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Unread 11-29-2012, 02:29 PM   #1
Scottso699
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Another way to install WK/XK front Coils

I recently got my OME HD coils delivered and looking at them next to the factory coils (I have an extra set) they looked way stronger (and they are...). I was trying to figure out how to get these springs installed on the Bilstein struts I bought along with the springs. Many people have said to just simply use coil spring compressors (I have a Sears Craftsman set) but these things just look way to wimpy... I tried using them to compress the stock coils and came back with the thought of "You've Got to be kidding me!" Mind you, these coil spring compressors fit perfectly on the TJ, ZJ and XJ coils I was used to. Even the factory coils are too thick to engage the safety pins on these! So I'm thinking the only safe way to do this is take them to a shop that has a heavy duty coil spring compressor. I'm cheap and I like doing things myself so they sat in their boxes for a week or so.

Then I remembered I have a 20 ton shop press from Harbor Freight. With a coupon it only set me back about $160 - it has been an instrumental tool ever since I bought it. Why not use that right? Well I did and it worked like a charm - I put the springs on the press and slowly compressed them while tightening the coil spring compressors. Once I got the spring totally compressed and the coil spring compressors fully tightened down I let the press retract and the spring was still compressed thanks to the coil spring compressors. Now even at this point the bolts on the coil spring compressors where bowed. Very scary looking. I then carefully took the whole assembly to the work bench, put it on the strut, tightened the strut mount. Then little by little using my impact gun I loosened the bolts on the coil spring compressors. Forget about using a breaker bar or a ratchet - it will never work! Even at this rate I needed to have the tank at almost full psi to have the gun turn these bolts!

I used this method with both assemblies with great success.

So if you have access to a shop press (this could probably be done on a smaller shop press too) and not HD coil spring compressors this may be a good safer option than renting a tool from Autozone.

2012-11-19_20-27-12_15.jpg   2012-11-19_20-27-28_520.jpg   2012-11-19_21-05-03_930.jpg   2012-11-28_21-57-36_752.jpg  
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2006 WK Overland - K&N CAI, Superchips Programmer, Dynomax Ultra Flo Muffler, 265/70r17 BF Goodrich Rugged Terrain Tires, 1.25" Wheel Spacers, OME HD Lift, Monroe F150 Load Assist Shocks
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Unread 11-29-2012, 09:18 PM   #2
JBert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottso699
I recently got my OME HD coils delivered and looking at them next to the factory coils (I have an extra set) they looked way stronger (and they are...). I was trying to figure out how to get these springs installed on the Bilstein struts I bought along with the springs. Many people have said to just simply use coil spring compressors (I have a Sears Craftsman set) but these things just look way to wimpy... I tried using them to compress the stock coils and came back with the thought of "You've Got to be kidding me!" Mind you, these coil spring compressors fit perfectly on the TJ, ZJ and XJ coils I was used to. Even the factory coils are too thick to engage the safety pins on these! So I'm thinking the only safe way to do this is take them to a shop that has a heavy duty coil spring compressor. I'm cheap and I like doing things myself so they sat in their boxes for a week or so.

Then I remembered I have a 20 ton shop press from Harbor Freight. With a coupon it only set me back about $160 - it has been an instrumental tool ever since I bought it. Why not use that right? Well I did and it worked like a charm - I put the springs on the press and slowly compressed them while tightening the coil spring compressors. Once I got the spring totally compressed and the coil spring compressors fully tightened down I let the press retract and the spring was still compressed thanks to the coil spring compressors. Now even at this point the bolts on the coil spring compressors where bowed. Very scary looking. I then carefully took the whole assembly to the work bench, put it on the strut, tightened the strut mount. Then little by little using my impact gun I loosened the bolts on the coil spring compressors. Forget about using a breaker bar or a ratchet - it will never work! Even at this rate I needed to have the tank at almost full psi to have the gun turn these bolts!

I used this method with both assemblies with great success.

So if you have access to a shop press (this could probably be done on a smaller shop press too) and not HD coil spring compressors this may be a good safer option than renting a tool from Autozone.

While it worked, that is dangerous as hell. The amount of energy stored while compressing them is huge. If you slipped while tightening the hooks bad things would happen.
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Unread 11-29-2012, 10:09 PM   #3
Budasac
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^ What he said. You should never use the coil spring compressors with out the safety pins in. Always use the right tool for the job. I personally hate those crappy little spring compessors. A heavy duty one piece unit is much better. (Harbor Freight sells them too). You mentioned tool rental at a LAP store. Most offer the tools for free, you just have to leave a deposit. Way better way to go. (And cheaper)
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Unread 11-30-2012, 07:48 AM   #4
Scottso699
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Well..... that is why I used the press to compress the springs rather than the coil spring compressors. The coil spring compressors that are for rent are the Chinese versions of the ones I have - i.e. the autozone versions - they don't even have safety pins. The only time there was any "danger" was taking the spring from the press to the work bench and until the top nut was secured on the top of the strut. The spring isn't going to slip out of the press as there is a large dowel going down the center of the spring - so even if it slipped it wouldn't go anywhere as it would get stuck.

The long and the short of this is that there is a certain element of "danger" in everything we do - from laying under a Jeep supported on Jack stands to this as an example... I just wanted to show a way to compress the spring using a press to do the hard labor rather than tightening the the bolts on the compressors to compress the spring. Maybe not the best way... but a better way than just using the standard coil spring compressors - which by the way many people on this forum and on other forums have told me they used for this process.

Also - if you read the reviews for the compressor from Harbor Freight the majority say the center compressor bolt strips out if you use an impact gun... And there is no way you are going to tighten these HD springs down with out using an impact gun.

So the only real safe way to do this job is pay a shop to install them or spend $400-$700 for the right tool. So poop on me if I did it the wrong way
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Unread 11-30-2012, 09:38 AM   #5
JBert
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Scott,

Please don't take my post as an attack on you! You obviously thought it out completely when you did it! Just scares the hell out of me seeing it done like that!
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Unread 11-30-2012, 11:53 AM   #6
Scottso699
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBert View Post
Scott,

Please don't take my post as an attack on you! You obviously thought it out completely when you did it! Just scares the hell out of me seeing it done like that!
Oh its ok I don't - sorry if my response was worded in a way you'd think I did - I just wanted you both to know I had thought it through pretty well (tested it on a factory coil first) - I wouldn't do this every day either - as you are both right - its not the safest way to do it - just another thought on how to do this.
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Unread 11-30-2012, 12:00 PM   #7
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Note that if you are simply removing the STOCK coils and changing the shocks for same length ones you do not even need the spring compresser. I changed mine without compressing the springs (stripped a nut on my compresser) and there was still enough thread on the shock shaft to re-mount them.
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Unread 11-30-2012, 12:13 PM   #8
Scottso699
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radcrd View Post
Note that if you are simply removing the STOCK coils and changing the shocks for same length ones you do not even need the spring compresser. I changed mine without compressing the springs (stripped a nut on my compresser) and there was still enough thread on the shock shaft to re-mount them.
Great Tip - thanks - I did not know that! And I did wonder how easy (or not easy) the factory coils were to change.
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Unread 11-30-2012, 12:59 PM   #9
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Like Jbert said, not knocking you, just pointing out it's not the safest way. Yes, there is an element of danger in all that we do, but the risk can be minimized. ie, you mentioned crawling under the Jeep while on Jackstands. I always toss my wheel under the frame next to the jack stand just in case it fails. ( might save me one day, can' t hurt.)

And there are certainly times when we all throw caution to wind for one reason or another. I once placed a 2x10 plank across two 6' ladders then stuck and 18' extension ladder on top because I didn't feel like driving 30 minutes to get my big ladder. I'm still here but, I wouldn't suggest anyone else do it.
In the end, it worked for you, and you were aware (and so I assume cautious) of the dangers of the process. Just remember to always be alert and aware of what your doing.

And just a note on the HF spring compressor. I've used that one before with an air gun. The people who are complaining about the threads stripping probably didn't grease it. If you don't have the rod well greased you'll see metal filings everywhere when you start cranking on it.
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Unread 11-30-2012, 01:29 PM   #10
Scottso699
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Budasac View Post

And just a note on the HF spring compressor. I've used that one before with an air gun. The people who are complaining about the threads stripping probably didn't grease it. If you don't have the rod well greased you'll see metal filings everywhere when you start cranking on it.
Again - good to know - thanks for the tip - I wish I had known! I was considering buying that but I just read the reviews and wrote it off. And then I went down the path of the shop press...

This is a good discussion thread as a lot of us suddenly seem to be buying OME springs. We all are running across these installation questions now and are in need of good advice.
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Unread 01-11-2013, 10:32 PM   #11
jayres
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Jeep Coil Spring Length

I read this thread before I purchased Bilsteins for my 2008 JGC CRD. And I believed someone who said that if you have the stock suspension you do not need a spring compressor. Now I am missing my right hand as this just isn't even close to being true. But seriously, you MUST MUST MUST always use a spring compressor when you do this job. Period. No Ifs Ands or Buts, just use the damn things and you will not lose your hand. Just a quick note from a 50 year veteran machinist who still has ALL hands feet fingers and toes.
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Unread 01-14-2013, 02:22 PM   #12
Radcrd
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That would hve been me. I had no issues removing mine without the compressor. I would think the 2008 is same suspension as 2007? Sorry to hear you got injured Note that if you did this WITHOUT an impact gun and removed the nut by hand with a wrench then I can see how it would be more dangerous.
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Unread 01-14-2013, 03:21 PM   #13
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Don't go around telling people this is how to do the job. Some moron with no experience may try this and lose there face in the process. The way you did it is extremely dangerous and should not be encouraged.
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Unread 01-14-2013, 09:19 PM   #14
Scottso699
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Originally Posted by richsandwich View Post
Don't go around telling people this is how to do the job. Some moron with no experience may try this and lose there face in the process. The way you did it is extremely dangerous and should not be encouraged.
Well I used quality coil spring compressors the entire way through so I have to disagree. They are better than the chinese versions sold at harbor freight and the "get what you pay for" rentals from Autozone. So other than taking it to a shop and having it done for me (probably the only 100% safe way to do it) I think this is a pretty good way to do it.
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