Changing the Struts on a WK Jeep CRD

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1 Changing the Struts on a WK Jeep CRD Step by Step By Chirpz

2 Disclaimer: I do not claim that this procedure is the right way or even the best way to change your struts. This is what I did after reading through the shop service manual and several nice DIY s on the Jeepforum. This procedure worked for me. It will most likely work for you. Since I am working on my 07 CRD, some minor details may be different. Working on your struts can be dangerous. Failure to use proper care and caution could result in death or dismemberment. There is a lot of power in those springs. While doing this job, I worked on one strut at a time jacking up only one side of the Jeep at a time. There may be some advantage in jacking up both sides of the Jeep and putting it on stands. I m not going to do it over to find out. Many thanks to Sammy and to Wookiee - for their fine write ups on this subject. Two or three weeks before beginning, spray all the appropriate bolts and nuts with penetrating oil. Also spray the top of the casting where the strut enters the lower fork. Do this several times over several weeks. You will be glad that you did.

3 In addition to jacks and a jack stand, here are some tools that you will need. Two hammers Breaker bar Torque wrench Spring compressors!!! Crescent wrench Screw driver 5/16 wrench Ratchet and extension 18mm deep socket 15/16 Socket 13/16 Socket Round file (optional) 13mm wrench

4 Put chocks under your rear tires and loosen the lug nuts on both of your front tires.

5 I assume that you have already obtained your favorite brand of shocks/struts. I chose Bilstein 4600 s. I know a lot of guys use 5100 s but I did not want the extra lift that these give to your Jeep.

6 Remove the ground side of the battery and secure it so that it cannot accidentally make contact with the battery post. On my rig, this required a 10mm wrench

7 Unsnap the two buckles at the front of the air box. Loosen the two screws that secure the air intake tube to the box. Remove the 10mm bolt that secures the air intake tube. It is next to the oil fill cap. Remove the air filter and swing the air box lid out of the way. You can unplug the sensor plug if you like. Bolt Buckles Screws Plug

8 Turbo Loosen the screw that secures the air intake tube to the turbo and swing the tube up and out of the way. Do not disconnect the tube from the turbo, just rotate it upward. Air intake tube

9 You must now unfasten the coolant tank and move it out of the way. It is not necessary to remove any of the hoses. There are a few simple steps. Remove the electrical plug from the back left of the tank. Gently press the wire bundle aside and remove the small 5/16 screw that secures the tank to the body. 5/16 Screw Plug Squeeze and pull

10 Bump the tank gently toward the driver side of the Jeep then lift it up and swing it out of the way. Notice the notched slot that secures tank to the body. You must bump the tank a little to disengage it from the slot. You can use a piece of thin rope or parachord to tie the tank up to the hood latch hoop. This will hold it out of the way.

11 Use your 18mm to loosen these four nuts. Just a few turns please. Do not remove the nuts at this time. Remove this black gizmo from the top of one of the bolts. It is just pressed on and lifts straight up. Gizmo

12 Now lets move to the driver side. The fuse boxes sit on a plastic shield secured by 3 bolts. Remove the 3 bolts. The rear screw is difficult to access. Use a ratchet and extension. Have a magnet on a stick handy to catch the screw as you remove it. Tip up both boxes and the shield all together. Tip them up just enough to slip your 18mm socket in there to loosen the top strut bolts. Use thin rope to tie this assembly to the hoop of your hood so that it is out of your way. Screws

13 Use your 18mm socket to loosen the 4 nuts just a few turns. Do not remove them at this time. Nuts Nuts

14 This picture shows one way to tie everything out of the way

15 Jack up the tire using the frame of the Jeep to do so. Put in a jack stand and lower the Jeep onto it. Remove the tire. Lower the floor jack and place it right under the lower control arm. If you don t have a floor jack, you will have to make do with what you have, but having a floor jack makes the job a lot easier.

16 Loosen the nut that secures the upper ball joint. Unscrew it almost all the way off. Use your larger hammer to give the bolt a few medium taps to disengage the ball joint from the casting. Don t smash it. Use only enough force to do the job. Don t strike a glancing blow! You could use a proper ball joint removal tool. I used the Good old boys method.

17 Remove the upper ball joint nut and allow the upper arm to drop free of the ball. Use a thin piece of rope to tie the arm to the ball joint mount. I used a loop on the end of a rope so I could adjust the position of the arm by adjusting the knot on the rope. Keep an eye on your brake line because as the arm flops around, it can over stress the brake line. You don t want that to happen. This is one of the reasons you tie the arm up. It is important to be able to move this arm around a little as you work. The service manual tells you to remove the brake caliper. I did not find it necessary to do so and did not want to do the extra work involved in that.

18 Peek behind the shock and remove the wheel sensor wire. Squeeze the clip and pull gently from the other side. Mine were stuck pretty tight. I used the handle of a screw driver and tapped gently to remove the clip. Zip tie it out of the way. Do not unplug the wire from the wheel. Just move it out of the way. Wheel sensor wire Squeeze or bump here.

19 Remove the pinch bolt, called the upper clevis bolt in the service manual. It squeezes the fork casting that holds the bottom of the shock. This is one of the important places to spray with penetrating oil ahead of time. Bolt Spray here

20 Remove the lower sway bar bolt. It is very long and threaded all the way. You may have to use the floor jack to raise the lower arm a little to relieve tension on the sway bar. As the bolt comes out it will tend to tilt upward and could damage the treads. If you pry downward on the sway bar a little you can get the bolt out. The sway bar will immediately move upward a few inches. (This may not be a problem if you lift both tires at once. I did one at a time.) It may be possible to do the job without removing this bolt. But it does provide extra access to the area and allows the lower arm to drop a little lower.

21 Loosen the nut that secures the lower clevis bolt. Unscrew it almost off, then hit the bolt firmly with the large hammer until you get the bolt out. Some guys have a very hard time with this because the bolt is rusted in place. Some guys have done the job without removing this bolt but that is a different procedure, more difficult, and not covered by this write up. Nut was here Bolt You should have been spraying this bolt for several weeks.

22 Using a smaller hammer strike downward on the casting fork several times until you knock the fork off of the shock. Be careful not to damage your brake line, your wheel sensor wire or your axle boots. Use medium taps...don t try to smash it off. The fork is disengaged.

23 Remove the fork and clean it up. Take your round file and file the sharp edge of the top of the casting a very small amount so that it is slightly beveled instead of sharp. This will help a lot when your reinstall it. Coat the inside of the fork with a light film of grease. I used ceramic grease for this because it was handy. When you put the new shock into the fork, it is a very very tight fit and difficult to do. This helps.

24 Put a block of wood under the bottom of the strut so that it does not fall out. Remove the four upper nuts that secure the strut to the body. Remove your block of wood and carefully remove the strut. Be very very careful not to damage the brake line, the axle boots, or the wheel sensor wire as you ease the strut out of its place. It is pretty heavy so beware.

25 Place a scratch mark on the top of the strut frame that lines up with the flange that is at the bottom of the shock. It is very important to have the new shock line up with the mark. Flange Scratch mark

26 Also pay close attention to how the spring engages the rubber bumper at the bottom end of the strut. See how it fits neatly into a little notch? Also pay close attention to the position of the slant of the flange. On the new shocks, the flange may rotate whereas the old shock may have a welded flange. Notch and spring end Slant of flange

27 Secure the strut and loosen the nut at the end of the shock just a few turns.

28 Put your spring compressors onto the springs and tighten them down to compress the spring. Compress it enough so that you can remove the nut at the end of the shock. You can hold the shock shaft with a 5/16 wrench while you turn the nut with a crescent wrench. Wear safety glasses! This is dangerous. If your tool breaks, the spring could expand violently and snap off your fingers or worse. Work carefully and with great respect for the power of that spring.

29 When the shaft nut is off, you can remove the top mounting plate and rubber parts and gently wiggle the shock out of the spring. Then remove the rubber bumper from off of the lower part of the shock. Live Grenade Keep everything in proper order so that you can assemble the parts the same way. Handle the spring and compressing tool with great care. Do not remove the tool but leave the spring compressed. Rubber bumper

30 Place the new shock into the spring. Line up the mark with the flange. Pay close attention to the slant of the lower flange and note how the rubber bumper engages the spring. Install the new top shaft nut and tighten it all the way down. Check all the alignments one more time. If necessary make some last minute rotational adjustments. Remove the compressing tool. Your strut should look like this and it is almost ready to install.

31 Check the alignment of the spring, the flange and the rubber bumper. Use your file to make a very slight bevel on the sharp edge of the bottom of the shock. This will help when you insert the shock into the fork.

32 Carefully position the strut back into its proper position. Screw on the top 4 nuts that hold it to the body. If you do not have a helper to start the nuts for you, you might try using a bar as a lever. You can hold the strut in place using one hand on the lever while you start one of the nuts up above. Once one nut is started, the others are easy. Tighten all four nuts evenly almost all the way down. You want the strut to be barely loose so it will wiggle around a little at the bottom.

33 Now for the hard part. You have to press the fork back onto the bottom of the shock. They go together like this. If you have the control arm jacked up, lower it all the way but postion your floor jack so that you can raise the lower arm when you need too. Position the fork under the shock so that the slot in the fork faces away from you and the bottom prongs of the fork are resting on the little lip of the lower arm. Its not much but there is a lip there, so we will use it. Line up the top of the fork with the bottom of the shock.

34 Push the fork away from you as far as it will go but make sure it is resting on the little flang on the lower edge of the control arm. The flange is smaller on the other side. Fork Place a screw driver inside of the outer edge of the hole where the bolt goes. Don t damage the rubber grommet. Apply a little backward force on the screw driver to keep the fork in position on the flange. The flange is slanted and it will slip off easily. Tweak the floor jack upward a little to force the fork onto the shock. Flange Jack Screwdriver

35 Here is a view from the other side. When you tweak the jack, it should raise the lower arm a small amount and at the same time, it should press the fork onto the bottom of the shock. This is not easy to do and it may take you several tries. If you have to, lower the jack and try again. It is a balancing act until you get the fork started onto the bottom of the shock. You can also try tapping the round edge of the upper fork with your hammer to ease it on. Light taps only. There is not much room to tap. Don t tap the lower part where the bolt goes. Don t allow the fork to slip onto the shock crooked. Smaller Flange Tap up here

36 Continue tapping and pressing until the bottom of the fork lines up with the bolt hole in the lower arm. Slide the bolt into place and put the nut on the other side but only tighten it loosely. Do not torque it at this time. Now you can easily press the fork the rest of the way onto the shock. Use light choppy movements of the jack upward and the fork will press into place. The bolt is in place. Jack under the arm

37 Replace the pinch bolt that holds the fork to the shock and tighten it snugly. Fork firmly seated Pinch bolt Replace the wheel sensor wire when you are done with all the brutal work. Proper place to tap during the process

38 Last Trick. You now have to reconnect the sway bar. Unfortunately, the bar end does not line up with the hole. Perhaps if the Jeep were jacked up on both sides this would not be a problem, but I did not try that. So, I had to rig a way to pull the sway bar end down while I got the bolt started. Rope Bar Using your floor jack, raise the control arm as high as you dare. It still will not line up. Place a loop of rope, just the right length, around the top sway bar connector and then place a pry bar through the rope and under the control arm. Pry downward with one hand while you insert the bolt and get it started with the other hand. While maintaining pressure, ratchet the bolt far enough in so that it holds. Remove the rope and screw the bolt all the way in. Bolt

39 Torques Top nuts 70 Lb Pinch Bolt 90 Lb Lower Clevis Bolt 125 Lb. Upper Ball Joint 55 Lb. Sway Bar Bolt 85 Lb Note In the service manual there seems to be a contradiction. The chart to the right shows 60 Lbs for the pinch bolt, but in their step by step description of the procedure it says to go 90 Lbs on that bolt. I think I went with 90. Torque all the bolts and nuts

40 Put all the rest of the stuff back together on that side of the Jeep. Just reverse the procedure. Replace the tire. Lower the Jeep and move to the other side! You are doing good. Half way done. Take a coffee break. Do the other strut the same way with more confidence. Don t forget the sticker when you are all done with the job.

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