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Thread: Rear Shock Replacement up to 2002

  1. #1
    No mean-spiritedness here. IPreferDIY's Avatar
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    Default Rear Shock Replacement up to 2002

    I don't recall seeing a rear shock replacement thread for the annoying rear shocks up to 2002, so feel free to direct me elsewhere if the topic has already been covered comprehensively. Otherwise, it seemed like a good idea to compile people's experiences in one convenient place. I haven't actually done mine yet, so at this point I'm interested in seeing tips and options.

    I've casually looked at mine over the years and contemplated what I've read in various places, but looking at them more closely suggests it ain't gonna be anywhere near as easy as some have made it sound. I could be wrong, but here's what I'm dealing with on the passenger side of my 2000 MGM:

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    (I neglected to get a shot of the driver's side at the time, but it's about the same except with no lines running beside it.)

    It's hard for me to even imagine getting a wrench on the damn nuts (and having to deal with the oil spray doesn't help). But, it's been done by others. Here are a few YouTube videos:






    Has anyone had any luck without destroying the old shocks? If the new shocks end up outlasting the car, I would want to put the old ones back in if it's possible to do a final trip for the drive-in rate at a junk yard.

    Something I'm thinking of doing is asking the local Ford shop if they have any special tricks, or even whether they would put on aftermarket shocks if their shop time/price is reasonable.

    As far as the need for rear shocks goes, I'd like to put if off as long as I can, but I'm pretty sure I'm due. I get more bounce out of the ass end than I would like (though it's not too bad), and I can see rust marks on the air springs where they've been contacting the axle tubes. Are the rust marks a definitive sign that the shocks are done?

    And one last thing for now, for the metal part that the KYB rear shocks have in the bottom bushing, is there a convenient coating for it to prevent rust? I can just imagine the bare metal surface of that part inside the bushing developing a rust coat that ends up acting like sandpaper against the bushing.
    Last edited by IPreferDIY; 07-09-2018 at 06:11 PM.

    2000 Grand Marquis LS HPP, a hand-me-down in 2008 with 128,000 km; 175,000 km as of July 2014
    mods: air filter box "tuba" (in place of the "trumpet"), headlight relay harness, J-mod (around 186,350 km), 70mm throttle body, NKL4 PCM (from a 2000 CVPI, nothing great there apart from highway cruising), KYB Gas-A-Just shocks (after >202,000 km on originals)

  2. #2
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    After the nut is loose it helps to have a ratcheting box wrench. FreeAll or the like is your friend.

    If you scratch the piston the shock is shot anyway.
    Last edited by jaywish; 07-09-2018 at 07:21 PM.
    "X" car 89 Colony Park LS Mods>Engine delete, SS duals magnaflow hflow cats, 2010 Must GT mufflers, auto air shocks, Posi, Tran cooler, big front brakes, 03+ rear disks, Large 3g alt, Tripminder, GS grill, 86 seats, 16" HPP wheels, winter boots=96 Cartier wheels, 215-65/16 Goodyear ULTRA GW3 snows, pi rear sway, alum driveshaft.
    03 Marauder DPB, HS, 6disk, Organizer, Silver Stars, M&Z rear control arms, Oil deflector.
    02 SL500 Silver Arrow
    08 TC Signature Limited, HID's Mods>235/55-17 Z rated Cooper Zeon RS3-A, Addco 1" rear Sway, Posi, Compustar Remote Start, floor liners, trunk organizer, Winter=05 Mustang GT rims, Nokian Hakkapeliitta R-2 235/55-17

  3. #3
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    Only way I've ever been able to do it is using a really long wrench to hold the nut and turning the shock. Once shocks are in, basically I consider them to not be reusable. Most of the time things rust to the point of having to destroy things to get them back out again. Vise-grips to turn the shock if necessary help.

    If the back end bounces too much, the shocks are probably done for.

    Watch out for the lower hardware on aftermarket stuff. I had a problem with mine that I finally figured out was the lower mount just didn't hold. The OE stuff has a shoulder on the lower bolt that fits nicely into the hole in the rear. The KYB rears I used to have didn't have that shoulder and the bolts were smaller in size than the hole it passes through. It just relied on the nuts clamping it together. Mine didn't and it actually let the shock move around enough that the hole isn't quite round anymore. I have since replaced them with Motorcraft that fit like they ought to. Unfortunately the Motorcraft lower hardware is designed in such a way that its not really practical to recycle to another shock, so if I ever replace these with non-Motorshaft I may have to make a bushing so it fits properly.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

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    I live in the south and don't have to deal with the rust issues...
    I use a small open-end/box-end wrench that the open end fits the nut up top and go up from under the car to wrench the nut off blind. If I need to hold the shaft to break the nut free, I consider the reason I'm removing the shocks. If they aren't bad yet, wait. If they are bad, vice grips on the shaft or if there's a hex shape at the top of the shaft shroud, channel locks on that. I've never had much trouble getting the nut free... though getting it all the way off is a tedious affair.

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    I found I had to basically destroy the old shocks on my 1997 when I got them off. But i'm a ham fisted ape head. That nut placement is a huge PITA too. Glad I only had to do that once. Some guys cut in access panels and I almost don't blame them.
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    I've done it on rusty cars.

    I have found it difficult to snap them on some cars as you cant get enough shock movement to get sufficient "plastic deformation".

    If I can't snap them I take a utility knife to the boot (if they are plastic), and snap some vise grips on the shaft.

    I second the comment that shocks should only be replaced when they are bad (unless its a hobby car), so damaging them is really a moot point.
    **1965 Ford Mustang Coupe: Currently on the Rotisserie, 306/T5/4.10s Long Term Street/ Strip Project
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    The rear shocks are the only reason I have a set of ratcheting wrenches. I bought a set from Sears about 15 years ago to put air shocks on the 84, and I don't recall having used them on much of anything since.

    RIP Jason P Harril, we'll miss ya bro

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    No mean-spiritedness here. IPreferDIY's Avatar
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    Iím giving Liquid Wrench a go, so weíll see what happens with that. Everyone seems to be able to get the nuts to turn, so Iíll just cross my fingers. I definitely want a ďPlan BĒ though, since thereís no going back once you mess with the shaft. What I ended up doing on the front shocks years ago was filing the nuts down on one side, but I donít see myself trying that on the rear. Iíd be prepared to resort to an access hole if it comes down to it.

    Thereís no step on the KYB metal piece for the bottom of the shock, so I guess Iíll just resort to reefing it to the high end of the torque range. Iím gonna see if I can find a place to powder coat those pieces for cheap. Either that or try some kind of paint that would be almost as good.

    2000 Grand Marquis LS HPP, a hand-me-down in 2008 with 128,000 km; 175,000 km as of July 2014
    mods: air filter box "tuba" (in place of the "trumpet"), headlight relay harness, J-mod (around 186,350 km), 70mm throttle body, NKL4 PCM (from a 2000 CVPI, nothing great there apart from highway cruising), KYB Gas-A-Just shocks (after >202,000 km on originals)

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    Worst case, just get a cold chisel, and a long holder and go in from the wheel well and give the nut a whack on a flat until you split the nut.
    I did mine on the driveway from underneath, vice grips on the shaft, and a wrench up top, turn it until the vice grips hit the frame and keep wrenching until its off or something breaks.

  10. #10
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    Making it tight really isn't going to make it hold right if the hardware is too small to fit the hole. I'd see about finding a bushing to make sure it doesn't slop around. Even if its plastic that will be better than nothing but metal would be preferred.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

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    Quote Originally Posted by GM_Guy View Post
    ... split the nut. ...
    I wonder if a regular nut splitter would fit in there. If it has a hex screw, then at least one could use socket extensions.

    Quote Originally Posted by gadget73 View Post
    Making it tight really isn't going to make it hold right if the hardware is too small to fit the hole. I'd see about finding a bushing to make sure it doesn't slop around. Even if its plastic that will be better than nothing but metal would be preferred.
    I'm measuring the threads at ~0.495" and the very base at ~0.510". Dunno if that would actually qualify as a step. Any idea what the hole size is? (Stuff like this makes me miss the days when my father had his modest machine shop going. I suppose one could put a scrap piece of 1/2" ID aluminum tube from a metal store in a drill and file it down to size if necessary.)
    Last edited by IPreferDIY; 07-10-2018 at 10:01 PM.

    2000 Grand Marquis LS HPP, a hand-me-down in 2008 with 128,000 km; 175,000 km as of July 2014
    mods: air filter box "tuba" (in place of the "trumpet"), headlight relay harness, J-mod (around 186,350 km), 70mm throttle body, NKL4 PCM (from a 2000 CVPI, nothing great there apart from highway cruising), KYB Gas-A-Just shocks (after >202,000 km on originals)

  12. #12
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    off the top of my head I do not, but faint memory makes me think its around 9/16.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

  13. #13
    I post a lot... Toploader's Avatar
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    Four years ago I tossed the FoMoCo shocks that were still on my '86 MGM Tudor with HD KYBs. Foolishly(?) I tossed the original hardware and attached the KYBs with the hardware they came with. I have not had any problems so far......are you suggesting that I will some time down the road??
    Quote Originally Posted by gadget73 View Post
    Only way I've ever been able to do it is using a really long wrench to hold the nut and turning the shock. Once shocks are in, basically I consider them to not be reusable. Most of the time things rust to the point of having to destroy things to get them back out again. Vise-grips to turn the shock if necessary help.

    If the back end bounces too much, the shocks are probably done for.

    Watch out for the lower hardware on aftermarket stuff. I had a problem with mine that I finally figured out was the lower mount just didn't hold. The OE stuff has a shoulder on the lower bolt that fits nicely into the hole in the rear. The KYB rears I used to have didn't have that shoulder and the bolts were smaller in size than the hole it passes through. It just relied on the nuts clamping it together. Mine didn't and it actually let the shock move around enough that the hole isn't quite round anymore. I have since replaced them with Motorcraft that fit like they ought to. Unfortunately the Motorcraft lower hardware is designed in such a way that its not really practical to recycle to another shock, so if I ever replace these with non-Motorshaft I may have to make a bushing so it fits properly.

  14. #14
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    Maybe yours will be fine, I dunno, I had problems. Maybe the specific hardware that came with mine was just an excessively poor fit. All I know is that what I took off fit poorly and what I put on fits perfectly. If it starts rattling in the back every time you get any axle movement, have a look under the car while someone bounces the rear. If you see the lower shock mount moving around on the axle, something ain't right.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

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    Yep it was vise grips on the shaft and ratcheting box wrench on top for me.

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    I guess I'll add, slop a finger load of grease onto the shock studs when you are done to fight off the road grime and salt, give you a better chance at easy removal later on.

    How much space is there from the wheel well on the 2002? I'm trying to find a pic of it, but after my last shock replacement I made a 'long reach' ratching wrench (snap on makes one, I made it out of a 5 dollar (now a lot more) princess auto ratching wrench (reversable, just in case) and a piece of emt). The box has enough space to work it from the wheel well, you still need the vice grips on the shaft but you can work it a lot easier).

    [elbow wrench. heres the closest I found. The snap on version, and mine, have about a 2' long handle]

    Alex.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails elbow wrench.jpg  
    Last edited by GM_Guy; 07-13-2018 at 09:34 AM.

  17. #17
    No mean-spiritedness here. IPreferDIY's Avatar
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    I'll definitely be using anti-seize on the threads and constantly spraying it with purportedly 'rubber safe' oil afterwards. I'll try to remember to stick a tape measure under there. My photo above makes it look deceptively close, but its way in there.

    The KYB's that are going on have a regular nut and a thinner locking nut to go on top. I have an idea as to how I'll piss around with that, but any suggestions would be welcome.

    2000 Grand Marquis LS HPP, a hand-me-down in 2008 with 128,000 km; 175,000 km as of July 2014
    mods: air filter box "tuba" (in place of the "trumpet"), headlight relay harness, J-mod (around 186,350 km), 70mm throttle body, NKL4 PCM (from a 2000 CVPI, nothing great there apart from highway cruising), KYB Gas-A-Just shocks (after >202,000 km on originals)

  18. #18
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    Ratcheting wrench is for speed in removing the old nut. You can hold the lower regular nut in place and tighten the jam nut using regular box wrenches once they are in position.
    "X" car 89 Colony Park LS Mods>Engine delete, SS duals magnaflow hflow cats, 2010 Must GT mufflers, auto air shocks, Posi, Tran cooler, big front brakes, 03+ rear disks, Large 3g alt, Tripminder, GS grill, 86 seats, 16" HPP wheels, winter boots=96 Cartier wheels, 215-65/16 Goodyear ULTRA GW3 snows, pi rear sway, alum driveshaft.
    03 Marauder DPB, HS, 6disk, Organizer, Silver Stars, M&Z rear control arms, Oil deflector.
    02 SL500 Silver Arrow
    08 TC Signature Limited, HID's Mods>235/55-17 Z rated Cooper Zeon RS3-A, Addco 1" rear Sway, Posi, Compustar Remote Start, floor liners, trunk organizer, Winter=05 Mustang GT rims, Nokian Hakkapeliitta R-2 235/55-17

  19. #19
    No mean-spiritedness here. IPreferDIY's Avatar
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    Default Me likey firm rear end.

    Finally had a cool enough day to tackle this job. It took me practically a whole fricken day, but I dood it. For the passenger side, sly’s suggestion about going from under the car worked for me (i.e. use the access rectangle for the air spring). Here’s a photo of the ratcheting wrench I had on hand:

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    I got two sets of four (standard and metric) for ~$10 each on sale back when ratcheting wrenches were just starting to become mainstream, though I don’t actually use them much. They ended up working great for this job, though getting only ~1/8 turn at a time was a big PITA.

    When working from the outside, the distance from the top nut to the inner lip of the wheel well is ~8-8.5".

    My experience certainly confirmed that destroying the original shocks appears to be the only practical way to remove them. An alternative is to make use of the hex part at the top of the plastic cover:

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    The hex is 1-1/4", so in theory a big wrench or whatever would work, but I didn’t have a wrench that big and didn't bother seeing what it would take to make it work. My initial impression was that it would not be practical.

    The step on the bottom threaded piece measured ~0.540", while the hole on the axle bracket measured ~0.550 on the one I measured first. By the time I decided to check the other, the shock was already installed up top, so it was in the way, and my measurements were in the ~0.530-0.540" range except for once when I got ~0.550". The ‘step’ on the KYB mount is ~0.510", so I’m not sure that trying some kind of bushing would be practical. Curiously, based on what I could feel with my finger, the axle mount holes seemed to have a wee bit of an angle, seeming to be narrower on the mount side than the nut side.

    Here’s a photo of one of the KYB mounts that I got powder coated for cheap:

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    The place presumably did only new stuff since they don’t do sandblasting, and they did the mounts for $5 each. I doubt they bothered to clean them properly, but meh. My main concern is preventing surface rust where the bushings sit, so that the bushings don’t become grinding pads like what happened on my front stabilizer bar.

    I didn’t bother with a power tool for cutting into the old shafts. I just had a piece of a file and went at it in between my attempts with the vice grips. On the passenger side, I eventually got a small “bang” when it broke loose. On the more accessible driver’s side, it took more effort and produced a little bit bigger “bang”. I doubt that the Liquid Wrench got down far enough in either case to help with the initial breaking loose. (I really envy the folks who have multiple vehicles and indoor places to work on them. It can be a bit nerve wracking when your only vehicle might be inoperable for longer than expected if things don’t go as planned.)

    Curiously, when I cut the straps on the new shocks, they didn’t rebound as I had expected. They both stayed put and needed some encouragement to extend. They seemed fine after that though.

    For installation, I basically had a wrench holding the big nut on top while turning the metal shaft cover. I could feel the bushings compress, and then things hit a point where I couldn’t turn any more. NFC what the torque ended up being, but there’s no way to get a torque wrench in there, so it will have to do.

    For the lock nuts, I managed to get a wrench under the two lines on the passenger side to hold the big nut while turning the lock nut with a long wrench. The driver’s side was significantly easier due to the lack of lines.

    Unfortunately, I got stupid with the lower mounts. The instructions say to use the manufacturer’s torque specs, which in this case for the axle bracket nut is 66ft/lbs, though I went well over 70ft/lbs since I could feel it could take it. That went fine enough, and I didn’t even need the cheap 23mm wrench that I got and filed down to hold the mount. For the washer nut, I was figuring that the same torque spec should apply since it’s the same size nut.


    Here’s what happens when you overtorque the washer nuts:

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    Since I needed a long extension for the axle bracket nut, I just kept it on my 1/2" drive torque wrench for the washer nut. I initially tightened the first washer nut with a 3/8" drive ratchet and then switched to the torque wrench. It seemed strange that the rubber was compressing but nothing was bottoming out. When the torque wrench clicked, I noticed the lock washer was wide open. I just left it initially.

    On the other side, I tried to be more careful and got to the point where I thought maybe the extension was messing things up. After removing the extension, the torque wrench clicked right away, and the lock washer was relatively intact. At that point, I went back to the other one and discovered my carnage. I finally realized that the smaller shoulder and thinness of the flat washer were not comparable to the axle mount end and that such a high torque was not required. I just used a BFH to make the washers useable and squeezed the one lock washer closed and tightened the nuts using only the 3/8" drive ratchet.

    It ended up being a long ordeal for me, comparable to my recent parking brake ordeal. Ford gets no customer loyalty from me, though I’d probably do it all over again in the right circumstances.


    My test drive was interesting. The experience clearly revealed that I will not have to continue driving ‘gently’ once a few other things are taken care of. No more atrocious back end bounce, though the fronts are noticeably due. One of the things I had read about recently was the effect of shocks on braking, and that proved to be obvious too, though not as marked as when I changed my front control arm bushings. In retrospect, I probably should have done the shocks back when I did all that other stuff, but meh. Live and learn.

    Edit: Despite all that, I forgot to include something. I noticed that the cable for the ABS sensor on the driver's side was rubbing against the shock and getting a noticeable wear spot. I ended up putting a couple of zip ties loosely around the ABS cable and parking brake cable since nothing else seemed possible.
    Last edited by IPreferDIY; 08-23-2018 at 08:31 AM.

    2000 Grand Marquis LS HPP, a hand-me-down in 2008 with 128,000 km; 175,000 km as of July 2014
    mods: air filter box "tuba" (in place of the "trumpet"), headlight relay harness, J-mod (around 186,350 km), 70mm throttle body, NKL4 PCM (from a 2000 CVPI, nothing great there apart from highway cruising), KYB Gas-A-Just shocks (after >202,000 km on originals)

  20. #20
    No mean-spiritedness here. IPreferDIY's Avatar
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    I also forgot to note that I had checked with a local Ford dealership about the labour cost for rear shock replacement, and it was something like CDN$195 plus taxes, and they would even put on shocks that I brought in.

    2000 Grand Marquis LS HPP, a hand-me-down in 2008 with 128,000 km; 175,000 km as of July 2014
    mods: air filter box "tuba" (in place of the "trumpet"), headlight relay harness, J-mod (around 186,350 km), 70mm throttle body, NKL4 PCM (from a 2000 CVPI, nothing great there apart from highway cruising), KYB Gas-A-Just shocks (after >202,000 km on originals)

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