DML FAQ : Chassis
: How do I change shocks on my GenIII?
How do I change shocks on my GenIII?
- Use a quality grease that will stand up to dirt, rain, water, etc. I used
a marine grease that I found at Pep Boys.
- Have a breaker bar handy, as well as 15mm and 18mm sockets, a 15mm
open-ended or combination wrench, and a torque wrench capable of 80
- Lift the truck as much as you can. I have a floor jack, and put it just in front of the spring hanger on the framerail. I lifted till the wheel was barely touching the ground, then put a jackstand under. Same for the other side. Make sure you have plywood under the jack & stands, unless you like dents in your driveway.
- Fully relaxing the suspension is not required, but the higher the truck is, the easier it is to work under it.
- Drop the spare and tuck the cable away.
- After I did these, I was able to sit up underneath my truck. Watch your head! There's lots of sharp things sticking out down there.
- Survey the areas around the upper bolts very well before starting.
The nut will have a tab welded to it. You will not find a socket or wrench that fits this nut. Instead, turn the bolt head until that tab contacts the frame. That will stop the nut from turning and let you extract the bolt with a single wrench. Kind of clever. It took us a couple hours to figure this out.
- I needed a 15mm and 18mm socket. Fortunately, my 15mm is a 3/8 inch drive, and my 18mm is a 1/2 inch drive, so I was able to use both at the same time on the lower mounts. On the upper mount I only needed a single 15mm due to the item above.
- Remove the nuts from each end before removing the bolts. When you remove the bolts, do the bottom ones first! These are gas-charged shocks (unlike the RS5000s) and if you pull the upper bolt first, you might ding the underside of the D. Pull the bottom bolt first BUT make sure your body isn't in the way! My left shock extended almost 2 inches, rather quickly, when I pulled it. The right shock was much slower.
- Put the upper bolts in first, but don't torque them all the way down yet. Then do the lowers. This is easier than trying to hold things up while managing a wrench and the shock.
- Torque all bolts to 70 ft-lbs.
- For this end, the front wheel must be removed and the suspension (obviously) fully extended.
- If you want to use a socket wrench for the upper nuts, it will need to be a
deep socket, 15mm as I recall. You will also need a way to grip the flats on
the upper part of the bolt (to keep the shaft from spinning) and an open-ended
wrench or similar to get things started.
- Make note of how the bushings and washers fit together, and in what order.
When you reassemble everything, keep the same order and put some grease on each
- The lower bolts are very difficult to break loose. You may need a breaker
bar. Make sure you have a wire brush to clean up the threads on the bolt and
- Get the shock into the upper mount first.
- Be very careful putting the lower bolts in. I backed out and restarted
several times because it felt like I was cross-threading, but instead it was
just the threads being difficult. Watch out for cross-threading, it's a real
- When reassembling, use Loc-Tite on everything. The upper nut requires 19
ft-lbs of torque, the lower is 80 ft-lbs. It will be a struggle to get the
full 80 on the lower bolt.
Contributed by: Andy Levy
Last updated: Wed Oct 15 21:30:50 2003