Do it Yourself: Replacing Struts on a Chevy Lumina

by Dan Ferrell

Replacing the strut and knuckle assembly on your Chevy Lumina may be an involved process, if you own one of the earlier models. On a 1993 Lumina for example, you need to remove the half shaft to properly remove the strut. For this project, you will need one or more special tools to complete the job. However, you may be able to rent these special tools at your local auto parts stores, if necessary.

Removing the Strut Assembly

Before you raise the front wheel assembly, loosen the upper strut cover plate bolts and the wheel/half shaft nut. Once you raise the vehicle, remove the brake caliper, the brake rotor and the hub and bearing assembly. Make sure to secure the brake caliper to a suitable suspension component in your vehicle. If you leave the caliper hanging by the brake hose, you may damage the hose. If your Lumina model is equipped with an Anti-lock Brake System, detach the sensor and move it out of the way. For the tie rod end and lower ball joint, use the special tool J-35917 or equivalent to separate the tie rod end from the steering knuckle and the lower ball joint from the lower control arm. When you're ready, you can remove the ball joint heat shield, the upper strut cover plate bolts and the strut and knuckle assembly from the vehicle.

Removing the Half shaft

On earlier Chevy Lumina models, you will need to remove the half shaft as well to be able to remove the strut assembly. If the half shaft seems stuck on the wheel hub assembly, use a hub puller. Then place a drain pan under the transaxle oil pan. If you are removing the passenger's side strut, use special tool number J-33008 from General Motors or an equivalent drive axle puller to separate the half shaft from the transaxle. On the driver's side, you can use a suitable pry bar. On this side, the half shaft inner joint has a groove where you can pry to separate the shaft from the transaxle. General Motors recommends installing a new half shaft nut and washer during the reinstallation process. However, regardless of your particular Lumina model, make sure to correctly install and torque the ball joint and tie rod retaining nuts. You may find the torque specifications on the service manual for your particular vehicle or through your local dealer.

References

About the Author

Since 2003 Dan Ferrell has contributed general and consumer-oriented news to television and the Web. His work has appeared in Texas, New Mexico and Miami and on various websites. Ferrell is a certified automation and control technician from the Advanced Technology Center in El Paso, Texas.

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