The following attachment will show you how to build a cheap and safe spring compressor. This can also be used to raise the control arms to install new upper cushions. But the only time you really need a compressor is if you you have the body off the frame. If you read below the link you’ll see how removing the arms and springs can be done easily without one.
Now only use this if you are doing a frame off restoration… if you have the body on the car use the following directions which don’t require a spring compressor.
(And before I start, you don’t need a lift to do this).
When we do the front suspension on a car we put the car on our lift, remove the wheels, the brakes and then we loosen both the upper and lower ball joint nuts to the point where they are full threaded and level with the end of the stud. At this point (while under spring load) we smack the spindle support with a large hammer. In most cases this will release the joint from the support due to the spring pressure. Having the arms under load from the spring really makes this job easier.
When you smack the support, watch the gap between the nut and the support you’ll see it close when the joint is loose. In most cases this is all you need to do… If the joint doesn’t release from the support then we go to the pickle fork but rarely. What you are doing is using the spring tension as a way to release the joint from the support.
Once we have both joints loose we then lower the car and place a jack stand on the forward side of the A-arm. Doing this catches the A-arm and uses the cars weight to release the tension created by the spring. When you do it this way it presses the spring and allows us to remove the lower arm shaft bolts. We then remove the bolts from the lower shaft and slowly raise the car which frees the spring tension. (reverse this process to install making sure the spring is seated in the lower arm properly).
It’s pretty easy and we don’t use any type of compressor to remove springs. I hate spring compressors and justifiably so…. (When I was a kid I had one break on me and an A-arm almost took my head off but that’s another story). You don’t have to have a lift to use this method, just a jack and a jack stand.
The write up I did on the spring compressor on a budget works perfectly too. The only reason I did that write up was for doing springs on a frame off restoration where you don’t have the engine or body weight and I’ll add these comments to that same thread on my tech page after I post this.
Be smart people, use the weight of the car when you do these suspension jobs and be safe.