Subaru Coupes/Sedans/Wagons 1985-1996 Repair Guide

McPherson Strut

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REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



Justy

See Figure 1

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Fig. Fig. 1: Front suspension assembly-Justy

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 and cap the front brake hose at the strut mounting bracket.
  8.  
  9. Remove the bolt that secures the brake hose to the strut.
  10.  
  11. Remove the lower strut pinch bolt.
  12.  
  13. Using a suitable tool, slightly wedge open the lower strut mounting bracket, and slide the strut assembly out.
  14.  
  15. Lower the vehicle enough to open the hood.
  16.  
  17. Remove the upper strut plate mounting nuts.
  18.  
  19. Lower the strut assembly out of the vehicle.
  20.  

To install:
  1. Install the strut in the vehicle so the upper strut plate bolts pass through the strut tower bolt holes. Install the mounting nuts and tighten to 10 ft. lbs. (14 Nm).
  2.  
  3. Raise and safely support the vehicle.
  4.  
  5. Guide the lower end of the strut into the steering knuckle.
  6.  
  7. Install the pinch bolt and tighten to 32 ft. lbs. (44 Nm).
  8.  
  9. Install the bolt that secures the brake hose to the strut and tighten to 32 ft. lbs. (44 Nm).
  10.  
  11. Connect the brake hose at the strut mounting bracket.
  12.  
  13. Install the tire and wheel assembly.
  14.  
  15. Lower the vehicle.
  16.  
  17. Connect the negative battery cable.
  18.  
  19. Bleed the brake system.
  20.  
  21. Have the front end alignment checked by a qualified professional.
  22.  

Sedan Coupe, Loyale, XT, Wagon and Brat
STANDARD STRUT

See Figures 2, 3, 4 and 5

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Fig. Fig. 2: Front standard suspension assembly-Sedan Coupe, Loyale, XT, Wagon and Brat



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Fig. Fig. 3: Front brake hose connection points



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Fig. Fig. 4: Removing the front brake cable from the caliper



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Fig. Fig. 5: Bearing cap retainer nuts in engine compartment

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 safely on jackstands.
  4.  
  5. Remove the front wheel and tire assembly.
  6.  
  7. Disconnect and cap the front brake hose from the caliper.
  8.  
  9. Remove the brake hose securing clip from the strut bracket and remove the hose from the bracket.
  10.  
  11. Disconnect the parking brake cable from the caliper, if equipped.
  12.  
  13. Open the hood.
  14.  
  15. Loosen the nuts which connects the strut bearing cap to the upper housing in the engine compartment.
  16.  
  17. Loosen and remove the strut-to-steering knuckle retainer nuts and bolts.
  18.  
  19. Disconnect the strut from the steering knuckle.
  20.  
  21. Remove the upper strut mounting nuts.
  22.  
  23. Remove the strut assembly from the vehicle.
  24.  

To install:
  1. Position the strut in the vehicle, and install the upper strut mounting nuts. Tighten the nuts to 27 ft. lbs. (36 Nm).
  2.  
  3. Attach the strut assembly to the steering knuckle. Connect the strut-to-the steering knuckle nuts and bolts. Tighten the nuts and bolts to 37 ft. lbs. (50 Nm).
  4.  
  5. Install the brake hose through the strut bracket and install the mounting clip.
  6.  
  7. Install the brake hose to the caliper, and tighten the retainer bolt.
  8.  
  9. Connect the parking brake cable to the caliper, if equipped.
  10.  
  11. Bleed the brake system.
  12.  
  13. Case the hood.
  14.  
  15. Install the front wheels.
  16.  
  17. Lower the vehicle.
  18.  
  19. Connect the negative battery cable.
  20.  
  21. Have the front end alignment checked by a qualified professional.
  22.  

PNEUMATIC STRUT

See Figure 6

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Fig. Fig. 6: Front pneumatic suspension assembly-Sedan, Coupe, Loyale, XT, Wagon and Brat

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2.  
  3. Raise and safely support the vehicle safely on jackstands.
  4.  
  5. Remove the front wheel and tire assembly.
  6.  
  7. Disconnect and cap the front brake hose from the caliper.
  8.  
  9. Remove the brake hose securing clip from the strut bracket and remove the hose from the bracket.
  10.  
  11. Disconnect the parking brake cable from the caliper, if equipped.
  12.  
  13. Open the hood.
  14.  
  15. Disconnect the air line from the solenoid valve or top of the shock.
  16.  
  17. Disconnect the height adjustment harness at the top of the shock.
  18.  
  19. Loosen the nuts which connects the strut bearing cap to the upper housing in the engine compartment.
  20.  
  21. Loosen and remove the strut-to-steering knuckle retainer nuts and bolts.
  22.  
  23. Disconnect the strut from the steering knuckle.
  24.  
  25. Remove the upper strut mounting nuts.
  26.  
  27. Remove the strut assembly from the vehicle.
  28.  

To install:
  1. Position the strut in the vehicle, and install the upper strut mounting nuts. Tighten the nuts to 27 ft. lbs. (36 Nm).
  2.  
  3. Attach the strut assembly to the steering knuckle. Connect the strut-to-the steering knuckle nuts and bolts. Tighten the nuts and bolts to 37 ft. lbs. (50 Nm).
  4.  
  5. Install the brake hose through the strut bracket and install the mounting clip.
  6.  
  7. Install the brake hose to the caliper, and tighten the retainer bolt.
  8.  
  9. Connect the parking brake cable to the caliper, if equipped.
  10.  
  11. Attach the height control harness and air line.
  12.  
  13. Bleed the brake system.
  14.  
  15. Case the hood.
  16.  
  17. Install the front wheels.
  18.  
  19. Lower the vehicle.
  20.  
  21. Connect the negative battery cable.
  22.  
  23. Start the vehicle and allow enough time for the strut to pressurize before driving.
  24.  
  25. Have the front end alignment checked by a qualified professional.
  26.  

Legacy and Impreza
STANDARD STRUT

See Figures 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12

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Fig. Fig. 7: Front suspension assembly-Legacy and Impreza



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Fig. Fig. 8: Paint an alignment mark between the strut and steering knuckle assembly of easier realignment during installation



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Fig. Fig. 9: Loosen the upper strut-to-steering knuckle retainer nut and bolt



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Fig. Fig. 10: Loosen the lower strut-to-steering knuckle nut and bolt



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Fig. Fig. 11: Remove the retainer bolts. Notice that the shaft of the upper bolt is not round. This is how the front camber is adjusted



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Fig. Fig. 12: Lower the strut assembly out of the vehicle

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.  

To install:
  1. Install the strut assembly into the vehicle.
  2.  
  3. Install the upper strut retainer nuts, and tighten the nuts to 15 ft. lbs. (20 Nm).
  4.  
  5. If equipped, install the ABS sensor harness, and tighten the bolt to 14 ft. lbs. (20 Nm).
  6.  
  7. 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).
  8.  
  9. Install the caliper.
  10.  
  11. Attach the brake line to the strut and install the clip.
  12.  
  13. Install the front wheel.
  14.  
  15. Lower the vehicle to the floor.
  16.  
  17. Connect the negative battery cable.
  18.  
  19. Have the front wheel alignment checked by a qualified professional.
  20.  

PNEUMATIC STRUT

See Figures 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17

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Fig. Fig. 13: Front pneumatic suspension assembly-Legacy and Impreza



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Fig. Fig. 14: Disconnect the air line from the solenoid valve-Legacy and Impreza



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Fig. Fig. 15: Remove the plastic cover over the strut bearing



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Fig. Fig. 16: Loosening the bearing cap retainer nuts



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Fig. Fig. 17: Lowering the strut assembly out of the vehicle

  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.
  2.  
  3. Install the upper strut retainer nuts, and tighten the nuts to 15 ft. lbs. (20 Nm).
  4.  
  5. If equipped, install the ABS sensor harness, and tighten the bolt to 14 ft. lbs. (20 Nm).
  6.  
  7. 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).
  8.  
  9. Install the caliper.
  10.  
  11. Attach the brake line to the strut and install the clip.
  12.  
  13. Attach the height sensor harness and air line.
  14.  
  15. Install the front wheel.
  16.  
  17. Lower the vehicle to the floor.
  18.  
  19. Connect the negative battery cable.
  20.  
  21. Start the vehicle and allow enough time for the strut to pressurize before driving.
  22.  
  23. Have the front wheel alignment checked by a qualified professional.
  24.  

SVX



See Figure 18

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Fig. Fig. 18: Front suspension assembly-SVX

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).
  4.  
  5. Install the strut mount cap.
  6.  
  7. Connect the strut to the steering knuckle and install the lower mounting through-bolts and loosely install the nuts.
  8.  
  9. Remove the jack.
  10.  
  11. Rotate the camber adjusting bolt so the matchmarks are in alignment. Tighten the mounting nuts to 112 ft. lbs. (152 Nm).
  12.  
  13. Install the brake hose bracket and bolt on the strut.
  14.  
  15. Install the ABS sensor bracket and bolt on the strut.
  16.  
  17. Connect the sway bar to the sway bar link and tighten the mounting nut to 28 ft. lbs. (37 Nm).
  18.  
  19. Install the tire and wheel assembly.
  20.  
  21. Lower the vehicle.
  22.  
  23. Connect the negative battery cable.
  24.  
  25. Check the front end alignment and adjust as necessary.
  26.  

OVERHAUL



See Figures 19, 20, 21 and 22

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Fig. Fig. 19: An example of a spring compressor



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Fig. Fig. 20: Compressing the coil spring assembly



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Fig. Fig. 21: Loosening the bearing cap retainer nut



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Fig. Fig. 22: Proper spring placement in lower strut plate

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.
  2.  


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

  1. Place the strut assembly in a vise with a holding tool and install a spring compressor.
  2.  
  3. Compress the spring slightly.
  4.  
  5. Loosen but do not remove the bearing cap locknut.
  6.  
  7. Compress the spring with the spring compressor then remove the locknut.
  8.  
  9. Remove the strut bearing cap, mounting insulator bracket and upper spring seat.
  10.  
  11. Remove the coil assembly, leaving the spring compressed.
  12.  
  13. Remove the strut boot and rebound bumper from the strut. Inspect and replace if worn.
  14.  
  15. Remove the strut retainer nut using a suitable wrench.Remove the strut insert from the assembly.
  16.  

To install:
  1. Install the strut into the chamber, and install the retainer nut. Tighten the nut snugly.
  2.  
  3. Install the rebound bumper and the boot to the strut piston rod.
  4.  
  5. Install the coil spring on the strut assembly. Make sure the spring is properly positioned on the lower bracket.
  6.  
  7. Install the upper spring seat, mounting insulator and bearing cap. Make sure the upper spring seat is facing the proper direction.
  8.  
  9. Install the locknut, and tighten the locknut to 36-43 ft. lbs. (47-56 Nm).
  10.  
  11. Loosen and remove the spring compressor from the coil spring.
  12.  
  13. Install the strut to the vehicle.
  14.  

INSPECTION



  1. Check for wear or damage to bushings and bearing cap needle bearings.
  2.  
  3. Check for fluid leaks from the struts.
  4.  
  5. Check all rubber parts for wear or damage.
  6.  
  7. Bounce the vehicle to check shock absorbing effectiveness. The vehicle should continue to bounce for no more than two cycles.
  8.  

 
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