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      07-05-2019, 07:41 PM   #1
$iriu$black
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Spring compressor mistake - ratchet tool is stuck

So being a newbie to this tool (made all necessary safety measures), I mistakenly used a box end ratchet (not open-ended) 19mm and as I tightened one compressor, the box end got stuck under a coil Canít take the tool off! To make matters worse, it is stuck in the ďtighteningĒ direction. More I move it, it gets tighter. I stopped short already, just so I have a bit of space in case I have no choice but to cut the compressor. But this poses risk of course since the spring is compressed. What an idiot I am

Hopefully that made sense. I used the run of the mill OEMtools brand compressor and realized that it ďbarelyĒ fits on a Swift front spring. I still insisted and was able to get it in there but the other pair can barely ďbiteĒ the spring so now itís all lopsided, biting on one side and stuck to the new strut.

Is there a way to get this without cutting the thing?

Help!
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Last edited by $iriu$black; 07-05-2019 at 07:49 PM..
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      07-05-2019, 11:16 PM   #2
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Springs flex. Probably take a bit of leverage, but it looks like you've got some room to move it out of the way of the wrench, at least long enough to unstick yourself.
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      07-05-2019, 11:31 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjswarbrick View Post
Springs flex. Probably take a bit of leverage, but it looks like you've got some room to move it out of the way of the wrench, at least long enough to unstick yourself.
Yeah if I can just raise that part of the spring thatís directly hitting the ratchet, I would be good. But I ran out of ideas earlier and gave up. These cheap compressors are the worst. I didnít know why I tried to make it work when it clearly didnt.

I donít have a bench vise that will help with leverage which is too bad. I was thinking of a way to open or spread that gap up, but again, my idiot mind ran oit of ideas. Clearly Iím a novice in this area🤦🏻

Someone told me to just cut the wrench close enough so it will not spin, then use another wrench since thereís enough of the nut still exposed to loosen it. Cutting the compressor itself is not a good idea I keep telling myself.

Last edited by $iriu$black; 07-05-2019 at 11:43 PM..
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      07-06-2019, 04:39 AM   #4
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Do not cut the compressor! That spring is under hundreds of pounds of load. You will almost certainly hurt yourself if you cut the compressor. All that energy stored in the spring will be released suddenly. You will have a spring, two halves of a spring compressor, and a cutting tool all flying in different directions.

I do think cutting the ratchet as short as possible, then using a different wrench on the exposed part of the nut is the right move. But cutting tool steel isn't fun, and less fun when there is a compressed spring attached to the tool. And even less fun without a vise. Whatever you do, be careful. A shop might be better equipped to get this done safely.
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      07-06-2019, 06:05 AM   #5
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Can you use the other spring compressor to take some of the pressure off? or a ratchet strap to take some pressure off so you can release the other one?
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      07-06-2019, 08:15 AM   #6
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I don't have a solution for you other than to get another set of compressors to take the strain off of the stuck one.

I have to ask though; why are you using spring compressors on coilovers? My Öhlins have plenty of thread to completely unload the spring for installation/removal purposes...
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      07-06-2019, 08:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris_flies View Post
I don't have a solution for you other than to get another set of compressors to take the strain off of the stuck one.

I have to ask though; why are you using spring compressors on coilovers? My ÷hlins have plenty of thread to completely unload the spring for installation/removal purposed ...
Coz Iím an idiot, no doubt about it🤦🏻*♂️

But I already ordered a different type of compressor that will hopefully free me out of this stupidity.

Seriously though, i used it coz all the vids I watched used one not even thinking that mine is different

Iím the worst DIYer.
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      07-06-2019, 09:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by $iriu$black View Post
Coz Iím an idiot, no doubt about it🤦🏻*♂️

But I already ordered a different type of compressor that will hopefully free me out of this stupidity.

Seriously though, i used it coz all the vids I watched used one not even thinking that mine is different

Iím the worst DIYer.
I assume you bought the horseshoe type of compressor? They come with different size 'shoes' and I think you should be able to get them set up to compress the assembly.
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      07-06-2019, 03:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by $iriu$black View Post
Coz Iím an idiot, no doubt about it🤦🏻*♂️

But I already ordered a different type of compressor that will hopefully free me out of this stupidity.

Seriously though, i used it coz all the vids I watched used one not even thinking that mine is different

Iím the worst DIYer.
There are worse, and more expensive ways to learn how not to work on cars

For example: not putting thread-locker on ring gear bolts
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      07-06-2019, 06:30 PM   #10
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Double nut the bolt side. Should be able to turn it from that end.
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      07-06-2019, 06:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by $iriu$black View Post
Iím the worst DIYer.

Not even close.
You're humble enough to ask for help before doing more damage. That's better than most. The forums are here for us to help eachother and learn. Just keep doing what you are. No other way to learn.
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      07-06-2019, 07:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gjm120 View Post
I assume you bought the horseshoe type of compressor? They come with different size 'shoes' and I think you should be able to get them set up to compress the assembly.
I actually planned to get one like that from Eastwood. But the one I got is still a ďclawĒ type with smaller contact points. Hopefully I will compress on the opposite side of where the stuck compressor is, free up the ratchet (Im expecting the spring will open up a bit and lower down from the topmost part of the coil) and then loosen it up.
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      07-06-2019, 07:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iminhell1 View Post
Double nut the bolt side. Should be able to turn it from that end.
Thanks for the advice and kind words. My problem is the stuck tool is a ratcheting box end. So it basically blocks any further rotation going the other way if I try to loosen it up from the bolt side up top, does thatmake sense?

I believe I donít quite understand the double nut method on the bolt side i mean Iíve done double nut methods on installing studs on wheels but thatís it.

Sometimes I find myself as such a black-or-white learner. I literally need to see someone do it on a video so Iíll learn how to do it. Thatís how I self taught myself in working w cars. YT has been a great aid as well as our forum.
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      07-06-2019, 07:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gangplank View Post
Can you use the other spring compressor to take some of the pressure off? or a ratchet strap to take some pressure off so you can release the other one?
Thanks for the advice. I think the ratchet method will be my plan B in case using another conpressor with smaller claws wonít work.

Problem too is since the spring is so narrow, having the compressor clamp on to one side of it pushed it stuck into the shock body so itís harder since Iím working with the strut along with it.
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      07-06-2019, 10:49 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by $iriu$black View Post
I actually planned to get one like that from Eastwood. But the one I got is still a ďclawĒ type with smaller contact points. Hopefully I will compress on the opposite side of where the stuck compressor is, free up the ratchet (Im expecting the spring will open up a bit and lower down from the topmost part of the coil) and then loosen it up.
Good luck. Hope that works.

And as others have said, don't feel bad about a mess up. We all have done them - just some of us don't mention them all.
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      07-07-2019, 08:07 PM   #16
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Yep, don't feel bad.

I work on aircraft and have had mates do the exact same thing removing a component with those spanners, lots of tricky manoeuvring and swearing involved to fix the situation 😂
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      07-07-2019, 10:11 PM   #17
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Solved

Thanks to all for the sage and useful advice.

I've used another set of spring compressors with smaller claws, freed up the coil from the strut. Then, with careful planning this time, positioned the new compressor on the coil to free up a gap above the ratchet. Swore to myself never to use that compressor again.

Glad I did not have to cut anything, my tool or god forbid the compressor. My tools are mostly of the GW brand, not expensive but not cheap either.

As chris_flies said, I screwed the height adjusters low enough to tighten the top nut and used a 5mm hex to counter. Still have to torque it down to spec.
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      07-08-2019, 02:10 AM   #18
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Glad you were able to get yourself out of that jam!
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      07-08-2019, 06:16 PM   #19
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I've always used a socket to do the actual turning of the compressor (on an impact gun, a little at a time each side), and a wrench just to hold the other side (conventional wrench, not ratcheting).
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