. 8: Install a suitable strut spring compressor onto the strut spring



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Fig. Fig. 9: Tighten down the nuts on the top of the forcing screws on this type of spring compressor



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Fig. Fig. 10: A special set of sockets is available to remove the nut from the top of the strut assembly



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Fig. Fig. 11: Place the larger socket over the nut and ....



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Fig. Fig. 12: ... install the small socket over the strut rod

  1. Remove the strut assembly from the vehicle, as outlined earlier in this section.
  2.  
  3. Mount the strut assembly into a suitable spring compressor.
  4.  


CAUTION
Do not attempt to disassemble the strut without a spring compressor! The spring is under extreme pressure; the strut components can become projectiles (causing severe injury) if the top strut nut is removed without the spring being compressed with a special tool.

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Fig. Fig. 13: Hold the small socket (strut rod) tight while loosening the larger socket (strut top nut) and ...



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Fig. Fig. 14: ... remove the top nut from the strut ...



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Fig. Fig. 15: ... then the washer underneath


  1. Compress the strut approximately 1 /2 its height after initial contact with the top cap.
  2.  
  3. Remove the nut from the strut damper shaft using an appropriate tool and place alignment/guiding rod J-34013-27 on top of the damper shaft. Use the rod to guide the damper shaft straight down through the spring cap while compressing the spring. Remove the components.
  4.  

Be careful to avoid chipping or cracking the spring coating when handling the front suspension coil spring assembly.



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Fig. Fig. 16: Remove the strut bearing assembly ...



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Fig. Fig. 17: ... followed by the upper spring seat washer

To install:
  1. Extend the damper shaft and install clamp J-34013-20 on the damper shaft.
  2.  
  3. Install the spring over the strut.
  4.  
  5. Install all shields, bumpers and insulators on the spring seat. Install the spring seat on top of the spring. 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 steering knuckle.
  6.  
  7. Install the guiding rod and turn the forcing screw on the spring compressor while the guiding rod centers the assembly. When the threads on the damper shaft are visible, remove the guiding rod and install the nut.
  8.  
  9. tighten the nut to 65 ft. lbs. (85 Nm).
  10.  
  11. Remove the clamp.
  12.  
  13. Install the strut into the vehicle.
  14.  

 
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