NG 900/9-3 Front Strut Removal
- Sockets - 32mm (deep), 18mm, 17mm, 13mm
- 7mm Allen Key or Socket Bit
- Ratchet Driver
- Breaker Bar
- Short Extension Bar
- 18mm Open Ended Spanner
- Soft Faced Hammer or Mallet
- Large Hammer
- Medium Screwdriver
- Ball Joint Splitter
- Axle Stands
- An Assistant!
1) Using the breaker bar, the deep 32mm socket and the short extension bar (to prevent the breaker bar fouling the bodywork). Loosen off the main hub nut.
2) Using the breaker bar, the extension and the 17mm socket loosen off the wheel nuts.
3) Ensure the handbrake is firmly on, chock the rear wheels, jack up the front of the car and support the vehicle securely, either on the jacking points at the side of the vehicle or on the engine sub frame, with axle stands.
4) Remove the front wheel nuts and wheel and place the wheel underneath the front of the car so that you can rest the brake caliper on it later.
5) Using the ratchet and an 18mm socket remove the nut securing the steering track rod end the the strut. Keep the nut in a safe place.
6) Use the ball joint splitter to separate the track rod end from the strut.
7) Using the ratchet and a 13mm socket undo the nut securing the anti-roll bar to the lower suspension arm. Remove the nut, washer and rubber bush and put in a safe place.
8) Next the brake caliper has to be removed. There is no need to remove the entire caliper assembly as you can leave the caliper carrier in place. Look at the rear of the brake caliper and you will see two plastic 'tubes'. These are the dust covers for the caliper mounting bolts. Remove the blanking caps (they just pull out) and using either a 7mm allen key, or better, a 7mm allen socket, undo the bolts. Push the outer brake pad back from the disc to allow it to come over the lip on the brake disc.
9) Remove the spring that holds the outer pad in place and slide the caliper off. Rest it on the wheel that you placed on the ground earlier, making sure that the brake lines are not stretched.
10) Remove the hub nut using the 32mm socket.
Note: This nut is of the self-locking type and should be replaced - thread lock can be used if you are too tight to buy a new one though!
The disc will spin here so hold it by placing a screwdriver into the vents of the disc and bracing it against the brake caliper carrier. (This picture was from an previous job, but you get the idea.)
11) Using the 18mm open ended spanner undo the nut that holds the lower suspension arm. (Sorry but there is no picture here). Once the nut is undone you will not be able to remove it as the drive shaft is in the way. Use the soft faced mallet to tap the drive shaft in a little until you have enough clearance to remove the nut completely.
Note: Again this nut is of the self-locking type and should be renewed - thread lock can be used if you are too tight to buy a new one though!
If you find that the nut will not come undone due to the threaded part of the ball joint spinning. Place a jack underneath the lower suspension arm and raise it enough to take up the slack and try undoing the nut again.
12) Once you have the nut off comes the tricky bit! There is not enough clearance to use the ball joint splitter to 'break' the lower suspension arm's joint to the strut. You can use a 'pickle fork' type splitter but this normally destroys the gaiter on the lower arm's ball joint and the new gaiters are real pain to fit!. There is another technique but it takes some courage the first time you do it but it is detailed below.
Pull the steering round to full lock to get enough clearance and get an assistant to apply downward force on the lower arm by levering with the breaker bar on the lower arm using the engine sub frame as a fulcrum. When this force is in place, use a large hammer and apply hard, sharp blows to the lower part of the strut assembly where the lower arm joins the strut (arrowed in picture below). Be careful here as it is easy to miss and damage the outer CV boots (Trust me...you do NOT want to have to replace these!). You will know when it is done as it will 'give' as the joint breaks.
13) Once you have got the lower arm free, lever it down to release it and push the drive shaft out. The hardest part is now over.
14) Unclip the ABS sensor wire from the clips that secure it to the inner wing and disconnect it at the connector. This is the connector where the white plug meets the black socket. (See the picture below.) The two just pull apart. They will be tight though.
15) Using a 13mm socket and wrench. Remove only two of the strut mount nuts at the top. Then, with an assistant taking the weight of the strut assembly, remove the last nut. The strut assembly is now free of the car and can be carefully lifted out.