Cutting springs on a Volvo 240

Obviously if budget allows, go with aftermarket adjustable coil-overs,
but since a lot of people can't or don't want to spend the money for coil-overs,
this is a simple and nearly free way to lower your Volvo 240.

If done in moderation (1.5 - 2.5 coils) it will both ride and handle better.

If you want to go lower like 2.5 or more coils, you will be sacrificing suspension
travel which limits the struts/shocks ability to adequately dampen the bumps in the road.
This is where the ride will get worse.
The more you cut, the worse it will ride and handle.
Several of my 240's are at 2.5-3 coils cut in the front.
It is a livable compromise between looks, ride and handling FOR ME.
Your tastes will most likely differ, so it's suggested to start at 2, try that for a few days
and cut more as you see fit.

I always cut .5 less in the rear than what I cut inthe front to start.
I then cut more if needed.

ALWAYS trim down the bump stops to regain some of the
suspension travel you are losing by lowering.
This is how they still ride good even lowered.

 

Okay, onto the pictorial of how to do this.

 

This is the 1983 242 DL I am starting with:

 

Next jack up the front by the crossmember and place jack stands at each front jacking point.
Set the car on the jackstands and use the jack as an emergency support.
Remove the front wheels.


Next remove the slip on strut nut plastic covers.

 

Now with the strut nut exposed use a impact gun and deep 24mm socket to remove the nut.
Make sure there is nothing under the strut assembly as it will "pop"
down from most of the pressure of the spring being released.
Watch your toes!

 


It should now look like this on top.

 

And like this from underneath.

 

You need to be careful and mindful at this stage as there is still enough force left in the
partially compressed spring to take off a finger, so don't be sticking hands and fingers in there.
Get out your grinder with cut off wheel or whatever you plan to use to cut the spring.
Count from the tip of the spring on the bottom up to your desired amount of coils to be removed.
Go ahead and cut it there knowing that it will pop and release the rest of the spring pressure
once you are almost cut completely through the spring.
Make sure your hands and fingers are clear as it will be a good loud pop
and the spring pieces will move around.

 

Next make sure there is no pressure still on the spring with a big rubber mallet.
The spring pieces should move around easily.
You can now push the strut shaft down and wiggle the top piece of spring off.
This is the piece you will be keeping and using.
Remove the bottom piece next and discard it.
Remove the bump stop/dust cover and set it aside for the next step.

 

Be mindful of spiders and bugs as they like to hide out on top of the spring area.
This car had a lovely Black Widow spider hiding up there.

 

For most people you can trim the bump stop down to 1 hump left.
I use a hack saw or bandsaw if you have one handy.

 

For me personally, I cut a little more because I usually lower my cars pretty low.
I need all the help I can get with travel so I cut mine here:

 

Next I start putting it all back together. Bump stop on first.
I do not use a dust boot. I've done this literally hundreds
of times and never had a problem. If you really don't like that idea,
you can buy Bilstein HD's and they come with their own new dust boots.

 

Next put the spring back on and wind it down past the perch a little bit like this:

 

Now put the top spring perch back on the shaft and try to line up the shaft with it's hole.
Depending on what struts you have, some shafts are pressurized and you will need to push them down,
other won't be and you will have to pull the shaft up.

 

Once you get the shaft all the way up with all the pieces on it and it's lined up with the hole,
I use my foot to push up on the bottom of the strut assembly and get the strut shaft to poke
up out the top of the hole so I can start the nut. A lot of things to do at once, but it's not too hard.
If you struggle with this part, you can carefully use the jack to raise the assembly.

 

Just a few threads started is all you need at this point.
Just enough so it won't come apart.

 

Now with all of that done, you can spin the sping back up onto the lower perch where it belongs.
The more you cut off the easier this part will be. If you cut 1.5-2 coils, you will be cussing at this part.
If you cut 2.25 or more off, this should be fairly easy.
You need to get the bottom of the spring located in it's indentation like this:

 

Once the bottom is located properly, you can spin the top perch until the
tip of the top lines up in it's indent on the top spring perch.
(Sorry, hard to get a good picture of that.)

 

Once those are all lined up, it's okay to go ahead and tighten the top nut with your impact gun.
After you tighten it, check the spring orientation again because sometimes they will
move when you tighten them. You can still adjust the top spring perch with it tightened
down, it's just considerably harder to move.
Once it's all tight you can pop the plastic cover back on and your front end is all done!

 

Onto the back....

Same thing, jack it up by the rear axle and place jack stands at the factory rear jack mounts.
Remove the rear wheels. Notice I place them under the car just in case it does fall it
gives me a little extra safety net.

 

For the rear I set the car on the jack stands completely, then jack the rear end back
up slightly just enough to take the weight off of the shocks. I then remove the top shock nut and pull the shock off.

 

Once the rear shock is off of it's top mount you can lower the rear axle down with the jack
to release the spring pressure.

 

You should be able to lower the rear axle enough to release all of the spring pressure.

 

If you are lucky, you can cut the desired amount off and put it all back together.
But most of the time you will have to loosen or remove the spring completely
to get to the point where you want to cut.

 

Don't forget to trim the rear bump stops also.

 

I've never had to trim more than this, even going really low.
I leave the center pinion bump stop alone.

 

IF you have to loosen a spring to get to the point where you want to cut it, just remove it completely.
The little spring retainer and stud often strip out from being stretched out when tightened down.
You may get it loose, but more than likely it will just spin when you try to tighten it.
So completely remove the spring, cut desired amount off and follow my instructions to fix the retainer.

 

If the stud spins in the retainer try grabbing it with a good pair of vise grips.

 

If that doesn't work, try putting leverage on the spring to help hold the stud from spinning.

 

If those don't work, you can cut the stud and replace it with a nut and bolt.
Once you get the retainer plate off, knock the stud out. Hammer the center back to flat
and reinstall the stud. If you have a welder, put a couple spot welds
on so you never have to do this again.

 

 

When reinstalling the spring make sure pig tails on both sides are facing forward.
Note: I replaced the stud with a bolt.

 

When reseating the springs after you jack it up, make sure the rear spring it AROUND
the perch, not getting stuck on the bottom of it.
It should look like this:

 

Not like this:

 

Once the springs are cut, installed properly and the bump stops are cut,
You can jack up the rear end and reinstall the rear shocks.
Congrats! The rear is now done and you have a lowered 240.