All you do-it-yourself mechanics out there thinking of lifting your SUVs or swapping out the suspension on your track cars, be sure to check this video out first. The guys over at Popular Mechanics were making a video showing how to do some suspension work, when things went dangerously wrong.

Although you can't see it in the video, a spring compressor is being used, but when the compressed spring clears the lower control arm, the tool fails sending metal parts flying all over the shop. Both men were wearing safety glasses and, thankfully, neither was injured, but it does show the violent force that loaded springs are capable of – parts fly out with such force that you can see that a ladder in the background is almost knocked over. Be careful in your garages, folks.

Scroll down to watch the video.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 53 Comments
      eeenok
      • 2 Years Ago
      you'd like to think a compressor is unfailable - couple of big hooks that can't slip off the coils, and a link between that's too strong to break at the force involved. i'm disappointed there was no information on the failure mode involved here, and it would be a nice addition if anyone knows anything
      Rick Diaz
      • 2 Years Ago
      Back when I spun wrenches for a living a co-worker had this same thing happen and it broke his leg. Kid yu not, it snapped his shin in two!
        ksrcm
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rick Diaz
        That's because he wasn't wearing safety goggles. Remember, safety first! /sarcasm
      Jmaister
      • 2 Years Ago
      It is a internal compressor. I guess the plates where the spring sits on is not locked by design. On a slight angle the plate will slide/fly out. there are better compressor outthere, easier to mount too, i wonder why they did this the hard way. and the fail way.
      graphikzking
      • 2 Years Ago
      If I'm not reusing the springs the best thing was always a C-Clamp for insurance. It can't expand past the "C" size. So if the regular compressors fail - the C stops it after about a 1/2" of popping open. One of 4 issues can occur - 3 of the 4 are the mechanics fault!! 1. Either wasn't installed properly to secure the spring. 2. OLD Tools and they didn't update them thinking they can use tools forever. 3. They bought cheap Chinese tools. 4., They somehow got reject American Tools - I would send them back and complain - showing them this video and the liability they could be on the hook for if something were to occur.
      raju
      • 1 Year Ago
      That's neat, I wonder how much more expensive than they are than steel springs? Coil spring manufacturers
      Sir Duke
      • 2 Years Ago
      Note to ALL: The Coil Compressor DID NOT FAIL, the humans did. This is what happens when you take short-cuts. I happen to own a set of the same spring compressors used here. The set comes in a pairs. Had they used the pair, the following would not have happened: The load would have balanced on opposite sides of the spring. Hence the spring would not have popped (Try it with a spring from a ball point pen - Squeeze one side of the spring and it will try to pop out on the side not being compressed. I'm sure they've done with one compression wrench before, and it worked, but all the other times, they were just lucky. This time they were not. Next time use both brackets, and try to balance then on opposite sided of the springs. It's not rocket science.
        benzowner
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Sir Duke
        Sir Duke, you are wrong. As I wrote earlier, the mechanics use the correct type of compressor on this Mercedes-Benz. It is impossible to use two of them, because it is a compressor that compresses the spring between two discs mounted on a spindle that sits inside the spring. There is only one reason such a compressor can fail, and this is a material fault of the compressor itself. I suspect the mechanics used a cheap version of this tool which, in its original, is produced by Klann and costs more than $600. One possible mistake one could make is to fail to lubricate the spindle or to use an impact wrench on it, but that does not seem to be the case here.
        SloopJohnB
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Sir Duke
        Agreed. Only one side was compressed, the spring perches were stabilizing the spring/tool and when the spring was removed from it's perches the outside of the spring expanded and the spring, umm, sprang! I don't think the tool failed either.
        Sir Duke
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Sir Duke
        Edit: Next time use both brackets, and try to balance theM on opposite sideS of the springs. It's not rocket science.
      Klep
      • 2 Years Ago
      Jeezus Chroist
      flyboy1423g
      • 2 Years Ago
      The spring compressor didn't fail! Only one compressor was being used, when the spring was levered out of the mount it folded because of the eccentric load being applied. Always use two compressors on opposite sides of the spring!
        erjhe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @flyboy1423g
        That compressor is the type that goes inside the spring. I've used one before and nearly had the same result. Thankfully the compressor kept failing before we got far enough to remove the spring. The trouble is that the lead or pitch of the spring can be steep enough that the bar placed across the top of the coil can spring down, unloading the spring.
        benzowner
        • 2 Years Ago
        @flyboy1423g
        It seems that the tool they used was substandard quality (not the original Mercedes-Benz Tool produced by Klann). Plus, they apparently did not compress the spring ENOUGH so that it could bend and exert excessive force on the compressor upon removal. Proper use of the original Klann compressor on Mercedes-Benz front coil springs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17k3tcR8EwQ
      Generic
      • 2 Years Ago
      You don't use a spring compressor on one side of the spring and you shouldn't even attempt to use a pair until the whole unit is out of the car. WTF are they even trying to do here? They are not as dangerous as people make them out to be. They just need to be used correctly.
        Boost Retard
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Generic
        In this case, you need to compress the spring to get it out of the car. This car (apparently a Mercedes) has a separate shock and spring, not a strut. You can see the shock sitting off to the right behind the spring (with V4 on it in red). The spring itself is captive between the lower control arm and the upper seat. The only way to get it out is to compress it like these guys were doing using a tool, in this case a specialty tool from Mercedes-Benz that compresses from the inside (that's the tool that looks like a strut housing inside the spring, something like http://www.amazon.com/Strut-Coil-Spring-Compressor-Mercedes/dp/B0031EMT0G). I suppose you could unbolt the control arm with a jack underneath, which was apparently how they did it on my friend's Mazda 3 (similar setup with respect to the separate spring/shock at least). We tried it ourselves, but couldn't get the typical two piece spring compressor set to fit well enough to compress the spring far enough to get it out (the springs pretty short on the Mazda). This is a pretty good picture of what I mean...you can see the control arm is at full droop, but that spring is still wedged in there. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v226/eyesoreracing/Rally%20Mazda3/smallP1000866.jpg
          Generic
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Boost Retard
          It might have a second shock, but that is not just a spring. Looks like it has a shock inside of it to me. Either way, I'm pretty sure that lower control arm unbolts. I'm not afraid of a pair of manual spring compressors, but I wouldn't want to use them on the car.
          benzowner
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Boost Retard
          Boost Retard is exactly right. I own the same car and . I only doubt that these mechanics used the original Mercedes Benz Tool, produced by Klann, which costs 600+ dollar, because its surface is shiny and polished (looks a bit like brass). More likely they used a cheaper, Chinese made knock-off version, which have a finish that looks more like cast iron. I always thought that these cheaper tools were still of decent quality, but perhaps this movie teaches us otherwise.
      Jimmy Iaei
      • 2 Years Ago
      Cheap made in China tools will always let you down....
        Rob
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jimmy Iaei
        I definitely wouldn't trust a Made in China tool when trying to compress and remove car springs. A dude can get killed with cheap tools.
      icemilkcoffee
      • 2 Years Ago
      Always use the type of compressor that has a lock to lock onto the coil. One time I used the kind that only used a \'finger\' to grip the coil. The \'finger\' slipped, and the coil flew clear from deep inside the garage, over the driveway to the other side of the street. Amazingly no human, animals or vehicles were damaged that time, but I learned my lesson. Never use a spring compressor without safety locks.
      Jobu
      • 2 Years Ago
      And in the next episode, they will show you how to save time cleaning up the radiator fan by doing so with the car running... PS- whoever made the decision to upload this, particularly with the JEZZUS CHIIOST, Thank you!
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