My car was hit on the driver side where the front corner panel and door meet. in repairing it, they shifted the strut tower (not sure why) and now i am hearing a creeking noise when i turn my wheels. could shifting the tower effect the bearing plate?
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daley smiths, Before I take you through the procedure keep in mind that you can purchase what are called easy struts or quick struts. These units have the spring and upper bearing plates already installed and are quicker and much safer than just replacing the strut itself. So instead of just getting new struts, you are getting the whole assembly new. If you want to replace just the struts you will have to rent a spring compressor. Procedure for just the struts follows: You don't mention whether you are replacing the front or rear struts but the procedure is pretty much the same for both. This is the procedure for the front struts. Jack up one side of car and remove the wheel. Place a jackstand under the vehicle frame to support it. Sometimes there are brake lines, sway bar links and ABS wires connected to the strut. Remove anything attached to the strut. You will see two large bolts holding the bottom of the strut. Remove the nuts only. The bolts are usually splined to keep them from moving so you will have to pound them out with a hammer. If the bolts are threaded all the way to the end then put the nut back on so it is flush with the end of the bolt.. This is so the threads are not damaged as you will need to reuse them. Some bolts are not threaded all the way so you wont have to worry about damaging the threads here. With the hood open you will see three nuts that are holding the top of the strut. Remove them one at a time. Hold the strut when removing the last one so it doesn't drop and damage any break lines or ABS wires. Remove the strut. Place part of the spring compressor on one side of the spring as close to the top and bottom as possible and hand tighten it. Do the same on the other side of the spring with the spring compressor part. Tighten the spring compressor one side at a time two turns at a time. BE VERY SURE THAT THE COMPRESSOR DOES NOT SHIFT WHEN DOING THIS. Keep doing this one side at a time until you can turn the upper bearing plate easily. Place a pair of vice grips as close as possible to the top of the strut shaft and tighten as much as possible. Remove the nut holding the upper bearing plate and remove the plate. Remove the vice grips and any rubber bushings and finally the spring and lower rubber bushing. BE VERY CAREFUL WITH SPRING AS YOU SET IT ASIDE. Place the lower bushing on the new strut and be sure that the spring seats properly on the strut. Replace the upper bushing and finally the bearing plate. Once again place the vice grips as high as possible on the new strut shaft and tighten as much as possible. Making sure the upper plate is properly aligned for reassembly to the vehicle tighten the upper bearing nut. Take the spring compressor off the spring using the same method of two turns at a time. Once again be sure it doesn't shift on you when doing this. Replace the strut back to the vehicle by reversing the procedure. One thing I forgot to mention. Because of the connections of the sway bar links and brake lines there is a right and left side strut so be careful when choosing which strut to put in. The only difference for the rear struts are the way they are connected to the vehicle. The bottom will have one bolt and the top will have either one bolt accessable from inside the wheel well or have three nuts accessable from inside the trunk or under the panel in the rear window behind the rear seat. Good luck with this.
Chet, First of all, you don't mention if you are replacing the front or rear struts. I'll try to take you through both of them. The front struts, Jack up one side of the car and remove the wheel. Place a jack stand under the frame and lower the car on to it. Let the axle assembly hang freely. There are usually two lower bolts and two or three bolts holding the top inside the engine compartment. If the brake line is attached to the strut, remove it. Also, it may have the sway bar link attached, remove this from the strut. Take the nuts off the lower strut and as the bolts are usually splined you will have to pound the bolts out. If there is a thread all the way to the end of the bolt put the nut back on so that it is flush with the top of the bolt so as not to damage the threads when they are pounded out. Some bolts wont have the threads so you wont have to worry about thread damage. Use a screw driver to separate the two. Remove the upper nuts, being careful not to let the strut fall down and possibly damage the brakes lines or ABS wires. Before I continue let me inform you that you can purchase struts that are complete so you dont have to remove the spring and related parts from the strut. These are called "Ready struts" or another name that escapes me at the moment. These can be purchased from most part stores. These are preferred by most people as they have new bearings, new struts as well and new springs which will return the vehicle to the normal ride height, should this be part of the problem. If you want to replace just the strut. Yes, you can rent the spring compresser that will be needed to complete the job. Take the spring compresser which usually comes in two pieces and put one on one side of the spring and tighten it by hand until snug. Place the other piece on the opposite side of the spring and again hand tighten it. Tighten one one side of the compresser two turns with a socket and then do this to the other side. Be VERY CAREFUL to make sure the pieces don't shift when doing this. Continue this until you can turn the upper bearing plate by hand. Place a vice grip on the highest part of the strut shaft as possible and tighten as much as possible. Remove the nut holding the upper bearing plate. Remove the upper bearing plate and the boot covering the shaft and finally the spring. Reuse all the rubber bushings for the spring and place the spring over the shaft. Once again, place the vise grip as high as possible on the new strut shaft and replace the upper bushing, boot and bearing plate on the shaft and tighten the bolt holding everything together. Making sure that the spring sits properly slowly remove the spring compresser, again two or three turns at a time, one side at at time. Replace the strut assembly back into the car. Rear struts, The only difference here is the way the struts are mounted in the car. Upper strut mounts on some vehicles are accessible in the trunk with three nuts holding them in. Others are accessible under the panel behind the rear seats. Others still have to accessed from the wheel well. The bottom mount is usually one bolt. Again the spring removal procedure is the same as the front. Be VERY CAREFUL the compresser doesn't shift when you are using it. If it is the front struts you are doing then a wheel alignment is advised. Good luck with this.
This sound is most likely strut bumpers and the strut plate bearings are loosening up, they are at the top of the strut towers and bear the load from the strut, these make that popping sound while traveling over bumps.
The solution is the upper strut mounting plate. To fix it you need to take out the strut tower and take apart the strut. The faulty part is the plate that has the 3 studs that actually mount the top of the strut to the frame. You may want to also plan on replacing the strut as well, when i took mine apart, the strut piston wouldnt go back into the strut body, that means its shot. Also if one side needs this done the other probably does too. The upper strut mount is about 20 bucks only from a dealer and the strut is about 60 from any auto parts store. hope this helps
possible sway bar links, strut bearing plates (they sit on top of the strut), ball joints, tie rod ends. If the you can make it squeek by pushing up and down on the front, have someone do this while trying to narrow where the noise is coming from.
Check to see if the strut tower bolts are fastened to manufactures recommended torque specifications. Perhaps one of the bolts is broken and or the spring isnt seated properly due to a broken part within the strut assembly or simply because the tower bolts have loosened or werent properly torqued. Did you have the strut replaced or any other service done with the brakes or hubs or connecting rods? Maybe a part wasnt reconnected or properly repaired, or the spring has a crack in it which I would find highly unlikely if it rides fine down the road. Get a free quote from a reputable certified liscensed shop. At least it will be free and then you can decide were to go from there.