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Decolliber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Iowa
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Replacing front shocks

After reading a recent thread on shock absorbers I am thinking of replacing the Boges with Bilsteins, on my 88 Carrera. I am a little confused about replacing the front shocks. The discussion in Bentley seems to imply that you have to disconnect the brake lines, remove the caliper and brake rotor, and then remove the entire strut. Is this really necessary? If not, exactly _what_ do I need to remove to replace the front shocks?
Does the suspension need to be realigned after changing shock absorbers?
I have never done this before and want to be sure I know what I am getting into ...
There is a squeaking noise from he left front when I go over bumps at low speed. Would this be a worn out shock absorber, of more likely a worn bushing, or something else?
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John C
1988 911 Carrera coupe
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Old 12-28-2001, 10:22 AM
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Clark Griswald's Avatar
 
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No you don't need to remove any of that stuff or perform an alignment.

Jack up the front of the car

Remove the wheel

Remove the big nut that holds the top of the strut (inside the trunk). Use a monkey wrench to grab the big 2.5 inch washer to prevent it from rotating while you loosen the nut.

Push the strut down through the mounting hole to remove it.

go to the side of the car, compress the strut by hand and swing the top out from beneath the fender.

Pull off the shock cover.

Use a spanner or monkey wrench to remove the threaded collar that holds the insert into the strut.

pull out the strut.

Installation is the reverse.

Also replace the rubber mount at the top of the strut. This will come with the new struts.

30 minute operation.

The squeaking is not your strut. More likely a worn bushing.
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Chuck Moreland
Day Job - Elephant Racing
Basic Transportation - '86 Cab - "Sparky", '77 Targa - "The Peaper"
Old 12-28-2001, 12:01 PM
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Clark - are you for real?? I, like Decolliber, thought this was a major operation that would take several hours per side and would cost extra $$ for the alignment and such.

I'm not doubting this can be done, but, being a novice mechanic, I always go by the book so I don't f-up something.

If so, now I really am ready to tackle this job.
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Mark Howard
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Old 12-28-2001, 12:44 PM
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I have not done this job, but I have confidence that the procedure is in fact as simple as Clark described.
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Old 12-28-2001, 01:30 PM
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Is this the same procedure for a 72?
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Old 12-28-2001, 01:42 PM
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Yes it is that easy. I've done it several times.

I haven't done a 72, but it is probably about the same. Maybe exactly the same if you don't have the hydropneumatic setup that came on some Es.

Hardest part is removing the rubber mount at the top of the strut. Use a razor knife to cut off the outer .5 inch of the top edge. Then just punch it down through. Easy after you've done it once.

Good luck.
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Chuck Moreland
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Old 12-28-2001, 02:40 PM
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When you remove the big nut that holds the top of the shock, make sure that something is under the brake/wheel assembly. Otherwise it will fall down and go boom on the floor.
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Old 12-28-2001, 03:05 PM
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Chuck,
Start to finish; 30 minutes to R&R front struts? This is record time. Do you drink a lot of coffee?

Decolliber,
In order to swing the top of the strut out of the wheel well to remove the insert, you may have to disconnect the front sway bar drop links and remove the brake caliper (don't disconnect the brake line, just tie it up out of the way).

Don't forget to add X minutes/hours to take into account stubborn fasteners and tools you don't have but have to get because your hammer isn't big enough . I'd estimate about 2-3 hours per side for the first time.

Sherwood Lee
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Old 12-28-2001, 03:22 PM
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Go get the bigger hammer now, and save yourself the trip. Suspension parts are second only to exhaust parts in terms of fastener stubbornness. I am particularly fond of the 3-lb dead blow hammer. Call it 'muscle on a stick.' For those times when there is no phone booth nearby.
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Old 12-28-2001, 03:49 PM
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I just did mine a couple of weeks ago on my 89 Targa. I'm pretty much a novice when it comes to p-car and was my first time changing shocks on any car. Really not that hard. Will post more details from my experience as a first-timer later today. Piece of cake...
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Old 12-28-2001, 03:54 PM
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clark is correct. it's easy. you should also pull out the horseshoe clip that holds the brakeline to the fenderwell, and push the metal line thru the bracket to keep from stressing the hose. i never had to cut the top grommet. what's with that? a giant pair of channel-locks gets the capnut loose 98% of the time. i've had some bittchin tight ones that took an air chisel to get moving, but most loosen with minor grunting. the oem boges and konis were multi piece, and their oil needs to be sucked out of the strut with a suction gun. bilstein bushings often look like they went thru a blender with oil. a wet/dry vacuum with a smaller hose taped on gets that stuff out. by the way, the wheel can stay on. gives you more leverage to push the shock back under the hole in the tower. lower the car to push the threaded shaft thru enough to put on the nut and washer.
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Old 12-28-2001, 03:55 PM
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Like everyone said, piece of cake. I like to protect the fender lip area with some wide (2") masking tape. If you are using Bilstien inserts in Boge struts do not put any fluid in the strut.
-Chris
Old 12-28-2001, 08:41 PM
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I promised some more details about changing the shocks. I just completed the job a couple of weeks ago so I will relate my experience. Overall, it is a pretty easy job. My 89 has normal US ride height which makes the front easier. I kept my shocks standard, going from Boge to Boge. I was afraid that the Bilstein would make the car too harsh but reading the more recent posts and talking to some more people, the Bilstein shocks would not have made the ride much harsher; they are just a better quality shock. Anyway, the original Boge’s lasted nearly 120k so I can’t complain about that.

First I did the rear. No real issues there. The top nuts are kind of hard to reach. Will need to take the airbox off. For the airbox removal and the top nuts, a small 3/8” socket set helps. Needed to hold the top of the shock with one hand so the unit would not turn with the nut. The bottom bolts were very tight. Used a 1/2” breaker bar with a steel pipe extension. For the rear, just make sure to support the rear trailing arm with a jack before removing the shock.

The front was a little more involved. I was lucky to have my dad visiting because a second person was very useful at various times. I used Wayne’s procedure, i.e. did not remove the strut housing as described in the Bentley. The top nuts were really tight. Used a pipe wrench with a steel pipe extension to hold the upper 2.5-inch washer and a breaker bar for the top nut (easier with 2 persons, don’t want to drop a tool on the fender). Put a piece of blue masking tape under the upper part of the wheel well to protect the paint just in case. Tapped the rod through and pushed it down in the wheel well. While keeping the shock in the wheel well, removed dust cover, bumper, and plastic washer (shock pointing slightly backwards in the wheel well to give enough space). Then placed the rod again in the hole, and used a pipe wrench (yes, again with extension) to remove the strut cap. Had my dad keep the strut housing from turning as to not to damage the steering box.

After removing the strut cap, pushed in the rod again and tilted the strut towards the outside of the wheel well and removed the old shock unit. Here again, my dad held the strut tilted without forcing the brake line, while I concentrated on removing the cartridge without touching the fender. In my car, it was an open unit on both sides, just the suspension parts and oil directly in the strut housing. Use two old t-shirts to remove the oil from the strut housing. After cleanup, new cartridge fit in perfectly. Like Bentley says, assembly is same in reverse. Used pipe wrench again to tighten the cap. Had some difficulty to get the rods through the holes of the upper strut mount again so just lowered the car to the ground and bounced it a little and they came through with the weight of the car.

In summary, without those stubborn bolts, it would have been a really easy job (1 on scale of 10).
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Old 12-28-2001, 11:00 PM
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