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just had both front struts replace at 38,800 miles on my 07 AWD under warranty thank god. i was getting a hiss sound over bumps and it was feeling loose riding down the road, and had the front brakes done. all is good now!
 

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I'm close to your mileage, hopefully I don't get the same problem.
 

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2007 Dodge Caliber R/T 2.4 49,000 miles

I'm going to replace my front struts, but first I need to know how tight to torque some nuts. The procedures tell me to tighten to specifications, but I haven't been able to find those specs. They didn't come in the boxes with the new strut assemblies and I wasn't able to find them in videos or the online dodge caliber service manual. Anybody have any advice on where to look or what to do?
 

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2007 Dodge Caliber R/T 2.4 49,000 miles

I'm going to replace my front struts, but first I need to know how tight to torque some nuts. The procedures tell me to tighten to specifications, but I haven't been able to find those specs. They didn't come in the boxes with the new strut assemblies and I wasn't able to find them in videos or the online dodge caliber service manual. Anybody have any advice on where to look or what to do?
Double check the manual - there are torque charts illogically located throughout it,
you should be able to find something.
 

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off the top of my head

the top strut nuts are 35 ft/lbs

the strut to knuckle bolts are around 80-90 ft/lbs

and the strut mount nut is around 20-40-ish, that one im not too sure on


i know ive seen them in the service manual under the front suspension section, in a chart.
 

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08,

I found some torque specs in the service manual, so I'm good with that. Now, I'm into the job, trying to do this:


"While holding the stabilizer bar link (1) stud stationary, remove the nut (4) securing the link to the strut."


I understand what the manual wants me to do, but I haven't been able to do it. How do I hold the stud stationary? I've tried to hold it with vise grips, but it seems to be slipping. There's a rubber cover or something to the rear of the stud that I'm reluctant to mess with. The manual makes disconnecting the bar link seem easy, so I guess I'm doing something wrong or maybe something right, but not hard enough.

Also, the manual indicats that I need a 9362 Strut Rod Nut Wrench and a 9894 Strut Shaft Socket to get the strut rod nut on and off...expensive tools and it looks like maybe no suppliers where I live so maybe a wait to get them. Should I use the specialty tool or could I use a less special tool and get a good result?
 

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08,

I found some torque specs in the service manual, so I'm good with that. Now, I'm into the job, trying to do this:


"While holding the stabilizer bar link (1) stud stationary, remove the nut (4) securing the link to the strut."


I understand what the manual wants me to do, but I haven't been able to do it. How do I hold the stud stationary? I've tried to hold it with vise grips, but it seems to be slipping. There's a rubber cover or something to the rear of the stud that I'm reluctant to mess with. The manual makes disconnecting the bar link seem easy, so I guess I'm doing something wrong or maybe something right, but not hard enough.

Also, the manual indicats that I need a 9362 Strut Rod Nut Wrench and a 9894 Strut Shaft Socket to get the strut rod nut on and off...expensive tools and it looks like maybe no suppliers where I live so maybe a wait to get them. Should I use the specialty tool or could I use a less special tool and get a good result?

For the sway bar links, you are supposed to hold the threaded portion stationary by putting a torx tool into it, not sure what size it is off the top of my head. Then it should be a 13mm open end wrench to loosen it. My end-links were already rusty, and the torx portion stripped out of them, so i had to tighten some vice grips over the boot of them, and destroy the links to get them off. BTW that happened front and rear. I had to put new links on afterwards.


As for the nut on the top of the strut. You CAN buy the new tool, but since you are replacing the struts anyway, after you compress the springs, you can take a vice grip, and firmly attatch it to the strut shaft(silver thin shaft visable through the spring) and then loosen the top nut that way.

Be warned though, it WILL ruin the struts, so you wont be able to use them ever again, and it sometimes works, sometimes doesnt. It took me a LOT longer doing it that way v.s. having the right tools, but i did get it to work.

Also, the specialty tool is a bit expensive, and MOST auto parts stores wont have it, and when you tell them what it is, they will look at you like your an alien. I went to numerous places asking for the tool, and they had NO IDEA what i was talking about.
 

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08, you said,


"For the sway bar links, you are supposed to hold the threaded portion stationary by putting a torx tool into it, not sure what size it is off the top of my head. Then it should be a 13mm open end wrench to loosen it."


******

To be clear on that, you're pushing in on the torx tool while turning the open end wrench?


Then, if the torx screw strips, you said,


******


"...i had to tighten some vice grips over the boot of them, and destroy the links to get them off."


******


I guess "the boot" is that rubber thing at the back of the link. How did you disconnect the link? First, remove the boot (by destroying it)? And then what? Is there something in the back under the boot to grab on to or put a socket on?


******


You (also) said,


"As for the nut on the top of the strut. You CAN buy the new tool, but since you are replacing the struts anyway, after you compress the springs, you can take a vice grip, and firmly attatch it to the strut shaft(silver thin shaft visable through the spring) and then loosen the top nut that way."

"Be warned though, it WILL ruin the struts, so you wont be able to use them ever again, and it sometimes works, sometimes doesnt. It took me a LOT longer doing it that way v.s. having the right tools, but i did get it to work."

******


I saw a you-tube video where a guy grabbed the strut rod with a vise-grip. I think he said he was doing that to "hold" the rod (keep it from turning) while he turned the nut with another tool. The car wasn't a Caliber. He said that would destroy the strut, but since he going to throw in away anyway, he didn't care.


If you don't mind me asking, what was your experience when you turned the shaft to loosen the nut? How did you hold the nut? Moreover, if you turned the rod to loosen the nut (and destroyed the old strut), how did you tighten the nut after putting in the new strut in the spring?

Spare the rod and don't spoil the strut assembly?
 

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To be clear on that, you're pushing in on the torx tool while turning the open end wrench?


Then, if the torx screw strips, you said,


I guess "the boot" is that rubber thing at the back of the link. How did you disconnect the link? First, remove the boot (by destroying it)? And then what? Is there something in the back under the boot to grab on to or put a socket on?


******



I saw a you-tube video where a guy grabbed the strut rod with a vise-grip. I think he said he was doing that to "hold" the rod (keep it from turning) while he turned the nut with another tool. The car wasn't a Caliber. He said that would destroy the strut, but since he going to throw in away anyway, he didn't care.


If you don't mind me asking, what was your experience when you turned the shaft to loosen the nut? How did you hold the nut? Moreover, if you turned the rod to loosen the nut (and destroyed the old strut), how did you tighten the nut after putting in the new strut in the spring?

Spare the rod and don't spoil the strut assembly?

Give me a few minutes and ill go and snap a picture or two if i can, it will be a LOT easier to explain.
 

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ok, so for your endlink removal, its going to look like this. Disregard the 14mm wrench, as the replacements i got came with 14mm nuts and not the 13mm nuts that come factory.

You want to put the torx in, and hold it tightly. Make sure its the correct size torx. The rust thats inside there may make it seem like the right size, but put it in there and wiggle it around, and i guarantee you that the rust will free up, and you will need to go a size up. Then hold the torx, and turn the wrench counter clockwise and it will loosen.

Now, if that doesnt work, grab a pair of vice grips, and clamp them down as TIGHT as you can get it onto the boot. Then take your 13mm and loosen the nut while holding the vice grips in place. The vice grips will be attatching to the same thing the torx is interted into, and stops the entire shaft from turning. Otherwise, you will spin the nut, and the shaft without loosening anything.





also, use caution when loosening the nut, and dont let your hand slip. When i went out to take these pictures, i checked to make sure mine were tight, so i loosened it first, and when i did my hand slipped and did this:




Ok, as for the strut itself..

This is the shaft on the strut(silver shaft inside the spring):



That shaft is connected to the center nut here:




Now, you are going to want to take the strut completely off the car before disassembly, (duh)

To get the strut apart, you need to compress the spring. Once that is done, use the vice grips to clamp onto that shaft, then take your socket wrench with the 13mm(i think its a 13mm) and loosen the nut while holding onto the vice grips so that the shaft doesnt spin with the nut.

Now, ill warn you, its not going to be fun. It took me about 20-30 minutes to get that off.

The reason why you will need to clamp onto the shaft and hold it is because the nut and threading on the top that you are trying to loosen is rusty. When i replaced my front struts my car had 17k on it, and they were rusted on there SOLID. On a new strut its easy to hold the shaft with your hand and remove the nut, but because of the rust thats going to be impossible.


Once you get it apart, transfer over your spring and the strut bearing assembly. Also dont forget to transfer over the rubber cushon thats on the bottom of the spring. Also note that the strut bearing has an indentation of where to put the spring, make sure you line up that and the spring before you completely uncompress the spring.

Putting the nut back on top of the new strut shouldnt be a problem. If i remember correctly the torque specs arent that high for that nut anyway.
 

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oh yea, and as for the strut nut removal tool...

I dont know why i didnt think of doing it this way, but this is an awesome alternative



Basically the small socket fits over the top of the strut shaft, and you hold that in place with the socket wrench, then the socket fits over the strut nut, and you turn that manually with the open end wrench..
 

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oh yea, and as for the strut nut removal tool...

I dont know why i didnt think of doing it this way, but this is an awesome alternative



Basically the small socket fits over the top of the strut shaft, and you hold that in place with the socket wrench, then the socket fits over the strut nut, and you turn that manually with the open end wrench..
Oh man!!!! You're giving away my secrets!! LOL

Yep an "old mechanic's trick"
 

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One word of advice - usually a little penetrating oil can help free up rusted fasteners.
Spray it on, give it 30 minutes or so to work into the threads, then loosen the fasteners.
 

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Oh man!!!! You're giving away my secrets!! LOL

Yep an "old mechanic's trick"
:D:D

One word of advice - usually a little penetrating oil can help free up rusted fasteners.
Spray it on, give it 30 minutes or so to work into the threads, then loosen the fasteners.
Yes, it does help a LOT.

Best OTC stuff is PBblaster

Ive got some crazy expensive stuff thats not sold in stores or online. One of my buddies got it for me, and when you spray it on you can literally see the rust drip off. Ive put it on rusted bolts, let it sit for 5 minutes or so, and come back to a bolt that is shiny and new.

Its about 15 bucks a can though, so not cheap lol
 

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Ive got some crazy expensive stuff thats not sold in stores or online. One of my buddies got it for me, and when you spray it on you can literally see the rust drip off. Ive put it on rusted bolts, let it sit for 5 minutes or so, and come back to a bolt that is shiny and new.

Its about 15 bucks a can though, so not cheap lol
Aerokroil???................................
 

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Now, another problem:

I put things back together (on the driver's side front strut) thinking I might not have everything I need to replace both struts. Trouble is, I couldn't tighten the stabilizer bar link nut to 43 ft. lbs...because I can't hold the stud. I tried a number of torx points and couldn't find one that would fit and bind. The service manual says

"Attach the stabilizer bar link (1) to the strut (3).Install and tighten the nut (4) while holding the stabilizer bar link stud stationary. Tighten the nut to 58 N·m (43 ft. lbs.)."

The link seemed stable enough so I put on the wheel and gave the car to my bride. Bribe drives off and comes back in 5 minutes. Why, I ask. Because I hear a clunking sound (more than before) coming from the left front wheel well. I then drive the car and find her complaint justified.

I cannot imagine any cause for the sound other than not being able to tighten the stabilizer bar nut to 43 ft. lbs. I will (eventually / soon) replace the strut and do whatever I need to do to deal with the #*%@ing stabilizer nut, so is it likely to be a problem in the space of a week or however long it takes to get the #*%@ing specialty wrench / socket?

Another question: the driver's side front strut is definitely blown but the pax side front strut looks OK. Is this an "if it isn't broke don't fix it thing", or a "fix it for sake of mechanical symmetry thing"?,

Grumble grumble ;-)​
 

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Take a second look under the car. 43 ft-lb is about as tight as you can get the nut with a standard wrench by hand, so you are probaly close to correct torque - for now.
There might be something else loose.

Yes- replace both struts at the same time - gives a more balanced ride. And takes less effort to do two at once, rather than one now and the other at some point in the future.
 

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Aerokroil???................................
might be, havent used it in a while, ill have to take a look-see


Now, another problem:​


I put things back together (on the driver's side front strut) thinking I might not have everything I need to replace both struts. Trouble is, I couldn't tighten the stabilizer bar link nut to 43 ft. lbs...because I can't hold the stud. I tried a number of torx points and couldn't find one that would fit and bind. The service manual says

"Attach the stabilizer bar link (1) to the strut (3).Install and tighten the nut (4) while holding the stabilizer bar link stud stationary. Tighten the nut to 58 N·m (43 ft. lbs.)."

The link seemed stable enough so I put on the wheel and gave the car to my bride. Bribe drives off and comes back in 5 minutes. Why, I ask. Because I hear a clunking sound (more than before) coming from the left front wheel well. I then drive the car and find her complaint justified.

I cannot imagine any cause for the sound other than not being able to tighten the stabilizer bar nut to 43 ft. lbs. I will (eventually / soon) replace the strut and do whatever I need to do to deal with the #*%@ing stabilizer nut, so is it likely to be a problem in the space of a week or however long it takes to get the #*%@ing specialty wrench / socket?

Another question: the driver's side front strut is definitely blown but the pax side front strut looks OK. Is this an "if it isn't broke don't fix it thing", or a "fix it for sake of mechanical symmetry thing"?,

Grumble grumble ;-)
there is no specialty tool for the endlink nut, only for the strut nut.

Did you make sure that the spring is seated correctly, and that the top nut is nice and tight?

Also, i would DEFINITELY replace the other strut up front. You should always replace struts in pairs.

Also, dont forget you will need an alignment after you remove the strut.
 

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08, great pictures and advice. I am seriously humbled if you did all that on my behalf.

Regarding the stab nut thing and the torx tool in your picture, that looks like an allen wrench to me, not a torx wrench...but I've never heard of a torx wrench. Can you clear that up?

I hit everything with penetrating oil and let it sit. Will try again now that I see your pics. My nut is more oily and greasy than rusty so I couldn't see into the socket to get a better view of its shape.

I am still wondering what to make of your makeshift specialty tool (for the strut nut). Maybe I will have a question or two later. I am old, you see, but unfortuantely, not much of a mechanic.
 
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