After action report (albeit late):
1. Removed the strut from the car without issues.
2. Scratched my head trying to figure out how to remove the strut hardware from the old strut to transfer to the new strut. Ended up using ~450ftlb impact wrench to remove & reinstall. Hopefully that didnt kill the new struts
3. Removed most of the LCA hardware without issues. Did need a ball joint remover tool to release it from whatever that part its connected to (hub?). As much as I wanted to buy a BFH, there was no space since I just had the car on jack stands.
4. The excess front sway bar bolt does not have a condom so naturally it's rusted over. I made the mistake of not treating the first side I removed with penetrating oil and stripped the bolt; the nut was also useless after that. I was able to treat the second side with lube and had better success of removing without killing the nut/bolt.
- I was able to go to homedepot and find what seems to be similar size/length nuts and bolts. The homedepot hardware are currently on the mirage but I have also purchased hardware from rockauto. I think the ones from homedepot are zinc coated and may not be as structurally strong so I'll swap in the rockauto hardware sometime during the Christmas weekend.
5. Sway bar end link bushings - one side seems more cracked than the other. I may have overtightened and squeezed them. Will install new ones that come with the rockauto hardware.
6. Shocks removal - I bought a couple of shock holder (product1
) and either work well. Though I ended up using the same impact wrench above to remove the nut thinking I didnt care about the old shock anyway. Removal was pretty easy/straightforward/uneventful.
7. Shocks reinstall - I spent some time, probably 30 minutes, maybe longer, trying to put the the first one on. Bottom bolt lined up nicely. As I was trying to install the top nut, there was barely enough thread for the nut to start. I didnt want to use the impact to tighten this one because I read somewhere not to do so. However, the nut isnt being pushed down enough for me to use the shock absorber holding tool so I can tighten up the nut. Finally, I thought of comparing the old shock to the new shock that hasnt been installed (thank God I didnt remove both of them) and found that the top end of the shock rod is SHORTER by about 1/4 inch. No wonder why this isnt working. And there I thought my incompetence was at work with being unable to put the new one in.
- Since the "new" shocks were purchased a year or two ago, I cant return it. I was at the end of my straw with playing car technician so I just put the old shock back and put the car together. I suppose I could "modify" (see: remove material) from the bushings so I can have more space to put the nut in far enough for the shock tool to work and for me to tighten the nut. It seems rockauto has shocks for as low as 23.79 at the moment. Maybe I'll get those instead. MONROE is also listed with the word OESpectrum - which is also on the shocks I currently have (that dont fit) so I probably wont get those. SACHS has 2 remaining but at 47.79, I dont think so.
Oh - in an interesting turn of events, it seems the bigger nuts/bolts have a red coating on the threads. I'm assuming these were loctite threadlocker red. However, since people around the interwebs said not to put any on, I didnt. I did put white lithium grease on areas where I noticed there was some prior. I will re-check TQ figures when I install the bar-end links & shocks just to make sure everything's tight.
Apologies for the long post.