Re: Dismantling 164 Suspension Coil Springs
OK, this isn't going to sound nice (and it istn't!) but it works....
Assuming the struts are off the car, you can grab the damper piston rod with a pair of "mole" grips (or vice grips). It is VITAL that you do this right at the top of the rod - where the bump stop normally goes. This end of the rod won't go down into the damper when the car hits a big bump because the bump stop is in the way.
Clearly this isn't a nice way of doing it but I've done it in the past with no ill effects. Obviously, if you can use some sort of "soft" jaws, so much the better. Putting a few layers of od cereal packet cardboard between the rod and the grip seems to be the best way.
It goes without saying that whatever you do, DON'T grip the damper rod lower down - if you mark it (and it's easy to mark) the burr will damage the seal in the top of the damper body and the damper will then be scrap!
One other thought, it helps to mark everything (top pan, spring, bottom pan and the damper body) before dismantling!