Instructions for rejuvenating the hood spring assembly on an E3
by Michael J. Harper
I am not a mechanic. The following procedure worked for me, but I make
no warranty that it will work for you. Nor do I take any responsibility
for any harm that may come to you during this procedure. Proceed
at your own risk.
0) Order your new end caps (and optional underhood insulation) from Mesa Performance. Tell them to leave the cockroach out.
1) Put on your safety glasses. These assemblies are under alot of torque and can come flying apart at any moment.
2) Prop up your hood with your standard issue 2-by-4 or other support device. You will probably discover that during this operation, your support will fall over. Consequently, be prepared to take the brunt of your hood on a well-positioned shoulder. No pain required, just mental preparation.
3) REMOVE YOUR BATTERY. You are going to be waving large metal things in close vicinity to the battery terminals.
4) Note how the washers, nuts & bolts holding down the two "legs" of the torsion bar in the engine compartment are sequenced. Then remove them (17mm and 13mm wrenches). Screw them back together in order after removal. (You may need to detach your washer fluid line from one of these legs, as well.)
5) Remove the four screws holding the two end caps (two screws each; 10mm heads) onto the underside of the hood.
6) NOTE WHICH LEG IS RIGHT AND LEFT, and then remove the whole assembly from the hood.
7) Knock the end caps off the ends of the torsion bar. It may help to rotate them to relieve any remnants of torque from the spring that may be holding the end cap in place. Otherwise, the only other thing holding the end caps in place is decades of grime.
8) After you've removed the end caps, marvel at how this once-studly metal has become Play-Doh.
9) You can now inspect your springs and see if they are broken. If so, then you need to replace the springs individually. If you're not into that, go buy a new torsion bar and move on to 11.
(If you need to replace the springs and don't have any replacements handy, it is totally OK to stop at this point, replace your battery, close & latch the hood, and drive away until your springs come in.)
10) If you need to replace one or both springs, then:
11) (Optional) This is an EXCELLENT time to replace that underhood insulation.
12) Did you remember to note which leg was right and which was left?
If not, you can probably figure it out one of two ways:
13) Make sure you understand how the new end caps will be screwed down on the hood. The flat side of the end cap goes down, and the beveled side fits nicely against the hood.
14) Here comes the mental preparation part. Stick an end cap onto the torsion bar. Turn the end cap to simulate the opening and closing of the hood. You want to mount this sucker in a manner such that the legs are impelled forward, e. g. toward the front of the car. This is what throws the hood open and keeps it open. If you do this backwards, you'll need the Jaws of Life to get your hood open. You're also making sure that your going to have the end cap with the right end up so it fits properly into the hood.
15) Now you are One with the spring. Put the other end cap on in a symmetrical orientation.
16) Fully extend both legs of the torsion bar.
17) Position one end of the torsion bar under the hood and screw it down (10mm). This should be pretty easy. Make sure the legs are being impelled forward; they'll probably be essentially flush with the hood at this point, attempting to unravel themselves. MAKE SURE THE LEGS ARE EXTENDED FULLY or you'll be screwed later.
18) Go get a cold beverage (or a hot one, if it's winter) because the next part might take a while.
19) Position the other end of the torsion bar and screw down the easy screw.
20) This was the hard part for me.... The hole in the end cap for the final screw will resist being properly positioned (that's why this assembly works). I was able to finally lever it into place using a screwdriver that pushed on the leg and on the end cap simultaneously. This method also moves the leg out of the way of the hole, thus giving you a straighter shot at tightening the screw.
21) Get one set of bolt, nut, and washers ready for reattaching the legs to the engine compartment. Also, have your wrench ready.
22) Lift the candidate leg into the engine compartment (you'll know what I mean). Be prepared for the simultaneous events of your 2-by-4 falling over and hitting you in the head and taking the hood on your shoulder. It shouldn't hurt too bad, just be prepared. N. B.: This is where I heard a loud CRACK from the torsion bar and thought I'd busted a spring. I may have, indeed, but it may have also been the repositioning of the new spring inside the torsion bar. In either case, my hood lifts with the best of them.
23) The sequence of parts from the engine compartment side should be: bolt (17mm), washer, leg, washer, body, big washer, little washer, nut (13mm). Make it so.
24) Do the same for the other leg.
25) Make sure your end cap screws are nice and tight, as well.
26) Reattach your washer fluid line, if necessary.
27) Replace the battery.
28) Marvel at the wonders of torque.
29) Make sure your hood will not only open but also close! Make sure it latches.
I hope this works for you. If you have any questions, drop me a note and I'll try my best to help you out. If you are successful, congratulations! Drop me a note and tell me what a great teacher I'd make. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
©1997 Michael J. Harper. All Rights Reserved. This piece may be reproduced and redistributed as long as it is kept completely intact and you tell me where it is being distributed. I reserve the right to rescind this permission at any time. Burma Shave.