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This guide is for the replacement of the rear struts and/or springs on 88-91 CRX's. The procedures described here are just for one side of the vehicle, but you *must* do both sides. For safety reasons, never only do one side!

Tools/supplies needed:

Lug wrench
Jack and jackstands
Assorted 14mm & 17mm wrenches and sockets. (Deep sockets helpful)
Torque Wrench
Spring compressor (if you have stock height springs)
Safety glasses
Anti-seize compound

A note about safety

I cannot stress this enough: Always wear safety glasses when working on your vehicle. Your car is replaceable. Your eyes are not.

Strut/Spring Replacement

First, break the lugnuts loose while the car is still on the ground. Then jack up the car and support it on jackstands for safety reasons. Remove the wheel.

Open up the hatch and remove the side plastic cover piece that covers where the top of the strut is attached to vehicle. Undo the 14mm nuts that hold the strut onto the car. *DO NOT* undo the center nut on the top of the strut assembly.



Next, undo the bolt that holds the strut onto the lower control arm. 88 CRX's have a different style of mount on the bottom of the shock, but it can be unbolted in the same manner.



The factory service manual states that you can now push the suspension down and remove the strut assembly. However, if you have a stiff suspension, you may also have to unbolt the upper control arm from the chassis (two 14mm bolts) and sway bar from the lower control arm (14mm bolt) in order to have enough play in the suspension for the strut assembly to come out.



The strut assembly is now separated from the vehicle. If you have stock springs, you will need to use a spring compressor to compress the spring before disassembling the strut/spring assembly. VERY IMPORTANT: Failure to do so could result in damage to property, injury, and/or death.

If you use lowering springs that lower your car by 1.5" or more, the spring compressor step is not necessary because your springs are not under the same tension load as the stock springs.

In either circumstance, use caution when removing the top nut that holds the strut/spring assembly together. Do not point the strut at yourself, anyone else, or anything of value. It is adviseable to do this task far away from people or anything of value.

Once the top center nut is removed, you can separate the spring hat from the strut and the spring. If you used a spring compressor, carefully remove the spring from the strut and set it aside some place safe.

If you are replacing the spring with a stock replacement, you will need to decompress the old spring and compress the new one with your spring compressor. If you are replacing the spring with a lowering spring, you may not need to compress the spring for the reinstall. (since the spring is shorter).

Depending on what comes with your new strut, you may need to move some of the pieces from your old strut over onto the new one. These may include the dust cover (cylinder cover) and the bump stop. I was shocked to find that my old shocks did not have a bump stop on them, so I opted to install some new polyurethane ones on the new shocks.

Reassembly and reinstallation is the reverse of removal. Remember to apply anti-seize compound to any of the suspension bolts that are on the exterior of the vehicle. This will make removal much easier in the future. Torque up all of the bolts and nuts according to the torque specifications below:

Torque Specifications
Top center strut nut 22 ft-lbs
Top 14 mm strut to chassis nuts 29 ft-lbs
Strut to lower control arm bolt 40 ft-lbs
Upper control arm to chassis bolts 29 ft-lbs
Rear sway bar to lower control arm bolt 29 ft-lbs
 

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front is much easier. if i have time tomorrow i'll take one of mine out just to make a how to.

obviously you will need to break the lugs loose, jack up the car, support it, etc. if you dont know how to do this, dont even open the tool box. pay someone else $50 to do it for you.

step 0.5 - read everything mentioned below. after that, look at the strut and liberally spray PB blaster on all the bolts mentioned. come back 20 minutes later and continue:

step 1- unbolt the brake lines from the strut and/or strut fork. either 10 or 12mm ratchet wrench works best. also, when you are beginning, mark one of the struts so you know which is which. there IS a left and a right. when i was a beginner, my method was to put a piece of tape or a zip tie on one of them. whatever works for you

step 2 - unbolt the the strut from the fork. i believe its a 14mm. you WILL need a breaker bar and maybe some more PB Blaster

step 3- unbolt the fork from the lower control arm. again, you will need a breaker. pretty sure its a 17mm on both end of this guy. if the fork doesnt fall off the strut, or slide off fairly easily, dont sweat it, continue

step 4 - loosen, but dont remove the two 14mm nuts that bolt the strut to the tower, under the hood. do NOT, loosen the middle one.

step 4.1 - if the fork didnt come off when you removed it from the LCA, nows your chance to wiggle it loose. it needs to be completely off the strut, and pulled out of the way. once its off the strut, you need to kinda tilt it towards the front of the car so it will clear the axle

step 5. with one hand under the fender supporting the whole weight of the strut, remove the 14mm nuts on the strut tower from step 4. prepare for the strut to fall down if your not paying attention.

reassembly is almost the reverse of removal. the only difference is that you shouldnt really tighten the 14mm bolts on the top of the strut until you are done. also, some aftermarket struts dont have the tabs to bolt the break lines to. zip ties will work. bread ties/garbage bag ties will not. just be sure you zip tie the eyelets in the lines to the strut fork. not the spring lol

this would really be much more effective with pictures. i'll try my best
 

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whats your strategy for removing the bolt from the rear lca that bolts the strut on? Ive had previous civics that the bolt was fused to the bushing and the head snap off, then gotta grind off the nut off the strut and cut the bolt out..

This is the only thing stopping me from putting in my skunk2's
 

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stick said:


The factory service manual states that you can now push the suspension down and remove the strut assembly. However, if you have a stiff suspension, you may also have to unbolt the upper control arm from the chassis (two 14mm bolts) and sway bar from the lower control arm (14mm bolt) in order to have enough play in the suspension for the strut assembly to come out.
really bad advice. those bolts strip and cross thread VERY easily.

there should be no reason for this. you unbolt the top and bottom of the strut and it should be able to come off with no issues.

ahhh... see the reason why the OP is blaming his "stiff suspension" is because he's trying to take off the shock one side at a time and only lifting that side of the car.

DO NOT DO IT THIS WAY.

if you only have 2 jack stands, jack up the car by the axle, not left or right side. so lift the whole rear end up and put a jackstand on each side. or just jack all 4 corners up with 4 jackstands. lifting the front end first, and lowering it last.
 

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stick said:
If you have stock springs, you will need to use a spring compressor to compress the spring before disassembling the strut/spring assembly. VERY IMPORTANT: Failure to do so could result in damage to property, injury, and/or death.
no you wont need a spring compressor.

the rear stock spring is SO lightly loaded youd have to be an idiot to hurt yourself.

the FRONT springs are a totally different story. you really must use a spring compressor for the stock fronts.

but its a completely unnecessary and time consuming step to use a spring compressor for the front.
 

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also, i dont see where there is any mention of loading the suspension before tightening down all the suspension bolts.

i see its dated 2005. no wonder i hardly recognize the OP.

this is a BAD WRITE UP.

i suggest you all just follow the helms...
 

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What is the suggested/usual fix for the stripped Upper Control Arm bolt? I thought that it was just me when it happened.
 

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sorry but youre SOL when those strip.

i dont think you have any other option than drilling an access hole from the interior or something and tack welding a new nut on.

its exactly why you shouldnt mess with those bolts.
 

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jdcrx said:
What is the suggested/usual fix for the stripped Upper Control Arm bolt? I thought that it was just me when it happened.
tyson said:
sorry but youre SOL when those strip.

i dont think you have any other option than drilling an access hole from the interior or something and tack welding a new nut on.

its exactly why you shouldnt mess with those bolts.
Whatever the correct (factory) sized bolt is, step it up to the next size diameter metric bolt. That is what I did and it holds perfectly fine (and safe).

NOTE: Look up the correct size tap, drill bit, and bolt BEFORE doing this.
Drill out the stripped nut AND control arm bracket, and tap and thread the stripped inner nut that is inside the chassis.
 
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