April 2014: Tech Tips

Be a “Clock-Watcher”




21705070Exploded Strut AssemblyReplacing a strut and transferring the coil spring to the new one isn’t very hard …

Unless you forget to mark the components BEFORE you disassemble it! Becoming a “clock-watcher” is a great problem-avoider.

Surprises aren’t always fun. A technician that is too quick and not watchful enough before disassembling a strut assembly is more likely to end up with a surprise problem. Consider that many OEM and aftermarket replacement components are manufactured with versatility in mind. That means some sub-components (strut mounts, plates, spring seats and coil springs) are interchangeable or could be assembled in multiple ways. A good example of this is when the struts are left & right specific and the mounts and springs fit both, but face different directions when assembled. If the technician doesn’t watch for this, the finished strut assembly may not install correctly. The result may create a new suspension noise or even present a front end alignment problem.

The “clock” position refers to the rotational alignment of each component in a

strut assembly when viewed from the top. Before disassembly, the technician should select a reference point on the strut. (Usually on the lower mount area) A fixed bracket or mounting hole works well. Make a mark with a yellow marker or similar marking tool at this reference point. (This now represents 12 O’clock) Then move directly upward and make a mark on each component along the centerline of the assembly to identify its position in relation to the strut when assembled. Some coil springs have a top & bottom so it’s also a good idea to mark which end faces up.

Clocked StrutNow carefully compare any new components that will be installed and make a mark at the

identical spot on them as you did on the old components. This way you can be sure the “clocked” position will be exactly the same during reassembly.