Installed: Tein H-Techs
On what: 2004 WRX Sedan
1/2 drive socket wrench
1/2 drive long breaker bar
a few extensions
12mm deep socket
17mm deep socket
19mm deep socket
19mm box wrench + another similar size wrench (for leverage)
small pry bar (for moving struts around to get the bolts aligned correctly)
dead blow hammer (for punching the bolts out once the nuts are off)
medium length phillips head screw driver (i'll tell ya what it's for)
2 jack stands
compressor (if ya got one it makes it 10x faster)
important note: I did not use a spring compressor for this. IMO you don't need one. The only thing you can screw up if you follow my instructions and rip your axle boot cuz you weren't carefull when you released the lower strut bolts. I am not responsible for this as i have given you fair warning that you need to watch out for it. I also did not cut my bump stops.
1. first off, i'd start w/ the fronts. If you're not using an air compressor, loosen your lug nuts slightly before you jack it up. Jack up the front end of the car and stick the jack stands under neath each side behind the front wheels. I jacked each side up individually and set the stand right behind the front wheels.
2. Use a 19mm (stock lug nut size) to remove lug nuts and set wheels off to the side.
3. Remove 12mm bolts that hold the sensor wire and brake line in.
4. Start on the passenger side (not for any specific reason) and put the jack under the spindle and jack it up into the perch a little ways. Take your 17mm deep socket and loosen/remove the top strut nut. Let the jack back down slowly to let the spring tension out. There is no need to remove the upper strut mounts unless you're replacing them w/ aftermarket, so leave them in.
5. Take your 19mm socket and loosen/remove the lower strut nuts from the spindle. If you take a piece of cardboard and stick it under the strut (between the bottom of the strut and the boot on your axle) it will be less likely to do anything to the boot. Then take your dead blow and phillips head screw driver and punch the bolts out.
6. I would highly recommend keeping a hand on the top cap and watching where the little washer go when you do this. Jerk the strut around till it goes off the spindle and toward the front so you can pull it out. I used the little craftsman pry bar i have and put it under the strut and jacked it up off the axle (DO NOT USE THE BOOT AREA!!) then toggled it around til i could remove it. There is very little tension left in the springs but there is still some. Not enough to hurt anything.
7. Once removed, you will notice on the top cap that there are 3 holes that act somewhat as an arrow. If you also pay attention to the wear on the rubber pieces you can tell which way the stock springs oriented w/ the cap and strut. The bottom leg of the spring is unmistakable where it goes on the strut perch. On my car, the 3 "arrow holes" pointed just to the rear of directly out the side of the car.
8. Reinstall. Put the strut up in the car w/ the spring, cap and washer then align one of the holes w/ the spindle holes and put the phillips head screw driver in there to keep it there. Use this screw driver to put the camber bolt in the top hole by prying the holes in line. Then remove the screw driver and put the lower bolt in and put the nuts on each bolt.
9. Take your jack again, and jack up the same place, right under the spindle until you have enough threads to get the top 17mm nut on and start tightening it. Air makes this easy. I tq'd to 100 nM. Tighten your lower nuts and tq to 200 nM.
Do next side.
1. Remove wheels w/ 19mm.
2. I had to spray the lower bolts and nuts w/ pb blaster later on so do this now to avoid having to wait for it to work.
3. Remove seat, lower cushion first. 2x 12mm bolts under front side of seat. Pull seat out. Upper portion has 4x 12mm bolts then it should pull stright up out of the hooks that hold it in.
4. Put jack under control arm and jack strut assmebly up so there is tension on the spring.
5. Remove 3x 12mm bolts from upper strut mount and 1x 17mm from top of strut shaft. I took the seat belt off for more room to work also. It's a 14mm bolt.
6. Let jack down slowly to remove spring tension.
7. These 2 lower bolts were the biggest pain. Get your 19mm box wrench and mate it w/, lets say a 3/4" wrench like so:
Stick it under the car on one of the nuts (don't matter which) and then push it down w/ your foot to break that f***er loose. After that it's cake. This strut has room to stretch out w/o any worries.
8. The big radius goes out on the 3 bolt mount. Simple. Reinstall assembly the same way you did the fronts. Stick the screw driver in there and pry up/down/around to get the first bolt in then you're good to go. Jack the strut up again to put tension on the upper perch then put your 12mm nuts back on and your 17mm nut back on the strut shaft. Tighten to the same 100nM and then tighten the lower nuts to the same 200nM. don't tighten the 12mm nuts too much. The mount's plastic!!!
9. Reinstall seat and wheels and go for a test drive.