Author: Todd Marcucci
Don't miss that trim clip on the right side. You can now get to the 14mm nuts on top of the towers (there are just two per strut). Pick a side and remove these. Oh, and don't forget to jack up the rear of the car in the middle or on the side you pick :)
Both sides should be the same from here. The rear is a little more of a pain, starting with the lower strut mounting bolt:
Hopefully with these two different angles you can find how to get to it. Use the 17mm socket to remove it- it's just one bolt, so there isn't anything on the other side to worry about.
Now that you have that one loose, you get to break the ball joint at the top A-arm. For newer cars you shouldn't have trouble with this. If your car is a few years or more than 30 or 40,000 miles old, you might need the Pittman arm tool. Most traditional "American" ball joint tools look like a "pickle" fork and will NOT work with these ball joints (they tend to tear the boot). Get a Pittman arm puller or the Honda tool.
4th gen note: This is where the 4th gen differs. It's not show here, but the 4th gen has a small "cap" over this nut, with a 10mm bolt holding it on. Use a 10mm socket to remove the bolt and the cap, and proceed as shown here.
The vehicle shown here didn't need it (only had 3,000 miles on it). A simple tap with the back of a screwdriver was enough (after removing the 17mm castle nut). You need to remove the nut first, and to do that, you have to remove the cotter pin:
If you need it, this is what the Pittman arm puller looks like:
Note that the castle nut has been removed and turned around; this has been done to prevent the tool from damaging the ball joint threads. This is a wise idea since you can't drive very far without that ball joint reattached!
Now for the fun part. Pulling the knuckle arm towards you (as shown), bring the strut down and the bottom end toward the front of the car:
Now bring the top of the strut towards the back of the car:
You should now have the rear strut assembly loose. Put the compressor on it like the front one:
Again, compress the spring but try to do it evenly. The rear spring only requires 1/2-1" of compression to loosen it up. Once the top mount is loose, remove the top retaining nut like before.
Once you're done, you can install the new spring by reversing the removal procedure. Again, the lower mounting bolt requires 47 ft-lb of torque and the top buts require 28.
Hopefully you'll enjoy your new springs! Usually it takes the new springs and rubber spacer a few weeks or a few hundred miles to "settle," so expect the car to lower itself slightly during this time.
Have fun, and be careful!
As always, feel free to email the author for more info, corrections, additions, or fun.
This page last updated 4/3/01.