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Front Spring Replacement

Front Spring Replacement

Henry Fok, photos by Larry Karpman

This task is not hard, but it is very long and tedious. It can also be very dangerous if you are not careful, so be forewarned. You can easily do this in your driveway in under three hours per side.

The red car in these pictures is Larry Karpman's 1987 XJ6 VdP. The brown car in these pictures is my 1985 XJ6 VdP, named Molly - and of course, the ugly galoot in the pictures is yours truly. This information applies to the Series III only - other Series are similar, but I can't guarantee that they'll be identical.

For this task, you will need a ratchet, a selection of SAE sockets, and a set of SAE speed wrenches or O-ratchets. You will also need the springs and some Grade 8 1/2" fine threaded rod in 1' lengths, or similar bolts about 1' long. Threaded rods were used in this session, but the bolts would have worked better. If you use the bolts, you will need two with full length thread, and two with either full length thread or smooth bodied with at least 1" thread at the tip. You will also need four Grade 8 1/2" fine thread nuts.

You may click on any picture to see a much larger version. This FAQ is not a substitute for a workshop manual. It is intended as a supplement, to give you some idea of what things look like and what the manual is talking about. Therefore, not all the details will be given.


Loosen the lug nuts on the appropriate wheel. Jack the car up and support it properly. Instructions on how to do this are elsewhere in the FAQ's, so I will not reprise that information here.

Remove the wheel. What you see should look something like the following picture. The picture shows a car that is improperly supported. Do not attempt to service your car while it is supported by a jack. This was done for photo purposes only, please do not endanger yourself by doing this.

The shock, control arms, and spring assembly are clearly visible. The spring pan (part that holds the spring in the subframe) is attached to the lower control arm by four bolts.

Carefully remove one of the outer pair of bolts and replace it with a threaded rod or one of the full length thread bolts. If using bolts, put the nut and washer on and spin it until it's halfway down the bolt. Be careful not to strip the hole out. Once the rod or bolt is seated all the way, spin the nut all the way up until it is in contact with the spring pan. Repeat for the other outer bolt, then for the inner two - except if using bolts, place the smooth bodied ones (if you have them) on the inner holes - these will be used as guide pins. You do not have to use nuts on the inner ones, though you can, if that makes you feel safer.

Now we remove the things. If you have nuts on the inner rods or bolts, spin them off until they are two inches below the pan. Using your speed wrench or o-ratchet, loosen the outer two nuts in stages, working from side to side, so the pan descends. The pan will hang up on the rears on occasion, if you are using threaded rod or full thread bolts. This is normal, and nothing to be alarmed about. When the outer pan nuts are level with the inner pan nuts, back the inners off another few inches. This assumes that you have inner pan nuts - again they are not necessary.

Eventually, you will lower the spring pan to the point where the spring is no longer compressed. A little more, and you can remove the spring without removing the pan. Pay attention to the plastic rings which may be at the top of the spring. These are packing pieces, and you will need to put them back in place with the new spring. Examine the rods/bolts for stripping and distortion. If any is detected, replace them before installing the new spring.

That's pretty much it. As I said, not hard, just time-consuming. Installation is the reverse of disassembly, as the phrase goes.


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