Dissassembling your front suspension

300ZXs have standard macphereson struts in front. You don't need any special tools, just wreches, sockets, and a floor jack.

To just remove the strut assembly in front do this:

  1. Lift front of car up, remove wheels, remove brake calipers and unhook brake line from strut. Hang caliper with wire, do not hang caliper by its brake hose.
  2. Remove the 2 bolts that hold the strut to the steering knuckle.
  3. Remove the 3 outer bolts that hold the top of the strut to the car. DO NOT remove the nut in the middle.
  4. Have a friend gently pry the suspension down a few inches with an appropriate pry bar and lift the entire strut out.
To completely disassemble the front suspension:
  1. Jack the front of the car up. Remove wheels.
  2. Remove calipers, caliper brackets, and rotors.
  3. Disconnect sway bar link.
  4. To disconnect the tension rod from the control arm, I find it easiest to put the front of the car on stands and compress the suspension with a floor jack, then disconnect the tension rod from the control arm.
  5. Disconnect any steering linkages you need to. If you pop the steering linkage out of the knuckle, then an alignment isn't necessary.
  6. Remove the two bolts on the underside of the knuckle that hold it to the strut and pry the knuckle out of the bottom of the strut WITH THE SUSPENSION FULLY EXTENDED.
  7. Everything is now disconnected and you can remove whatever you need to.
  8. Do not under any circumstances remove the center bolt on the top of the strut. Remove the outer three and remove the strut from the car and use a spring compressor to get the strut apart if you need to.
  9. The knuckle can be a pain to get off the ball joint sometimes. The best ball joint separator to use is the scissor kind, not one meant to be hammered on, and not a press-type one.
  10. You can remove the ball joint from the control arm and replace it by itsself, contrary to what you've heard. I use TRW ball joints at about $40 each. They are greasable and should outlast the car.
  11. If you put some sealer on the bottom of the strut where it seals to the knuckle, it will keep water and moisture out of the area and make it much easier to remove the nut next time.
Reassembly:
  1. Attach control arm, strut, and tension rod to car.
  2. Replace steering knuckle and steering link and secure.
  3. Attach strut to control arm and tighten to specifications.
  4. Partially compress suspension with floor jack and attach tension rod to control arm.
  5. install brakes, sway bar link, and anything else you took off.
  6. The tension can be a pain to get back into the control arm. Be patient and don't ruin the threads on the tension rod trying to get it into the control arm.
Notes:
A strut assembly can hold a large amount of energy. Large enough to easily break an arm/leg or remove a finger or other delicate body part. Don't try this if you don't have the proper tools or experience.



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