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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm back with another write up with photos and instructions. Hopefully these are helpful. Given that I saw tons of videos for front lowering springs and a variety of ways to accomplish this mod, I figured I'd share what worked for me in as much detail. I thought this was going to take a long time but I was finished in about 90 minutes.

Finally installed the front HR lowering springs on my 2018 Ford Focus S. Because I had tried before and was unable to get the strut out on my own, I knew what tools were needed and the process needed for the most part. I came across a trick on youtube that showed how to easily remove the strut on your own as opposed to wrestling out of there.

Without having seen that video, I would have never been able to do this on my own. That video can be seen here

The tools you will need are some sockets (15mm, 3/4, and some others I can't remember exactly), an impact gun (I have a medium powered 3/8" Dewalt that puts out about 100ft lbs), a 15mm wrench, allens keys or allen sockets, torx screw tool, a long pipe/pry bar/crow bar, OEM scissor jack, jack stands, spring compression tool, and a thin but strong piece of scrap metal (or a claw hammer) - I used a left over Steeda pedal cover.

1) Use the OEM scissor jack at the pinch weld to lift the passenger side of the vehicle and place a jack stand in the area cut out to accommodate one. Repeat for the driver's side. Remove the tires and set aside.

2) Unclip the ABS sensor. It is in the center on the back side of the brake assembly. On the right side of the strut, use a socket wrench to remove the small bolt that secures the brake line to the strut, remove the line out of the way, and screw the bolt back in lightly for safe keeping. On the left side of the strut, use an allen key to hold the front sway bar connection in place and use a 15mm wrench to undo the nut. Disconnect the sway bar link and lightly thread the nut back on for safe keepting.

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The sway bar link is undone and free with the bolt threaded back on for safekeeping. The ABS sensor is in the center, detached. The brake line holder is facing the front of the wheel well and is undone with the bolt threaded back in for safekeeping.

3) Use an impact gun or breaker bar to undo the 15mm bolt that secures the break assembly around the strut.

4) Hand screw the same 15 mm bolt through the OPPOSITE side. Once it is started, insert the piece of scrap metal in the middle of the gap that is available now that the 15mm bolt was removed. Use the impact gun or a socket wrench to drive the 15mm socket in backwards and into the scrap metal to help split the assembly open. Do not split the assembly too far otherwise you may have trouble treading the 15mm bolt back through when it comes time to reassemble. You will notice the assembly loosen and if you have dirt or rust on your strut, you will be able to tell that the assembly has opened due to the change in color. Once you can see this slight gap, you will have enough play.

4a) Alternatively, you can hammer a claw hammer into the gap to spread it open (see the video I linked at the start of this post).

5) Pop the hood, remove the filter looking pieces, and undo the bolts and torx screws that hold down the cowl assembly. Take out the hard plastic piece of the cowl. There are 3 bolts for each strut. Break them loose but leave them in to hold up the strut.

6) Using a bar or crowbar, place it directly behind the brake on top of the assembly. Probe with the other end to ensure you find a firm spot on the frame of the car. Place one foot on the crowbar by the brake and use the fender to lift yourself up as you push down with your foot. The lower assembly will drop free, ensure it is out of the way of the strut so it does not get in the way or stuck.

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Step on the side of the crowbar that is closer to the front. Lift yourself up by using the fender and push down with your foot.
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This photo from the driver's side shows how to position your pole/bar in order to step on to remove the strut.


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The strut is now free. Note scrap metal in the center that was used to split the lower assembly.

7) Finish undoing the 3 bolts up top. Hold the strut on the last one so it doesn't fall. The strut is now free.

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8) Use the spring compressor to compress the OEM spring enough to remove the tension off the top of the strut. Ensure that each compressor is opposite of the other and are torqued in unison so the spring doesn't bend in one direction. Once compressed enough, use a 3/4 socket to remove the top of the strut (it's the triangle looking piece) which requires disconnecting the plastic dust boot. Remove the compressed spring off of the strut.

9) Undo the tension on the spring compressor in unison. Place the aftermarket spring onto the strut, ensuring you align the bottom end of the spring with the notch at the bottom of the strut. Use the spring compressor to squeeze the spring. Again, do each side in unison so the spring remains straight. Once compressed enough, secure the triangle top again with the 3/4 nut. There is a notce on one side of the triangle piece. The side with the notch goes facing the wheelwheel/engine bay. Remove the tension on the spring compressor until the spring is resting against the top part of the strut. If the triangle top is not alligned properly (that is the notch is not in the right spot), you can rotate it by hand even with the spring in plaec. Use your fingers or pliers to reconnect the plastic dust boot back to the bottom of the top of the strut.

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10) Feed the strut back into it the wheel well, hold it in place with one hand, and reach up through the top and thread one of the 3 bolts by hand to hold the strut in place. You should be able to poke your head into the strut bay to see where the bolt is feeding down from. This makes it easy to catch the bolt into the strut top. Capture the other 2 bolts and tighten them by hand or moderately down with a socket wrench. Make sure you leave some play/wiggle room for the strut.

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11) Force the lower brake assembly back down and mate it with the bottom of the strut. If the lower assembly doesn't go up on it's own into place, use the scissor jack to lift it up. Use the dust/dirt line to know when the assembly is back in place. Undo the 15mm bolt holding the scrap metal piece in place (or remove your hammer). Thread it in through the correct side to secure the lower assembly to the strut.

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A jack can be used to lift the lower assembly if needed.

12) Tighten the 3 bolts up top for the strut. Reattach the hard plastic cowl piece, tighten the bolts and torx for the cowl, and place the filter looking pieces back.

13) Redo the sway bar link bracket, reattach the brake line holder, and reattach the ABS sensor.

14) Place the wheels back on, use scissor jack to lift car up, remove jack stands.

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The part that took me the longest was using the spring compressors for the first time. I had to figure out what side was best and ensure I tightened them correctly. Once I figured that out, the 2nd strut was easy and quick. I did and redid the spring compressors so much just trying to get it right that my impact gun ran out of battery and I had to use my 2nd one. Once you realize you can use a pipe or crowbar to remove the strut, it makes this job way easier.

I would recommend doing the rear lowering springs first (see my other post) and then on another day, doing the front springs. Splitting up the work like this makes it a lot more manageable.
 
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