Thanks for the advice Alex. I hadn't realised compressing the spring was going to be so difficult though I might have access to a lever type spring compressor which could be a lot easier.
You're probably right, but yes - relative to other McPherson struts, the GTV's struts are difficult to disassemble/reassemble in my experience, because of three factors:
1. The spring is pre-loaded to a significant extent, being compressed to about two-thirds its length even when the strut is fully extended. I remember this being a problem for 164 struts too - the spring is simply too long when released, so most spring compressors can't unwind far enough if you have compressed three or four coils (turns). I suppose this isn't a problem if you're happy to leave the spring compressed after taking it off the strut, but I prefer to release it fully if it needs de-rusting or painting.
2. Related to the above, the spring does not have many coils (only five in total?), so there is a big difference between compressing two coils and three coils. The coil at each end will extend significantly even if you have fully compressed the three coils in between, which is why I recommend clamping the spring onto the strut (avoids a nasty surprise when both end coils break free as you undo the spindle top nut... you'd be surprised how far a strut can be propelled across a concrete floor, especially if there's a freshly-painted wheel nearby)
3. The spring has an offset and angled mounting, which makes it difficult to get the top mount on correctly and wind the nut on without the spindle jamming in the mount. The rubber spring seat tends to pop out of place just as the spring is being uncompressed.
Once you know to look out for these things, you'll probably find it quite easy
How old are the strut and spring in the photo? They look like new!
Fifteen years old and only needed a quick scrub with soapy water - I'm very happy (and lucky!) with this car's condition
It's ex-Japan. I think they must drive at 40km/h on billiard-table smooth ribbons of clean concrete... Well that's the picture I have in my head, anyway. Both rear bump stops broke off within a couple of weeks after I bought the car!
Hadn't realised the plastic tubing should be there. Long gone on mine I suspect. What does it do, just stop the spring wearing the strut?
It helps to prevent squeaks and creaks, especially when turning the steering at low speeds. I noticed quite a benefit when I replaced it - suspension became quieter. The problem is that when it wears through, usually between the coils when they touch, it allows water in through the worn slot - and that, of course, is a disaster because the remaining tubing then holds the water against the spring.
I think it was my Gtv rear springs that were starting to rust quite badly (I had them out when I replaced the bump stops), probably because the two plastic-covered coils are touching the coil in between even in the rest position, as you can see in the photo below. Hmmm, some rust starting on the upright/hub carrier and on the rear arm, I'd better get onto that!