165/185 Suspension Spring Replacement

** Applicable to the 165/185 only **

Why do I want to change the springs?

Things to know before you do the job

Where can I get uprated springs from?

Check out the links section. I found the only place to get these from was Fensport - about 100. The 20% uprated units are okay but if I was to do this again I would get the custom specification and maybe 40%. Personally I wouldn't go lower on the ride height, as may have problems with slightly larger alloys/tyres and rubbing/bottoming out.

Why didn't you change the shocks?

They are very difficult to source. Fensport is your only option. The rears are sealed units and are expensive. Besides, I managed to pick up a set of duff insert 185 Rallye shocks for not a lot - just need to source the inserts. The fronts? KYB Have just started to sell adjustable shocks for this car in the UK, (July 2003), and I reckon the "normal" shocks will be far too soft - going for the AGX adjustable unit part no 765015 should be excellent, just need to buy them! I have heard that they are 5mm longer than the original shock, but KYB UK and their man in Japan have confirmed that these will fit. Also KYB USA's website lists this shock for the 165 "Alltrac" i.e. GT4.

Fensport sell the KYB 365077 185 shock with adaptor to fit a 165.

Did you notice any improvement with the Fensport springs?

Definitely. The car was much firmer, even when fitted with the original 12 year old shocks that were knackered.

Were there any problems?

Yes!

Tools

This article is mainly concerned with replacing the rear as these are harder to do. Be it the fronts or the rears the principles are the same.

To access the top of the suspension leg it is easiest to do the fronts first. Simply lift the bonnet and the 3 mounting nuts/bolts are right in front of you
To access the top of the rears you will have to remove the side panels in the boot, a couple of speaker nuts to allow access and the speaker covers - which simply pop off. As shown here. Undo the 3 nuts but leave one still on but loose to prevent the shock from falling down onto your CV boot and splitting it!
Next to remove is the anti roll bar link. This is a pain and has probably rusted solid. Wire brush the area and spray some penetrating oil on to the nut and bolt - go for a cuppa. Notice the Allen key inserted through the 14mm spanner. To undo this without having to buy a new drop link, keep the Allen key still and rotate the spanner. As you gingerly get the nut to move don't forget more penetrating oil and also turn the nut back once it starts to undo i.e. do up 1/2 turn. This is to clean the threads and break off any rubbish that had "welded" itself between the nut and bolt
When it finally comes off it'll look something like this
Next undo the 2 hub/shock nuts and bolts
Undo the brake hose mounting clip from the side of the shock. Undo the brake hose to calliper bolt and pass the hose through the hole in the shock. Reconnect brake hose back up to the calliper to stop it leaking. If you don't stop it leaking eventually it will drain the master cylinder dry and you'll have to bleed all the brakes very thoroughly! Also remove the ABS securing bolt. The picture shows the front strut...
Before you remove the last bolt, cover the CV joint gaiter with a rug to help prevent accidental damage. Undo that last bolt you left at the top of the suspension leg and "simply pull suspension leg free!" Watch out not to catch the CV boot or you'll be in for another job. On the left is a picture of the old rear suspension leg. Note do not poke the bolt out with your finger, you might loose it if the strut/car moves!
  Have a look at the end of the unit, there is a rubber grommet, take it out. Slightly undo the nut, so as to break the joint/tension - approx 1/2 turn. Make a note of the orientation of the end cap otherwise it won't fit back into the car later! You'll have to undo it all again!
You are going to need a set of spring compressors. Be very very careful at this stage, this is dangerous! Note that the spring compressors should be fitted at opposite sides of the spring and at approximately equal heights. The suspension leg should be firmly gripped and pointed away from you/the car/the house. Gradually and evenly do up the compressors. Treat the unit with respect there will be a lot of pressure on the spring compressors. Do not stand in front of the tensioned unit and wear eye protection
  Keep equally nipping up the spring compressor nuts until the tension loosens on the top plate. Inside the top plate is the shock nut. As you previously cracked this off this should be easy to undo. Remembering not to stand in the line of fire of the spring!
  With the top plate removed start to slacken off/release the tension on the spring - on each side undoing the nuts an equal amount. When the compressors come loose job done. Time to take apart the rest
Picture shows removal of top plate and rubber boot - note spring compressors already removed
All the components of the rear suspension leg
Comparison of the near and old springs. Note the height difference and also the progressive spring rate of the replacement spring, as well as the lack of rust on the new one
Reassembling the suspension leg with the bump stop and new spring fitted. Be careful to align the new spring with the old marks in the rubber fittings on the shock. Examine the bottom mounting plate - make sure you fit the correct side spring to the correct shock!
Aligning the top cap to the correct place you noted when you took it off...You'll notice that the underside of the top mount is keyed so that aligns with the top of the shock absorber as well
Top mount on, compress the spring again and put on the top nut. You'll have to release the tension on the springs in order to torque up the nut - 49Nm
Fitting is simply a reversal of removal! Not forgetting the Drop link of course - tighten to 35Nm and suspension leg to hub nuts and bolts - 255Nm
Don't forget to bleed you brakes. If you "just" change both the rear shocks then you will have to bleed both the front brakes as well as the rears

Any questions or comments then please feel free to e-mail me


Other jobs

Safety


Disclaimer

This article is intended as a helpful guide and shows how I replaced the suspension springs. If you are in any doubt, or not qualified, do not undertake this modification, consult a qualified mechanic. Alteration of suspension parts away from the manufacturers design is not recommended and undertaken at your own risk!

Top of page