Hopefully i can help..
Sounds like you didnt have the spring compressed enough or the clamps slipped to cause that..ensure the threads arent damaged on the end of the shock absorber - you should only ever release both clamps at either side of the spring in stages when that lock nut is fully bottomed out and everything is in place...Ive got Diagram below that maybe of help..for the Mk1 Clio strut..not very good but thats about the only info i have as per a diagram,i will look to see if i have anything else..normally when doing struts on any car you need to lay out the order these parts come off so refitting will be easier on the new shocks..but certainly make sure those clamps on the spring are seated properly..Would this be of any help...If you require to ask anything further then please continue before you rate
Thanks, ***** ***** pad (part 2) on my car is a more complicated shape than in your diagram - it tapers at both ends. If I fit it one way up so that it seems to fit best into the hole in the wing, there is a big gap between the top of the nut holding these components and the nut that secures the strut at the top of the wing; can this be right? Also, on the left unit, 4 threads are visible at the top of the nut, whereas on this r/h side they are not.
Ok..from what i can remember on the mk1 - the top parts are the top spring seat/bearing then the top mount over that..large taper end faces up towards the inner turret on the body.. then the small lock nut till it bottoms out..then put the strut up into the turret on the car..then the final top section drop that onto the strut then the last bolt - Make sure your spring is seated properly in the lower seat on the shock and the upper seat ..
- if your doing boths sides which essentially you should do to even the car out at the front if you replacing springs or shocks - then you can take the other side off and the set up on that side you can copy to the one your having trouble with..ive got picture below of the strut built up,forget the outer most part/plate you see in that picture as that goes on last with the final nut to hold that in place once you feed the strut up into the turret on the car..if that helps....If you have picture of your strut and what your having trouble with then just inc that in the next post if required