Shock absorbers require replacement if the vehicle fails to recover quickly after a large bump is encountered, if there is a tendency for the vehicle to sway, nose dive excessively or if the suspension is overly susceptible to vibration.
A good way to test the shocks is to intermittently apply downward pressure to one corner of the vehicle until it is moving up and down for almost the full suspension travel, then release it and watch the recovery. If the vehicle bounces slightly about one more time and then comes to rest, the shock absorbers are serviceable. If the vehicle goes on bouncing, the shocks require replacement.
REMOVAL & INSTALLATION
See Figures 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
The struts are precision parts and retain the springs under tremendous pressure even when removed from the vehicle. For these reasons, several expensive special tools and substantial specialized knowledge are required to safely and effectively working on these parts. It is recommended that if spring or shock absorber repair work is required, remove the strut(s) involved and take them to a repair facility which is fully equipped and familiar with the vehicle.
- Raise and support the vehicle under the chassis with jackstands as shown in General Information & Maintenance .
- Remove the lug nuts and the wheel.
- Remove the splash board, if necessary.
- Loosen the brake hose connection. Remove the hose locking spring, pull the plate off and remove the hose from the strut assembly bracket.
- Remove the brake caliper retaining bolts and the caliper assembly.
- Separate the brake hose from the brake line at the connection attached to the strut body. Once separated, plug the connections.
- If necessary, remove the hub nut, rotor, wheel hub and the bearings for increased access.
- Remove the strut-to-knuckle arm bolts.
- Using a long prytool, separate the knuckle arm from the strut by forcing the transverse link (lower arm) down.
- Support the strut assembly. Remove the three nuts inside the engine compartment which retain the strut at the top, then remove the strut assembly.
If the vehicle is equipped with ride control (1984-88 models only), a sensor is mounted on top of the strut piston rod. To disconnect it, grip the protruding lobes at the top of the strut, and squeeze the lobes to remove the cap and wires. Be careful not to get dirt and/or water in the cap.
- To install, reverse the removal procedures. Tighten the strut-to-body nuts to 18-25 ft. lbs. (25-35 Nm) for 1970-78, 22-29 ft. lbs. (29-39 Nm) for 1979-83 or 23-31 ft. lbs. (31-42 Nm) for 1984 and later; the strut-to-knuckle arm bolts to 53-72 ft. lbs. (73-100 Nm) for all models. After installation, tighten the piston rod nut to 54-69 ft. lbs. (75-95 Nm) for 1970-78, 43-54 ft. lbs. (60-75 Nm) for 1979-83 or 51-65 ft. lbs. (69-88 Nm) for 1984 and later.
- Consult a professional who can check and adjust the vehicle alignment.
See Figures 6, 7, 8 and 9
- Refer to the coil spring removal and installation procedures, in this section and remove the coil spring.
- Using the Gland Packing Wrench tool No. ST35500001 (1970-83) or No. ST35490000 (1984 and later), remove the gland packing from the strut. A Gland Wrench is designed to distribute the torsional force around the collar of the strut, reducing the possibility of distorting the strut housing and collar.
- Slowly withdraw the piston rod from the cylinder.
- The metallic parts should be washed in solvent and blown dry. The nonmetallic parts should be blown clean with compressed air.
- Inspect the parts for damage, cracks or deformation; if necessary, replace the parts of the complete strut.
- Install the piston rod assembly.
- Using high quality strut fluid, fill the strut cylinder with 20.7 cu. in. (340cc) for 1970-78, 16.78 cu. in. (275cc) for 1979-80, 9.3 fl. oz. (275 ml) for 1981-83 or 9.1 fl. oz. (270 ml) for 1984 and later.
- Wrap tape around the piston rod threaded end to prevent damage to the new gland packing. Slide the gland packing over the piston rod.
- Assemble the gland packing. Tighten the gland packing to 87-108 ft. lbs. (118-147 Nm) for 1984-88 models with ride control, or (non-adjustable) to 72-94 ft. lbs. (98-127 Nm) for 1984-88 strut assemblies without ride control.
- To complete the assembly, reverse the removal procedures. Bleed the air from the strut, by pulling the piston rod upward, then invert the strut and push the piston rod inward; perform this procedure several times.