2000 Pontiac Grand Prix Strut Replacement Continued.
At this point the car is not jacked up. It's sitting on the tire. If it was jacked up there would be tension on these nuts. Just loosen all of the nuts at this point. You can remove the one in the rear but keep two on for now. This will keep the strut in position while you're jacking the car up. This is a tight fit for the wrench. You really want an extended 15mm socket or box wrench for this nut. I didn't have one and fudged it with a 5/8ths socket. Took a long time to get the 'way back' nut off.
Here's a picture to remember where everything was.
Here is the upper mount before.
A close up of the strut and sway bar link before.
See the two big bolts attaching the lower strut to the wheel hub? (what's that part called?) Those bolts are tough to get off. You need to apply some big force to remove them. I needed a deep socket. My first impulse was to drive to Harbor Freight Tools and buy a cheap deep socket. I could get a set of 10 impact sockets for $16. Instead I drove over to Sears and bought a Craftsman 13/16th impact socket, the size I needed, for $12. I could have gotten more for my money with a Chinese set, but who am I helping? A set of sockets at Sears cost about $50 and go up from there. Yes they are more expensive, but boy are they nicely made. This socket worked perfectly and I wasn't afraid I'd break it. The Made In USA on the side was worth the expense.
I couldn't break the nuts free with my impact wrench or the 12"s of my wrench. I have an aluminum fence post for just these occasions.
This nut doesn't have a chance. Leverage, leverage, leverage. It took almost effort to break the nut loose. With just my 12" wrench it was impossible to move. I love physics...and a pipe.
I have the nuts off the bolts holding the strut in. Before I hammer them out, I have to support the wheel hub so it doesn't fall when the bolts come out. Before I hammer the bolts out, I removed all the nuts from the upper mount inside the trunk. With the jack under the hub the upper strut mount is held in place and doesn't shift around.
The hub is supported by the jack under the lower control link bushing. I used a simple claw hammer to pound the bolts out. I didn't take a picture of that. You'll just have to imagine pounding on a bolt with a hammer. When the bolts come out the hub tips forward a bit and stops. It wouldn't drop too much if completely unsupported. Now I lower the jack a small amount to let the upper mount bolts clear their holes.
The sway bar link is still attached to the strut flange. I probably should have removed this first when I could have used the jack to position the strut up or down to match the tension on the sway bar. I removed the nut and gave the bolt a tap with the hammer. It popped out without much effort or drama.