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2013 CR-V EX
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm posting this because although there are some good videos out there describing the CR-V Gen 4 front strut replacement procedure, this may help cut some time off the process. Replaced the front struts, strut mounts, dust boot, front sway links, and sway bar bushings on my 2013 CR-V FWD using Bilstein B4 struts. Bilstein Part Nos: Front Left 22-214089; Front Right 22-214096. Got them for $85 ea. from Rock Auto. Used Bilsteins on German cars I have owned (BMW, VW), and was very pleased with them.

Decided NOT to go with quick struts from Monroe, Gabriel, or KYB based on comments on this forum and elsewhere online describing problems with using those quick struts, primarily problems with clunking noises, strut mount failure, and binding springs.

Some tips:
1- On the original struts, the nut that secures the top hat of the strut mount to the strut is a 17mm nylon self-locking nut. The easiest way to remove it is to use an impact gun/wrench. However, if you are re-using the original springs with a new strut, you will need to use a 6mm hex/Allen key to secure the strut shaft and some kind of pass-through socket or deep offset wrench to turn the self-locking nut, when putting the strut assembly back together. Otherwise the nut will just spin. I used this set from Amazon:
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NOTE: The original OEM strut top nut is 17mm. The Bilstein struts come with a 19mm top nut. There is also a special strut socket you can buy that looks like this, but they run about $16 or so. The good thing about using this special socket is that you can use a torque wrench to get the exact torque for the self-locking strut nut (32 lb/ft):
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One other tip -- if you are replacing the front sway bar links (at 82,000, mine were worn out), you will have a heck of a time removing the bottom linkage that attaches to the sway bar. You should put PB blaster or similar on those nuts and let them sit for an hour or so. But you probably will still not be able to get them off easily.

The problem is that the lower sway link nut is right up against the lower control arm, so it is difficult to get a 1/2 inch drive socket to sit firmly on top of the nut. In addition, because of the position of the tie rod and CV shaft, there is very little room to use a ratchet. It's in a cramped spot. I tried removing it with the control arm jacked up, but although it took the tension off the nut, jacking it up didn't create any more space. In most of the DIY videos, the narrators end up cutting off the nut with an angle grinder.

Here is a picture of the PITA bottom sway link (it's got the hexagonal nubs, the nut is facing inboard):
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To break the torque on the left (Driver's) side sway link, I used a 17mm box wrench and positioned it horizontally, then used my floor jack on the end of the wrench to push up and break the torque. You can position the jack towards the front of the wheel well and there is space to jack up.

To break the torque on the right (Passenger's) side link, you can't use the jack method, because the jack would have to be placed facing the rear of the vehicle, and there is no clearance because of the lower control arm and CV shaft. So after pulling my hair for a long while, I was able to use a 3/8 ratchet and 17mm socket along with a piece of 1 3/8" pipe which I slid over the handle of the ratchet to create a breaker bar. The 17mm socket just barely fit over the top 2/3 of the nut. There is enough room that with the handle of my homemade breaker bar pointing towards the front fender, I was able to pull downwards and break the torque. Unfortunately, I did not have a long 3/8 breaker bar. BTW, once I broke the torque, the nuts came off easily.

For people who don't work on suspensions much, you should note that the nuts/bolts attaching the strut to the knuckle, and the 5 nuts at the top of the strut mount should be tightened under load. Since that is difficult to do with the car sitting on the ground, you can either (1) put it up on ramps and tighten, or (2) BEFORE you start the job, measure the distance from the middle of your front axle to the top of the wheel well (mine was around 17 3/8 inches). Then when you have reinstalled the strut, jack up the lower control arm so that the mid-axle to top of the wheel well measurement is the same distance, and tighten the knuckle bolts and 5 top strut mount bolts.

I want to thank Traylaw for posting the suspension torque specs on this site. Really helpful: 2012 CRC AWD Front and Rear Stabilizer Link Torque Settings
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