Saturn Coupes/Sedans/Wagons 1991-1998 Repair Guide

MacPherson Struts

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REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



See Figures 1 through 9


CAUTION
The MacPherson strut is under extreme spring pressure. Do not remove the strut shaft center support nut at the top without using an approved spring compressor. Personal injury may result if this caution is not followed.

  1. If equipped with an Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), disconnect the negative battery cable and then raise the front of the vehicle. Support the vehicle safely using jackstands. Make sure the vehicle is at a height where underhood access is still possible.
  2.  
  3. Remove the front wheel.
  4.  
  5. If equipped, unplug and disconnect the ABS wire from the strut wiring bracket. Note the wiring position for assembly purposes, then place the ABS wiring out of the way to prevent damage. If the strut is being replaced, drill the rivet head retaining the ABS wiring bracket to the strut and remove the bracket.
  6.  
  7. Loosen the 2 steering knuckle-to-strut housing bolts, but do not remove them at this time. For reassembly purposes, matchmark the strut position to the steering knuckle.
  8.  
  9. Remove and discard the 3 upper strut-to-body nuts.
  10.  
  11. Place a rag over the CV-joint seal to protect it from damage, then remove the 2 steering knuckle-to-strut housing bolts.
  12.  
  13. Remove the strut assembly from the vehicle.
  14.  

To install:
  1. Position the strut in the vehicle and install 3 new upper mount nuts. New nuts must be used because the torque retention of the old nut may be insufficient. Tighten the nuts to 21 ft. lbs. (29 Nm).
  2.  
  3. Install the knuckle bolts, also using new nuts. Push the bottom of the strut inward while tightening the fasteners to 126 ft. lbs. (170 Nm).
  4.  



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Fig. Fig. 1: Exploded view of the ABS wiring connector, bracket and attaching rivet



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Fig. Fig. 2: View of the ABS wiring bracket and the strut-to-knuckle bolts

  1. If equipped with ABS and the strut was replaced, install the ABS wiring bracket to the strut using a new rivet. Connect the ABS wiring to the bracket and install the wiring to the speed sensor connector. Make sure the wiring is positioned as noted during removal.
  2.  
  3. Install the wheel assembly, remove the supports and lower the vehicle.
  4.  
  5. Connect the negative battery cable, then check and adjust the alignment as necessary.
  6.  



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Fig. Fig. 3: Matchmark the strut-to-knuckle position for reassembly purposes



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Fig. Fig. 4: Loosen, but do not remove, the strut-to-steering knuckle bolts



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Fig. Fig. 5: Loosen the strut's 3 upper fasteners ...



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Fig. Fig. 6: ... then remove them from the shock tower



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Fig. Fig. 7: Remove the strut's 2 lower fasteners from the strut and knuckle



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Fig. Fig. 8: Using a prying tool, separate the lower strut mount from the steering knuckle



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Fig. Fig. 9: Remove the strut assembly from the vehicle

OVERHAUL



See Figures 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15

  1. Mount the strut in a bench vise, then attach a suitable spring compressor/holding fixture. Be sure that the strut component is firmly secured.
  2.  
  3. Compress the spring sufficiently to completely unload the upper strut mount.
  4.  
  5. Remove the strut shaft nut while holding the strut stationary with a Torx® head socket wrench.
  6.  
  7. Remove the upper mount assembly and inspect the rubber for cracks or deterioration. Rotate the support bearing by hand and check for smooth operation.
  8.  
  9. Remove the spring from the strut and inspect the spring for damage.
  10.  
  11. Remove the dust shield assembly and inspect for cracks or deterioration.
  12.  
  13. Remove the strut from the vise or applicable holding fixture and retract the strut shaft, checking for smooth, even resistance.
  14.  
  15. If replacing the coil spring, carefully release the spring compressor.
  16.  

To assemble:
  1. Secure the strut in the bench vise, or applicable holding fixture.
  2.  
  3. Extend the strut shaft to the limit of its travel.
  4.  
  5. Install the dust shield assembly onto the strut, then install the spring with the compressor tool installed.
  6.  
  7. Install the spring isolator and the strut mount to the top of the assembly.
  8.  
  9. Guide the strut shaft through the upper strut mount assembly. Compress the coil until the washer and shaft nut can be installed to the end of the shaft, but do not overcompress and damage the spring.
  10.  
  11. Tighten the shaft to the nut using a Torx® head socket wrench and a torque wrench, while holding the nut steady with an open end wrench. Tighten the fastener to 37 ft. lbs. (50 Nm).
  12.  
  13. Release the spring compressor tool and remove the strut from the fixture.
  14.  



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Fig. Fig. 10: Mount the strut in a bench vise with a spring compressor tool or equivalent



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Fig. Fig. 11: Loosen the strut shaft nut while holding the strut stationary with a Torx® head socket wrench ...



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Fig. Fig. 12: ... then remove the strut shaft nut and washer



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Fig. Fig. 13: Inspect the bearing plate and rubber bushing for wear or deterioration



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Fig. Fig. 14: Remove the coil spring and detach it from the compressor tool, if necessary



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Fig. Fig. 15: Remove the strut shaft dust boot

 
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