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How To:- A Pictorial Guide to Changing MR2 Strut Cartridges

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Pictorial Guide to Changing MR2 Strut Cartridges

Lets get started...

Your engine bay may look a bit different than this one.

Remove the little side covers (3 screws).

Jack up the car and support on a jack stand.

Tire off.

Remove two of the strut top nuts and leave the third loose.

Remove the clips holding the brake line to the strut body.

Remove brake line from strut body and re-attach line to caliper.

Mark the position of the camber adjuster so you can put it back in the same place.

Remove two big bolts holding spindle to strut body.

Wiggle spindle loose from strut body.

Place strut in big vise.

Put spring compressor (about ten bucks a pair from Harbor Freight) on and compress spring enough so that the spring top is not touching the strut top plate thing.

 

Place big nut thing from the strut top thing in your big vice to hold it, unless you have a wrench that big, which I did not.  Remove top nut.  You can use an impact wrench for this and avoid holding the top with the vice, but I did not want to damage the Monroe's I am replacing so I did it the proper way.  If you are pitching the old struts, impact wrench away.  But, this is how you need to put the new ones back together.

Strut pieces taken apart.

Now use the vice again to grab onto the nut thing holding the cartridge into the strut housing.  Put a bunch of WD-40 on it first.  Put your crowbar into the end to get some leverage and start twisting.  You may need a bigger crowbar or a bigger vise, or a big wrench that will fit the nut.  This is probably the hardest part of the whole procedure.

Dump out the oil (if you are replacing OEM) and clean out the tube with some detergent.  Put your new strut cartridge in the tube (not the nice yellow Koni).

Get about 50 CC of anti-freeze

and pour into the strut.  Pour more in if it is not full.

Screw the top on.  Note that the Koni has a round top nut thing so you can't grip it with a wrench or the big vise.  The Monroe had a hex shaped nut.  Look at your replacement set beforehand and plan accordingly.

This is the pin wrench tool I fabricated for the Koni's.  I am sure you can buy one, but I made my own.

Here is the bottom, showing the pins that fit in the holes.

Torqueing the top.  My pin wrench adds 11% torque to the value of my wrench.

Measure the distance from the nut to the strut body and check the spec sheet that came with your new strut.  Koni's and Monroe's call for 1-4mm.  Also pull up and down on the strut itself to make sure there is no play.  The Monroe's were tightened down to spec and still had play in them, so they needed a spacer.

Put the cover back on.  The new ST lower springs I used said to cut out the bottom of the top rubber part and to increase the suspension travel.  I cut it with a hack saw and glued it back to the cover with some RTV silicone gasket compound.

Put the spring back on.

Grab the strut top thing with the vice and torque the nut to spec.  Don't use an impact wrench, as you can damage the strut.

Make sure the top is pointing in the correct direction before you release the spring.  If in doubt, go look at the car.

Now it is time to put it back together.  Pretty straight forward:  put the strut assembly back in, put one nut on top to hold it, put the spindle bolts on. Then:

Return the camber adjuster to the match mark point you made before you took it apart.

Take the brake line off the caliper, feed it through the holder, replace the clips.  Now lets bleed the brake caliper.  THe other end of the hose goes in a jar of brake fluid.

Now torque the lug nuts to spec, take it off the jack stand and you are done.  Repeat fo rthe other side.

Easy, right?

Courtesy of Dr Hess

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