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Replaced my shocks today - pics and tips

To be clear, my shocks were replaced today by fellow Pelican, Vash. We've been planning to get together on this project for a few weeks and had settled on today, Friday after Thanksgiving. As luck would have it, I threw my back out yesterday picking up my three y/o niece (it sucks getting old). Vash still wanted to come by and do the project even though I cpuldn't bend down or lean forward. Anyway, I ended up taking pics and holding the flashlight while he did the work. A big thanks to Cliff for donating his time and tools to help out a laid up P-car fanatic.
Old 11-27-2004, 12:29 AM
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This project is on my '79 SC. I went with Bilsteins Sports all around but kept the stock torsion bars. Some say this combo would make the ride too jittery and bone jarring. I didn't find this to be the case. The ride is stiff, corners way flatter but very, very tolerable.

Anyway, Cliff began with the rear shocks. I thought the shock tower would be hard to access but removing the heater hose on the left side and moving aside the A/C hoses on the right, gave him plenty of room to get a ratchet in.

Old 11-27-2004, 12:47 AM
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Removal of the rear shocks went very smoothly. Cliff had them both done within an hour. Installation, as they say, is the reverse of the removal except that reconnecting the bottom of the shock to the banana arm requires an extra step. Jack up the banana arm are so that you can line up the holes since it drops down because there's nothing supporting it.

Old 11-27-2004, 12:54 AM
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When I take my car in for alignment, I'm going to have it lowered as well.

Old 11-27-2004, 12:56 AM
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The space in front of the fuel tank, between the torsion bar covers, seems like a good jack point.

Old 11-27-2004, 12:58 AM
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Access to the front shock towers is much easier. As you can see, my shocks have never been replaced. The factory bent the washer up against the nut to hold it in place and then applied some rubbery goop and red paint.

Old 11-27-2004, 01:02 AM
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Instead of using a pair of pliers around the cartridge body to keep it from moving while you remove the top nut, use a very large pair of channel locks around the large top washer.

Old 11-27-2004, 01:06 AM
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The 101 Projects Book recommends drilling out the roll pin near the bottom of the shock before pushing it down and swinging it out. No need to drill it out if you use a solid pin punch and hammer to pound it out.



Once you have the roll pin out, don't attempt to puch the shock down with your hands because that's dang near impossible. Instead, use a bigger pin punch and pound the top of it down to compress it. The bolt head even has an indentation for you to rest a punch on. Should taken a picture but forgot. Once it's out of the hole, you can use your hands and upper body strength to force it down further to clear the wheelwell.
Old 11-27-2004, 01:14 AM
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We didn't have to remove the brake lines since we found some slack by removing the locking clip and pushing the hard line through the hole. It helps to have someone hold on to the shock body while another loads in the replacement cartridge so as not to stress the rubber brake line.

Old 11-27-2004, 01:19 AM
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In the case of the front shocks, installation really is the reverse of removal. All in all the job took about 2.5 hours. Not bad for a rookie and an invalid helper. Next project will be turbo tie-rods and stainless steel braided brake lines.
Old 11-27-2004, 01:21 AM
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thanks for that, I'm doing the same before christmas
Old 11-27-2004, 03:10 AM
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Hello, Cantdrv, it's me, Boomvang from the Miata forum. Nice write up. I am still getting used to the idea that my dream car is mine! These Pelicans are great! Posted my first problem and received responses that put my mind at ease quickly.
Old 11-27-2004, 07:52 AM
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Welcome Boomvang! No kidding about the great advice and personal help you get from fellow Pelicans. No way would I have taken on two P-cars w/o this site, the Bentley manual and the 101 Projects book. Post a pic of your ride when you can.
Old 11-27-2004, 09:06 AM
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Thanks for the tips & pics.
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Yellow 77 Sunroof Coupe/cork interior; 3.2L '80 SC engine/10.5:1/No O2; Carrera Tensioners; 11 Blade Fan; Turbo tie rod ends; Bilstein HDs; 28 tube Cooler; SSI, Dansk; MSD/Blaster; 16x7" Fuchs/205/50 Goodrich G Force Sport Comp 2; PCA/UCR, MID9
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Old 11-27-2004, 09:25 AM
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Thanks for the writeup and pics. How did you know I was going to replace my front strut cartridges this winter?
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Old 11-27-2004, 07:09 PM
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Looks good, Chris. Too bad I'm so far away, or I would have loved to have gotten messy with you guys.

chris
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Old 11-27-2004, 08:22 PM
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Boomvang welcome over from the miata board.

Chris, how do you like the new shocks?
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Old 11-27-2004, 08:31 PM
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Hey Chris, good to hear from you. I don't mind driving down to Merced if you need a hand with any P-car projects. Just feed me lunch and we're even.
Old 11-27-2004, 09:15 PM
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Steve, the car rides like it's new. The front end doesn't plow into corners anymore so I can take them way faster. I'm very satisfied with Bilstein sports all around.
Old 11-27-2004, 09:17 PM
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Awesome! I loved mine. My car was transformed. So much so that I put Bilsteins on my miata right after I bought it.
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Old 11-27-2004, 09:19 PM
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