Imperial Home Page -> Repair -> Frame, Spring and Shocks -> Shock Instillation
Tips from Jay:
It's really simple. So simple, I would have never thought of it unless someone else told me about it!
Most gas-charged shocks are shipped in their boxes in the "compressed" state. A nylon "strap" holds the shock closed. You will notice that the strap does not go through the shock's bottom mounting hole, it actually goes around it. DO NOT CUT THIS STRAP! You can use it as an installation tool!
Compress the shock a little bit further and carefully remove the strap. Install the bottom hardware (dish-shaped washer and rubber doughnut) on the shock's upper mounting pin. Now compress the shock fully and reinstall the strap. The shock now stays compressed, ready for installation!
Get the shock into position in the shock tower. Fasten the shock's bottom mount to the control arm. Leave the nut a little loose so the shock will pivot a little bit. (this will make pin alignment in the top of the tower easier) Now get a pair or scissors, hobby knife, wire cutters or whatever you like to cut things with. You will need two hands to perform this next amazing trick. The idea is to cut the strap, and at the same time remove it before it get pinched between the mounting hardware and the top of the shock tower.
Give it a try...
The shock quickly and smoothly extends itself. If the top mounting pin pops through the mounting hole in the top of the tower, you are lucky. If the end of the pin is stopped inside the top of the tower, you are not as lucky, but still in real good shape! nonetheless! If the pin does not pop through the hole, you will need a screwdriver to reach in there to move the pin a little. Eventually it will find its way through the hole in the top of the tower.
You're almost home...
Install your top mounting hardware, then tighten the lower mounting nut to factory specs.
You are done!
Piece of cake, huh?
Now you will never have to struggle mounting a gas-charged shock absorber again. Just remember not the cut that strap. It is your tool and your best assistant!
Tips from Chris:
I, too, have had my share of trouble installing these gas shocks. They exert about 100 lbs of pressure on the fronts, and thus are tough to compress short enough - or for long enough time - to thread thread them through the narrow opening of the shock tower. They will not go through this opening if they are extended full length. The trick is to remove the shock from it's nylon packing sleeve - but DON'T CUT THE SLEEVE. Save the sleeve. Grind off the lower mount to correct size (dipping in cold water regularly so the heat from grinding doesn't damage the bushing), and install the upper bushing and washer on the shock. Then compress the shock and re-install it in its original nylon packing sleeve. This way the shock is now short enough to easily maneuver it into position. Align the upper mount to the hole in the frame. Cut the nylon packing sleeve and guide the upper end of the shock through the mounting hole as the shock extends itself. Simultaneously guide the lower end into position. It will hold itself in place now by pressure until you can screw both ends down. Easy and simple, compared to the hours of cursing and compressing I did the first time I installed them!
This page last updated March 18, 2003. Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club