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 chocks 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). 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 rear of the vehicle.
  3. Support the rear axle housing with jackstands.
  5. Unfasten the upper shock absorber retaining nuts and/or bolts from the upper frame member.
  7. Depending upon the type of rear spring used, either disconnect the lower end of the shock absorber from the spring seat, or the rear axle housing, by removing its cotter pins, nuts and/or bolts.
  9. Remove the shock absorber. Inspect the shock for wear, leaks, or other signs of damage.
  11. Install the shock absorber and tighten the upper bolts to 22-30 ft. lbs. (30-40 Nm). Tighten the shock absorber lower bolt to 22-30 ft. lbs. (30-40 Nm).

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Fig. Fig. 1: Removing the lower mount retaining nut on the rear shock absorber

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Fig. Fig. 2: Once the nut is removed, lift the washer from the shock lower mount-note position of washer

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Fig. Fig. 3: Removing the rear shock absorber from the lower mounting