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Discussion Starter #1
I'm working on this 1994 Fleetwood Brougham with a blown left rear shock. I've picked up some AC Delco shocks to fit to the car and I've read what materials I have available. I know that if I were to put the car up on a lift I would need to support the axle to prevent damage to the self-leveling system. Unfortunately, it's going to be some time before I can get it on my friend's lift and I need to get this work done.

Is there any reason I can't or shouldn't replace the rear shocks by simply backing the Caddy up a pair of ramps to get room to work under it? Anything I should do with the self-leveling system?
 

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What in the hayol are you doon under someone else's rearend at this time of night? Is she worth it?

Thread related! There's no way you can get to the upper shock mounts with just ramps. It's barely doable with stands.

And for cristtsake don't put more airshocks on the car. Any car. Bilsteins and Airlift 1000 bladders. Google it. Your 'friend' will thank you later. More later in 3 to 9 hours when I'm up.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
What in the hayol are you doon under someone else's rearend at this time of night? Is she worth it?

Thread related! There's no way you can get to the upper shock mounts with just ramps. It's barely doable with stands.

And for cristtsake don't put more airshocks on the car. Any car. Bilsteins and Airlift 1000 bladders. Google it. Your 'friend' will thank you later. More later in 3 to 9 hours when I'm up.
Not actually working on the car tonight, just gathering information prior to doing the work in the next few days. Which is good because the skies are about to part and the heavens pour down. :p

The OE air shocks were the only things available in budget and we already have them here, so we pretty much have to use them.
 

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Been a while since I did the rear Shocks but the upper mounts can be difficult to get to. It was very doable for me just tough to get to the top of the bolts to hold them.

I believe this was the reason Bill came up with this kit and others swear by them. If you've got the time to place an order, you may want to consider this to ease the installation and future removal. Maybe you can come up with something like this yourself from the local HW store using some Stainless U-bolts.

http://www.impalassforum.com/vBulletin/19-vendor-area/234476-e-z-change-rear-shock-upper-mount-hardware.html
 

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...

The OE air shocks were the only things available in budget and we already have them here, so we pretty much have to use them.
If not already installed or packaging all torn up, would seriously recommend returning the airshocks and just getting any number of reasonably priced regular shocks. I hear guys like Monroe Sensatrak (~$30?) for inexpensive alternate to pricey Bilsteins. Not a whole lot of bonafide 'dampening' going on with any airshock design. If the auto-level compressor is still functioning, it can be connected with very little modification to Airlift coil bags (~$70?).
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Been a while since I did the rear Shocks but the upper mounts can be difficult to get to. It was very doable for me just tough to get to the top of the bolts to hold them.

I believe this was the reason Bill came up with this kit and others swear by them. If you've got the time to place an order, you may want to consider this to ease the installation and future removal. Maybe you can come up with something like this yourself from the local HW store using some Stainless U-bolts.

http://www.impalassforum.com/vBulletin/19-vendor-area/234476-e-z-change-rear-shock-upper-mount-hardware.html
I'm not fond of stainless hardware for suspension parts - the stuff is softer than grade 5 bolts for the most part and that's not good for load bearing parts. In general this seems to be a good idea, though...

If I understand the way the car is built right, the problem is getting in over the frame member to get to the nut/bolt head fastening the shock to the frame as shown in the pictures here, right?



Since even with that kit the factory hardware would have to be removed at least once, what's the best way to accomplish that? Stubby wrenches?

Edit: I should mention that I have both battery and corded electric impacts so in theory at least I won't be fighting the fasteners by hand.
 

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I replaced the upper rear shock hardware about 18 yrs ago. used grade 8 bolts and locking nuts that have a higher head not rounded off..

I replaced the rear shocks 2 years ago and the removal was easy. did not lift vehicle just drove up /backed up onto my specially made solid oak ramps 6 inches tall.

do not jack up vehicle .

ON other type GM sedans like this I have used after market air shocks it is all the same on how its installed. with air shocks I did use silicone dielectric grease on the air line O rings. shocks lasted 8 yrs until they required replacing .. good ride with heavy loads with the air shocks keeping the vehicle level no U joint angles.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I replaced the upper rear shock hardware about 18 yrs ago. used grade 8 bolts and locking nuts that have a higher head not rounded off..

I replaced the rear shocks 2 years ago and the removal was easy. did not lift vehicle just drove up /backed up onto my specially made solid oak ramps 6 inches tall.
The ramps I'm using for the car are about that tall.


You think these might work?

do not jack up vehicle .
Any tips for reaching the upper bolts/nuts on the other side of the flange?
 

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those ramps should work bigger ramps causes reach issues on the upper bolts.

on the removal of OEM bolts I do not remember how I did get them out.. I remember doing a lot of swearing though.

tools like sockets/box wrenches have a tapered edge so with a low bolt/nut head height it is a problem. you may have to grind down socket/box wrench so you can get solid hold on the hardware. small vice grips on one end of fastener then use socket/or wench on the other end.
 

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I'm not fond of stainless hardware for suspension parts - the stuff is softer than grade 5 bolts for the most part and that's not good for load bearing parts. In general this seems to be a good idea, though...

If I understand the way the car is built right, the problem is getting in over the frame member to get to the nut/bolt head fastening the shock to the frame as shown in the pictures here, right?



Since even with that kit the factory hardware would have to be removed at least once, what's the best way to accomplish that? Stubby wrenches?

Edit: I should mention that I have both battery and corded electric impacts so in theory at least I won't be fighting the fasteners by hand.
While Stainless may not be as strong as Grade 8 fasteners, in this instance they really don't need to be that strong. The HW is really not directly supporting the shock as it is sandwiched between the lower mount and these upper mount perch's. the HW only needs to be strong enough to keep the shock in place. Consider the Lower Front Shock mounts for example....no use in these being Grade 8 as they just thread into Speed Nuts slipped onto the lower control arm.

Would a flex head wrench like this set help to get the backing nuts off, do you think?

Sears.com

Wrenches like that are always nice to have but may not be needed in this replace. It's been quite a while since I installed the BilSteins on the rear but I really don't remember having a difficult time getting to the nuts on top of the mounts. Pretty sure I just used a box or open end wrench on top while using a long xtension on a 3/8" ratchet to get them out from below. They are not usually rusted in there and come out without too much difficulty.

Personally, I like the idea of the u-bolt but didn't find bolt removal that difficuld and just didn't bother with them myself. I only shared them as an option that a lot of people seem to like. I would think that if I need to remove the rear shocks again, I'll figure it out the same way as before. If I survived the 5th brake Hose mod back there, then I can survive anything. :wink2: The ramps you have should be high enough as long as you have enough working room to get under the car and get comfortable. Personally, I would just buy a inexpensive Jack and a decent set of JackStands. They really aren't that expensive and always good to have some jackstands anyway for safety reasons.
 

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I have not had to replace the rear shocks on either of my cars, but I have a lot of experience attaching parts by feel. I am not sure if the bolts come down from the top, or up from the bottom. I believe putting the bolts down from the top would be an easier technique. You can see to start the nut on the bolt, and once you have the nut attached, it should not be difficult to tighten it. A bent wrench, or flexible head wrench/ratchet should be sufficient to reach the top.


As long as you can get under the car to install the shocks, it does not matter what you use to get there. The shocks are gas loaded, and may be fully extended. This will require that the suspension to be extended to attach them. You may find using a jack and jackstand will facilitate raising the car body, and allow you to move the axle into the most advantageous position. The shock is what limits the extension of the rear suspension. The shock may have come with a retainer holding it in the retracted position. If so, try installing it with the strap in place then remove the retrainer.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Personally, I would just buy a inexpensive Jack and a decent set of JackStands. They really aren't that expensive and always good to have some jackstands anyway for safety reasons.
I do actually have a decent jack and a number of good stands, I'm trying to use the ramps due to some limitations of what I'm allowed to do in my apartment parking lot. The landlord's a nice guy but he starts getting twitchy when he sees a vehicle up on actual jackstands due to unfortunate experience with city code enforcement and some prior tenants leaving vehicles on stands for extended times.
 

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Would a flex head wrench like this set help to get the backing nuts off, do you think?

Sears.com

n
no you will need a 6 pt box/socket with little or no tapered edge so it will hold.

those have a tapered socket and 12 point increases the slip ability.

I have in the past bent and grind-ed down cheap wenches to get to fit. on some bigger ones used a torch to heat the metal up so it could be bent.

last year I did this to adjust my 1984 305 cu distributor .
 

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I have in the past bent and grind-ed down cheap wenches to get to fit. on some bigger ones used a torch to heat the metal up so it could be bent.

last year I did this to adjust my 1984 305 cu distributor .
You can buy a bent wrench designed to adjust the GM distributors. It even comes with two different size ends. I used one to tighten the distributor on my 454 under the cowl of my 91 OCC, between the fuel rail and the TB/manifold/fuel transfer hose. It uses a 3/8 inch ratchet.
 

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I do not remember having to use a special wrench or modify one in anyway to get these rear shocks off. However, I do have a collection of old cut, bent, redesigned tools that I've used for previous projects and who knows, I may have had to get creative but don't think so. Just get under the car and see for yourself cause no matter what, someone could have already changed this somehow before you worked on the car and done their own thing.

It's been a while, but in just looking at the pic it seems to me you should be able to get a wrench up there with just a little fell. I seem to remember it was a nut on top with the bolt coming up through the shock/frame. As Fred mentions, this seems opposite of how I may do it and makes more sense to drop the bolt down through the hole. It may have been there is not enough space between the bottom of the body and the frame to facilitate this and why the bolt goes up through the frame.

Whether the bolts drop down or go up through really doesn't matter in what your asking in regards to replacement. You will still need to get on top of the frame to keep the nut or bolt head from spinning while you loosen/tighten the fitting. Don't over think this issue. Must get the car up on ramps first and reach up there with your hands to figure out what you may need. Once you are sure you can do this, the rest of the R &R is pretty straight forward. Having the ability to independently raise and lower the Rear (while car is supported on Jack stands) will help in mounting the lower portion of the shock.
 

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You can buy a bent wrench designed to adjust the GM distributors. It even comes with two different size ends. I used one to tighten the distributor on my 454 under the cowl of my 91 OCC, between the fuel rail and the TB/manifold/fuel transfer hose. It uses a 3/8 inch ratchet.
I know I could buy that wrench for distributor locking stud but I knew that I will not use it probably ever again and having some extra old box wrenches just sitting around I changed one which was cheaper and took less time to get the timing set..

I did have one but since it was so long since I used it I could not find it .. probably got lost at work location years ago.

on those rear shock fasteners very bad fastener design rounded off edges. which is why I did dump those GM parts with much stronger and easier install and removal fasteners.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I did get this done - turns out that someone had installed Gabriel Hi-Jackers. These have a much wider permanently affixed top cover that blocked access to the nuts. I ended up going to a friend's shop and used his lift to get the thing up where I could get access to the bolts.

For the record, the current AC Delco offerings for the shocks allow you to retract the top half of the shock (bladder and cover) which gives you a lot easier access to the top bolts. I thought that was a nice touch.
 

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You can buy a bent wrench designed to adjust the GM distributors. It even comes with two different size ends. I used one to tighten the distributor on my 454 under the cowl of my 91 OCC, between the fuel rail and the TB/manifold/fuel transfer hose. It uses a 3/8 inch ratchet.
Mine is vintage Nineteen and Seventy One, and never considered it for upper mounts.


CB700S
I've always had luck with just a 1/2" ratchet to 3/8 adapter makeup with long extension(s), anda little box end up top.

And CB700S,
I wondered when you'd come around to using stands. Stuff just too dam congested up there sitting on its axle.
 

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Mine is vintage Nineteen and Seventy One, and never considered it for upper mounts.
Dayum.....looks like you were in my Tool Box. >:). Got the same Distributer Wrench in the TB....just a little later Seventies vintage though. :laugh:
 
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