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!
Jack and jackstands
Assorted 14mm & 17mm wrenches and sockets. (Deep sockets helpful)
Spring compressor (if you have stock height springs)
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.
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:
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