Escalade, Suburban, Tahoe, Yukon, Denali, DenaliXL, YukonXL 1999-2005

Shock Absorbers

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Removal & Installation




WARNING
The front shock absorbers are multifunctional. They not only aid in a smooth ride, they serve as the suspension stop when the suspension is fully extended. When replacing front shocks, a shock of equivalent length and strength must be used. Use of a shock that does not comply may result in suspension over travel and component failure.

  1. Support the front of the vehicle safely under the lower control arms.
  2.  
  3. Remove or disconnect the following:
    NOTE
    Vehicles equipped with quad shocks have a spacer between them.



    Tire and wheel assembly
     
    Upper and lower shock absorber retaining fastener(s)
     



    Shock absorber
     

  4.  

To install:

  1. Install or connect the following:

    Shock absorber
     

  2.  
  3. On 2-wheel drive vehicles. Torque the upper bolt to 12 ft. lbs. (16 Nm) and the lower bolts to 24 ft. lbs. (33 Nm)
  4.  
  5. On 4-wheel drive vehicles. Torque the nuts to 66 ft. lbs. (90 Nm) Be sure the bolts are inserted in the proper direction. The upper bolt head should be forward; the bottom bolt head should be rearward.
  6.  


WARNING
The front shock absorbers are multifunctional. They not only aid in a smooth ride, they serve as the suspension stop when the suspension is fully extended. When replacing front shocks, a shock of equivalent length and strength must be used. Use of a shock that does not comply may result in suspension over travel and component failure.

  1. Before servicing the vehicle, refer to the Precautions section.
  2.  
  3. Support the front of the vehicle safely under the lower control arms.
  4.  
  5. Remove or disconnect the following:
    NOTE
    Vehicles equipped with quad shocks have a spacer between them.



    Tire and wheel assembly
     
    Upper and lower shock absorber retaining fastener(s)
     



    Shock absorber
     

  6.  

To install:

  1. Install or connect the following:

    Shock absorber
     

  2.  
  3. On 2-wheel drive vehicles. Torque the upper bolt to 12 ft. lbs. (16 Nm) and the lower bolts to 24 ft. lbs. (33 Nm).
  4.  
  5. On 4-wheel drive vehicles. Torque the nuts to 66 ft. lbs. (90 Nm) Be sure the bolts are inserted in the proper direction. The upper bolt head should be forward; the bottom bolt head should be rearward.
  6.  

2-Wheel Drive
  1. Before servicing the vehicle, refer to the Precautions section.
  2.  
  3. Raise and support the vehicle.

    Click image to see an enlarged view

    Fig. RTD connector

  4.  
  5. If equipped with selectable ride, disconnect the Real Time Damping (RTD) link rod from the sensor. Grasp the connector lock tabs. Rotate the connector tabs counter clockwise until the connector is unlocked. Disengage the connector from the tenon by firmly pulling the connector up. Hold the tenon end with a wrench while removing the nut. Remove the nut.

    Click image to see an enlarged view

    Fig. Upper shock insulator

  6.  
  7. Remove the upper insulator. Do not discard the plastic pilot ring.

    Click image to see an enlarged view

    Fig. Shock absorber removal-4WD vehicles



    Click image to see an enlarged view

    Fig. Shock absorber removal-2WD vehicles

  8.  
  9. Remove the shock absorber mounting bolts at the lower control arm. Remove the shock absorber through the lower control arm from below.
  10.  

To install:

  1. Support the lower control arm with a suitable jack in order to align the tenon with the mounting hole if equipped with selectable ride.
  2.  
  3. Install the shock absorber through the lower control arm from below. Insert the tenon through the mounting hole in the upper spring pocket. Align the shock absorber with the mounting holes in the lower control arm.
  4.  
  5. Install the shock absorber mounting bolts to the lower control arm. Tighten the bolts to 18 ft. lbs. (25 Nm).
    NOTE
    The upper insulators are substantially larger that the lower insulators. The upper insulator must be installed above the shock mounting bracket on the frame. The plastic pilot ring will assist the alignment of the isolators.

  6.  
  7. Install the upper insulator to the shock absorber. Install the nut to the tenon end. Do not tighten the nut.
  8.  
  9. Connect the RTD link rod to the sensor (if equipped).
  10.  
  11. Remove the safety stands.
  12.  
  13. Lower the vehicle. Hold the tenon end with a wrench while torquing the nut. Tighten the nut to 15 ft. lbs. (20 Nm).
  14.  
  15. Connect the electrical connector using the following procedure:
    1. Verify that the connector is unlocked.
    2.  
    3. Align the connector so that the tabs are perpendicular to the wrench flats on the tenon end.
    4.  
    5. Engage the connector to the tenon by firmly pushing the connector down.
    6.  
    7. Grasp the connector lock tabs. Rotate the connector counter clockwise.
    8.  

  16.  
  17. The connector is locked into place when you hear an audible snap and the tabs are aligned.
  18.  

  1. Raise and support the vehicle.

    Click image to see an enlarged view

    Fig. RTD connector-2000-06 models

  2.  
  3. If equipped with selectable ride, disconnect the Real Time Damping (RTD) link rod from the sensor. Grasp the connector lock tabs. Rotate the connector tabs counter clockwise until the connector is unlocked. Disengage the connector from the tenon by firmly pulling the connector up. Hold the tenon end with a wrench while removing the nut. Remove the nut.

    Click image to see an enlarged view

    Fig. Upper shock insulator-2000-06 models

  4.  
  5. Remove the upper insulator. Do not discard the plastic pilot ring.

    Click image to see an enlarged view

    Fig. Shock absorber removal-2000-06 models

  6.  
  7. Remove the shock absorber mounting bolts at the lower control arm. Remove the shock absorber through the lower control arm from below.
  8.  

To install:

  1. Support the lower control arm with a suitable jack in order to align the tenon with the mounting hole if equipped with selectable ride.
  2.  
  3. Install the shock absorber through the lower control arm from below. Insert the tenon through the mounting hole in the upper spring pocket. Align the shock absorber with the mounting holes in the lower control arm.
  4.  
  5. Install the shock absorber mounting bolts to the lower control arm. Tighten the bolts to 59 ft. lbs. (80 Nm).
    NOTE
    The upper insulators are substantially larger that the lower insulators. The upper insulator must be installed above the shock mounting bracket on the frame. The plastic pilot ring will assist the alignment of the isolators.

  6.  
  7. Install the upper insulator to the shock absorber. Install the nut to the tenon end. Do not tighten the nut.
  8.  
  9. Connect the RTD link rod to the sensor (if equipped).
  10.  
  11. Remove the safety stands.
  12.  
  13. Lower the vehicle. Hold the tenon end with a wrench while torquing the nut. Tighten the nut to 15 ft. lbs. (20 Nm).
  14.  
  15. Connect the electrical connector using the following procedure:
    1. Verify that the connector is unlocked.
    2.  
    3. Align the connector so that the tabs are perpendicular to the wrench flats on the tenon end.
    4.  
    5. Engage the connector to the tenon by firmly pushing the connector down.
    6.  
    7. Grasp the connector lock tabs. Rotate the connector counter clockwise.
    8.  

  16.  
  17. The connector is locked into place when you hear an audible snap and the tabs are aligned.
  18.  

  1. Raise and support the vehicle.

    Click image to see an enlarged view

    Fig. RTD connector

  2.  
  3. If equipped with selectable ride, disconnect the Real Time Damping (RTD) link rod from the sensor. Grasp the connector lock tabs. Rotate the connector lock tabs (1) and (2) counter-clockwise until the connector is unlocked. Disengage the connector from the tennon by firmly pulling the connector up. Hold the tennon end with a wrench while removing the nut. Remove the nut.

    Click image to see an enlarged view

    Fig. Upper shock insulator

  4.  
  5. Remove the upper insulator. Do not discard the plastic pilot ring.

    Click image to see an enlarged view

    Fig. Shock absorber removal



    Click image to see an enlarged view

    Fig. Shock absorber removal

  6.  
  7. Remove the shock absorber mounting bolts at the lower control arm. Remove the shock absorber through the lower control arm from below.
  8.  

To install:

  1. Support the lower control arm with a suitable jack in order to align the tennon with the mounting hole if equipped with selectable ride.
  2.  
  3. Install or connect the following:

    Shock absorber through the lower control arm from below
     
    Tennon through the mounting hole in the upper spring pocket
     

  4.  
  5. Align the shock absorber with the mounting holes in the lower control arm.
    NOTE
    The upper insulators are substantially larger that the lower insulators. The upper insulator must be installed above the shock mounting bracket on the frame. The plastic pilot ring will assist the alignment of the isolators.



    Shock absorber mounting bolts to the lower control arm. Tighten to 18 ft. lbs. (25 Nm).
     



    Upper insulator to the shock absorber
     
    Nut to the tennon end. Do not tighten the nut.
     
    RTD link rod to the sensor (if equipped).
     

  6.  
  7. Remove the safety stands.
  8.  
  9. Lower the vehicle. Hold the tennon end with a wrench while torquing the nut. Tighten the nut to 15 ft. lbs. (20 Nm).
  10.  
  11. Connect the electrical connector using the following procedure:
    1. Verify that the connector is unlocked.
    2.  
    3. Align the connector so that the tabs are perpendicular to the wrench flats on the tennon end.
    4.  
    5. Engage the connector to the tennon by firmly pushing the connector down.
    6.  
    7. Grasp the connector lock tabs. Rotate the connector counter clockwise.
    8.  

  12.  
  13. The connector is locked into place when you hear an audible snap and the tabs are aligned.
  14.  

4-Wheel Drive
  1. Before servicing the vehicle, refer to the Precautions section.
  2.  
  3. Raise and support the vehicle.
  4.  
  5. Disconnect the (RTD) link rod from the sensor (if equipped).
  6.  
  7. Disconnect the electrical connector if equipped with selectable ride. Grasp the connector lock tabs. Rotate the connector tabs counter clockwise until the connector is unlocked. Disengage the connector from the tenon by firmly pulling the connector up. Hold the tenon end with a wrench while removing the nut. Remove the nut.
  8.  
  9. Remove the upper insulator. Do not discard the plastic pilot ring.
  10.  
  11. Remove the shock absorber mounting bolt at the lower control arm (15 Series). The lower shock mounting bushing is serviceable by driving the bushing out with the appropriate tool.
  12.  
  13. Remove the shock absorber mounting bolt at the lower control arm (25 Series).
  14.  
  15. Remove the shock absorber.
  16.  

To install:

  1. Install the shock absorber. Insert the stem through the hole in the shock bracket on the frame. Align the shock absorber with the mounting holes in the lower control arm (15 Series). Align the shock absorber with the mounting holes in the lower control arm (25 Series).
  2.  
  3. Install the shock absorber through bolt to the lower control arm.
  4.  
  5. Install the shock absorber through bolt nut. Tighten the nut to 59 ft. lbs. (80 Nm).
    NOTE
    The upper insulators are substantially larger that the lower insulators. The upper insulator must be installed above the shock mounting bracket on the frame. The plastic pilot ring will assist the alignment of the isolators.

  6.  
  7. Install the upper insulator to the shock absorber. Install the nut to the tenon end. Do not tighten the nut. Connect the RTD link rod to the sensor (if equipped).
  8.  
  9. Remove the safety stands. Lower the vehicle. Hold the tenon end with a wrench while torquing the nut. Tighten the nut to 15 ft. lbs. (20 Nm).
  10.  
  11. Connect the electrical connector using the following procedure if equipped with selectable ride.
    1. Verify that the connector is unlocked.
    2.  
    3. Align the connector so that the tabs (1) are perpendicular to the wrench flats on the tenon end.
    4.  
    5. Engage the connector to the tenon by firmly pushing the connector down.
    6.  
    7. Grasp the connector lock tabs (1, 2). Rotate the connector counter clockwise. The connector is locked into place when you hear an audible snap and the tabs are aligned.
    8.  

  12.  

  1. Raise and support the vehicle.
  2.  
  3. Disconnect the (RTD) link rod from the sensor (if equipped).
  4.  
  5. Disconnect the electrical connector if equipped with selectable ride. Grasp the connector lock tabs. Rotate the connector tabs counter clockwise until the connector is unlocked. Disengage the connector from the tenon by firmly pulling the connector up. Hold the tenon end with a wrench while removing the nut. Remove the nut.
  6.  
  7. Remove the upper insulator. Do not discard the plastic pilot ring.
  8.  
  9. Remove the shock absorber mounting bolt at the lower control arm. The lower shock mounting bushing is serviceable by driving the bushing out with the appropriate tool.
  10.  
  11. Remove the shock absorber.
  12.  

To install:

  1. Install the shock absorber. Insert the stem through the hole in the shock bracket on the frame. Align the shock absorber with the mounting holes in the lower control arm.
  2.  
  3. Install the shock absorber through bolt to the lower control arm.
  4.  
  5. Install the shock absorber through bolt nut. Tighten the nut to 59 ft. lbs. (80 Nm).
    NOTE
    The upper insulators are substantially larger that the lower insulators. The upper insulator must be installed above the shock mounting bracket on the frame. The plastic pilot ring will assist the alignment of the isolators.

  6.  
  7. Install the upper insulator to the shock absorber. Install the nut to the tenon end. Do not tighten the nut. Connect the RTD link rod to the sensor (if equipped).
  8.  
  9. Remove the safety stands. Lower the vehicle. Hold the tenon end with a wrench while torquing the nut. Tighten the nut to 15 ft. lbs. (20 Nm).
  10.  
  11. Connect the electrical connector using the following procedure if equipped with selectable ride.
    1. Verify that the connector is unlocked.
    2.  
    3. Align the connector so that the tabs (1) are perpendicular to the wrench flats on the tenon end.
    4.  
    5. Engage the connector to the tenon by firmly pushing the connector down.
    6.  
    7. Grasp the connector lock tabs (1, 2). Rotate the connector counterclockwise. The connector is locked into place when you hear an audible snap and the tabs are aligned.
    8.  

  12.  

  1. Raise and support the vehicle.
  2.  
  3. Remove or disconnect the following:
    NOTE
    The lower shock mounting bushing is serviceable by driving the bushing out with the appropriate tool.



    Real Time Damping (RTD) link rod from the sensor, if equipped
     
    Electrical connector, if equipped with selectable ride. Grasp the connector lock tabs. Rotate the connector tabs counter clockwise until the connector is unlocked. Disengage the connector from the tennon by firmly pulling the connector up. Hold the tennon end with a wrench while removing the nut. Remove the nut.
     
    Upper insulator. Do not discard the plastic pilot ring.
     
    Shock absorber mounting bolt at the lower control arm
     



    Shock absorber
     

  4.  

To install:

  1. Install the shock absorber. Insert the stem through the hole in the shock bracket on the frame. Align the shock absorber with the mounting holes in the lower control arm.
  2.  
  3. Install or connect the following:
    NOTE
    The upper insulators are substantially larger that the lower insulators. The upper insulator must be installed above the shock mounting bracket on the frame. The plastic pilot ring will assist the alignment of the isolators.



    Shock absorber through bolt to the lower control arm
     
    Shock absorber through bolt nut and tighten to 59 ft. lbs. (80 Nm)
     



    Upper insulator to the shock absorber
     
    Nut to the tennon end. Do not tighten the nut
     
    RTD link rod to the sensor, if equipped
     

  4.  
  5. Remove the safety stands. Lower the vehicle. Hold the tennon end with a wrench while torquing the nut. Tighten the nut to 15 ft. lbs. (20 Nm).
  6.  
  7. Connect the electrical connector using the following procedure if equipped with selectable ride.
    1. Verify that the connector is unlocked.
    2.  
    3. Align the connector so that the tabs (1) are perpendicular to the wrench flats on the tennon end.
    4.  
    5. Engage the connector to the tennon by firmly pushing the connector down.
    6.  
    7. Grasp the connector lock tabs (1, 2). Rotate the connector counter clockwise. The connector is locked into place when you hear an audible snap and the tabs are aligned.
    8.  

  8.  

Testing & Inspection



The purpose of the shock absorber is simply to limit the motion of the spring during compression and rebound cycles. If the vehicle is not equipped with these motion dampers, the up and down motion would multiply until the vehicle was alternately trying to leap off the ground and to pound itself into the pavement.

Contrary to popular rumor, the shocks do not affect the ride height of the vehicle. This is controlled by other suspension components such as springs and tires. Worn shock absorbers can affect handling; if the front of the vehicle is rising or falling excessively, the -footprint- of the tires changes on the pavement and steering is affected.

The simplest test of the shock absorber is simply push down on one corner of the unladen vehicle and release it. Observe the motion of the body as it is released. In most cases, it will come up beyond it original rest position, dip back below it and settle quickly to rest. This shows that the damper is controlling the spring action. Any tendency to excessive pitch (up-and-down) motion or failure to return to rest within 2-3 cycles is a sign of poor function within the shock absorber. Oil-filled shocks may have a light film of oil around the seal, resulting from normal breathing and air exchange. This should NOT be taken as a sign of failure, but any sign of thick or running oil definitely indicates failure. Gas filled shocks may also show some film at the shaft; if the gas has leaked out, the shock will have almost no resistance to motion.

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. When fluid is seeping out of the shock absorber, it-s time to replace the shock

While each shock absorber can be replaced individually, it is recommended that they be changed as a pair (both front or both rear) to maintain equal response on both sides of the vehicle. Chances are quite good that if one has failed, its mate is weak also.

 
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