I'm replacing the rear struts on a 2001 Subaru Outback with pre-assembled "quick" struts. I have both rear wheels up with the rear of the car supported by jackstands on either side. The front wheels are on the ground, one wheel chocked front and back and the handbrake on.
The replacement strut is currently fastened to the frame by two bolts on top with the lower end hanging in the wheelwell. The lower bolthole on the old struck was held to a bracket behind the wheel with a single pinch bolt (with a 19mm nut).
I'm now having trouble aligning these lower boltholes. The lower end of the strut is hanging just a few inches lower than the bracket (see pictures). How can I safely align these to thread the bolt through both?
What I've Tried
My first thought was to try to compress the strut with the floor jack in the picture. I used a block of wood and started hearing cracking noises (from the wood) as the car began raising as well. On top of that, the boltholes didn't seem to be getting any closer together, the car was just being lifted. The cracking sound of the block of wood I used (chunk of 2x4) also made me realize that if I did manage to get them aligned that way it would be a risky feat to try to thread the bolt by hand with the car resting on that stressed block. If the jack is the best answer, I think I need to ditch the piece of wood.