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2002 chevy trailblazer_lt_ext
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know - comes as a shock. You get what you pay for.

I bought a set of 2 jaw pullers to facilitate the replacement of my front shocks. One of the bolt heads came flying off, one side started to twist, and there are tiny cracks on both sides. I can just picture lots of small metal parts flying off in every direction.

Now I'm scared to use the spring compressor I bought from there.
 

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2005 gmc envoy_sle_xl
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roadie got a spring comp from there also and it bent it harbor frieght :nono: can keep there stuff from what i have gathered here :coffee
 

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Literally watch out man, compressing springs is one of the more dangerous things you can do on a car, you can get killed literally if the thing pops off
 

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I bought the $40 HF spring compressor (the clamp type, not the pair of threaded rods with little hooks on them). I wasn't overly thrilled with it, but I didn't get a sense that it was unsafe. You do need to add a thrust washer under the head of the big tensioning bolt and lubricate it well. You also need to be careful that it is centered on the hooks before you start to tighten it. The biggest problem I had was getting the hooks between the coils of the springs. They only just fit - it would have been a lot easier if they had been welded on an angle to match the lay of the springs, but I suppose there are probably left-hand springs out there somewhere.
 

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Yep; same one - visually at least. Mine didn't bend and I didn't feel that it was about to but this should be a reminder that we are working at the limits of what home shop equipment is built for. Unfotunately, for a lot of this stuff the price jump to go to the professional gear makes it infeasible to do your own work. Such is life.
 

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2005 chevy trailblazer_ls
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Good to know

I was just complaining how there was no harbor freights near me. I always see amazing coupons in just about any off road mags i get. At least now i know i am not missing anything good. They had one coupon for a set of 6 screwdrivers for free. At least now i know i am not missing anything amazing.
 

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2003 gmc envoy_slt
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a friend of mine and i tried to do my front shocks and accoplished the first one, (the pass side) in about 3 hours, we were still thinking/figuring out how we should do it. And we thought the driver side one would be much easier now that we knew how to do it.. Nope.... we couldnt get that part off your suppose to use the puller for, we hit it with a hammer heated it up with a heat gun and used the puller.. even all at the same time!!! Idk what but if anyone has any ideas to why this happened, i am willing to listen otherwise, i get to take it to a local shop to be done for 50-75$ min. charge :no:
 

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You should probably start a new thread on this, but here is what I can suggest. For a six-year old vehicle in the rust belt this is not surprising. You are not going to overcome the resistance with static force alone (as in a puller): you need to make shock loading work for you. One thing that has worked for me on occasion is to load up the puller as much as can, then give the center bolt of the puller a good whack with a hammer. The better approach is to apply the shock at right angles to the axis of the joint, but this is pretty much impossible with the puller in place. Just whacking on the side of the outer piece isn't going to do much. What you need to do is deform the outer piece into an oval so that it breaks contact with the tapered inner shaft. If you can, hitting it simultaneously, hard, with two hammers 180 degrees apart will do it. This is pretty tricky and results in a lot of bruised knuckles. The better way if you can find the room is to back up the joint with the head of a sledgehammer, then give the other side a mighty whack with a regular hammer. Good luck!
 

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2004 gmc
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I can't see using anything but a Pittman arm puller on the lower strut mount. I must have posted this pic a hundred times over five years.



The $40 spring compressor is a marginal copy of a very good design. Except the current HF supplier isn't using a black hardened main bolt, and the spring grabbing fingers aren't well-dimensioned. I took a die grinder to mine to make them easier to insert into the coils. But the arms are too wussy, and bent on the third time I used it.

They swapped it no question, but of the three others they had on the shelf, two of them already had the main bolt swiped from the box. Says a lot about the local customer base, their ethics, and what fails first for other customers.
 

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2003 chevy trailblazer_ls
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some people- as a safety factor- grab a chain and padlock- and chain the compressed spring- if the tool fails-- the chain holds it...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well, I used a pitman arm puller and got one side off, and started using the Harbor Freight spring compressor (not the type like roadie used, but the type that has the 2 parts that attach on each side of the spring). I had each side turned a couple inches, but I chickened out - the bolts looked a little stressed, so I undid them. I'm gonna go borrow a real spring compressor tomorrow. Rather be safe than dead.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
If those are an $80 set, I bet you didn't get them at HF. :) The ones I got at HF look like those, but I think they were about $15. I'm still chicken to put that much strain on the HF set after seeing how the 2 jaw puller performed (or didn't perform).
 

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One thing you may also want to make a note of is that you do not have to compress the springs to the point where it is loose on the strut assembly. Just take enough pressure off so you can undo the nut on top. Less chance of compressor failure. Also, the pitman arm puller that Roadie showed works well with a lot of patience and a little finesse. Maybe easier for some than others. The hooks are too thick and a little wide, so proper positioning is crucial to prevent screwing up your stud on the lower control arm.
 
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