How To: Replace springs-shocks-struts (Gen2)
by Ron Pickett (aka RonsMinnie)
Thanks to k-huevo for his article -- How To: Replace Strut Springs -- without which I could not have done it.
Safety should be PARAMOUNT in this work! Insure that car is secure on stands before getting under the Mini. Wear safety glasses when working under the Mini!
If you are not sure it is safe do not do it. This is not your typical beginner project.
Tools: (bolts sizes change from year to year and model to model, be prepared!)
Socket set 10mm thru 21mm (16mm & 18mm are not included in many sets but were needed on my install)
Extension set for sockets & Long breaker bar
Combination wrenches 10mm thru 21mm (16mm & 18mm are not included in many sets but were needed on my install – Ratcheting combination wrenches are great – such as “GearWrench”)
Allen wrenches/bits 5mm & 6mm (complete set is advised)
Dead blow hammer
Torque Wrench (25 ft lbs thru 105 ft lbs)
Complimentary tool set (adjustable wrench - screwdrivers - pliers - locking pliers) Things Happen
Impact wrench (sure is nice)
Universal joint for sockets (sure is nice)
4” x 4” wood board (used for lifting the car)
Wood blocks (short piece of 2 x 4s or like for miscellaneous task & support)
Anti-Seize Compound (for use on re-assembly all fasteners you want to remove in the future).
Lift and support the MINI (the MINI is nose heavy rear stands need to slightly higher than the front).
4 x 4 lumber is used to support one side of the mini (car is being lowered to stands at jacking points).
Remove the wheels (now is a good time to soak all nuts/bolts - tie rod ends – strut/carrier lower mounts with penetrating oil)
Remove brake sensor from front strut (held in by rubber grommet- just pulls out).
Remove brake line from strut (held in by rubber grommet- just pulls out).
Disconnect the sway bar end link (we disconnected the bottom as we replaced these).
Disconnect tie rod end from carrier.
Tap out tie rod end from carrier with protective block (this may require use of a spreader tool to remove—these can be tough on older corroded cars - soak with penetrating oil before trying to remove – be prepared).
Remove the front pinch bolt (mine was 18mm).
Pinch bolt removed.
Support the spring/strut so you can force down the carrier with block of wood and hammer (this may be tough on older more corroded cars – soak with penetrating oil before trying to lower – be prepared).
Carrier loosened from strut after forcing down with hammer and block of wood (this is the area to soak with penetrating oil before this attempt).
Remove strut shaft dust cover.
Remove Strut shaft nut (some may want to just loosen this and remove nut after assembly removal).
We used the floor jack and 24” 2x4 board to compress the spring so we could lower the carrier (see k-huevo pic).
Impact / 21mm deep removed this easily.
Remove three strut tower support nuts (then lower strut and spring assembly from the MINI).
Strut – Spring assembly removed.
Reassemble the strut-spring assembly per manufacturer instructions (on the NM springs we had to cut the bump stops).
A spring compressor was used to hold spring in compressed in position.
We were all ready with the 21mm special tool but quickly discovered the Koni FSDs use a 19mm nut!!
Plan B – allen bit and 19mm deep with flats ground down with a grinder so we could hold the socket with a adjustable wrench.
Place the ¼” drive Allen bit in strut shaft.
Now place the 19mm ½” drive deep socket over the bit.
Insert ¼” drive extension thru the socket.
Use adapters as necessary to adapt to torque wrench.
Hold assembly with adjustable wrench on the flats at top of socket ground flat with grinder.
Torque down per manufacturer specification – the assembly will rotate (the assembly bottom is resting on a block of wood).
Remove plastic plug in strut tower for more camber (lean the top toward the engine on reinstall).
Reinstall and torque strut tower nuts to 25 ft lbs.
Completed Front PS Front View.
Koni FSD strut
Alta control arm end links
Completed Front PS Rear View.
Koni FSD strut
Alta end Links
The fronts are done -- moving on to the rear.
Remove Brake line and sensor from shock body.
Remove end link from sway bar.
Remove Upper shock mount bolts (two).
Remove lower shock mount bolt and lower spring shock assembly.
Remove sway bar mounting bolts (repeat process on other side of MINI).
We installed a new NM sway bar and the NM instructions are excellent so follow these for sway bar removal install.
We reinstalled new NM rear springs with Koni FSDs (we used the spring compressor again to install).
Drivers Side Mount required a “hammer fit.”
Rear PS Completed -- NM Springs & Sway Bar - Koni FSD Shock – Alta control arm & Alta end link.
Rear DS Completed -- NM Springs & Sway Bar - Koni FSD Shock – Alta control arm & Alta end link.
Let’s put the wheels on and go MOTORING! (To the alignment shop).
This process took two of us about 8 hours (we are both skilled mechanics, just not automobile mechanics) -– sorry for the sketchy pictures towards the end, we were tired. If it had not been for the leadership of our pit crew chief we would not have made it. Notice the improvised stool.
ADDENDUM - CoilOvers:
The procedure for installing coilovers is the same as the spring/strut install, with a couple small exceptions.
The coilovers do not require a spring compressor as the coilover bottom perch can be raised / lowered to facilitate installation.
Many coilovers have an adjustment point on the top of the shock. If access to the rear is wanted without removing the shock it is necessary to drill a hole through the body. Use the top shock mount bracket to mark / center punch the access “hole” position. The shock is mounted at an angle so the hole is not centered. Interior access is through the side vents in the boot.
Take care in drilling this access hole -- the wiring harness is very close!
Measure carefully, lift and place protection under wiring harness before drilling. Drill a small pilot hole first and “punch through” as slow as possible. Enlarge after inspecting the position of the hole.
Hole thru body seen from below
Access thru vent in boot
Hole thru body seen from above
2nd Gen "How To" Replace springs-shocks-struts (Gen2)
Safety should be PARAMOUNT in this work! Insure that car is secure on stands before getting under the Mini. Wear safety glasses when working under...