The other day while replacing the upper control arm bushings on the van I wondered if the spring could be removed without using a spring compressor (Bentley shows compressor being used). I asked on the Yahoo syncro group and a couple of listmembers said it could be done, and they have done it. So today I had a go at it, and at the same time try out the spring spacer I made.
I have to warn you, while this procedure does not expose you to the same dangers as using a compressor , there are dangers to life and limb. That might sound like hyperbole but it isn’t. Please take care if you do what I am about to describe, take it slow, think, be cautious.
Also, what will be described was done on a van with stock springs and with a modest spring spacer. I do not think that it will work with longer springs or thick spacers.
Ok, on with the show. Van jacked up and supported by some solid 8X8 shorts, wheel off, sway bar drop link disconnected, radius rod/arm removed (inner adjusting nut not moved). The lower shock bolt loosened (22 mm socket).
Upper ball joint disconnected, those 2 socket cap bolts.
At this point I was not sure how this was all going to work, seemed like the spring perch would hit drive shaft.
Plastic cap removed from shock shaft end, 17 mm nut loosened but not removed.
Bottle jack supporting shock through hole in lower control arm.
Shock bolt was driven out easily.
And look at how clean that bolt is. I’m lucky, while I have some nasty rust on body, most if not all of the “mechanicals” are in great shape.
When the bolt was driven out and the bottle jack released, the lower control arm fell down. I did not expect this, of course in hindsight I should have.
The 17 mm nut was removed from top of shock and then shock and spring fell out.
Slight digression here, comparing the orange spring (2 white stripe code) from my ’82 diesel westy with the newly removed syncro spring. 20 mm difference between them. Confirms IG16 Wiki data.
Shock fully extended with syncro spring.
Shock fully extended with orange spring. I would say a shock shaft extension would be need to use this spring in the syncro.
Side by side comparison.
I had to make some slight adjustment to the collar of my spring pad spacer to make it fit the syncro spring pad. Needed to reduce collar diameter a few millimetres
My T-handled tool in through access hole under seat to engage and guide shock shaft up through hole in shock tower.
The shock spring combo needed to be drawn inward to allow shock shaft to go up through hole in tower. I used a ratchet strap.
Here it comes, I’m using the bottle jack to push against the bottom of the shock. Lower shock bolt is installed.
You have to guide the shaft so that the step on the shaft does not get caught on edge of hole.
There you go, installed with spacer. You can see “shadow” line on spring pad that shows how much was in tower without the spacer. I did not re-attach sway bar or radius rod, but did put on wheel and drop van to ground. I bounced van as best I could and measured hub to fender distance. It looks like the spacer did the trick, now 19.25″ at front, 19.125″ at rear. Very preliminary measurement, probably will be a little different after driving.
So then I took it all apart again and removed spacer. I only have one spacer made, but the exercise was worthwhile – I can remove spring without a compressor and I refined my spacer to fit right.
And a bonus, I think I found my pesky squeak – it might be the bushing between sway bar drop link and the sway bar. I had made my own bushings from polyurethane skate board wheels, I greased them during this work and now squeak is gone.