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How to Replace Front Strut Assembly 03-07 Cadillac CTS

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How to Replace Front Strut Assembly 03-07 Cadillac CTS

Created on: 2016-08-08

How to repair, install , fix, change or replace your front struts with their loaded struts on 03, 04, 05, 06, 07 Cadillac CTS

  1. step 1 :Removing the Wheel
    • Loosen the 19mm lug nuts with the vehicle on the ground
    • Raise the vehicle with a floor jack
    • Secure the vehicle on jack stands
    • Remove the lug nuts
    • Pull off the wheel
  2. step 2 :Removing the Strut and Upper Control Arm
    • Remove the pinch bolt from the upper ball joint with an 18mm socket, ratchet, and 18mm wrench
    • Leave the nut flush with the end of the pinch bolt
    • Lightly tap the pinch bolt out with a hammer
    • Remove the bolt
    • Tap out the pinch bolt
    • Spin the bolt out with the wrench and ratchet
    • Soak the two 13mm bolts on the bottom of the strut with rust penetrant
    • Remove the two 13mm bolts
    • Remove the three 18mm bolts and on 18mm nut from the top of the strut while holding the shock for the last bolt
    • Unclip the A/C line
    • Remove the strut and upper control arm from the vehicle
  3. step 3 :Removing the Upper Control Arm
    • Remove the 18mm bolts from the upper control arm
    • Remove the upper control arm from the strut mount
  4. step 4 :Installing the Upper Control Arm
    • Insert the upper control arm into place
    • Hand-tighten the 18mm bolts and nuts
  5. step 5 :Installing the Strut and Upper Control Arm
    • Insert the assembly into the vehicle
    • Hand-tighten the five bolts on top of the strut
    • Torque the four bolts to 83 foot-pounds
    • Clip the A/C line into place
    • Install the bottom 13mm strut bolts
    • Torque the bottom bolts to 18 foot-pounds
    • Line the upper control arm into the steering knuckle
    • Reinstall the pinch bolt
    • Tighten the 18mm bolt and nut
    • Torque the bolt to 44 foot-pounds
  6. step 6 :Simulating the Ride Height
    • Jack up underneath the lower control arm to set the suspension to the normal position
    • Tighten the 18mm bolts to the upper 18mm control arm bolts
  7. step 7 :Reattaching the Wheel
    • Slide the wheel into place
    • Start the 19mm lug nuts by hand
    • Tighten the lug nuts preliminarily
    • Lower the vehicle to the ground
    • Tighten the lug nuts to 100 foot-pounds in a crossing or star pattern

Tools needed for replacement

  • General Tools


    Jack Stands

    Floor Jack

  • Materials, Fluids, and Supplies

    Rust Penetrant

  • Ratchets & Related

    Socket Extensions

    Torque Wrench


    1/2 Inch Breaker Bar

  • Sockets - Metric

    13mm Socket

    18mm Socket

Installation Video
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Hi, I'm Mike from 1A Auto. I hope this how-to video helps you out, and next time you need parts for your vehicle, think of Thanks.

In this video, we're going to show you how to replace your front strut assembly in this 2005 Cadillac CTS.

Here are the items you'll need for this repair: 13mm, 18mm socket, ratchet, torque wrench, breaker bar, 18mm wrench, hammer, penetrating oil, jack and jack stands

Using your 19 millimeter socket and breaker bar, crack the lug nuts loose. Just about a turn is fine. You just want to make sure that there's no tension on them when you jack it up. Obviously you can't remove it with the weight of the vehicle on the tire. Once your lug nuts are loose, you can jack up the vehicle and secure it with jack stands.

You'll see on the rocker panel there's a small arrow. This indicates where the jack point is on the pinch weld under the vehicle. We'll place our jack under there, bringing the vehicle up until the wheel is off the ground and we have enough height to get a jack stand underneath the car. Directly in front of your jack, you'll notice this boxed frame like piece of the uni-body. That's the point we're going to use for our jack stand.

Slowly lower the vehicle onto the stand. Once the vehicle has been raised and supported, we'll finish removing the lug nuts. Remove the wheel from the hub. We're going to use a lift to make this easier to show you guys at home, but you should be able to do this in the driveway with a jack and jack stands.

Using an 18-millimeter socket and ratchet as well as an 18-millimeter wrench, remove the pinch bolt, and the upper ball joint on the upper control arm. Leave the nut. Flush with the end of the pinch bolt, so we can tap our pinch bolt out without damaging the threads. Tap the nut until the pinch bolt's out. Once you know that it's not in there tight, it's all right to give it a couple of light taps without the nut on there. Just be careful not to hit the threads or mushroom the end over.

Use your 18-millimeter wrench, as well as the socket and ratchet, behind the flange nut. We're going to put a little pressure with that 18-millimeter wrench and spin the bolt out. Remove these 2 13 millimeter bolts. Steel bolts inside of an aluminum control arm create corrosion because they are dissimilar metals, so be sure to soak these in penetrating oil if you have it available to you.

To release the upper portion of the strut, we'll have to remove these four 18 millimeter bolts as well as this 18-millimeter nut. This one here is going to require you to carefully release this A/C line and pull it out of the way. Be very careful not to chafe through, kink, or puncture this line, as it is high pressure. We're going to break all of our hardware loose with a breaker bar and an 18-millimeter socket. Once it's cracked loose, we'll move on to a ratchet. Before removing the last bolt, you want to reach into the wheel well and hold the shock assembly. Once that bolt's out, remove the strut and upper control arm from the vehicle.

Using an 18-millimeter socket and ratchet, as well as a wrench remove the bolts to the upper control arm. Move the upper control arm from the strut now.

Here we have our old part that we removed from our vehicle and our new part from As you can see, these parts are identical. We have the same mounting locations for upper control arms, as well as to mount the upper mount into the body of the car. We have the same spring per a new strut tube, same mounts on the bottom, nice fresh bushing in here. What happens to these old struts is over the course of so many miles eventually these strut tubes fail and don't slow the bounce of the car as well as they were designed to. What this is actually meant to do is when your spring compresses and comes back up, say over a bump in the road, it's to control that so the car only goes up and down one time. If your strut's blown out, not only will you possibly get a clunking noise like our vehicle was making, but you will also notice the vehicle tends to bounce more when it hits bumps. This new strut is going to go in direct fit.

Reinstall the upper control arm. For now, we're only going to put the nuts on by hand, so it'll make it easier to install the control arm back into the spindle, as well as allowing us to put the weight of our vehicle onto the suspension before tightening the control arm, making sure we don't pre-load the bushings and cause them to fail prematurely.

Now our assembly is ready to go back into the vehicle. Reinstall the assembly into the vehicle. Support it with one hand while you line up the hardware. Be sure not to tighten down any bolts until you have all of them installed hand tight, to make them easier to line up. Once all the hardware has been installed hand tight, go ahead and tighten it down with your 18 millimeter socket and ratchet. Torque these bolts 83 foot-pounds. Once the bolts are torqued, clip that A/C line back into place.

We're using a large screwdriver here to pivot this bracket on the bottom of the strut, to make it easier to line up and install our bottom strap hold. Once the other side's almost down tight, install the opposite bolt. Torque these bottom bolts to 18 foot-pounds. Line up the upper control arm into the steering knuckle. Send the pinch bolt through. Start the nut. Bring it down with an 18 millimeter socket ratchet and wrench. Torque the pinch bolt to 44 foot-pounds.

While I'm using a screw jack, you can do this with a floor jack. We're lifting up on the bottom of the lower control arm to set the suspension to its normal ride height position to be able to tighten the top 2 bolts with the control arm bushings as not to pre-load them.

With the load of the suspension on the vehicle, tighten these bolts with an 18-millimeter socket ratchet and wrench. It may be easier to access these with two 18-millimeter wrenches.

Reinstall the wheel onto the hub. We're going to bring them down as tight as we can, while the tire's still in the air. We'll finish tightening them once the vehicle has been taken off the jack stands. Always be sure to tighten your lug nuts in a cross pattern. Jack our vehicle off the stands, with the weight of the vehicle back on the tire. If you don't have a torque wrench, get them as tight as you can by hand with a breaker bar. It takes a lot of force to break one of these lug studs, so you don't need to go crazy tight, but don't be afraid to put a little bit of your weight into them, to make sure they're tight. Of course, if you do have a torque wrench available to you, you'll want to torque your lug nuts to 100 foot-pounds. You can see with the breaker bar we actually got it pretty close.

Thanks for tuning in. We hope this video helped you out. Next time you need parts for your car, please visit Also check out our other helpful how-to and diagnosis videos.

Tools needed for replacement:

    General Tools

  • Hammer
  • Jack Stands
  • Floor Jack

  • Materials, Fluids, and Supplies

  • Rust Penetrant

  • Ratchets & Related

  • Socket Extensions
  • Torque Wrench
  • Ratchet
  • 1/2 Inch Breaker Bar

  • Sockets - Metric

  • 13mm Socket
  • 18mm Socket

2003 - 2007  Cadillac  CTS
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