How to Install Shocks on Vehicles

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The Vehicles three-quarter-ton pickup uses standard shocks Vehicles all four corners with some variation in mounting styles over the years. Over time shock absorbers can, and do, fail. A failed shock absorber is usually noticed as excessive rebound of the suspension when going over bumps. The purpose of shock absorbers is to dampen the oscillation of the suspension. Worn shock absorbers can also lead to abnormal tire wear and excessive nose dive when braking. A new set of shock absorbers can be installed in an afternoon, and you will be thoroughly pleased with the new ride.

Under The Hood:

 How to Install Shocks on a 2000 Mitsubishi Montero Sport

Front Shocks

Loosen, but do not remove, the front lug nuts with a ratchet and socket. Raise the front of the SUV with a floor jack and slide jack stands under the Montero’s frame rails. Lower the vehicle onto the jack stands. Remove the front lug nuts and pull the front wheels off the Mitsubishi.

Remove the upper shock nut with a ratchet and socket, then pull the washer and bushing off the upper strut mounting stud.

Hold the lower mounting bolt still with a combination wrench as you remove the lower shock nut with a ratchet and socket. Pull the washer off the bolt, then pull the bolt from the lower shock mount and lower control arm.

Pull the shock from the vehicle.

Slide a new washer and bushing -- included with the new shock -- onto the upper shock stud. Guide the upper shock stud into its mounting hole in the frame. Guide the lower shock mount into its mounting area on the lower control arm.

Move the shock absorber up or down, as needed, to line up the bolt hole in the lower shock mount with the mounting holes in the lower control arm, then insert the lower shock mounting bolt to hold the shock in place.

Place a new rubber bushing and metal washer -- included with the shock -- on to the upper shock mounting stud, then hand-tighten a nut onto the stud. Place a washer on the lower shock bolt, then hand-tighten the nut onto the stud.

Tighten the lower shock nut to between 65 and 76 foot-pounds with a torque wrench and socket, while you hold the bolt still with a combination wrench. Tighten the upper shock absorber nut to 11 foot-pounds with a torque wrench and socket.

Repeat Steps 2 through 8 to replace the shock on the other side of the Montero.

Reinstall the front wheels on the Montero Sport and hand-tighten the lug nuts. Raise the vehicle off the jack stands with a floor jack and remove the jack stands. Lower the Montero Sport to the ground. Tighten the lug nuts, in a crisscross pattern, to 80 foot-pounds with a torque wrench and socket.

Rear Shocks

Loosen, but don’t remove, the lug nuts securing the rear wheels, using a ratchet and socket. Raise the rear of the Montero with a floor jack and slide jack stands under both ends of the rear axle. Lower the SUV onto the jack stands. Remove the rear lug nuts and pull the wheels off the hubs.

Remove the nut securing the top of the shock to the frame, using a ratchet and socket. Pull the washer and rubber bushing off the upper shock stud. Hold the lower shock bolt still with a combination wrench and remove its retaining nut with a ratchet and socket. Pull the lower shock bolt from the lower shock mount and the shock bracket on the rear axle.

Pull the shock absorber from the vehicle.

Install a new metal washer and rubber bushing -- included with the new shock -- onto the upper shock stud, then guide the upper shock stud into its mounting hole in the frame.

Slide the lower shock mount into the bracket in the axle. Move the shock up or down to line up the bolt hole in the lower shock mount with those in the shock bracket. Slide the lower mounting bolt through the bracket and the shock mount.

Install a new rubber bushing and a new metal washer onto the upper shock mounting stud, then hand-thread the upper nut into place on the upper stud. Slide a washer onto the lower mounting bolt, then hand-tighten the nut onto the lower mounting bolt.

Torque the upper shock bolt to 16 foot-pounds with a torque wrench and socket. Hold the lower shock bolt from turning with a combination wrench, then torque the lower shock nut to between 159 and 181 foot-pounds with a torque wrench and socket.

Repeat Steps 2 through 7 to replace the shock on the other side of the Montero.

Reinstall the rear wheels onto the rear hubs and hand-tighten the lug nuts. Raise the rear of the vehicle off the jack stands with a floor jack, then remove the jack stands. Lower the Montero to the ground and torque its lug nuts, in a crisscross pattern, to 80 foot-pounds with a torque wrench and socket.

Items you will need

  • Ratchet

  • Socket set

  • Jack stands

  • Floor jack

  • Torque wrench

 How to Install Shocks on a Nissan Pathfinder

Front Shocks

Park the Pathfinder on a flat, level surface and fully engage the parking brake. Securely chock the back wheels. Raise the front end and support it using jack stands. Using the lug wrench, remove the front wheel/tire assemblies.

Place the locking pliers on the damper rod (the threaded rod sticking out of the top of the shock absorber) to prevent it from turning. Using the open-ended wrench, loosen the top nut on the shock absorber. Remove the locking pliers. Remove the nut, washer and rubber bushing from the top of the shock absorber.

Using an open-ended wrench, hold one end of the through-bolt at the lower end of the shock absorber. Use the socket wrench to remove the through-bolt. Remove the shock absorber from the vehicle.

Install the new shock absorber by sliding the damper rod through the opening in the top shock mount. Place the rubber bushing, washer, and nut on the damper rod. Hold the damper rod with the locking pliers and use the open-ended wrench to securely tighten the nut.

Align the lower end of the shock absorber with the holes in the lower shock mount. Slide the through-bolt into the holes and tighten securely. Replace the wheel/tire assembly.

Repeat Steps 2 through 5 on the other front shock absorber. Lower the vehicle.

Rear Shocks

Park the Pathfinder on a flat, level surface, fully engage the parking brake and securely chock the front wheels. Raise the rear of the vehicle and support it using jack stands placed under the rear axle. Use the lug wrench to remove the rear wheel/tire assemblies.

Using the socket wrench, remove the nut from the lower end of the shock absorber, then remove the nut from the upper end of the shock absorber and remove the shock absorber from the vehicle.

Install the new shock absorber by sliding the top mounting hole over the upper shock absorber mounting stud. Install the nut on the stud, but only finger tight.

Slide the lower end of the shock absorber over the lower mounting stud and install the nut finger tight. Repeat Steps 2 through 4 on the other rear shock absorber.

Replace the rear wheel/tire assemblies and lower the vehicle to the ground. Tighten the upper and lower rear shock absorber mounting nuts securely.

Items you will need

  • Wheel chocks

  • Jack stands

  • Lug wrench

  • Locking pliers

  • Open-ended wrenches

  • Sockets and socket wrench

 How to Install Shocks on a Ford Focus

Lift up the Focus, using the jack, and place it on jack stands. Make sure the vehicle is secure before you crawl underneath it. Remove the tires using the tire iron, and place them to the side.

Place the jack underneath the rear suspension on the side on which you want to replace the shock. Lift the jack until it contacts the lower control arm, but don't allow it to lift the Focus.

Unbolt the top of the shock from the suspension, using a 3/8-inch ratchet and socket, although you may find it's easier to use an open-end wrench. Unbolt the bottom of the shock from the lower control arm, using a 3/8-inch ratchet and socket, then pull the shock off the suspension.

Place the replacement shock onto the suspension in the same manner as the stock shock, then bolt it in place using the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket and an open-end wrench.

Reinstall the tires, using the tire iron. Then raise the Focus off the jack stands, using the jack, and place the vehicle back on the ground.

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Tire iron

  • 3/8-inch ratchet and socket

  • Open-end wrench set

  • Replacement shock

 How to Install Shocks on a 1996 Chevy Silverado

Front Shocks

Lift the Silverado with the floor jack and support it with jack stands. The car should be turned off but the emergency brake should be on. Park the vehicle on a level surface to prevent it from rolling backward. Disconnect the electrical wire running from the wheel well by twisting counterclockwise. Pull up the metal tenon that is attached and remove it by detaching the nut that holds it into the wheel well.

Find the shock absorber. The shock absorber is a metal tube inside another metal tube. The outer tube is connected to the arm that is holding the wheel. Slide the outside tube over so that the absorber, or inside tube, is visible. Remove the mounting bolts on the lower arm with a ratchet. The shock absorber can then be pulled off.

Line up the new shock absorber up to the mounting holes and connect it with the bolts. Set your torque wrench to 59 foot pounds. Bolt the absorber and then use the torque wrench to tighten.

Connect the tenon to the connector and loosely put on the nut; do not tighten it. Twist the locking tabs together until you hear a click or snapping noise.

Lower the car from the jack stand. Tighten the tenon with the torque wrench to 15 foot pounds.

Rear Shocks

Lift the Silverado off the ground with the floor jack and make sure it is supported and stable with the jack stands.

Unscrew the nut and bolt holding the upper and lower shock absorbers using the ratchet. Remove the shocks.

Line up the new shocks and secure with nut and bolts for both upper and lower shocks. Use the torque wrench to tighten to 70 foot pounds.

Lower the Silverado off the jack stands.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Wrench

  • Ratchet set

  • Torque wrench

 How to Install Shocks on a Motorhome

Turn the lower shock mount nut counterclockwise until it is loose, but do not remove the nut at this time.

Remove the upper shock mount bolt by turning it counterclockwise, then sliding it out of the shock's eyelet mount. Some motor homes could have a shock mount plate, which can be removed by turning two vertical screws counterclockwise, then pulling the plate free. Once the top mount is loose, remove the lower mount nut.

Slide the shock out of the suspension and replace it with a new unit. Slide the new shock absorber into the top mount, either against the mount plate or between the eyelet mounts. Slide the upper mount bolt into the eyelet and turn the nut clockwise, or turn the plate's screws clockwise until they are snug.

Cut the keeper strap on the shock (which keeps the shock absorber from decompressing during shipping and installation), and slide the bottom eyelet onto the mount bolt as it passes by. Secure the mount nut and turn it clockwise until it is tight.

Repeat the entire procedure on the remaining shocks.

Items you will need

  • Socket set

  • Snips

 How to Install Shocks on a Softail Motorcycle

Raise the bike with a bike lift. Place the lift toward the rear of the bike frame so it will lift the rear tire off the ground. Place a small jack under the swing arm to support the weight of the swing arm and rear wheel and also allow for adjustment for lining up the shocks.

Install the frame end of the left shock first. Ensure that the shock eye and frame holes are clean and free of debris or oil. Lightly grease the smooth portion of the shock bolt, but leave the threads clean. Install the washer and spacer onto the shock bolt, and apply Loctite to the threads. Put it through a shock eye and into the frame hole. Torque it to factory specifications for your year Softail.

Adjust the height of the rear wheel with the jack until the swing arm end of the shock lines up with its frame holes. Apply grease and Loctite to the bolt, then torque it to factory specifications for your year Softail. Repeat the process for the right shock.

Items you will need

  • Bike lift

  • Jack

  • Grease

  • Blue Loctite

  • 1/2-inch torque wrench

  • Socket set

 How to Install Shocks on an F-250 4X4

Early-model Front Shocks

Park the F-250 on a level, paved surface. Set the parking brake. Place wheel chocks behind the rear wheels. Loosen the lug nuts on the front wheels. Raise the front of the F-250 and support it with jack stands. Finish removing the lug nuts and wheels.

Locate the top and bottom shock mounts. The top of the shock mounts to a bracket attached to the frame. The bottom of the shock mounts to a bracket attached to the drive axle. Remove the nut on the top mount by using a wrench to hold the end of the shock rod and another wrench to remove the nut. Remove the washer and rubber insulator. Note that there is another insulator and washer on the shock rod under the bracket. Move to the lower shock mount and hold the stud on the end of the shock with a wrench while using another wrench to remove the nut. Remove the washer rubber insulator and seat. Note that there is another insulator and washer on top of the bracket. Compress the shock and remove it.

Slide a new washer and rubber insulator over the top of the shock rod. Slide the shock into the bracket. Slide a new rubber insulator and washer over the top of the shock rod, onto the bracket. Install the nut and tighten by hand. Compress the shock and slide a new washer and rubber insulator onto the bottom shock stud. Slide the bottom of the shock through the hole in the bracket on the drive axle. Install the seat, a new rubber insulator and new washer. Install the new nut and tighten by hand. Tighten the top nut and compress the rubber insulators until they are the same size as the washers. Tighten the bottom nut until the insulators are the same size as the washers. Repeat this process for the other shock absorber.

Install the front wheels and lug nuts. Snug down the lug nuts. Raise the front of the F-250, remove the jack stands and lower the F-250 to the ground.

Late-model Front Shocks

Perform the procedure as in step 1 above.

Locate the upper shock mount. This shock has a nut attached to the shock on the underside of the bracket. Hold this nut with a wrench, while using another wrench to remove the top nut. Note that this mount has the same arrangement of washers and rubber insulators as the one described above. Move to the lower shock mount located side of the lower control arm. This mount uses a nut, bolt and washer to hold the shock to the lower control arm. Hold the bolt with a wrench and use a ratchet and socket to remove the nut and washer. Compress the shock and remove it.

Install a new washer and rubber insulator on top of the shock. Slide the shock up into the upper mounting bracket. Install a new rubber insulator, washer and nut over the top of the shock. Tighten the nut hand tight. Line the bottom of the shock up with a hole in the lower control arm. Install the bolt washer and nut. Use a torque wrench to torque the nut to 70 foot-pounds. Move to the upper mount and torque the nut to 40 foot-pounds. Repeat this procedure for the other shock.

Repeat the procedure outlined in step 4 above.

Rear Shocks

Place wheel chocks in front of the front wheels. Loosen the lug nuts on the rear wheels. Use a jack to raise the rear of the F-250 and support it with jack stands. Finish removing the lug nuts and rear wheels.

Use a wrench and ratchet and socket to remove the nut, bolt and washer from the upper shock mount. Remove the nut, bolt and washer from the lower shock mount. Pull the shock out of the lower shock mount and remove the shock. Repeat this procedure for the other shock.

Place the the shock in the upper mount and install the bolt, washer and nut. Slide the bottom of the shock into the lower shock mount and install the bolt, washer and nut. Use a torque wrench to tighten the upper and lower nuts to 60 foot-pounds. Repeat this procedure for the other shock. Note that the mounting arrangement for rear shocks is the same on all years.

Install the rear wheels and lug nuts. Raise the F-250, remove the jack stands and lower it to the ground. Finish tightening the lug nuts.

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Wrench set

  • Ratchet and socket set

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.