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Suspension Coaxing strut into steering knuckle... Out of ideas.

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Suspension Coaxing strut into steering knuckle... Out of ideas.

  #1  
Old 11-11-2018, 09:45 AM
grueinthebox
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Coaxing strut into steering knuckle... Out of ideas.

Attempting to replace the front shocks on my '12 Cooper S with new Bilsteins. I was able to get the old strut out, have the spring swapped over, new upper mount installed, finagled it back into place, but nothing I do seems to be able to get the strut to go into the steering knuckle. The tab is lined up with the slot and pinch bolt is completely out, but the strut hasn't even gone in far enough for it to interfere yet anyway even if it wasn't oriented correctly. The knuckle just seems to be too damned tight. Videos it looks like folks are just able to slide / wiggle the new strut in. This one sure ain't doing that.

I've tried every tip I could find multiple times - prying the knuckle open with a big screwdriver (some folks said 1/4 inch drive ratchet, but the gap isn't large enough on mine to get one in), turning the wheels all the way in both directions, lubricating the contact surfaces, wiggling it, cursing at it. Have tried it with the upper mount bolted in place and not...

I'm on the verge of ordering a steering knuckle separator, but it won't arrive tomorrow at who knows what time and I was hoping to have my shock install completed yesterday. Unfortunately I can't find anywhere locally who sells one. I'm also concerned the thing won't even work, as it seems like trying to have it in place while inserting the strut would just result in the tab on the strut hitting the wedge on the tool once it gets down that far.

Anyone got any other suggestions of things to try? Spent all day yesterday fighting with it and it's on the verge of breaking my spirit. I'd give up and take it somewhere, but I can't even do that since it can't be driven without the damn strut in place.
 
  #2  
Old 11-11-2018, 11:24 AM
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S-2013
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With the car supported on jack stands, I put a floor jack underneath the lower control arm, (protected with a block of wood). Then slowly jacked it up while watching to make sure everything was lining and tapping the knuckle lightly with a mallet. Both sides went in without a hitch.
 

Last edited by S-2013; 11-11-2018 at 12:14 PM.
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Old 11-11-2018, 11:36 AM
johne123
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Is the knuckle still attached to the car? You might have better luck on a bench. Perhaps the paint on the new strut is on the thick side. You also might be able to get better leverage to open up the knuckle with it out of the car.
 
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Old 11-13-2018, 02:07 PM
grueinthebox
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Originally Posted by S-2013 View Post
With the car supported on jack stands, I put a floor jack underneath the lower control arm, (protected with a block of wood). Then slowly jacked it up while watching to make sure everything was lining and tapping the knuckle lightly with a mallet. Both sides went in without a hitch.
Was able to make this work by sticking with it, but it definitely took awhile. Front struts are in. Just waiting for my ibuprofen to kick in so I can go knock out the rears right quick.

Thanks for the replies, folks!
 
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:30 AM
E34M5
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Sorry I saw this post so late, next time take some coarse 80 grit sandpaper and sand down the inside of the strut barrel to remove all the rust and slag, then lube er up and slider er in!!
 
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