Once (in my youth) a friend and I were assembling a strut with a coil-over spring with one of those crappy five-dollar compressor tools. I looked away for a second and there was a bang followed by silence. The spring had come loose and knocked my friend’s hat off while blowing by his face. Since then I lean towards stronger and more stable spring compressors — like the Strut Tamer from OTC. It’s large, heavy-duty, and not going to lose its grip at an inopportune moment.
The Tamer will work with almost any straight, conical, or offset spring, and it sports a four-point locking jaw system that securely holds the spring in place. The stand’s and open-ended design lets you can position the strut easily — both in and out of the ‘Tamer — and two wheels allow you to tilt the stand back and move the entire unit to the work area. During compression, the wheels lift off the floor, and four no-slip rubber pads keep the stand firmly in place.
The arms adjust in and out and up and down in order to accept many sizes of springs from ranging from 2-1/2″ to 10″ in diameter to from 2-1/2″ to 24″ in the vertical. To compress the spring, you turn the ‘Tamer’s long 3-bar handle located on the top of the unit.
To keep the strut assembly straight during compression, the tamer has a center screw that floats from side-to-side.
The bad news: it costs a lot more than $5. Street pricing starts around $470. Maybe we’ll just uninstall the struts and take ’em down to Midas. We hear they’ll remove and install springs on the cheap for carry-ins.