How to Change Your Car’s Shock Absorbers: Some Technical Advice

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Regular inspections of your shock absorbers are essential to ensure your and your passengers’ safety. Wheels bounce, and the body rolls and pitches due to worn shock absorbers. Braking efficiency is greatly diminished because of insufficient tire-to-road contact and tire wear is amplified by erratic hammering.

Some key things to keep an eye out for are:

DAMAGED OR FRAGILE MOUNTINGS

Make sure all nuts are snug, and there are no missing rubbers on the fasteners. If the shock absorber isn’t secured correctly, it won’t work.

ABSORBER OF SHOCK WITH LEAKS

Find any smudges or fingerprints on the device. Make that they were not merely thrown up from the road, the sump, or the transmission and came directly from the shock absorber body.

TEST PROCEDURE

In the absence of a proper testing apparatus, one can get a rough indication of the state of the shock absorbers by following this procedure.

Repeatedly bounce the automobile on its four corners, letting go at the bottom of each bounce. Every angle should snap back to the peak of its stroke before returning to its natural resting place. The shock absorber should be replaced if it bounces more than that.

If bouncing the vehicle is difficult or impossible, the car’s shock absorber may have frozen, or the piston rod may be damaged owing to a faulty mounting bracket. It’s impossible to overemphasize the importance of having the right equipment for any task. The installation of shock absorbers is no exception. The following equipment will significantly facilitate the adjustment:

“Compressor Spring”

Clamp for the brake hoses

Clamp for struts

Indicator of Torque: Wrench Shock absorbers come in three distinct varieties: the wet strut, the sealed support, and the telescopic.

Find out what kind is in your car by consulting the manual.

FIXING A DAMP STRUT

The procedure for selecting a strut that became wet is outlined below.

First, using the appropriate size socket spanner, loosen the nut on the piston rod by one complete turn. Turn the wheel lug nuts loose. Raise the vehicle on jack stands, and before removing the wheel, put a corresponding mark on the rim and the bolt. For your protection, use axle stands.

Second, use a spring compressor to clamp the coil spring. Disconnect the brake hose fittings and release the clamp; brake fluid is corrosive, so be careful not to spill it.

Third, using a wrench, unbolt the steering arm from the strut. Mark the location of the top three nuts, then remove them. Now, raise the support out of the way, together with the brake assembly.

Fourth, take everything apart and take it to a workbench. Put the strut in a strut clamp, squeeze the coil spring until the piston rod can travel freely, then take off the nut on the rod. Take careful note of the order in which the parts were removed from the assembly.

Carefully remove the gland screw with the appropriate size spanner, as it may be needed again. The gland screw serves to tighten and centralize the internals. Take out the old guts and see if they fit in the new insert.

Sixth, after you’ve finished cooking, dump the oil. Use a solvent to flush out the tube and the threads. Fill the box with the recommended amount of fat, preferably SAE 30, although any kind will do. The replacement insert slides in.

Seventh, carefully reinstall the gland screw and tighten it to the specified torque. The piston rod must be centered in the tube with the appropriate amount of thread exposed, and the new insert must be securely seated in the box. Start the oil pumping by giving it a good prime.

Step 8: Position the spring in the seat depressions. Apply grease to the wheels. Tighten the top nut until the whole thing is snug. The car can now receive the unit.

Step 9: After everything is in place, tighten the top three fastening nuts to the specified amount. After adjusting the tightness of the piston rod nut, the steering arm can be reattached to the strut knuckle. Put a new dust cover over it.

Tenth, reattach the spring clip and reconnect the brake hose fitting. Put the wheel back on and check that the notches all line up. Bring the car to a stop and secure the wheel nuts.

11th, make sure the brake lines are bled. Tire pressure, wheel alignment, and a test drive are all things to consider before buying a used car. We have finished fixing the leaking struts.

CHANGING OUT A FLAT SEALED STRUT

Here’s how to swap out your front sealed struts:

Disconnecting the brake hose is the first step, and it is the same for both the sealed strut and the wet strut up to this point. Disconnect the brake hose by releasing the spring clasp and unclamping the hose.

Second, notch the lower bracket to mark the location of the adjustment cam. Jack up the suspension to keep it from collapsing. Loosen the two bolts holding it together. It is now possible to extract and discard the sealed strut from the steering knuckle.

Third, using a strut clamp, secure the strut to the workbench to compress the coil spring. Take apart the parts, remembering where they were placed, and unscrew the top nut. Take the used strut from the clamp and examine it alongside the brand-new support. Next, insert the replacement part into the strut clamp.

Step 4: After priming the replacement unit, replace each component in the correct order and inspect it for wear and damage. Verify that the coil spring is centered in the depression beneath the seat. The top spring seat must be installed with the “out” marking facing the outside of the car. Tighten the top nut until the strut is secure.

The sealed strut is now ready for reassembly. Therefore, step 5 is to remove the spring compressor. Make sure the top three nuts are snugged up to spec. Connect the bottom bracket and the steering knuckle again. Lubricate the threads and insert them from behind to prevent the bolts from stripping. Tighten the nuts to the correct torque and ensure the adjustment cam on the steering knuckle lines up with the notch you made on the lower bracket. Replace the dust cap and tighten the nut on the piston rod to the manufacturer’s specifications. Replace the spring clip and reconnect the brake hose fittings. After bleeding the brake lines, you should check the tire pressure, adjust the wheel alignment, and take the car for a spin.

TELESCOPIC SHOCK ABSORBER REPLACEMENT

Telescopic shock absorbers are much simpler to install than wet or sealed struts. However, there are always the nitty-gritty details to remember. Remember to apply some rubber lubricant (not oil) to the bushings. When using studs, only put the vehicle’s total weight on the wheels before tightening the top mounting bolt.

Also, make sure the bushings aren’t overly tightened. Please use the four-position adjustment instructions included with your shock absorbers when installing them. Use Loctite penetrating oil to loosen nuts, as a general rule. Do not destroy them with fire. Use a “nutcracker” on tough nuts, and stick with the right equipment throughout the task. Ensure the new unit is suitable for your car before installing it.

Before installing the unit, make sure it has been primed, and if any parts are old or worn, they should also be changed. Do not use pliers to grasp the piston rod, and do not clamp the unit in a vice; doing so will cause irreparable damage.

If your car’s shocks need replacing or repairing, I hope you find this article helpful.

South African-born Gerald Crawford has a background in electronics, telecommunications, eco-travel, and the development of African tourism. He lectured on the importance of ethical travel in South Africa. Please feel free to send me an email with any feedback or inquiries. For correspondence, please write to southafricantravelarticles@12234455.co.za. URL of the Website:

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