Shakespeare once wrote that “the course of true love never did run smooth”. The timeless wisdom of this observation was proven yet again today, when I tackled a Porsche Cayenne rear spring replacement on my 2004 V8 Cayenne S: a.k.a. The Big Pig.
I took the Cayenne for MOT (annual safety inspection) last week and it was en route to passing with flying colours, until we got to the back end, where one spring had a cracked coil. Instant fail. I priced up genuine Porsche springs at £200 each plus the VAT, or Kilen springs made in Sweden from an eBay seller (the worryingly named “Octane Motorstore”) at £65 delivered for a pair. I wanted to change the pair of rear springs, so £400 versus £65 was a no brainer.
The Cayenne has now clocked up 159,000 miles, with 42k of those in my ownership. Despite all the grief that this high maintenance German car has caused compared to my six previous trouble-free Subaru Legacy station wagons, I’m still quite keen on it, so I do like to keep it working properly and do as much of the work as I can myself.
Rear spring repacement is a pretty easy job on these: the hardest part is finding the time and a dry day to do the work, and jacking the Cayenne up to get underneath it. Working on this thing on the ground is a pain in the arse as it is so heavy. I go with a belt and braces approach to supporting the car as I am always working on my own. You are not coming out in one normal-size piece if it slips off a jackstand while you’re underneath it, so I use substantial (heavy) underpinnings.
Eventually I got it up in the air, well supported with the rear wheels off and sized up the job. The rear suspension looks complicated, but it’s pretty simple: Pelican Parts has a great how-to on removing the rear suspension. The spring and damper assembly is a complete strut just like the front, so, once the anti-roll bar droplink is out of the way and the bottom shock nut is off, you just undo the four bolts holding the top mount to the chassis and drop the whole thing out. Then it’s easy enough to get spring compressors on the strut and break it all down into component pieces.
Everything went smoothly enough. Undoing the strut top bolts was a mother of a job but, with a mishmash of extensions and breaker bars, they all eventually came undone. Taking it apart was easy (another win for air tools), but of course my doubts about the eBay springs were well founded: completely the wrong size and shape. They’ve got to go back and the dubious seller is being pretty tight about paying for the return, even though they sent the wrong parts. I had a strong feeling that it was all too good to be true.
There are very few affordable options for uprated damper & spring kits on Cayennes, so to give myself more time to research what is out there and get the car back on the road in the meantime, I ordered a low mileage used rear strut assembly from a breaker friend of mine and will put that on to get the Cayenne through the MOT.
While I have the thing up in the air, I pulled the rear bumper, relocated the LPG filling point on to the chassis, jet washed everything and sprayed it all with some rustproofing wax. I also changed some of the rear parking sensors for new ones, but that didn’t bring the currently U/S system back to life. More work required.