When I’m given a used car to look over to find what’s needed to make it sellable, I usually start off with a test drive. But when I got into this Camry, and pulled out of the parking spot, I heard a very disconcerting noise. An occasional loud popping sound that would make me cringe. Because I didn’t know what it was and it sounded bad, I drove right into the shop instead of taking it for a drive.
As soon as I started lifting up in the air I saw the problem. The right front coil spring was broken, which caused those popping noises I heard. Typical coil springs are at least half an inch in diameter, so it takes a while for them to rust through or crack enough to break, but once they do, they have so much energy in them that they can end up like this one.
This will give you a better idea of what’s wrong. On the bottom is a replacement, and you can see the single coil of the spring, whereas on the broken one you can see part inside of the other. We decided to go the route of just replacing the whole shock absorber/spring assembly, rather than just the spring.
When installed, the spring is under compression and has a lot of energy. To replace it you have to compress the spring, then remove the bolt holding the top of the strut on. It can already be a pretty tricky thing to do right, you have to be very careful and make sure the compressor doesn’t slip off the spring. I’m not sure how much harder it would be with the broken one, but it would likely be more complicated and possibly more dangerous with the way the pieces ended up.
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