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Q: How Do I Replace the Struts? on 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer

Is there an easy way to replace the front struts on the 2003 Trailblazer?
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I actually found the answer in a repair manual. I wanted to share what I found with the community, and the stuff I ran into while doing the replacement.

A BIG WORD OF ADVICE - buy the entire spring/strut assembly. It will save you a lot of time and energy (at least 30 minutes per side.) And you won't need to compress the springs.
The trick is to remove the yoke arm that supports the bottom of the strut (step 4 below)

1. Remove the front tire. Make sure to use jack stands to support the wieght of the vehicle.
2. Support the entire hub assembly with a floor jack during the entire process.
3. Remove the nuts at the top of the strut in the engine compartment.
4. Remove the yoke arm that supports the bottom of the strut assembly from the lower control arm using a TWO-PRONGED gear puller (TRUST ME, get the TWO-PRONGed puller! It comes off in about 30 seconds)
5. Rotate the strut assembly out of the wheel well.
6. The next step is to remove the yoke arm from the bottom of the strut assembly. Note how it lines up with the studs at the top of the strut. You will want to get this alignment as close as possible before you put it back in the vehicle. We used a gear puller to remove the arm from the strut, it was an exercise in frustration, but eventually got it off of the strut.
7. If you have purchased the entire strut/spring assembly (which I highly recommend), just reverse the order from here and put every thing back together. If you are reusing the spring, read on...
8. You will now need to compress the spring. It is imperative that you use the spring compressor tool for this part of the task. You can rent them from your favorite auto parts store.
9. Once the spring is compressed, you will know it is compressed enough because the spring has pulled away from each end's spring seat, you will need to remove the retainer nut at the top of the assembly. Be very careful when doing this. Depending on how long it has been since you replaced the struts, there may be a great deal of rust. You will need to use a HEX head tool inserted into the end of the stud and an open end wrench on the nut (the entire stud will turn inside the strut if you don't). You can easily strip out the inside of the stud if you are not careful. I recommend using a tool one size larger than what fits, and tapping the tool into the end of the stud. It may take some heavy-duty tapping, but you will be sure not to strip out the end of the stud.
10. Once you have removed the nut, be careful to note how the convex washers come off of the assembly. The one on the top is smaller in diameter than the one on the bottom. If you mix them up, you will not be able to reinsert the assembly back into the vehicle. (Yes I learned this from experience).
11. Reassemble the assembly with the new strut, decompress the springs and replace the yoke arm making sure to line it back up with the studs on the top of the assembly as close as you can.
12. Go back up to step 7 and do the steps in reverse.

The first side took me and my buddy about 2 hours to do. The other side only took about 40 minutes, including disaseembling and re-assembling the assembly because we put the lower washer on top and couldn't get it to seat correctly in the top of the strut tower.

Hope this helps some poor unfortunate fool who decided to do his/her own struts!
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