How to Replace the Shocks and Struts in Dodge Carsby Contributing Writer
The shocks in your suspension keep your Dodge car ride smooth and comfortable. They also help you maintain control during quick stops. If you like to off-road with your Dodge car have your tire professionals check your shocks' condition every time you balance or rotate your tires.
Under The Hood:
- How to Replace the Shocks and Struts in a Dodge Ram
- How to Replace the Shocks and Struts in a Dodge Intrepid
- How to Replace the Shocks and Struts in a Dodge Neon
- How to Replace the Shocks and Struts in a Dodge Caravan
- How to Replace the Shocks and Struts in a Dodge Durango
Replace the Front Shocks in a Ram
Determine whether you have a coil spring suspension system or a link/coil suspension by reading your owner's manual or consulting a professional. Lift the front end of the truck with a floor jack, and support the frame with jack stands. Use a tire iron to remove the wheels.
Locate the shocks, which look like a slim tube that slides in and out of a tube with a slightly larger girth. Unbolt the upper mounting bolt on the shock absorbers if you have a coil spring suspension. If your truck has a link/coil suspension system, remove the upper mounting nut and the three nuts connecting the shocks to the shock absorber brackets.
Use a ratchet to remove the lower mounting bolts, and take the shocks out of the wheel wells with your hand. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 on the other side of the front of the truck.
Hold each new shock in position, and insert the lower mounting bolt. Set the dial on your torque wrench to 100 ft-lb, and tighten the lower bolt until you feel the wrench slip. Tighten the upper mounting bolt on a coil spring suspension to 25 ft-lb unless your truck is either model year 2003 or 2004. If you have a link/coil suspension, torque the upper mounting nut and the nuts holding the shock to the bracket to 55 ft-lb.
Put the wheels back on your truck, and lower it.
Replace the Rear Shocks in a Ram
Raise the rear end of the truck, and support the axle with jack stands on either side. Place jack stands under the frame in case one on the axle fails.
Remove both the upper and lower mounting bolts holding the shock. Pull out the shock absorber. Repeat on the other side of the rear of the truck.
Position the new shock absorber, and slide the upper mounting bolt into the bracket and through the shock. Torque it to 70 ft-lb. For model years 2003 to 2005, torque it to 100 ft-lb. Install the lower mounting bolt, and torque it to 100 ft-lb.
Lower the rear of the truck.
Items you will need
Replace the Front Shocks
Open the hood and pop the shock tower cap off the top of the shock assembly, which is directly over each wheel well. Unscrew the three nuts holding the shock assembly mounted to the shock tower. Lift the car with a car jack, and support the frame with jack stands. Use a tire iron to remove the bolts holding your wheels on, and set the wheels aside.
Disconnect the nut holding the stabilizer link to the shock assembly and slide away the link ball joint stem. Unbolt the shock assembly from the lower control arm, and pull the routing clip away from the brake tube bracket to disconnect the wheel speed sensor.
Loosen the nut on the ball joint stud connecting it to the steering knuckle until it's even with the end of the stud. Use a puller to pull the ball joint stud and the steering knuckle apart. Take off the nut at the end of the ball joint stud the rest of the way.
Push the top of the steering knuckle out of the way, and pull out the shock assembly. Be careful not to pull on the brake flex hose. Replace the shock assembly with the new one.
Place the nut connecting the ball joint stud to the steering knuckle on loosely. Hold the ball joint stud with a hex wrench, and torque the nut to 35 foot-pounds and then one additional 90 degrees. Reconnect the wheel speed sensor cable to the brake tube bracket.
Insert the lower shock mounting bolt through the hole on the shock assembly into the lower control arm. Don't tighten it yet. Reposition the stabilizer link and put the nut back on that connects it to the shock assembly. Hold the ball joint stud with a wrench and torque the nut to 95 foot-pounds.
Mount the wheel back on your car and lower it. Fasten the shock assembly to the shock tower with the three nuts, and torque them to 20 foot pounds. Pop on the shock tower cap.
Replace the Front Struts
Lift the car with a floor jack and support the frame with jack stands. Make sure the suspension arms are not supporting the weight of the car. Remove the front wheels. Disconnect the negative battery cable, and remove the nut attaching the stabilizer bar to the strut assembly with a wrench. Remove the nut attaching the outer tie rod end to the strut assembly. Pull them apart with a puller.
Disconnect the speed sensor wiring harness bracket from the strut, and remove the brake caliper assembly. Support it with some electrical wire so it doesn't hang from the brake hose. Unbolt the front brake rotor.
Hold the bolts connecting the steering knuckle to the strut assembly with a wrench, and ratchet the nuts off the bolts. Remove the upper strut mounting nuts and washers from the shock tower and pull the strut off the shock tower.
Replace the strut, and torque the upper mounting nuts and washers to 25 foot pounds. Reposition the steering knuckle neck in the strut assembly. Insert the bolts and hold the heads with a wrench so they don't rotate while you torque the nuts to 150 foot pounds.
Reconnect the brake rotor and the caliper assembly. Torque the bolts to 14 foot-pounds. Mount the speed sensor cable routing bracket to the strut and reposition the outer tie rod on the steering knuckle. Torque the nut to 27 foot pounds. Reattach the stabilizer link to the strut assembly and torque the nut to 70 foot pounds.
Mount the front wheels according to the manufacturer's specifications and connect the negative battery cable to the battery. Lower the car.
Items you will need
Change the Front Struts on a Neon
Lift the front end of the Neon with a floor jack and support it by the frame with jack stands. Loosen and remove the nuts securing the front wheels with a tire iron and set the front wheels aside.
Locate the struts under the front undercarriage of the Neon. They look like coil springs with hardware inside and on each end holding them to the frame by the top and the steering knuckle, which turns the wheel hub right and left, on the bottom. Mark each strut as belonging to the left or right side of the front of the car with a permanent marker.
Remove the nut midway down the back of the strut securing the ground strap to it. Also remove the bracket holding on the anti-lock brake sensor and the brake hose. Use a wrench and a ratchet to unbolt the strut-to-knuckle bolts and remove the upper mounting nuts. Pull the strut out and repeat this step on the other side of the Neon.
Position the new strut assembly in the suspension system and align the studs in the mounting bracket with the holes. Set the dial on the torque wrench to 25 foot lb and tighten each upper mounting nut until you feel the wrench slip around them. Insert the strut-to-knuckle bolts, torque them each to 40 foot lb and then add an additional quarter-turn to the bolts once you hit 40 foot lb.
Attach the anti-lock brake sensor and brake hose bracket to the new strut assembly and torque the mounting bolt to 10 foot lb. Attach the ground strap to the associated stud on the strut. Repeat Steps 4 and 5 on the other side of the front of the Neon.
Mount the front wheels and lower the front end of the car. Have the front wheels aligned by a professional.
Change Rear Struts in a Neon
Raise the rear end of the Neon and support it by the frame. Remove the rear wheel and set them aside.
Follow the brake hose to the strut and remove the bracket securing it and the anti-lock brake sensor. Remove the nut part way down the strut securing it to the stabilizer link bar. On the wheel hub, remove the bolts holding the brake caliper, which grips the wheel hub and keep it from dangling with some wire. Unbolt the rotor too, which is the part the caliper grips.
Disconnect the strut-to-knuckle bolts and remove them. Pop the trunk and pull the carpet up to access the top of the strut assembly. Remove the upper mounting nuts and gently lower the strut out of the bottom of the car. Don't let the strut fall out, but remove it with care. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 on the other side of the car.
Position the new strut assembly in the suspension and torque the upper mounting nuts to 25 ft-lb. Lay the carpet over them, and shut the trunk. Attach the strut to the knuckle with the two bolts and torque them to 65 foot lb. Reinstall the rotor and the caliper and torque the mounting bolts to 16 foot lb. Attach the brackets holding the brake hose and anti-lock brake sensor and torque the bolts to 23 foot lb and 10 foot lb, respectively.
Mount the rear wheel and repeat Steps 4 and 5 up to this point on the other side of the Neon. Lower the car and torque the nut connecting the stabilizer link to 17 foot lb.
Items you will need
Permanent magic marker
Replace the Front Struts in a Caravan
Raise your Caravan with a jack, and support the frame with jack stands. Remove the front wheels with a tire iron, and locate the strut assemblies. They look like two tubes that slide in and out of each other and connect to the steering knuckle and the frame of the minivan.
Remove the bolts holding down the brake hose and speed sensor bracket to the side of the strut with a ratchet. The brake hose is a flexible part that runs from the wheel hub past the strut.
Disconnect the stabilizer bar link from the strut assembly by removing the nut about midway between the top and bottom of the assembly. Use the ratchet to pull off the steering knuckle bracket bolts on the bottom of the assembly and the upper strut mounting nuts. Pull out the strut assembly and mark which side of the car it came from with a permanent marker.
Repeat Steps 2 and 3 on the other side of the front of the car.
Compare the old struts to the new ones to figure out which strut goes on which side. Mount the new strut assembly, and attach the upper mounting nuts. Adjust your torque wrench to 21 ft-lb, and tighten the nuts until you feel the wrench slip. Reattach the steering knuckle bracket in the same position as the original, and torque the bolts to 60 ft-lb. Then turn the bolts an additional quarter turn.
Attach the stabilizer bar link nut, and torque it to 65 ft-lb. Align the bracket for the wheel speed sensor and the brake hose to the strut assembly and insert the bolts. Torque them to 10 ft-lb. Mount the front wheels again, and lower the Caravan from the jack stands.
Replace the Rear Shocks in a Caravan
Lift the rear end of your Caravan, and support the frame with jack stands. Support the rear axle with a jack stand as well. Locate the shock absorber, which looks like a slender tube that slides in and out of a slightly larger tube. Unbolt the upper and lower mounting bolts, and remove the shocks from the rear suspension.
Align the new shocks properly and mount the upper and lower bolts. Torque them to 65 ft-lb.
Remove the jack stands, and lower the rear end of the Caravan.
Items you will need
Replace Your Front-End Shocks
Raise the front end of your Durango with a floor jack and support it beneath the frame with jack stands. Use a tire iron to remove the front wheels, and unbolt the upper mounting nut with a ratchet.
Remove the lower mounting bolts and take out the shock absorbers.
Align the new shocks and insert the lower mounting bolt on each side. Torque them to 100 foot pounds, and add the upper mounting nut. Torque it to 30 foot pounds.
Mount the front wheels again, and torque the bolts to manufacturer specifications. Lower the front end of your Durango.
Replace Your Rear-End Shocks
Lift the rear end of your Durango and support the frame with jack stands. Use another jack stand to support the rear axle. Lower the spare tire.
Remove the upper mounting bolt with a ratchet, followed by the lower mounting bolt on each side. Pull out the shocks.
Align the shocks with their brackets, and insert the bolts through the upper and lower mounts. Twist the flag nut onto the upper bolt and a regular nut on the lower bolt. Torque both nuts to 75 foot pounds.
Put the spare tire back where it normally sits. Remove the jack stands from the axle and the frame and lower the rear end of the Durango.
Items you will need