I've just replaced a rear strut mount (aka spring perch?) in about 45 minutes, so I thought I'd share. HOWEVER, it was the second time in one day, meaning that nothing was stuck or difficult to remove and all the procedures were fresh in my mind. This was also my 7th strut disassembly. The first one took about 3-4 hours, and if I were doing it on a different car, it'd also take me several hours.
Preparations, Tools, Warnings:
There are five 12mm bolts and nuts, several 10mm bolts, one phillips head screw, two 14mm bolts and three big 17mm bolts involved.
Also, for the 14mm's, the sway bar endlinks, you may have to hold the bolt and turn the nut, so you need two 14mm wrenches, one of them open-ended. Or a good pair of vice grips, I suppose. You'll need a set of Spring Compressors, bought, borrowed or rented. A mallet and can of PB Blaster or other penetrating lube / rust dissolver thing would be good. Lastly, you need a jack stand or a second jack. Oh, and potentially a propane torch. Hopefully not, but consider that one bundled with a fire extinguisher if you decide to have it. How are you going to remove those 17mm bolts? I hope you have an impact gun, and protective eyewear. If you have soft hands either because you're a girl or just have soft hands for a man, like myself, use gloves, and the ability to hold and wrestle a bit with a dirty 25lb McPhearson Strut. Lastly... you have the replacement part, right? Left and Right are not the same. My replacements came marked "R" and "L".
The interior disassembly is easy and non-committal. You can drive around without a rear seat side bolster all you like, so you can do this early. The rear seat side bolster (the section of the seatback by the door, in the hatchback) is just held in with one bolt, under the bottom cushion. So, fold the seat bottom forward and look for the dark black, hard-to-see 12mm bolt. Remove it, then shove the bolster up until it unhooks from the top perch behind it, and take it off. Behind it, near the top, is a phillips head screw holding the plastic trunk trim, remove it. Also remove all the 10mm bolts you can find in the trunk holding that plastic trim in from underneath. Then kind of shove it up and away. Now you can drive around proudly (and noisily) saying you're about to replace your rear strut yourself. Really you haven't started yet so...
Days later, when you really get around to it and have the car up on the stand with the wheel off... if you're going to fail and give up, you might as well do it early, so start with LOOSENING (not removing) the 17mm bolts holding the strut to the wheel hub. The nuts will be hard to remove; the bolts will be hard to remove too (they rust to the hole in the carrier; lots of side-contact area there). It's a job for PB blaster and the impact gun. Wear goggles; dirt and rust will be hitting your face when you start that thing. Try spraying them with PB Blaster and waiting a few hours if necessary. The propane torch... well, let's assume you didn't need that. (Note that PB Blaster is flammable, and brake lines and ABS sensors can melt.) While waiting for the PB Blaster to soak in, deal with the sway bar endlink bolt. Jack the wheel hub (from the solid part behind, not the flimsy brake shield) until the endlink can be moved around and the bolt is straight. Try turning the 14mm nut - is the bolt spinning too? The bolt has flats on the back side for a 14mm wrench (Hyundai assumed you owned two 14mm wrenches). They're narrow; the wrench will slip off easily, just be careful. You can still give up knowing you didn't waste too much time.
Wow, the 17mm bolts are loose and the endlink is disconnceted? Impressive. Pat yourself on the back. The next part is easy. Loosen the three nuts inside the car, holding the strut mount on. It'll be easy while the strut is still resting on the hub. Leave them threaded a few turns so the strut won't fall out later. Bang the 17mm bolts out of the strut/hub with the mallet. Remove the 10mm bolt holding the ABS sensor to the strut (if equipped). Note the clip holding the brake line to the strut. Hammer out (forward) the clip (a hammer and chisel would be ideal, a flathead will do). Move the brake line out of the strut clip. You should be able to shove the strut around a bit with the 17mm bolts gone; lower the jack to move the hub down for more clearance. Hold the strut up so that removing the three nuts on the inside is easy. The strut weighs about 25lbs, it has some sharp edges and it has a brake line on one side and an ABS wire on the other... a friend would be nice to have. I lowered the strut just in front of the wheel hub, rotated it so the fat part wouldn't hit the brakes, and tilted until the top cleared the fender and I could pull it out. Once done, sit back and admire your work. Take a photo.
Before you continue, there's a bit of theory here. Once you do this next step, the strut mount (top, with the three screws) will be free to rotate in relation to the bottom. The bottom has to align with the wheel hub, the top has to align with the holes in the chassis, so... it matters. I marks on the bottom spring perch, the spring and the strut mount so I could align the mount correctly later (err... well, the second time around I did!).
Ok, use the spring compressors as directed, leaving as much clearance as possible for the impact gun. I found that to be using the impact gun from the 'bottom' side of the strut on both compressors. Once the spring is compressed, remove the top 17mm nut in the strut mount. It says not to use an impact gun, but I did because I don't have a deep 17mm socket. Just don't overtighten and damage the strut, and watch your fingers because the mount may spin.
Remove things and replace things. Whether that's the strut, the spring, the mount... whatever. Reassemble as shown in the picture: strut, rubber spring seat, dust shield with foamy bushing, spring, cylindrical silver spacer thing, strut mount.
Align them right, comparing the old alignment marks on the old parts. I aligned the strut to the spring, and the spring to the mount. It's a bit difficult, but loosen the spring compressors while keeping things aligned. The spring bottom should be nestled into the strut, on the rubber seat. The more the spring pushes on the strut, the harder it will be to rotate things into alignment. The next part involves holding the 25lbs strut with one hand, so get a friend or get some rest. You're more than half done, so break for lunch.
Part 5. Ok, finagle the strut back into the car, avoiding the brake hose and optional ABS wires. Rotate until it aligns with the wheel hub correctly, and hopefully the bolts on the top mount align with the wholes in the chassis too. Wiggle until they do, and the bolts should protrude into the top. A friend would be nice to have here, although I did manage to hold the strut and get the bolts on finger-tight by myself. The wheel hub should fit between those tabs on the strut already. Tighten the top bolts by hand so the strut is held up high. Jack up (or down) the wheel hub and shove/mallet things around until one of the holes lines up, then bang in the 17mm bolt. Repeat, then spin on both nuts and tighten. Reattach the swaybar end link (jack the hub as necessary to align) and tighten. Reattach the ABS wire with 10mm bolt. Place the brake hose in the bracket (the flats on the side fit flush against tabs on the bracket) and hammer in (gently) the clip under the tab. Lower the car back onto it's wheel, then torque the three mounting nuts to spec.
Part 6: Test drive the car. If everything sounds Ok, reassemble the interior bits when you have time.
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