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Need Help w/Front Strut Install, Base 2000 Deville

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Spent about 6 hours with this yesterday, NOT fun.

I'm installing new OEM/ACdelco struts/springs/insulators/bearings/seats/bellows & bumpers.

I installed the completed assembly as a complete unit per FSM, attached the 3 bolts at top of mount perch.

But now the strut assembly is too low(a few inches) to connect the spindle to it. I've attempted to compress the bottom of the strut with a floor jack & bottle jack but all it does is violently pop itself loose before I can get the spindle anywhere near it.

The outer boot is really getting chewed from the bottom of the strut. The strut has also been resting on the cv half shaft at times.

I even tilted the spindle outward as far as I could and that's when the innner half-shaft popped out.

I've also remove the top bolts and attempted to install the lower 2 bolts on base of strut first, but then the strut is too tall to clear the inner fender to mount the top 3 bolts.

Even with the half shaft out, I still cannot line up 2 holes of the lower strut to the spindle. The strut is just too low.

I've also used the spring compressor again while on the vehicle but I'm unable to attach it to the higher "rungs" due to the design of the TWO different types of spring compressors I have. Was able to just compress the lower 2 or 3 rungs, didn't help much. If I flip the tool upside down then the long bolts interfere with the inner fenderwell area. The other way, the adjusting bolts are barely accessible at the top.

Has anyone encountered this before, am I missing something? Seems like the lower control arm should be able to drop lower without automatically popping out the inner half shaft.

thanks for any help.

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I havent done this on my caddy, but i have used a "pickle fork" ball joint removal tool to pry down on the lower control arm untill I could get the bolts started.

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Spent about 6 hours with this yesterday, NOT fun.

I'm installing new OEM/ACdelco struts/springs/insulators/bearings/seats/bellows & bumpers.

I have done this job on the front of my '98 Seville (same suspension design as yours) with no problems. Nothing had to be forced or jacked into position.

My first guess would be your replacement springs are not the correct part number; it sounds like your new springs are two inches too long.


Drive your car.

Use your cell phone.


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What about removing the bushings on the control arm while leaving the steering knuckle attached?

That way you could attach the strut to the knuckle and then use a jack to safely lift the control arm back in place to reattach it.

If you do this, then be aware that on the drivers side the transmission mount may have come off and the tranny supported in order to get the bolt out of the CA bushing. I'm not sure about your year but that's what I had to do on mine.

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Thanks for the replies.

Here's what I had to do:

Since the inner cv had already popped out and I was still unable to extend the lower control arm low enough to attach the strut, I removed the stabilizer bar's link and then I was able to get the holes lined up while carefully re-inserting the half-shaft into the inner cv housing.

Then I had to replace the inner cv's boot clamp, while still on the vehicle, lol. Tried using a proper spare clamp from a boot kit I had, but was unable to get it tightened properly since access to it was difficult.

I eneded up going to lowes and buying some screw-type metal clamps and some HD zip ties since I know i can find use for them if I don't use them anyway.

After some careful measuring for clearance, I used one of the 4" metal clamps. I put a small strip of folded hvac foil tape under the clamp's screw and ribbed section so they don't tear into the boot later. It turns with no interference by about 2.5mm.

On another forum, it was suggested that I should have removed the axle's hub nut, which would allow the spindle to slide outward without any danger of the inner shaft removing itself from the tranny. (For anyone reading this in the future, that axle nut on the 2000 deville is 33mm in size or 1 5/16" std socket.)

I did this on the other side, but the spindle did not slide freely outward as suggested, gave it a good wack from behind but it wouldn't budge. I read elsewhere that a jaw puller would free it up, but I didn't have one handy.

So instead of risking the inner CV half-shaft popping out again, I chose to control the strut assembly's length by using the spring compressor and leaving it attached during installation to car.

Here's a little tip.

I used some blue tape (it was handy) on the upper rungs to show where the spring compressor needed to be placed so that bolts will clear the bottom plate of the strut.

Once I had it compressed enough to get the strut's mount/washer/top nut on, I compressed it down a little more to allow me to compress the strut by hand(FE1 struts are easy to compress by hand) once the assembly is attached to it's perch with the 3 top bolts.

On the first side, I had installed the strut assembly as a unit without the compressor attached. I then tried to compress the spring afterwards but the compressor wouldn't allow me to attach it from the bottom up, because the bolts would extend into the wheel-well's housing.

But on the second side, I compressed it from the top down. Meaning that the bolt heads of the spring compressor are at the top of the assembly.

I thought that this would keep me from releasing the spring once it's installed, but all I did was add some nuts to the bottom of the spring compressor's bolts, 2 on each rod.

Now when you tighten those new nuts(heh) the compressor slowly releases the tension of the spring. Once the hooks are loose you just slide them to where you can easily remove them.

Not sure why it didn't occur to me the first time, guess there's that learning curve thing.

Carefully using an electric or air impact for the grunt work of the spring compressing (once it's started by hand) is helpful too.

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