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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking into putting Koni's on my SS myself. First I want to ask everyone here if this is something I could do in the garage?

I've looked at the procedure in the FSM and it seems too easy. Raise the vehicle, hold the shock absorber using J 25591, remove the nut, retainer, insulator, bolts/screws, pull the shock out from the bottom. Now, am I missing something here? Not a lot of work to get the shocks off. I guess installation of the new shocks is reverse of removal?

This may be a dumb question, but I want to ask this because I don't want the control arm falling on my face! If I take the shock off the control arm, will the control arm still be supported? I guess I am asking what keeps the control arm connected to everything?

I've heard from a mechanic friend that shocks are a major pain on B-Body's and that one would have to break the top of the shaft of the old shock to get it off. The FSM does not mention this. Can anyone comment on a shock install that they have done, and if I should watch for anything special?

Thank you!

Discussion Starter · #2 ·
SS Limo,

Not to worry the front shocks do not hold any part of the suspension to the car - rears are another matter.

Front - if you don’t have tool J 25591, keeping the shock shaft from spinning can be a booger. If you don't want to "save" the shock for some reason, a quality deep well socket with a foot long extension will give you enough side-side leverage to bend the shaft enough to break it - usually. Pros use an air gun with a chisel designed to bridge the shaft and split the nut and, if the bottom is loosened first, the shock washers and cushions just fall out. If you can find a nearby shop with this tool, they might do the job for you inexpensively. Ask around.

Rears: The axel should be supported (you can get away without support if you are only doing one side at a time, but it is best to support the axel on the side you are removing the shock) at its full down position. I don't like the idea of crawling around under heavy unsupported parts - maybe I'm just getting old. The top bolts can be a booger if the body mounts have compressed at all. The only help here is to have arms in the 90th positive percentile of the human range. To get an open end, or better a box wrench, on the bolt head on the top of the bracket takes looong arms. Then you need two other hands to get the socket, extension and rachet on the nut. There is hardly room for one under here, much less two very friendly folks. There is sometimes some advantage to one working from the side with wheels off.

Good luck - and soak everything well with your favorite penetrating liquid first. Also the usual disclaimers about properly supporting your car apply. DO NOT, under any circumstances, work under a car that is only supported by a hydraulic jack. Ben there - done that - and I have the scars to show for it. It is no fun spending months in rehab. Changing shocks can be done in your garage or on your driveway, but the more rust on your car the worse it will be.


[ 17 April 2001: Message edited by: Terry McManmon ]

Discussion Starter · #3 ·
What Terry said . . .

On the front, what you'll find is, "no room," "no room," and "no room." J-tools? We don't need no stinking J-tools! Just give yourself ALOT of time, and don't get in a hurry. No stupid nut ever gets the better of me, even if the battle rages for hours. :rolleyes:

At a certain point though, it was no longer worth having a pair of 20,XXX mile used front DeCarbons as spares, so I got a monster vicegrip and slapped it on that shiny shaft to hold it still. A torch or air chisel would have made the job more enjoyable, but who wants that? ;)

With the rears, disconnect the bottoms from the axle first. Use a box/open on top like Terry says, and treat yourself to a good 3/8" drive socket set with 2 (two) real long extensions. This will put the ratchet BELOW the bottom end of the shock and you can rotate it easily in proper alignment with those blind top bolts.

The Bilsteins made it worth all the effort, though. Just for something different, I'm going with the Koni's on the Brougham. My knuckles are all healed and I'm ready to go.

Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Something I am not understanding is reinstallation of a front shock without the special shock tool. I just read another post on shocks. Navy Lifter said " ... make sure IF the shaft turns, the shock body also turns, otherwise the shock shaft seal will be destroyed" Now with that said, if I don't have the special tool, break the old shocks off and put the new ones on, how would I tighten the top nut without letting the shaft turn? Rinkmaster suggested using a piece of rubber over vise grips, but I am sure that will bend/pit the shaft. Can someone explain how to tighten that top nut, without that special tool, without damage of any kind to the shock shaft? I am not really understanding. I think my best best is to get that tool! Will a shock tool for the majority of GM's fit?

[ 18 April 2001: Message edited by: SSLimo ]

Discussion Starter · #5 ·

My reference to preventing shaft rotation was during removal, primarily. Potential seal damage is an issue mainly when the shock is fully extended, but in any case the shaft and body are not meant to rotate alot, which can happen if using an impact or other power tool is used to turn the nut.

When installing a front shock, assuming it is gas pressurized, whether new or old, the upper end shaft nut should be tightened first, so that if there is any rotation of the shaft during the process, the body will rotate with it, avoiding potential seal damage.

There are situations where someone could be intending to reuse the shocks being removed, so that's why I went to the trouble of giving the details of how I've successfully removed shocks on these cars in the past.

Regarding your concerns about anything collapsing if you remove the shocks, not to worry. Nothing will happen--the control arm won't fall on you.

The rear shocks are "fun" to say the least. The long extension is pretty much essential. And patience....
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