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Notes on shock absorber replacement

Just did the front shocks on a 88 5ksq.  I could not beleive how easy it
was.  Indeed, one does not have to remove the struts to do the job, not
even the wheel!

Here are some observations that can be useful to others:

1. Tools needed: 7/8 wrench or oxygen sensor socket, 6 mm hex key, 13-mm
socket, a large pipe wrench, and a floor jack (a regular tire jack might
also work).

2. In my experience, the large round cartridge nut should be loosened
first.  The car might need to be lifted slightly to open-up the spring.
It is best that the tire still touches the ground so that the strut do
not flex when the force (lots of it) is applied to undo the nut.  I have
found the nuts to be tight, but not too bad of an effort when using the
big wrench.

3. The removal of the 7/8 top nut was the most difficult part of the
job.  I was able to undo one of the nuts by simply turining it.
However, the other side was not so easy.  The strut shaft would spin
together with the nut.  I tried the oxygen sensor socket/6 mm hex method
but without luck.  The hex would flex like crazy and in the end it
stripped the hole.  To go around this problem I undid the 13-mm nuts and
withdrew the strut with the strut bearing still attached.  Then, I
slapped it on the ground, held the shaft with a pipe wrench, and turned
the nut hard.  It took a lot of force to get it undone.  I almost had to
step on both wrenches.

4. It is easier to reassemble the shock when the strut bearing is placed
on the shaft before the cartridge is slipped into the strut.  Also, the
car should not be lifted too high or it is difficult to refit the strut

5. Since this is only a family/ daily beater car I went with Gabriels.
They were only $30 a piece.  The only problem is that the shaft can no
longer be held stationary with a 6-mm hex.  The new tool is a star
(imperial).  I went with the 7/8 wrench and a star socket to retighten
the strut nut.

6. It took me 3 hours to do this job (the first-timer).

The improvement in the ride was immense.  No more clunks, unstability,
bouncing, vague steering, or dives on braking.  The satisfaction with
the job well done is another matter (gloat, gloat).

I am planning to repar a torn CV boot later this evening.  Stay tuned
for more observations.

Thanks quattro list.

Boston, MA
88 5ksq

immediate , and job satisfaction gratifying.