GM Astro/Safari 1985-1996 Repair Guide

Shock Absorbers

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In order to maintain proper suspension balance and vehicle handling, shock absorbers should only be replaced in axle sets.

REMOVAL & INSTALLATION

See Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4



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Fig. Fig. 1: Exploded view of the front shock absorber retainers



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Fig. Fig. 2: DON'T loosen the retainer without holding the shaft (a box wrench is usually better than a socket)



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Fig. Fig. 3: Once the upper shock retainer is removed, loosen the lower retaining bolts ...



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Fig. Fig. 4: ... and carefully lower the shock from the control arm

  1. Raise and support the front of the vehicle on jackstands. Remove the wheels.
  2.  
  3. While holding the upper end of the shock absorber (to keep it from turning), remove the shock absorber nut, retainer and grommet. A hex is normally provided in the shock absorber stem to make this possible. If no hex is provided, look for an accessible flat.
  4.  
  5. Remove the shock absorber-to-lower control arm bolts (on most applications the nuts remain attached to the control arm), then slide the shock absorber from the bottom of the lower control arm.
  6.  
  7. Test the shock absorber and replace it, if necessary.
  8.  

To install:
  1. Fully extend the shock absorber, insert it through the coil spring and the upper control arm, then loosely install the retainers.
  2.  
  3. While holding the stem from turning, tighten the shock absorber upper retaining nut to 15 ft. lbs. (20 Nm).
  4.  
  5. Tighten the shock absorber-to-lower control arm bolts to 18 ft. lbs. (25 Nm).
  6.  

TESTING



Visually inspect the shock absorber. If there is evidence of leakage and the shock absorber is covered with oil, the shock is defective and should be replaced.

If there is no sign of excessive leakage (a small amount of weeping is normal) bounce the van at one corner by pressing down on the bumper and releasing it. When you have the van bouncing as much as you can, release the bumper. The van should stop bouncing after the first rebound. If the bouncing continues past the center point of the bounce more than once, the shock absorbers are worn and should be replaced.

 
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