Altima Suspension Upgrade

I recently started looking into upgrading the suspension on my Altima after getting it back from repairs due to a wreck (not my fault).  I decided to go with Racingline Springs teamed with KYB GR-2 shocks/struts.


I’ve decided to make this post a “tutorial” of replacing the suspension on the car.  I hope this can help anyone else looking to DIY their suspension.
Here is the car before the new suspension.  Note the ugly gap in the front.  Bad, Nissan, bad!

Wheel GapTo start, I jacked up the rear of the car from the center jack point and put jack stands under the side rear jack points.  With the rear end in the air, remove the wheels, then remove the top nuts of the shock.  Once the top nuts are removed, remove the bottom bolt

01-RemoveTopNuts 02-RemoveBottomBolt

Pull the shock out and set it aside.  Pop the rubber top off in order to get to the top nut.

03-RemoveShock 04-RemoveTopRubber

Jack up the lower arm enough to support it and remove the bolt.  Lower the arm until there is no more pressure on the jack.  Remove the jack and then press the arm the rest of the way down so that you can remove the spring.

05-JackLowerArm 06-RemoveSpring

Replace the spring with the new one and make sure to line up the end of the spring to the notch in the rubber stop.  Jack the lower arm up again until it meets the hub and replace the bolt.

Now, transfer the hardware form the old shock to the new shock.  Remove the top nut using either an adjustable wrench or vise grips to hold the flat part of the piston.  My new shock came with new bushings, top washer, and nut.  The rest of the hardware was reused.  Note how everything comes off, it goes back on in reverse.

07-DisassembleShock 08-TransferHardware

Put the shock back on reverse of removal.


Once the rear is complete, lower the car down and roll it back and forth to relieve any stress from the lifting.  Jack up the front on the center lift point and then place jack stands under each side at the side lift points.  Remove the wheels., then loosen the screws on the top of the strut tower.  Only loosen the center nut 1 turn.  Loosen the others a couple of turns.  After they are loose, remove the Brake line retaining clip on the Strut.

10-BreakTopNut 11-RemoveBrakeLineClip

Remove the sway bar tie rod nut, then move the tie rod aside.  About here is where I forgot to keep taking pictures, so I’ll describe the rest as best I can.  Loosen the two bolts that fasten the strut to the hub.  Only remove one bolt.  Place a jack underneath the hub.  Now, remove the 3 nuts from the top of the strut tower.  Lower the jack until the strut has good clearance at the top.  Take out that bolt we left in a minute ago and remove the strut.  Be carefull not to let the strut fall because it will fall directly onto your CV boot.

At this point, you would compress the spring, remove the top of the strut assembly, decompress the spring, swap over hardware, and put the strut assembly back together.  Instead of me doing this, my buddy offered for me to go to his shop where they have a spring compressor station and he did it for me.  Thanks, Gene!

Here is the new strut assembly with the new springs.  The nice thing about lowering springs is we didn’t have to compress them to get the assembly back together.  Installing the assembly is the exact reverse of removal.

13-NewStrutAssembled 14-NewStrutMounted

Make sure to tighten your nuts and bolts well.  Give the strut tower nuts another tightening when it’s all together, especially the center one.

That’s it!  I thought this was much easier than my previous Honda’s.  Here’s some pictures of the car after the drop: