I changed my ACCT springs last night and fought with it for about an
hour and a half because I did not have a "T-Tool" to hold the preload
on while I placed the plunger on the threaded shaft. I finally made
a T-tool out of some plastic from an old bird feeder (hey, whatever
works, right?). I would love to see someone (*cough cough* hint to
Knifemaker) make some steel T-Tools for this task. The job is so
fast if you have the right tool!!!!
Anyway, I was paying attention to detail and began to consider the
kinesiology (if you will) of the pre-load technique. At first, it
seemed to me that the preload would cause the shaft to completely
unscrew from the plunger, but I remembered (later) that could not
happen with the circlip holding the tri-tabbed lock ring down. While
on this thought process, however, I began to look at assembly of the
ACCT from the perspective that the KYL clinic-taught pre-load method
would not work (even though it DOES).
I noticed first that the threaded shaft actually has a triple thread;
meaning it can be started from three different positions (I'll post
photos in a minute). I also noticed that the springs are not always
uniform; meaning one spring had the tabs in line while another had
them a few degrees askew.
I followed the same installation procedures, placig the spring,
shaft, washer, and spacer sleeve all into the tube. Instead of pre-
loading the spring at this point, what I chose to do was find the
spot on the threaded shaft where I could mount it with only 1/4
turn. Placing the wide tab hole (aka the oil hole) at 6:00 and the
plunger in the position where the wide tab was at 3:00 (approx) and
starting it on with a quarter-turn only.
*****NOTE: if you can not apply (approx) 1/4 turn from 3:00 to 6:00
with the shaft/spring assembly in one position, you have one other
option to remove the shaft and rotate it 180 degrees on the spring
and replace it in the tube. With the staggered triple thread design
of the shaft, you should be able to find one point where you can put
roughly 1/4 turn on the plunger with one of the two available shaft
positons on the spring, regardless of where the spring tabs line up.
Then I let the tri-tab lock fall into place. You can not put the
circlip into the slot yet, because the tri-tab now lines up with the
top ridge of the circlip channel.
***Here is where we apply the pre-load, which will accomodate the
circlip by lowering the tri-tab lock as the plunger is pulled down
onto the threads.
The circlip can be placed on the plunger at this time to have it
ready to slip on. With the plunger on only 1/4 turn, you need to
apply just shy of one full turn to the shaft and spring to bring the
tri-tab down into position. You can then use the T-Tool to lock the
spring while mounting the circlip or, if you're dexterous enough,
hold the plunger tightly and push the circlip on with one hand.
I found this to be easier than the method I was taught. For one
thing, I didn't have to fight against the spacer sleeve if the spring
tried to push it up where the tri-tab lock goes.
After consideration of the design, both of the methods place 1 turn
of pre-load on the spring. No preload is lost (this has been
debated) by doing one turn of the plunger onto the shaft, as taught
at KYL. The reason is in the tri-tab lock. The plunger will travel
one turn down the threads before the circlip can be applied, no
matter which of these two methods you have used. Likewise, the
reason the preload is not lost with either method is also in the tri-
tab lock preventing the plunger from being pushed off the threads.
***The only way you can install the plunger and not have preload is
to screw the plunger down one and one quarter turns (or so) and not
turning the spring at all. This places the plunger at the end of its
travel when the spring is at zero potential energy.
There are some who apply two or three full turns of preload, using
the KYL clinic method. In that instance, the only way to do so is
with that method. The above mentioned method WILL NOT allow more
than one turn of preload.
The rest of the process for replacing the ACCT remained the same.
Tighten the acct spring until the plunger is all the way in, use the
T-Tool to lock it in place, and install the assembly. Tighten the
two acorn nuts all the way before removing the T-Tool and putting the
bolt/cap on the end.
For those wondering if there's a right or wrong side up when
reinstalling the ACCT assembly, when I removed mine, I noticed that
one had the "oil slot" facing up and one was facing down (port was
up, starboard was down). I forgot who was trying to keep track of
how the factory mounts them, but I suspect that mine came from the
factory this way because of how poorly the previous owners maintained
(using the term loosely) T'Pol before me. I doubt they ever had the
ACCT off. If my assumption is correct, either the factory does not
care, or there's one more thing that is not being caught by QA (like
While I had mine out, because the gray paint was flaking badly, I
cleaned them up and repainted them black. I like the look