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1G Removing/installing shocks/struts (1G)

Posted by 92LaserAWDTurbo, Jun 6, 2003

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  1. 92LaserAWDTurbo

    92LaserAWDTurbo Proven Member

    Joined Dec 17, 2002
    Rosemount, Minnesota
    Note: I don't consider myself an expert on this or any other DSM installs, however I did manage to do this install in a weekend on my own with KYB GR-2s and Progress 1.5" lowering springs. If you have no clue on how to do this, or run into problems, this post WILL help you.

    Tools needed:
    -Stock tool set and an extra jack
    -Metric socket (small extension) and open-end wrench set (you'll need a 14mm deepwelled socket)
    -3-clawed Gear puller
    -Spring compressor (available at most rental stores for ~$15-20/day--MacPherson recommended)
    -large screwdriver (flathead or phillips)
    -torque wrench
    -crescent wrench

    -extra person
    -Chilton's book* Highly recommended
    -3-5 foot lead pipe (leverage)
    -hacksaw/table saw (if installing lowering springs)
    -sledge hammer and wooden block
    -small cardboard box
    -rubber mallet

    Set aside 9 hours for this project if you're good with cars, and 2 days if you haven't done much work on one before.

    To start off, I recommend beginning with the front. Jack up one side of the car and remove the wheel. Loosen the three nuts on the upper strut mount above (14mm), and then proceed to the bottom.
    Loosen the two large bolts on the lower assembly.
    Remove the brake line mount screw in the back of the strut w/ a 10mm open-ended wrench.
    Next, remove the nuts on the top strut mount and place them in a secure area to store your bolts/nuts. (cardboard box recommendation)
    Proceed back to the bottom, and knock the large bolts out. This may take a little shaking and pounding. (rubber mallet recommendation) From here the strut should pop out--make sure it doesn't fall and damage any boots/joints.
    At this point the strut should be intact and out of the car. Attach the spring compressor and tighten it to fit the spring, so when you remove the center nut, nothing flies and hits you in the face. Once that's secure, carefully remove the center nut on the top of the strut. (17mm I believe) Do not lose any pieces!
    Loosen the spring compressor and remove from stock spring.

    (If you are lowering your car: Take the yellowish bumpstop out and saw off the top 3/4". A lowered car looses travel room for the shocks, and this makes up for it.)

    Reasemble the shock in backwards fashion. Do not exclude any stock pieces on the performance suspension, as it can greatly effect performance. Getting the spring reinstalled can be a pain in the ass, and there is really no secret to making it work. Just stick with it until it comes back together. A friend may come in handy here to hold the compressor while you fit the pieces in place and bolt back up. You'll want to make sure the plates go all the way down the rod (there's a flat side that lines up w/ the plates--necessary to properly fit) Tighten the center nut to factory specs.
    Slide top-end-first back into the wheelwell, and push the studs through the top strut mount. Lightly attach the 3 nuts on upper mount, just to hold it in place.
    The holes rarely lign up correctly on the lower mount, which is where the large screwdriver comes in. Wedge it into one of the scock holes and through the mount and through the end. (a second person again comes in handy here) Once you wiggle it around and get it lined up, pound one of the bolts through the open hole. Remove screwdriver, and the other hole should line up fairly accurately. Put the other bolt through and tighten to factory specs. (you'll want the Chilton's book for these numbers. I'll try to get them posted soon)
    Don't forget to reattach the brake line mount. All aftermarket shocks should come with a mount fitted to the stock bolt size. Again, you'll need an open-ended wrench for this.
    Tighten the 3 upper strut mount nuts to factory numbers. This should complete your first of 4 shocks. Keep this side jacked up, and proceed to the other front side and repeat.

    Time for the rear. This can be easier or more difficult, depending on how stubborn you car is. Begin the same way you did with the front: jack, remove wheel, and loosen top strut mount nuts. These nuts are tightened further down the rod, and you'll likely need a deep-welled 14mm socket to get these out, as well as a short extension.
    If your lugs are stuck: this is why I recommended a lead pipe--simple machines do wonders.

    *note* If you're wheels are stuck:
    My rear wheels were very stuck on my car, and took a LOT of work to get them off. This is where I actually used a sledge and a block of wood. Place the wood block against the inside of the wheel and hit it with the sledge until the wheel pops off. If it seems like it just won't come off--keep hitting it. I guarantee this is why. (kicking while laying down w/ your heel works too) If it just won't budge, lower your car back down and move forward/backward 1/2 wheel rotation and try again. It should come off with ease now.

    Loosen the bottom bolt and take the brake line mount apart as we did with the fronts. Then remove the upper nuts, pull out the bottom bolt, and pop off the shock.
    Many times you won't be able to just pop the shock off. This is where the gear puller comes in handy. Attach the claws to the outside part of the shock with the puller bolt screwing from inside-->outside. (should go right into where the bolt was) However, make sure you don't mess up the threads inside the lower strut mount when driving the puller. (I did this, and needed to go buy a tap to fix it) Try to find something that will keep it from driving through the socket.
    Eventually the shock with come off, and you'll be more than halfway done. I didn't even need the spring compressor for the rears, though I recommend hanging onto it just in case for reassembly. DON'T FORGET HOW THE PIECES ASSEMBLE. Missing even one part will render your car undriveble. The Chilton's book shows how the setup should look.
    If you are lowering your car, do the same thing to the rear bumpstops as you did to the front.
    Put your new shock back together with all the stock brackets/plates, and slide top-side-first back into the wheelwell. Put the studs through the upper mount holes and slide the bottom piece over the socket. Tighten everything down to factory specs. You will need the deepwell 14mm again to tighten the top nuts appropriately.
    Keep this side jacked and proceeed to other side--repeat.

    That's about it. Go take it for a test drive! Hope I could be of help, and if you have any questions, I'll be more than happy to help... just PM me.

    Dane Peterson
  2. 92LaserAWDTurbo

    92LaserAWDTurbo Proven Member

    Joined Dec 17, 2002
    Rosemount, Minnesota
    All questions should now be directed to my permanent screenname, SuperSleeper. Thank you and good luck with the install.


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