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This weekend my goal was to replace front struts and rear shocks. Due to poor communication with the shop I had transfer the springs on the struts, I will have to finish the post next weekend. I took the old struts and all the new parts to a Big O tire nearby, but they didn't call me when the new struts were ready and then closed early. Dangit.

But let's get started anyhow. To start with, the process starts by removing the wiper arms and cowl cover from under the hood. This uncovers the front shock mounting points...three nuts on each side.

To avoid damage to the rubber seal, I suggest using a pry bar/tool on the plastic clips - don't just yank on the seal:



And since the wipers are a force-fit on conical bases, after removing the retaining nut they may be stuck in place. Be VERY CAREFUL prying on them, because you're about to pry on the base of the windshield!! Don't crack the windshield...use MORE wood than I did if you have to pry, and spread the force over a wider area.

I used a strip of 3/8" plywood as a base to pry on. Please also NOTE that the plywood extends under the TOP end of the pry bar. Why? Because if that wiper pops loose, the top end of the pry bar will probably crash into the windshield and break it! So look at both ends of your pry bar if you need to use one, and be very careful around that windshield.



As noted in another post in another thread, before removing the wipers, stick masking or painter's tape on the windshield immediately above the wiper blades so you can re-locate them easily when putting them back on.

I found that I had to pry on the wiper arm while tapping gently on the end of the wiper arm mounting post with a hammer - the combination popped the wiper arm loose.

More in the next post.
 

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Here is a view of the rear shock parts:


Replacing them is REALLY easy. There is one bolt holding each shock at the base, and two nuts holding the top plate (a part which will transfer to the new shock) to the body.

I recommend spraying these parts with penetrating oil a few minutes before removal. Depending on the rust present, this may be critical or just nice to do.

No photos on this one, but here's the process:

1) Put the car on jackstands.
2) Remove rear wheels
3) Spray three shock bolt/nuts with penetrating oil.
4) Unscrew bottom bolt - don't exert yourself to remove it yet, as it will be easy to pull once the top nuts are loose.
5) Remove the nuts on two studs holding the top of the shock mounting plate (#4 above) in place.



Now the bottom bolt is easy to remove because the top of the shock has been released.

6) If you have a vise, take the shock to it and clamp the two-sided top end of the shock rod in the vise, as this makes it much easier to get the nut off the top. If no vise, you can use a big Crescent wrench to grab the rod, but you may need a helper to hold it. That nut is tight!
7) Remove parts from top of shock, noting sequence.
8) RE-USE THE ORIGINAL BOOT if possible. My 2007 has 100K miles on it and the OEM rubber boot protecting the shock rod was in good condition.
9) Install new parts.

Here's where a little trick will help you - re-installation.

10) Sit the shock into the car in rough position, dropping it down through the suspension arm if needed to get the top of the shock swing into place.
11) Install and tighten the bottom bolt.
12) Use your floor jack on the bottom of the rotor to raise the shock up so that the studs on the body stick through the mounting plate.
13) Install nuts on the studs which stick through the mounting plate.
14) Re-install tire and torque lugs, then remove jackstands and lower the car to the ground.

DONE! Par time for the entire process, 1 hour.
 

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One more note before I have to wait a week and finish the sequence on the front struts:

The manual says that it's ncessary to remove the ABS brake sensor and disconnect the caliper from the vehicle to replace the strut.

NOT TRUE!

I easily popped off the two rubber mounts holding the sensor wires to the strut...here is one:



And getting the brake line out of the way only requires removing one spring clip and shoving the brake line out of its mount:



There is enough slack in both these lines (wiring and brake line) that once they are out of their mounts on the strut, the strut is pretty easy to remove with enough clearance to avoid stressing either line.

I see no reason to remove the brake sensor or disconnect the caliper - neither one is needed.

More next weekend - I'm traveling until then.
 

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Time for the front struts.

There are only six bolts/studs holding them in place:

a) Two bolts holding the strut to the back of the hub/brake assembly. They take considerable force to break loose because they're torqued to 117 lbs/ft.

b) One link from the anti-roll bar to the strut. It's located above the two bolts just mentioned and slightly toward the rear of the vehicle.

c) Three nuts on the studs which project upward from the strut mount (#3 in the diagram). These three nuts are accessed in the engine compartment.

NOTE: when removing the three nuts, have a magnet handy. They are beneath a layer of metal and you can't get your hand directly on them. You'll need the magnet because they will drop off the studs.

Here's the exploded view of the strut assembly:

 

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Removing the strut is not difficult.

1) Put the car on jackstands. I located them under the front sub-frame.
2) Remove front wheels.
3) Spray two strut mounting bolts and link nut with penetrating oil.
4) Push the two rubber mounts for the ABS wiring out of their slots in the strut.
5) Remove the clip holding the brake line in place to the strut and move the brake line out of the way.

Get the bottom of the strut free before you do the top.

6) Remove the nut holding the link to the strut. (Move the link out of the way and start the nut back on the link so you don't lose the nut.)
7) Using a breaker bar, remove both bolts holding the strut in place to the steering and brake assembly.

WIth the bolts removed the hub/brake assembly will drop down. I thought it might fall far enough to cause damage, so I wired it to limit travel - but I found out that is not necessary.

Here is what it looked like with both bolts removed:

 

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Now it's time to remove the three nuts holding the top of the strut in place - at which time IT WILL FALL OUT so be ready for that!

Here is a view of the driver's side area where the nuts are accessed. My 3/8 extension is visible in one of the three access holes. The plastic plugs which were used to cover the holes are visible at the right side of the image.



Here's the passenger side top strut mount area (plastic plugs are visible too):



As you can see from the second photo, the nuts are underneath another layer of sheet metal - you will need a magnet to retrieve them after they come off because you can't grasp them due to the overlying sheet of body metal.

Using a 3" or so extension, remove the three nuts and be ready for the strut to fall free! Although it's possible to do this yourself, it's awkward. You may want to have a helper remove the nuts while you keep a grip on the strut, since it will fall free when the third nut is removed. You don't want it to fall on the brake line or the ABS wiring.

Again I repeat - you DO NOT have to disconnect brake lines, calipers or remove the ABS sensor,. There is enough slack in these to maneuver the strut without disconnecting them.
 

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Remove the strut and you'll see something like this - note that the protective boot is in pieces:



My advice: take the old strut and your parts to a shop and have them transfer the spring for you. My shop commented that because the spring doesn't have many coils, there are many spring compressors that don't work very will with that particular spring. Cost at a local tire shop was $45 for them to make the swap.

The new strut will look like this:

 

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When installing the new strut, I recommend installing the top three nuts on the top strut mount first, since they will hold the strut in place.

Here's a trick to get those pesky nuts on the mounting studs without having them fall out of your socket: stick a piece of electrical tape or friction tape inside one side of your socket. That will hold the nut in place while you lower it into position to thread onto each nut. This worked very nicely for us.

You WILL need a helper when you install the strut. It's not practical to try and hold it in place while reaching over the top of the fender to thread the three nuts on (although even one nut will keep it from falling). One person should hold the strut, the other can thread the nuts on using the trick I described above. With the top of the strut secured, you can rotate the strut as needed to align it with the brake/hub assembly.

Once the top of the strut is secured, here's another trick to get the strut bolts lined up with the hub/brake assembly...just like I recommended for the rear shocks, use your floor jack with a chunk of 2x4 on the saddle to lift the brake/hub assembly into place. This makes it really easy to position the assembly.



Here's a slightly fuzzy photo showing the strut and the brake/hub assembly being moved together. (It needs to move upward and inward in this photo.) You may need to tap with a hammer on the area by the top bolt hole to force the assembly into the space on the strut.

 

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When the bolts are in place and torqued (117 lbs/ft for the two large bolts and 66 lbs/ft for the link), you can re-install the clip for the brake line (one of the two ABS wiring boots is also shown, below the brake line):



And press the rubber boots for the ABS sensor wiring back into their slots - this is the other ABS wiring boot (BTW, yes, I know the bolts in this photo aren't fully tightened yet...):



Here is the strut in place. I have circled the brake line and ABS wiring mounts on that side of the strut, and pointed to the two large bolts with arrows. There is one more rubber boot on the ABS wiring on the other side of the strut; it's shown in the photo above this one.

 

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When I returned to this job with the struts assembled and ready to install, it took only 45 minutes for me to install the struts, mount the wheels and lower the car, then re-install the cowl pieces and wipers.

Comments about the job overall:

This is not a very difficult job, although it would challenge a beginner. There is not much you can break or mess up as long as you do not damage the windshield, brake lines or ABS wiring. Parts of this job require a half-inch drive breaker bar, and sockets up to 22MM are needed for the large bolts. Deep well sockets are very handy for some of the bolts and nuts. Considerable force will be needed to break loose the two large bolts holding the base of the strut in place - that particular piece of this process is not something you're going to do with a standard 3/8" drive ratchet; and putting a cheater bar (pipe) over a ratchet handle is a bad idea as you may break the ratchet mechanism. Have the breaker bar handy.

I hope this is helpful to those on this forum.
 

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45 bucks for pressing the 2 springs is not bad. When the time comes for my struts, I might first try doing it myself and see how it goes. But that is a good fall back if all fails.
 

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For the $45, I consider it a good move. Much safer and saves a lot of work on your/my part.

And BTW, yes, I'm hoping this becomes a sticky. (Hint, hint.)
 
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thread helped out a ton this weekend...got the job done saturday and swapped out spark plugs today...quite the productive weekend on the murano..

great tips throughout the thread...

kept all the lines and calipers in tact, and had no problems sliding the strut out...magnet on the upper mounts was a good idea too

something that helped me do the job solo was to keep one of the bolts to the knuckle in while you take the upper mount nuts off. this prevented the strut from dropping out and needing two people. when the top nuts are off, grab the strut with one hand lifting up to relieve pressure and slide the bolt out. tapping with a hammer may be necessary. then be careful around the lines and hoses and the strut came out fine.

couldn't get the spring compressors to clamp down enough to swap the coils myself. so i had to shoot over to my buddy's shop and have him swap out the coils. besides that everything else was done solo.

on reinstallation, i fit the strut up in position close enough to where i could slide a screwdriver in the knuckle mount hole and support the strut. this allowed me to align the upper mount into the holes a bit easier. once you get the upper nuts started, then i was able to work on the lower bolts pretty easily. used the jack under the LCA to help line up the holes on the knuckle mount.
 

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Great writeup! What's your impression of the new struts?
 

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Great writeup! What's your impression of the new struts?
I think the KYBs are a pretty good match to the OEM struts and shocks. They're firm without being harsh. I'm happy with them, and think they were a good choice.

The Pirelli Scorpion Verde tires I installed at the same time are extremely smooth, so there was change in more than one regard.
 

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I just placed my orders for 4 new Nissan OEM struts/shocks and all the mounts and front boots. Wound up costing close to $800 for everything, stings the wallet but if it brings back the great ride and handling of when the Murano was new, it will be WELL worth it!
 

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I just placed my orders for 4 new Nissan OEM struts/shocks and all the mounts and front boots. Wound up costing close to $800 for everything, stings the wallet but if it brings back the great ride and handling of when the Murano was new, it will be WELL worth it!
I agree - I thought the ride with the OEM shocks was very good indeed. Hope it works great for you.
 
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