Nissan Pick-ups and Pathfinder 1989-1995

Shock Absorber



Adjustable shock absorbers are not to be disassembled.

The function of the shock absorber is to dampen harsh spring movement and provide a means of controlling the motion of the wheels so that the bumps encountered by the wheels are not totally transmitted to the body of the truck and, therefore, to you and your passengers. As the wheel moves up and down, the shock absorber shortens and lengthens, thereby imposing a restraint on excessive movement by its hydraulic action.

Bounce Test

A good way to see if your shock absorbers are working properly is to push on one corner of the truck until it is moving up and down for almost the full suspension travel, then release it and watch its recovery. If the truck bounces slightly about one more time and then comes to a rest, you can be fairly certain that the shock is OK. If the truck continues to bounce excessively, the shocks will probably require replacement.

Inspecting Shocks for Leaks

Disconnect each shock lower mount and pull down on the shock until it is fully extended. inspect for leaks in the seal area. Shock absorber fluid is very thin and has a characteristic odor and dark brown color. Don't confuse the glossy paint on some shocks with leaking fluid. A slight trace of fluid is a normal condition; they are designed to seep a certain amount of fluid past the seals for lubrication. If you are in doubt as to whether the fluid on the shock is coming from the shock itself or from some other source, wipe the seal area clean and manually operate the shock (see the following procedure). Fluid will appear if the unit is leaking.

Manually Operating the Shocks

Grip the lower end of the shock and pull down (rebound stroke) and then push up (compression stroke). The control arms will limit the movement of front shocks during the compression stroke. Compare the rebound resistance of both shocks and compare the compression resistance. Usually any shock showing a noticeable difference will be the one at fault.

If the shock has internal noises, extend the shock fully then exert an extra pull. If a small additional movement is felt, this usually means a loose piston and the shock should be replaced. Other noises that are cause for replacing shocks are a squeal after a full stroke in both directions, a clicking noise on fast reverse and a lag at reversal near mid-stroke.


See Figures 1, 2 and 3

If vehicle is equipped with adjustable shock absorbers, remove the electrical connection before removing the assembly.

  1. Raise the front of the vehicle and support it with safety stands. Remove the wheel.
  3. Hold the upper stem of the shock absorber and remove the nuts, washer, and rubber bushing.

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Fig. Fig. 1: Shock absorber mounting points

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Fig. Fig. 2: Removing the upper shock mounting nut

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Fig. Fig. 3: Removing the lower shock mounting bolt

  1. Remove the bolt from the lower end of the shock absorber and remove the shock absorber from the vehicle.
  3. Install the shock absorber. Replace all of the rubber bushings with new ones if a new shock absorber is being installed. Install the lower retaining bolt from the front of the truck. Tighten the upper attaching nut to 12-16 ft. lbs. (16-22 Nm) and the lower nut to 43-58 ft. lbs. (59-68 Nm).