The problem with replacing struts is getting the bottom of the shock out of the hub.
The length of the shock makes it hard to get enough clearance first to knock the hub down off the damper and then to pull the shock out of the car. If you are doing this on the VW MK4 platform this can be a real headache on the passenger (right hand side) because the driveshaft hits the subframe limiting how far you can pull down the wishbone.
Fortunately there is a super simple trick that makes the whole process much easier.
Easier to knock the shock/damper out of the hub and easier to remove the shock from the car.
The tip can also be used to make reassembly much easier.
It’s hard to explain the tip so here is a photo.
What I do is
- Compress the suspension after I have taken the wheel off.
- With the suspension compressed I put the spring compressors on the springs.
- I then support the damper as shown in the photo. This serves a few purposes. When hammering off the hub it makes the blows more effective. It also takes the strain of the top mounts.
And that’s how I get the shocks/dampers out of the hubs
When the damper/shock is out of the hub I find there is a ton of room to remove the shock.
How to replace shocks – Reinstallation
And when reinstalling the shock I leave the spring compressors on the new springs until I have installed the strut back on the car. I found that even on the right side on the MK4 platform where the suspension travel is limited because of the driveshaft, there was plenty of room to put the strut back on the car without having to struggle.
Use This Tip At Your Own Risk
This is a top tip I use, your experience may be different. Compressing springs is extremely dangerous. If you are not sure what you are doing, go to a professional.