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Replacing front strut top rubbers for the Holden VE II Commodore

  • A common issue with these model vehicles is the front strut top rubbers collapsing over years of use.
    Symptoms of a collapsed strut top rubber mount or strut top bearing failure include mild banging sounds coming from the front of the vehicle when driving over bumps,
    varying degrees of steering effort required to turn the front wheels,
    and grinding sound(s) when turning the steering wheel.

    When the strut top rubber mounts are compressed over periods of time, a gap is created between the strut top rubber, and the strut tower in the engine bay.
    This allows a small amount vertical movement between the strut, and the strut tower, allowing the strut top rubber, the strut tower, and possibly the strut top bearing to impact when driving over bumps and undulations.
    The following is a comparison between the old strut top rubber mount, and the new strut top rubber mount fitted.

    If the problem is severe enough, it is possible to damage the strut top bearing case to the point where the bearings can no longer move around freely, causing the strut top bearings to seize under certain conditions.
    (Causing the steering to be stiff under certain conditions).
  • VE Strut Top Mounts
    Replacement Strut Bolts as these are single use items only
    Replacement Strut Nuts as these are single use items only.
    Optional Strut Top Bearings.
  • 1 x Car Jack
    1 x Car Stands (Pair)
    1 x Suspension Spring Compressor Tool (And appropriate socket)
    1 x Long nose pliers (For uncoupling the ABS Sensor wiring from the strut)
    1 x Breaker Bar or Long Torque Wrench
    1 x Socket Wrench (For use with the sockets listed below)
    1 x 10mm Deep Socket (For strut top shaft)
    1 x 22mm Socket (For Strut Bolts)
    1 x 19mm Socket (For Strut Bolt Nuts)
    1 x 14mm Deep Socket (For Sway Bar Link Bolt)
    1 x 24mm Ring Spanner (For Top strut Nut)
    NOTE The 24mm Ring Spanner is Highly Recommended but you can use an adjustable spanner in a pinch like I did,
    (However I do not recommend it, as this nut can require a lot of torque to get off,
    and the adjustable spanner kept slipping off the nut when applying large amounts of force).
  • The workshop manual mentions that it may be easier to loosen the strut top mount nut whilst the vehicle is on the ground.
    (This is due to the pressure of the strut pushing up against the strut tower, and relieving the pressure on the nut to hold the strut in place).

    To do this,
    1) Pull the black plastic strut nut cover off from the top of the strut.

    2) Place a 24mm ring spanner over the strut nut. (Do not do anything else at this point)
    3) Place your 10mm deep socket over the strut top shaft.
    (For me, this was a tight fit on one of the struts, and the socket needed some not so gentle coaxing to get it to sit securely over the strut).

    4) Fit a socket wrench to the 10mm deep socket.

    5) Using the socket wrench to prevent the strut shaft from turning, loosen the 24mm strut top nut.
    NOTE : Do not completely remove the nut at this time !

  • Warning: To help avoid personal injury, always use jack stands when you are working on or under any vehicle that is supported only by a jack.

    Before you begin any lifting procedure, be sure the vehicle is on a clean, hard, level surface.
    Be sure all the lifting equipment meets weight standards and is in good working order.
    Be sure all the vehicle loads are equally distributed and secure.
    If you are only supporting the vehicle at the frame side rails, make sure the lifting equipment does not put too much stress on or weaken the frame side rails.

    If you use any other lifting methods than the preferred vehicle jacking locations, take special care not to damage the fuel tanks, the exhaust system or the under body.

    Caution: When you are jacking the vehicle at the front locations, be certain that the jack or the jack lift pad does not contact the front fascia, front fascia air dam, or the front fenders.
    If such contact occurs, vehicle damage may result.
    When jacking at selected front locations additional clearance may be required for the jacking points.
  • Next you will want to unclip the ABS Sensor wiring, and the brake hose line from the strut, so as you do not accidentally damage these parts when working on the various nuts and bolts securing the strut.

    To remove the ABS sensor grommet from the strut, simply slide the rubber grommet upwards and outwards away from the strut.
    Next, using long nose pliers, compress the back of the ABS line clip from the strut.
    Finally rotate the Brake line grommet by 90 degrees and pull the brake line upward and outward away from the strut.
    (The brake line grommet is keyed so as rotating the grommet inside the strut will prevent the grommet from coming out of the strut.

  • Using a 14mm deep socket, place the socket over the sway bar link nut, and remove the nut.
    Once the nut has been removed, remove the sway bar link bolt from the strut.
    (Note: You may need to tap the bolt free using a hammer)

  • Using a 19mm socket on the Strut Steering knuckle nut, and a 22mm socket on the Strut steering knuckle bolt.
    Loosen and remove the upper and lower nut from the strut bolt.
    Remove the upper strut steering knuckle bolt.

    Do not remove the lower strut steering knuckle bolt at this time, as this bolt will be used to hold the strut in place whilst the top strut nut is removed.
    Finally place a container underneath the wheel hub assembly to hold the assembly in place before proceeding to the next step.

  • With the strut removed from the vehicle, place the strut on the ground.
    Next, place the spring compression tool on either side of the spring.
    Finally, Compress the spring by roughly 4cm to 5cm.
    (This will be enough to release the pressure on the strut top nut,
    so as wehn the nut is removed, the spring will not suddenly expand and cause damage.

  • 1) Place a 24mm ring spanner over the strut nut. (Do not do anything else at this point)
    2) Place your 10mm deep socket over the strut top shaft.
    3) Fit a socket wrench to the 10mm deep socket.
    4) Using the socket wrench to prevent the strut shaft from turning, loosen and remove the 24mm strut top nut.

    I found this step much easier if I placed the strut on the ground, and straddled the strut holding it in place using my legs.
    I then used the ground to hold the wrench in place, and used the ring spanner to first loosen, then remove the strut top nut.
    (The strut top nut should be discarded as it is a single use item).

    5) With the strut top nut removed, remove the strut top nut washer.

  • This step is probably the easiest step to carry out.
    With the strut top nut and washer removed, simply pull the strut top rubber of the strut shaft.
    At this point, it might be a good idea to inspect the strut top bearings to ensure that they are not damaged.

    For one of my strut top bearings, the strut top bearing housing had began to separate, allowing the bearings to be released from the bearing housing.
    In this instance, it looked like the pressure of the spring and the strut top nut / rubber was holding the housing together.
  • When purchasing the strut top rubbers, a metal sleeve should have been included with the rubber.
    This sleeve fits inside the rubber, and makes contact with the strut shaft, allowing the strut shaft to rotate freely inside the rubber.
    1) Fit the metal sleeve to the strut top rubber (If this has not been fitted already).
    2) Lubricate the strut shaft and the inside of the sleeve with suitable grease.
    (Suitable grease may be included with the strut top rubbers).

    3) Fit the strut top rubber to the strut.
    (Note you may need to use pliers to pull the strut shaft up and outward away from the strut top rubber).

  • 1) Place the strut top nut washer over the strut shaft.
    2) Next, placing the strut in an upright position, Hand fit and tighten the strut top nut on to the strut shaft.
    (Note you may need to use pliers to pull the strut shaft up if this was pushed down during fitment of the strut top rubber, or you may need to push downwards on the strut top rubber to reveal enough thread to screw the nut in to place).
    3) Once the strut top nut is in place, lay the strut assembly down on the ground, and tighten the strut top nut using a 24mm ring spanner and a 10mm deep socket wrench.

    4) Tighten the strut top nut to 75 N?m (55 lb ft)
  • The following part is probably the most physical step involved in this procedure.

    If you can get someone to help you with this step, then things will be a lot easier, as the second person can attempt to fit the strut top nut when the strut top is positioned up and through the strut tower.
    (Once you have the top strut bolt holding the strut up, you should then be able to align and fit the sway bar link bolt, and the strut bolts up fairly easily).

    If you are doing this yourself, then you will need to get a bit more physical with the following steps.
    Luckily the first step (fitting the sway bar link bolt) is the hardest step, and things do get easier from here.

    1) Swing the strut inwards and upwards from the front of the car, feeding the top of the strut through the top strut tower hole.
    (Sorry No pictures of this step, as I was doing this by myself, and its hard to hold a strut as well as a camera).

    2) Roughly align the strut with the sway bar link bolt, insert the bolt in to the strut, and loosely fit the nut over the bolt.
    The sway bar link nut will ensure the sway bar link bolt will not come out of the strut, thus holding the strut roughly in place while you can fit the top strut nut.

    3) Position the top of the strut at the top of the strut tower, fit the strut top cover and loosely fit the top strut nut.
    (Fit the nut so as it holds the strut in place, but do not tighten at this time).

    4) Using the new strut bolt, Twist and manoeuvre the strut and the wheel hub so as you can fit the lower strut bolt.
    (You may need to twist the strut around so as the wheel hub assembly will fit in to the strut).

    5) Next push forward against the top of the brake rotor, and try to align the new upper strut bolt hole with the wheel hub assembly.
    Once aligned, fit the new upper strut bolt.

    6) Once you have all the bolts fitted, loosely fit the new nuts to the strut bolts.

    7) Tighten the sway bar link nut to 50 N?m (37 lb ft)

    8) Push the top of the brake rotor inwards forcing the top of the wheel hub assembly camber adjustment bolt to sit firmly against the strut.
    Then tighten the upper strut bolt and nut.

    9) Next push against the bottom of the brake rotor pushing the wheel hub assembly inwards, and tighten the upper and lower strut nut and bolts to 100 N?m (74 lb ft) - Then tighten the nuts an additional 90 degrees

    10) Finally tighten the upper strut nut using the 24mm ring spanner, and the 10mm deep socket (and wrench).
    Tighten this Nut to 55 N?m (40 lb ft)
    NOTE : You will need to conduct this step once again when the vehicle is lowered, as the vehicles weight will place pressure on the new strut top rubber, and the strut will be pushed back up in to the strut tower.
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