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Tightening the top rod nut on a front strut

Discussion in 'EEK! - Every Extended-K Car' started by Dodgem's Dad, Dec 2, 2017.

  1. Dodgem's Dad

    Dodgem's Dad Member

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    Yesterday I installed a new strut on the front left of my '84 Reliant. I tightened the nut as best as I could when the assemble was off the car. It is hard to wrestle with but I tried everything. I even put the flat at the top of the rod in a vise while I used an offset box wrench on the nut. I was told not to use an impact wrench because if the rod took to spinning this could damage the valving in the strut. Everything is back in place. I thought I could tighten it more when it was installed since I wouldn't be fighting so many moving parts but that hasn't helped. It makes noise on the road and this is the only thing I don't have complete faith in.

    The same issue came up in a post from 2012 and the answer was:
    "Hold the rotating strut rod with a 10mm and then tighten the nut."

    Where would the 10MM be used?

    Any other ideas? Dare I use an impact wrench?

    Thank you all always,
    Justin

    PS. The car is rust free with only 53,000 miles. The old strut was a pristine piece of mopar but deader than dead.
     
  2. ImperialCrown

    Level III Supporter

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    An aftermarket strut may not have the 10mm hex at the top of the rod to hold the rod still while tightening the threaded nut. OEM would have a 6-point hex. Similar to this:
    0900c152802689ec.gif
    It is true that you don't want the rod to spin with the impact wrench. If the rod is under tension, it shouldn't spin.
    The nut may be deformed slightly so that it doesn't loosen once it is tightened.
     
  3. Dodgem's Dad

    Dodgem's Dad Member

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    The original one did have the hex top. The replacement one only had two flats and was roughly a 1/4" wide. My only wrenches of that size are too short and too "dainty" to get a grip on with any real leverage. Using my bench vise wasn't that effective either and chewed the tip a bit but that can be cleaned up if need be.

    The new nut is a bit chunkier than the old and has a nylon insert. Moving it in either direction only make the rubber below the fat washer under the nut squeak and flex.

    My plan was to do this side first to gain the experience before I do the passenger side. That process will be interrupted b ecause I want to replace the timing belt and water pump while the strut is out of the way.

    Many thanks,
    J
     
  4. Bob Lincoln

    Bob Lincoln "CHECK FAULT CODES"
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    Did you use a torque wrench? There is a spec for that nut, and if it's not tightened enough, the spring assembly will be loose and the bearing may rattle.
     
  5. Dodgem's Dad

    Dodgem's Dad Member

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    Haven't been able to put a torque wrench on it. Without being able to hold the piston rod stationary I wouldn't be able to get a valid reading. Oh! if only the Gabriels had the hex head like the originals did.
     
  6. ImperialCrown

    Level III Supporter

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    Even with the special tool, it can be difficult. While proper torque is very important, it isn't critical and a snug nut with the nylon thread-brake should hold it tight.
    See if an auto parts store has the offset, open-ended socket for loan.
    61dFU7Pjg2L._SL1124_.jpg
    A large pair of vise grips with a good bite may be able to hold the rod. It may take 2 people.
     
    Doug D likes this.
  7. 71Charger_fan

    71Charger_fan Active Member

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    I don't know what size the top nut on your strut is, but I got these in 21mm and 22mm from zdmak for my Neon. They're perfect for tightening the top nut while holding the center rod. I had to buy both as the nuts that came with the Konis I bought were a different size than the original equipment. They sell them as Audi service tools, but were the perfect thing for the Neon as the top nut is deeply recessed on that car.
    php7ZjP6VPM.jpg
     
  8. Dodgem's Dad

    Dodgem's Dad Member

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    Ideally I would like to find a socket made to fit the oval-ended top of the piston rod. It is roughly 7 x 10 mm and a vise grip or large oven-end adjustable won't hold it securely enough. for the nut I have a long offset box wrench that holds it with good leverage. It's the top of the rod that frustrates me. If only the new parts came with the hex head that Mopar had.

    I do appreciate the suggestion. I am always looking to add tools to the collection.
     
  9. ImperialCrown

    Level III Supporter

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  10. 71Charger_fan

    71Charger_fan Active Member

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    I have a Chinese knock off of that socket I got from J.C. Whitney probably back in the '80s.
     
  11. ImperialCrown

    Level III Supporter

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    Autozone's is likely a Chinese tool as well. Save your receipt if it has a lifetime tool warranty.
    This is the type of tool that you may use once or twice in a car's lifetime, but it is great to have around when you need it.
    Snap-on still has good quality, but you pay more for it and may have to find an authorized Snap-on tool dealer to get it.
     

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