Mazda Trucks 1987-1993 Repair Guide

Shock Absorbers

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REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



Pickup

See Figure 1



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Fig. Fig. 1: Front shock absorber removal/installation

  1. Raise and safely support the vehicle. Remove the wheel and tire assembly.
  2.  
  3. Remove the upper shock absorber nuts, retainer and bushing.
  4.  
  5. Remove the lower shock absorber-to-lower control arm mounting bolt, nut and washer.
  6.  
  7. Slightly compress the shock absorber and remove it from the vehicle. Remove the remaining retainers and bushing from the upper shock absorber stud.
  8.  

To install:
  1. Install the shock absorber and install the mounting bolts, nuts, washers and bushings. Do not tighten at this time.
  2.  
  3. Install the wheel and tire assembly and lower the vehicle.
  4.  
  5. With the vehicle unladen, tighten the upper shock absorber mounting nuts until the stud protrudes 0.28 inch (7mm) above the upper nut. Tighten the lower mounting bolt and nut to 41-59 ft. lbs. (55-80 Nm).
  6.  
  7. Check the front end alignment.
  8.  

Navajo

REAR WHEEL DRIVE

Low pressure gas shocks are charged with Nitrogen gas. Do not attempt to open, puncture or apply heat to them. Prior to installing a new shock absorber, hold it upright and extend it fully. Invert it and fully compress and extend it at least 3 times. This will bleed trapped air.

  1. Raise the vehicle, as required to provide additional access and remove the bolt and nut attaching the shock absorber to the lower bracket on the radius arm.
  2.  
  3. Remove the nut, washer and insulator from the shock absorber at the frame bracket and remove the shock absorber.
  4.  
  5. Position the washer and insulator on the shock absorber rod and position the shock absorber to the frame bracket.
  6.  
  7. Position the insulator and washer on the shock absorber rod and install the attaching nut loosely.
  8.  
  9. Position the shock absorber to the lower bracket and install the attaching bolt and nut loosely.
  10.  
  11. Tighten the lower mounting nut to 39-53 ft. lbs. (53-72 Nm) and the upper to 25-35 ft. lbs. (34-48 Nm).
  12.  

4-WHEEL DRIVE

See Figures 2, 3, 4 and 5



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Fig. Fig. 2: To remove the front shock absorber, remove the lower radius arm shock retaining nut ...



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Fig. Fig. 3: ... then pull the lower shock mount from the stud



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Fig. Fig. 4: Next, unbolt the upper shock mount using a second wrench on the mount stud to keep it from spinning ...



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Fig. Fig. 5: ... then pull the shock assembly from the upper spring mount

Low pressure gas shocks are charged with Nitrogen gas. Do not attempt to open, puncture or apply heat to them. Prior to installing a new shock absorber, hold it upright and extend it fully. Invert it and fully compress and extend it at least 3 times. This will bleed trapped air.

  1. Raise the vehicle, as required to provide additional access and remove the bolt and nut attaching the shock absorber to the radius arm.
  2.  
  3. Remove the nut, washer and insulator from the shock absorber at the frame bracket and remove the shock absorber.
  4.  

To install:
  1. Position the washer and insulator on the shock absorber rod and position the shock absorber to the frame bracket.
  2.  
  3. Position the insulator and washer on the shock absorber rod and install the attaching nut loosely.
  4.  
  5. Position the shock absorber to the lower bracket and install the attaching bolt and nut loosely.
  6.  
  7. Tighten the lower attaching bolts to 39-53 ft. lbs., and the upper attaching bolts to 25-35 ft. lbs.
  8.  

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.



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Fig. Fig. 6: When fluid is seeping out of the shock absorber, it's 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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