How-To Replace a Stiff Spring

Spring into action

How many of you have ever tried to replace a kickstand spring or any other stiff spring using a vise-grip or some makeshift tool, only to have the spring go sailing, while blood welled from your knuckle and you directed a stream of invective at the nitwit who decided to locate such a heavy spring in such an awkward spot? I see a lot of raised hands out there, most of them with skinned knuckles. Let me show you an easier way.

Replacing stiff springs, motorcycle tips
Be careful of those pesky flying springs that are on the attack, follow the easy way to replace them without getting your knuckles skinned.Photography by Mark Zimmerman

Guys who work on cars, especially cars with drum brakes, are probably familiar with a tool used to lever the brake springs into place, called, appropriately enough, a brake spring tool. In some instances these can be used to lever things like kickstand springs into place quite painlessly, but not all of these tools fit motorcycle-sized springs and not everyone has one lying around in the kitchen tool drawer. However, as a very passable substitute you can use a #3 Phillips-head screwdriver —here’s how to go about it.

Position one end of the spring over its anchor. It doesn’t matter which end you use, but the obvious choice would be to start at the least accessible end. Position the screwdriver so that the groove in the tip rests against the opposite anchor point. This will prevent the screwdriver from sliding off the anchor when you lever the spring into place. Slip the spring over the screwdriver shaft and then, using the anchor as a fulcrum, lever the spring into place with the screwdriver. Slide the screwdriver past the spring and you’re done, knuckles still intact.