Subaru Car 1998-05

Strut (MacPherson Strut) Assembly

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Overhaul (Coil Spring Removal & Installation)





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Fig. An example of a spring compressor (1997)

An example of a spring compressor (1997)

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Fig. Compressing the coil spring assembly (1997)

Compressing the coil spring assembly (1997)

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Fig. Loosening the bearing cap retainer nut (1997)

Loosening the bearing cap retainer nut (1997)

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Fig. Proper spring placement in lower strut plate (1997)

Proper spring placement in lower strut plate (1997)
NOTE
Do not remove the large nut on top of the strut assembly unless the coil spring is properly compressed with a suitable spring compressor.

  1. Remove the strut assembly from the vehicle.
    WARNING
    Remove the strut from the vehicle and install a spring compressor before removing the strut center nut.

  2.  
  3. Place the strut assembly in a vise with a holding tool and install a spring compressor.
  4.  
  5. Compress the spring slightly.
  6.  
  7. Loosen but do not remove the bearing cap locknut.
  8.  
  9. Compress the spring with the spring compressor then remove the locknut.
  10.  
  11. Remove the strut bearing cap, mounting insulator bracket and upper spring seat.
  12.  
  13. Remove the coil assembly, leaving the spring compressed.
  14.  
  15. Remove the strut boot and rebound bumper from the strut. Inspect and replace if worn.
  16.  
  17. Remove the strut retainer nut using a suitable wrench. Remove the strut insert from the assembly.
  18.  
  19. Installation is the reverse of removal. Pay particular attention of the following.
  20.  
  21. Install the coil spring on the strut assembly. Make sure the spring is properly positioned on the lower bracket.
  22.  
  23. Install the upper spring seat, mounting insulator and bearing cap. Make sure the upper spring seat is facing the proper direction. Tighten the locknut to 36-43 ft. lbs. (47-56 Nm).
  24.  
  25. Loosen and remove the spring compressor from the coil spring.
  26.  
  27. Install the strut to the vehicle.
  28.  

  1. Remove the strut assembly from the vehicle.
  2.  
  3. Place the strut assembly in a vise with a holding tool and install a spring compressor.
  4.  
  5. Compress the spring slightly.
  6.  
  7. Loosen but do not remove the bearing cap locknut.
  8.  
  9. Compress the spring with the spring compressor, and then remove the locknut.
  10.  
  11. Remove or disconnect the following:

    Strut bearing cap, mounting insulator bracket and upper spring seat
     
    Coil assembly, leaving the spring compressed
     
    Strut boot and rebound bumper from the strut. Inspect and replace if worn.
     
    Strut retainer nut using a suitable wrench
     
    Strut insert from the assembly
     

  12.  
  13. Install or connect the following:

    Strut into the chamber and install the retainer nut. Tighten the nut snugly.
     
    Rebound bumper and the boot to the strut piston rod
     
    Coil spring on the strut assembly. Be sure the spring is properly positioned on the lower bracket.
     
    Upper spring seat, mounting insulator and bearing cap. Be sure the upper spring seat is facing the proper direction.
     
    Locknut and tighten to 36-43 ft. lbs. (49-59 Nm) on all except Legacy and Outback or to 41 ft. lbs. (55Nm) on Legacy and Outback.
     

  14.  
  15. Loosen and remove the spring compressor from the coil spring.
  16.  
  17. Install the strut to the vehicle.
  18.  

  1. Remove the strut from the vehicle.
  2.  
  3. Using a coil spring compressor tool, carefully compress the spring. Remove the self locking nut.
  4.  
  5. Remove the strut mount, upper spring and rubber seat from the strut.
  6.  
  7. Gradually decrease the compression force of the spring compressor tool. Remove the coil spring.
  8.  
  9. Remove the dust cover and helper spring.
  10.  
  11. Check for the presence of air in the damping force generating mechanism.
  12.  
  13. Using the spring compression tool, compress the coil spring.
    NOTE
    Be sure to properly install the coil spring.



    Click image to see an enlarged view

    Fig. Front strut spring alignment-2005

    Front strut spring alignment-2005
  14.  
  15. Position the coil spring so that its end face fits good into the spring seat.
  16.  
  17. Install the helper spring and dust cover to the piston rod.
  18.  
  19. Pull the piston rod fully upward, and install the rubber seat and spring seat.
  20.  
  21. Install the strut mount to the piston rod, and then tighten the self locking nut, temporarily. Be sure to use a new self locking nut.
  22.  
  23. Use a hexagon wrench to prevent the strut rod from turning. Tighten the self locking nut to 41 ft. lbs.
  24.  
  25. Carefully loosen the coil spring.
  26.  

Removal & Installation





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Fig. Front suspension assembly-SVX

Front suspension assembly-SVX
NOTE
Do not remove the large nut on top of the strut assembly unless the coil spring is properly compressed with a suitable spring compressor.

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2.  
  3. Raise and safely support the vehicle on jackstands.
  4.  
  5. Remove the tire and wheel assembly.
  6.  
  7. Disconnect the sway bar from the strut assembly.
  8.  
  9. Remove the bolt and bracket securing the ABS sensor wire to the strut assembly.
  10.  
  11. Remove the bolt and bracket securing the brake hose to the strut.
  12.  
  13. Scribe matchmarks on the camber adjusting bolt and the steering knuckle for installation purposes.
  14.  
  15. Remove the nuts from the lower strut mounting bolts. Remove the lower mounting bolt. The upper bolt MUST remain in place.
  16.  
  17. Support the lower control arm under the ball joint with a suitable jack.
  18.  
  19. Remove the strut mount cap in the engine compartment.
  20.  
  21. Remove the three strut plate mounting nuts.
  22.  
  23. Lower the jack about an inch and remove the strut-to-steering knuckle upper mounting bolt.
  24.  
  25. Remove the strut from the vehicle.
  26.  
  27. If the strut is to be replaced, remove the sway bar link.
  28.  

To install:

  1. Install the sway bar link on the strut and tighten the mounting nut to 28 ft. lbs. (37 Nm).
  2.  
  3. Install the strut assembly into the vehicle and install the upper mounting nuts and tighten to 30 ft. lbs. (41 Nm). Install the strut mount cap.
  4.  
  5. Connect the strut to the steering knuckle and install the lower mounting through-bolts and loosely install the nuts. Remove the jack. Next, rotate the camber adjusting bolt so the matchmarks are in alignment. Tighten the mounting nuts to 112 ft. lbs. (152 Nm).
  6.  
  7. Install and secure all remaining components in the reverse order of removal. Check the front end alignment and adjust as necessary.
  8.  

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2.  
  3. Raise and support the vehicle safely.
  4.  
  5. Remove the tire and wheel.
  6.  
  7. Remove the bolt retaining the brake hose to the strut.
  8.  
  9. Make and alignment mark on the camber adjusting bolt which secures the strut to the housing.
  10.  
  11. Remove the bolt retaining the ABS wheel speed sensor harness.
  12.  
  13. Remove the two bolts retaining the strut to the housing.
    NOTE
    While holding the head of the adjusting bolt, loosen the self locking nut.

  14.  
  15. Remove the three upper strut retaining nuts.
  16.  
  17. Remove the strut from the vehicle.
  18.  

To install:

  1. Installation is the reverse of the removal procedure.
  2.  
  3. Tighten the upper retaining nuts to 14.5 ft. lbs. Tighten the lower retaining bolts to 129 ft. lbs. on the Impreza and WRX. Tighten the lower retaining bolts to 112.1 ft. lbs. on the Legacy, Outback and Baja.
  4.  
  5. Position the alignment mark on the camber adjusting bolt with the alignment mark on the lower side of the strut. Install using a new self locking nut.
    NOTE
    While holding the head of the adjusting bolt, tighten the self locking nut.

  6.  
  7. Check and adjust wheel alignment, as necessary.
  8.  

Pneumatic Strut


Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Exploded view of the front and rear pneumatic suspension assembly-Legacy and Impreza models

Exploded view of the front and rear pneumatic suspension assembly-Legacy and Impreza models
  1. Before servicing the vehicle, refer to the Precautions section.
  2.  
  3. Remove or disconnect the following:

    Negative battery cable
     
    Air line and height sensor harness (from inside the engine compartment) from the strut assembly
     
    Front wheel assembly
     
    Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) sensor, if equipped
     
    Caliper, leaving the line connected, and suspend it out of the way with a piece of wire or string
     
    Clip attaching the brake line to the strut housing
     

  4.  
  5. Matchmark the camber adjustment bolt to the strut housing as reference for installation.

    Bolt securing the ABS sensor harness, if equipped
     
    2 bolts and nuts securing the strut to the steering knuckle. Notice that the shaft of the top bolt is not round. This bolt is used for camber adjustment, and must always be installed in the top hole.
     
    3 nuts securing the strut to the body in the engine compartment
     
    Strut and coil spring assembly
     

  6.  

To install:

  1. Install or connect the following:

    Strut assembly
     
    Upper strut retainer nuts and tighten to 15 ft. lbs. (20 Nm)
     
    ABS sensor harness (if equipped), and tighten the bolt to 15 ft. lbs. (20 Nm)
     
    Lower strut nuts and bolts. Be sure the alignment adjustment bolt is installed in the top mounting hole. Tighten the nuts to 112 ft. lbs. (152 Nm).
     
    Caliper
     
    Brake line to the strut and install the clip
     
    Height sensor harness and air line
     
    Front wheel
     
    Negative battery cable
     

  2.  
  3. Start the vehicle and allow enough time for the struts to pressurize before driving.
  4.  
  5. Check the front end alignment and adjust as necessary.
  6.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Exploded view of the front and rear pneumatic suspension assembly-Legacy and Impreza models

Exploded view of the front and rear pneumatic suspension assembly-Legacy and Impreza models
  1. Before servicing the vehicle, refer to the precautions in the beginning of this section.
  2.  
  3. Remove or disconnect the following:

    Negative battery cable
     
    Air line and height sensor harness (from inside the engine compartment) from the strut assembly
     
    Front wheel assembly
     
    Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) sensor, if equipped
     
    Caliper, leaving the line connected, and suspend it out of the way with a piece of wire or string
     
    Clip attaching the brake line to the strut housing
     

  4.  
  5. Matchmark the camber adjustment bolt to the strut housing as reference for installation.

    Bolt securing the ABS sensor harness, if equipped
     
    2 bolts and nuts securing the strut to the steering knuckle. Notice that the shaft of the top bolt is not round. This bolt is used for camber adjustment, and must always be installed in the top hole.
     
    3 nuts securing the strut to the body in the engine compartment
     
    Strut and coil spring assembly
     

  6.  

To install:

  1. Install or connect the following:

    Strut assembly
     
    Upper strut retainer nuts and tighten to 15 ft. lbs. (20 Nm)
     
    ABS sensor harness (if equipped), and tighten the bolt to 14 ft. lbs. (20 Nm)
     
    Lower strut nuts and bolts. Be sure the alignment adjustment bolt is installed in the top mounting hole. Tighten the nuts to 112 ft. lbs. (152 Nm).
     
    Caliper
     
    Brake line to the strut and install the clip
     
    Height sensor harness and air line
     
    Front wheel
     
    Negative battery cable
     

  2.  
  3. Start the vehicle and allow enough time for the struts to pressurize before driving.
  4.  
  5. Check the front end alignment and adjust as necessary.
  6.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Front pneumatic suspension assembly-Legacy and Impreza (1997)

Front pneumatic suspension assembly-Legacy and Impreza (1997)

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Disconnect the air line from the solenoid valve- 1997 Legacy shown

Disconnect the air line from the solenoid valve- 1997 Legacy shown

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Fig. Remove the plastic cover over the strut bearing (1997)

Remove the plastic cover over the strut bearing (1997)

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Fig. Loosen the bearing cap retainer nuts (1997)

Loosen the bearing cap retainer nuts (1997)

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Fig. Lower the strut assembly from the vehicle (1997)

Lower the strut assembly from the vehicle (1997)
  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2.  
  3. Raise and support the vehicle safely.
  4.  
  5. Remove the front wheel assembly.
  6.  
  7. From inside the engine compartment, disconnect the air line and height sensor harness from the strut assembly.
  8.  
  9. Disconnect the ABS sensor, if equipped.
  10.  
  11. Remove the caliper, leaving the line connected and suspend it out of the way with a piece of wire or string.
  12.  
  13. Remove the clip attaching the brake line to the strut housing.
  14.  
  15. Matchmark the camber adjustment bolt to the strut housing as reference for installation.
  16.  
  17. If equipped with ABS, remove the bolt securing the sensor harness.
  18.  
  19. Remove the two bolts and nuts securing the strut to the steering knuckle. Notice that the shaft of the top bolt is not round. This bolt is used for camber adjustment, and most always be installed in the top hole.
  20.  
  21. Remove the three nuts securing the strut to the body in the engine compartment.
  22.  
  23. Remove the strut and coil spring assembly from the vehicle.
  24.  

To install:

  1. Install the strut assembly into the vehicle. Secure the upper strut retainer nuts to 15 ft. lbs. (20 Nm).
  2.  
  3. If equipped, attach the ABS sensor harness, and tighten the bolt to 14 ft. lbs. (20 Nm).
  4.  
  5. Install the lower strut nuts and bolts. Make sure the alignment adjustment bolt is installed in the top mounting hole. Tighten the nuts, while securing the bolts to 112 ft. lbs. (152 Nm).
  6.  
  7. Install and secure all remaining components in the reverse order of removal. Start the vehicle and allow enough time for the strut to pressurize before driving.
  8.  
  9. Have the front wheel alignment checked by a qualified professional.
  10.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Front and rear pneumatic suspension and related components-2002 Legacy and Impreza

Front and rear pneumatic suspension and related components-2002 Legacy and Impreza
  1. Remove or disconnect the following:

    Negative battery cable
     
    Air line and height sensor harness (from inside the engine compartment) from the strut assembly
     
    Front wheel assembly
     
    Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) sensor, if equipped
     
    Caliper, leaving the line connected, and suspend it out of the way with a piece of wire or string
     
    Clip attaching the brake line to the strut housing
     

  2.  
  3. Matchmark the camber adjustment bolt to the strut housing as reference for installation.

    Bolt securing the ABS sensor harness, if equipped
     
    2 bolts and nuts securing the strut to the steering knuckle. Notice that the shaft of the top bolt is not round. This bolt is used for camber adjustment, and must always be installed in the top hole.
     
    3 nuts securing the strut to the body in the engine compartment
     
    Strut and coil spring assembly
     

  4.  

To install:

  1. Install or connect the following:

    Strut assembly
     
    Upper strut retainer nuts and tighten to 15 ft. lbs. (20 Nm)
     
    ABS sensor harness (if equipped), and tighten the bolt to 15 ft. lbs. (20 Nm)
     
    Lower strut nuts and bolts. Be sure the alignment adjustment bolt is installed in the top mounting hole. Tighten the nuts to 112 ft. lbs. (152 Nm).
     
    Caliper
     
    Brake line to the strut and install the clip
     
    Height sensor harness and air line
     
    Front wheel
     
    Negative battery cable
     

  2.  
  3. Start the vehicle and allow enough time for the struts to pressurize before driving.
  4.  
  5. Check the front end alignment and adjust as necessary.
  6.  

Standard Strut


Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Exploded view of the front suspension assembly-Legacy and Impreza models

Exploded view of the front suspension assembly-Legacy and Impreza models
  1. Before servicing the vehicle, refer to the Precautions section.
  2.  
  3. Remove or disconnect the following:

    Negative battery cable
     
    Front wheel assembly
     
    Caliper, if necessary, leaving the line connected, and suspend it out of the way with a piece of wire or string
     
    Clip or bolt attaching the brake line to the strut housing
     
    Bolt securing the Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) sensor harness, if equipped
     

  4.  


NOTE
Scribe a matchmark on the camber adjusting bolt which secures the strut to the housing.



2 bolts and nuts securing the strut to the steering knuckle. Notice that the shaft of the top bolt is not round. This bolt is used for camber adjustment, and must always be installed in the top hole.
 
3 nuts securing the strut to the body in the engine compartment
 
Strut and coil spring assembly from the vehicle
 

To install:

  1. Install or connect the following:

    Strut assembly into the vehicle
     
    Upper strut retainer nuts and tighten the nuts to 15 ft. lbs. (20 Nm)
     
    Lower strut nuts and bolts. Be sure the alignment adjustment bolt is installed in the top mounting hole. Tighten the nuts to 112 ft. lbs. (152 Nm) for Impreza and Outback models, or to 130 ft. lbs. (177 Nm) for Legacy and WRX models.
     
    ABS sensor harness, if equipped and tighten the bolt to 24 ft. lbs. (32 Nm)
     
    Caliper, if removed
     
    Brake line to the strut and install the clip or bolt
     
    Front wheel
     
    Negative battery cable
     

  2.  
  3. Check the front end alignment and adjust as necessary.
  4.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Exploded view of the front suspension assembly-Legacy and Impreza models

Exploded view of the front suspension assembly-Legacy and Impreza models
  1. Before servicing the vehicle, refer to the precautions in the beginning of this section.
  2.  
  3. Remove or disconnect the following:
    NOTE
    Scribe a matchmark on the camber adjusting bolt which secures the strut to the housing.



    Negative battery cable
     
    Front wheel assembly
     
    Caliper, if necessary, leaving the line connected, and suspend it out of the way with a piece of wire or string
     
    Clip or bolt attaching the brake line to the strut housing
     
    Bolt securing the Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) sensor harness, if equipped
     



    2 bolts and nuts securing the strut to the steering knuckle. Notice that the shaft of the top bolt is not round. This bolt is used for camber adjustment, and must always be installed in the top hole.
     
    3 nuts securing the strut to the body in the engine compartment
     
    Strut and coil spring assembly from the vehicle
     

  4.  

To install:

  1. Install or connect the following:

    Strut assembly into the vehicle
     
    Upper strut retainer nuts and tighten the nuts to 15 ft. lbs. (20 Nm)
     
    Lower strut nuts and bolts. Be sure the alignment adjustment bolt is installed in the top mounting hole. Tighten the nuts to 112 ft. lbs. (152 Nm) for Impreza models, or to 130 ft. lbs. (177 Nm) for Legacy models.
     
    ABS sensor harness, if equipped and tighten the bolt to 24 ft. lbs. (32 Nm)
     
    Caliper, if removed
     
    Brake line to the strut and install the clip or bolt
     
    Front wheel
     
    Negative battery cable
     

  2.  
  3. Check the front end alignment and adjust as necessary.
  4.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Front suspension assembly-Legacy and Impreza (1997)

Front suspension assembly-Legacy and Impreza (1997)

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Paint an alignment mark between the strut and steering knuckle assembly to ease realignment (1997)

Paint an alignment mark between the strut and steering knuckle assembly to ease realignment (1997)

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Loosen the upper strut-to-steering knuckle retainer nut and bolt (1997)

Loosen the upper strut-to-steering knuckle retainer nut and bolt (1997)

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Loosen the lower strut-to-steering knuckle nut and bolt (1997)

Loosen the lower strut-to-steering knuckle nut and bolt (1997)

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Remove the retainer bolts. The upper bolt's eccentric shaft allows camber adjustment (1997)

Remove the retainer bolts. The upper bolt's eccentric shaft allows camber adjustment (1997)

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Lower the strut assembly out of the vehicle (1997)

Lower the strut assembly out of the vehicle (1997)
NOTE
Do not remove the large nut on top of the strut assembly unless the coil spring is properly compressed with a suitable spring compressor.

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2.  
  3. Raise and support the vehicle safely.
  4.  
  5. Remove the front wheel assembly.
  6.  
  7. Disconnect the ABS sensor, if equipped.
  8.  
  9. Remove the caliper, leaving the line connected and suspend it out of the way with a piece of wire or string.
  10.  
  11. Remove the clip attaching the brake line to the strut housing.
  12.  
  13. Matchmark the camber adjustment bolt to the strut housing as reference for installation.
  14.  
  15. If equipped with ABS, remove the bolt securing the sensor harness.
  16.  
  17. Remove the two bolts and nuts securing the strut to the steering knuckle. Notice that the shaft of the top bolt is not round. This bolt is used for camber adjustment, and most always be installed in the top hole.
  18.  
  19. Remove the three nuts securing the strut to the body in the engine compartment.
  20.  
  21. Remove the strut and coil spring assembly from the vehicle.
  22.  
  23. Installation is the reverse of removal. Secure the upper strut retainer nuts to 15 ft. lbs. (20 Nm).
  24.  
  25. If equipped, install the ABS sensor harness, and tighten the bolt to 14 ft. lbs. (20 Nm).
  26.  
  27. Install the lower strut nuts and bolts. Make sure the alignment adjustment bolt is installed in the top mounting hole. Tighten the nuts, while securing the bolts to 112 ft. lbs. (152 Nm).
  28.  
  29. Have the front wheel alignment checked by a qualified professional.
  30.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Front suspension and related components-2002 Legacy and Impreza

Front suspension and related components-2002 Legacy and Impreza
  1. Remove or disconnect the following:
    NOTE
    Scribe a matchmark on the camber adjusting bolt which secures the strut to the housing.



    Negative battery cable
     
    Front wheel assembly
     
    Caliper, if necessary, leaving the line connected, and suspend it out of the way with a piece of wire or string
     
    Clip or bolt attaching the brake line to the strut housing
     
    Bolt securing the Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) sensor harness, if equipped
     



    2 bolts and nuts securing the strut to the steering knuckle. Notice that the shaft of the top bolt is not round. This bolt is used for camber adjustment, and must always be installed in the top hole.
     
    3 nuts securing the strut to the body in the engine compartment
     
    Strut and coil spring assembly from the vehicle
     

  2.  

To install:

  1. Install or connect the following:

    Strut assembly into the vehicle
     
    Upper strut retainer nuts and tighten the nuts to 15 ft. lbs. (20 Nm)
     
    Lower strut nuts and bolts. Be sure the alignment adjustment bolt is installed in the top mounting hole. Tighten the nuts to 112 ft. lbs. (152 Nm) for Impreza and Outback, or to 130 ft. lbs. (177 Nm) for Legacy and WRX.
     
    ABS sensor harness, if equipped and tighten the bolt to 24 ft. lbs. (32 Nm)
     
    Caliper, if removed
     
    Brake line to the strut and install the clip or bolt
     
    Front wheel
     
    Negative battery cable
     

  2.  
  3. Check the front end alignment and adjust as necessary.
  4.  

 
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