996 C2 PSS9 Install How-To DIY
10-04-2006, 09:48 PM
Join Date: Sep 2006
996 C2 PSS9 Install How-To DIY
I just finished putting Bilstein PSS9s in and thought it might help to post how I did it. I didnít take notes or pics, so some details may not be right, but hopefully it helps someone. FWIW Iím not especially handy, and I think two people can do this in about 8 hours, or about 5 hours if they know what theyíre doing. Comments are welcome. Here goes:
Jack, 4 jack stands
10 mm, 13mm, 15mm, 18mm, 19mm sockets Ė the last three deep
21mm and 22mm Hazet sockets (can be improvised)
1.5mm, 6mm and 7mm Allen keys
Strut-type spring compressor (rent at auto parts store)
15mm, 16mm, 18mm box and ratchet wrenches
1. Get the car on jack stands and get the wheels off.
2. Open the trunk and remove the battery cover and the two covers on either side over the strut towers. There will be two small rubber covers over the struts which should come off as well. I also hooked the car up to a battery tender, as either the hood or doors were open for the duration of the install.
3. Move the front seats forward, fold the back seats, and remove the padded carpeting immediately behind. This should reveal the tops of the rear shock towers.
Front disassembly (either side):
1. Remove brake connections. On the backside of the strut (inboard side) thereís a rubber grommet with a cable passing through it connected to the strut which needs popped out. Then there is a plastic connector that has the brake sensor cable passing through it Ė remove the sensor and then wiggle the connector off (it may break). Finally there are two brackets on the front and rear of the lower strut clamp which are held on by 10mm bolts Ė remove these. It doesnít look like you need to, but it will give you the needed clearance to get the strut out.
2. Loosen lower strut clamp. Thereís an 18mm nut on the front side, but you need to hold the bolt on the other side with the adjustable wrench. Once this is off you can tap and wiggle the bolt out Ė turning the steering may help, as may using a jack under the lower A-arm.
3. Break the top bolt on the spindle. You ideally want to use a 21mm hazet socket so you can hold the spindle in place with the 7mm Allen. I didnít have one so I just broke the bolt so I could get it off once the strut was off the car. It helps to do this before you drop the strut out as itís really, really tight.
4. Loosen the three 13mm nuts on the top of the strut tower. The strut wonít fall out.
5. Now you need to get the top of the strut out of the wheel well and then pull it up and out. This isnít easy, and youíll be working against the brake lines and the spring tension. If it makes you feel safer you can disconnect the brake lines, but I avoided this PITA. Slowly get each of the 3 bolts out from under so as not to damage the bodywork, then pull it all out.
Front parts swap:
1. Use the spring compressor on the old strut. Then unscrew the top bolt using some form of 21mm wrench and the 7mm Allen. It really helps to have two people.
2. Pull the whole thing apart, keeping track of the parts order.
3. Put ALL of these parts onto the new strut assembly, along with the existing parts. The only parts left out should be the spring, shock, and the old top nut.
4. Have someone compress the new assembly and screw down with the new (locking) nut. Get it on as far as you can using a wrench and 6mm Allen.
5. Adjust the dial on the bottom to your liking, making sure you replace the rubber cap.
Front-reassembly is the reverse of disassembly. Make sure you get the struts all the way down into the lower clamp, and use some thread-locker on the main bolt in the lower strut.
Rear disassembly (either side):
1. Unhook the drop-links from the sway bar (on both sides of the car). This will require a 15mm and 18mm wrench. Then swing the sway-bar down and out of the way.
2. The bottom of the strut has a bolt through it that has to come out. Hold the rear-of-car nut with an 18mm and then use a 16mm ratchet wrench to get the bolt out. It is annoyingly threaded at both the nut and at the top of itís travel, so once the nut is off you have to tap it back until it catches the thread at the top (front of car) of itís travel. If you donít tap it then it will just spin freely. There isnít much room here, so itís a pain. It may help to put a jack under the strut to take the stress off the bolt as you remove it.
3. Undo the 15mm bolts on the top (inside the car). Because of the spring pressure the strut wonít fall out. Get back underneath and use something to lever the lower part of the strut out of the mount. You need to lever it toward the inboard side of the car. Using a jack under the strut will help to relieve some of the spring pressure, but this took some elbow grease.
4. Once the strut is free you have to wiggle it out. The old piece is challenging because of the spring diameter. I took it out through the bottom, twisting it so that the spring could work itís way out.
Rear parts swap:
1. Use spring compressor to get the top nut off. You need to use the adjustable wrench on the spindle to keep it from spinning. Take off all parts remembering the order.
2. You need to disassemble the top of the new piece as well. Use a 1.5mm Allen to pull the set screw out of the adjusting ****, then take off that and the next four pieces.
3. Re-assemble with all the new parts and all the old parts EXCEPT the old strut and spring, the old top nut, and the large diameter plastic piece that sits on the old strut, as well as the rubber gasket under it. Those five pieces are not re-used. The order is: old small washer, old dished washer, new gray collar, old top mount, second old dished washer, two new jam nuts, new locking nut, new adjuster clicker (with ball-bearing), new adjuster ****.
4. When you re-assemble, start by getting the two new jam nuts (on top of the old top mount) on as tight as possible. Make sure that the thick piece with the ball bearing in it has the bearing lined up with the flat edge of the top of the spindle. The ball-bearing provides the detent for the adjuster clicker, so it needs to line up with the 1 or 9 position. Once thatís done you can fit the adjuster back on top and tighten the 1.5mm Allen set screw.
5. The sway-bar drop-links should be removed from the old strut and put on the new one.
6. Adjust the damping to your liking.
1. Itís easy to get the new assembly back in place from the top. Once there hold it up with a jack and then get the top bolts in and re-tighten (lightly).
2. Getting the bottom mount in is a challenge. Use the jack and some leverage to get it in place as you are fighting the spring pressure. Once itís in youíll need to move it a little to get the bolt through Ė more leverage is in order.
3. The rest of the re-assembly is the reverse of assembly. Use some thread-locker on the 16mm bolt going back through the strut. Remember that once it passes the thread at the front it will need to be tapped free so that the 18mm nut can grab at the back. Donít forget to reconnect the sway bar.
1. Wheels back on and drop the car.
2. Look at the strut tops Ė you will likely see that the top nuts are loose. Tighten if you can.
3. Gently drive the car to your alignment shop. Definitely get the car aligned and have your shop looking over the assembly and the bolt torques. Corner balance and ride height are optional.
Please let me know if I've forgotten anything or gotten something wrong and I will adjust.
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