Fitting new shocks, struts, track rod ends

01-05 Civics 5 and 3 dr

  1. k20a3
    Difficulty Level:
    image. Hi folks,
    Finally got around to fitting the new front shocks,springs and track rod ends today.
    Thought I would make a guide of it.

    My front shocks were feeling worn as they were noisy, gone rock hard ride on the left and also sagging on the front left as shown below it was riding much lower on this side.


    So 1st jack the car up and support on axle stands under jack points at front so that whole front end is off the floor.
    Remove both front wheels.
    I used 2 boxes labelled left and right to keep things organised as I took parts off.

    In this guide I have shown mainly front left, as front right is just the same.
    Remove the split pin from the track rod end bolt going through the strut arm. Then undo the 17mmtrack rod nut. Use a small hammer to give several hard strikes on the shock arm where the track rod bolt passes through and it comes loose. Lift the track rod out and move it to one side leaving it attached to steering rack arm.

    Then undo the top 10mm nut holding the ABS wire. Followed by the lower 12mm nut holding the brake hose in place.

    Next undo the 2 large 21mm nuts off the lower strut which hold the shock to the hub as seen below. These can be very tight!

    The chain is to support the hub/disc as it will want to fall forward and then there is a danger of the inner CV joint separating which can be a pain to get back in place.
    As the car is raised there is very little tension or pressure as you slide out the 2 bolts from the base of the strut mount. These come out easily and safely.

    Next remove the 3x15mm nuts securing the top of the strut to the car. Not sure if the Honda OEM were 15mm as I fitted new top mounts last year which came with new nuts.
    Anyway these are shown below


    As you remove the last of these 3 top nuts support the strut from below to stop it just falling out and maybe damaging something such as the CV boot!
    Gently remove the strut assembly and inspect it.


    The dust boot was damaged, but I bought some replacements anyway.
    Now I am going to have to disassemble the strut as I want to reuse the top cap, rubber boot, top mount and bearing.
    If I hadn't recently replaced the top mounts and bearings I would recommend they are replaced.
    WARNING - Please be aware disassembling the struts is potentially dangerous !!
    They are under huge pressure and need to disassembled carefully.

    Here are the new struts and springs...



    The new strut as it comes

    Here is how to dissasemble at your own risk. Please take much care!
    Support the strut in a vice and attach Spring compressors. I have a 3 part kit and these also are lockable in place which is much safer. Ones without these locking clips can pop out sideways by slipping off the Spring!


    Here they are attached equally spaced out and with clips firmly locked in place. Now using a 1/2" drive, which these compressors use, compress them using clockwise drive a little at a time moving to the next compressor each time. It's not safe to tighten down one side all the way!


    Now it's compressed tightly but not too much. A good guide is by being able to spin the top mount quite easily. This indicates the pressure on it has been relieved enough.
    Now undo the top center nut on the strut spindle. Depending how tight it is there are several methods to remove it. The difficult part is the strut it's attached to will spin as well.
    I used an Allen key inserted into the top of the spindle, the used a long 17mm ring spanner to undo the nut.


    This worked one side. The other side I needed to hold the strut shaft without damaging, scratching it and then use an impact driver to remove top center nut.
    If you damage the strut shaft by gripping on it directly with metal tools it will lead to leaking of the strut and failure!

    Remove top nut and then remove top mount.


    This is the underside of the top mount.


    This then reveals the plastic bearing which is lifted out easily.


    Now this leaves just the top cap and rubber mount to come off. Just lift them off as one or separately.


    This side they seperated as they came off. No problem as they just push together.

    image. image.

    Then just lift out the spring.
    Here it is next to the new one...


    Quite a difference in height!

    Now put the new spring onto the new strut. It only fits one way. The top here is actually the end which faces down and sits on the shelf of the new strut.


    Support the new strut in the vice, place new spring in, right way up. Now slide on the new dust cover or old one if fine. Next install rubber mount then top cap. Then the bearing.
    Then place top top mount on making sure to have removed nut and washer of strut spindle first.
    The top mount is marked with an R and L show in which way it faces. Now attach compressors and compress new spring. This lowers the top mount enough to attach washer and nut and tighten fully. The top mount should tighten snug up to lip on spindle below the thread.

    Now little by little move from compressor to compressor loosening a little at a time. Only do this once the top nut is fully tightened!

    Now install new strut into place.


    Insert top part into place and tighten the 3x15m nuts down to 43nm.

    Now lift hub/disc into place so the hub arm lines up with the strut clamp and slide 2 large bolts into place. Tighten nuts to 103nm.
    Then reattach ABS and brake hose nuts.

    Now re attach old track rod into place and hand tighten nut. Now use a 24mm spanner to break track rod end locking nut loose. Snug it back up to track rod end so the new one will be in the same place once attached.
    Now unscrew old track rod end being careful not to move lock nut positions!
    Screw on new end and tighten lock nut.


    Now thread on new castle nut and tighten to 44nm and attach and bend new split pin in place.
    Re check torque of all nuts re attached and make sure ABS and brake hoses are not kinked or pinched anywhere.

    Now re attach road wheels and torque to 108nm. Jack up front and remove axle stands.
    Lower car gently and test drive.
    After lowering car back to the ground the ride height will be a little higher than normal until the springs settle.

    Now the car has equal ride height.

    image. image.

    Although as stated this will settle a little lower over time.

    I would advise having the tracking checked just in case there has been some movement due to new parts being fitted. The steering wheel was still dead straight during the test drive, but still worth getting it checked.

    The end results of this work have been truly amazing. The harshness bottoming out feeling over bumps has gone. The ride is now quiet, firm and tight, like a new car feel!

    I hope this is of help to you in some way. Any mistakes please let me know so I can edit it.
    All the torque settings were from the official Honda Civic esm.

    Thanks for looking, happy motoring.....


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  1. SpeedyGee
    Good work and a great write up mate. Top marks !!
    1. k20a3
      Author's Response
      Many thanks! Well worth the wait for the springs!
  2. Nighthawk
    Good work, nicely done. She must feel much better to drive now. Nice to see you using spring compressors properly as so many people don't and end up hurting themselves
    1. k20a3
      Author's Response
      Thanks Nighthawk. Yes she drives so much smoother and quieter now.
      I'm really happy with the results!