GM Corvette 1984-1996 Repair Guide

Shock Absorbers

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REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



1984-87 Vehicles

See Figures 1 and 2

  1. Raise and safely support the vehicle.
  2.  
  3. Using a back-up wrench on the mounting stud nut, unfasten the retainer, then disconnect the shock absorber from the knuckle.
  4.  
  5. Remove the upper shock absorber mounting nut and bolt, then remove the shock absorber from the vehicle.
  6.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: While holding the nut stationary with a wrench, loosen the lower shock mounting bolt



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 2: Exploded view of the shock absorber attachment-1984-87 vehicles

To install:
  1. Position the shock absorber to the body bracket. Install the attaching nut and bolt and tighten to 66 ft. lbs. (90 Nm).
  2.  
  3. Position the shock absorber to the knuckle. Install the retaining washer and nut, then, with a back-up wrench on the mounting stud nut, tighten it to 60 ft. lbs. (80 Nm).
  4.  
  5. Carefully lower the vehicle.
  6.  

1988-96 Vehicles
WITHOUT SELECTIVE RIDE CONTROL

See Figure 3

  1. Raise and support the vehicle safely. Support the knuckle with a jackstand.
  2.  
  3. Remove the shock absorber lower mounting nut and washer.
  4.  
  5. Remove the shock absorber upper bracket mounting bolt.
  6.  
  7. Disconnect the shock absorber from the lower mounting stud.
  8.  
  9. If necessary, remove the shock absorber upper bracket retaining nut and remove the bracket assembly.
  10.  
  11. Installation is the reverse of the removal procedure.
  12.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 3: Exploded view of the shock absorber and mounting bracket-1996 vehicle shown, others similar

  1. Tighten the upper bracket retaining nut, if removed, to 19 ft. lbs. (26 Nm). With the suspension at proper trim height, tighten the upper bracket mounting bolts to 22 ft. lbs. (30 Nm) and the lower mounting nut to 61 ft. lbs. (83 Nm).
  2.  

WITH SELECTIVE RIDE CONTROL

See Figures 4 and 5

Although the basic principles remained the same, in 1996 the name of the system changed from Selective Ride Control to Real Time Damping.

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2.  
  3. Raise and support the vehicle safely.
  4.  
  5. Support the rear knuckle with a jackstand.
  6.  

Do not let the shock absorber hang by the solenoid harness after removing the fastener.

  1. For 1996 vehicles, detach the shock absorber solenoid electrical connector. Remove the solenoid harness retaining straps from the spindle lower control rod.
  2.  
  3. Disconnect the shock absorber lower mounting nut and washer.
  4.  
  5. Remove the shock absorber upper bracket mounting bolt.
  6.  
  7. Disconnect the shock absorber from the mounting stud and support. Do not allow the shock to hang from the actuator harness.
  8.  
  9. For 1992-95 vehicles, remove the actuator retaining clip and remove the actuator from the shock.
  10.  
  11. Remove the shock absorber from the vehicle.
  12.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 4: Exploded view of the rear selective ride control shock absorber-1992-95 vehicles



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 5: View of the rear real time damping shock absorber used on 1996 vehicles

To install:
  1. For 1992-95 vehicles, perform the following:
    1. Install and properly seat the actuator retaining clip onto the cup assembly. The ends of the clip should protrude from the cup.
    2.  
    3. Install the shock absorber electrical actuator into the cup assembly retainer. The actuator should be snapped, not be forced into position.
    4.  
    5. Verify that a minimum of 0.178 inch (4.5mm) of clearance exists between the selector gear and the top of the cup assembly retainer.
    6.  

  2.  
  3. Position the shock absorber into the frame and onto the lower mounting stud.
  4.  
  5. Install the shock absorber upper bracket mounting bolt.
  6.  
  7. With the suspension held at the proper trim height. Tighten the upper bracket mounting bolts to 22 ft. lbs. (30 Nm) and the lower mounting nut to 61 ft. lbs. (83 Nm).
  8.  
  9. For 1996 vehicles, attach the solenoid electrical connector and install the solenoid harness retaining straps to the spindle lower control rod.
  10.  
  11. Remove the jackstands and lower the vehicle.
  12.  
  13. Connect the negative battery cable.
  14.  

TESTING



See Figure 6

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. Fig. 6: When fluid is seeping out of the shock absorber, its time to replace it

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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