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How to Install Shocks on a Nissan Pathfinder

by David Young

Shocks are one of the most important components of your Nissan Pathfinder's suspension system. Shocks help smooth out bumps and make for a more comfortable ride. They also help you maintain control of your Pathfinder. Bad shocks can lead to body sway, steering wander and uneven steering while braking, and can lead to excessive wear on other steering and suspension components. If you've noticed that your ride has become bumpier or that your Pathfinder continues bouncing after going over bumps, it's probably time to replace your shocks.

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.

Tips

  • The front shock absorbers can be changed with the vehicle on the ground by turning the wheels to the outside; however, this leaves very little room to work in and is not recommended for beginners.
  • When replacing your shock absorbers, inspect all bushings, washers and nuts for signs of damage or fatigue; replace any parts that you have doubts about.

Warning

  • Make sure the vehicle is in Park with the parking brake fully engaged and the wheels chocked before you begin.

Items you will need

References

About the Author

David Young has written for the website for the Save Darfur Coalition and is currently writing articles for various other websites. Young holds a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Western Carolina University.

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