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Question on replacing shocks


ddezso

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I am preparing to replace the worn shocks on my 70Z. I've never done this before and am quite a novice so I've enlisted my Dad to come help.

We are both looking at all of the available manuals and they make it quite clear that the entire wheel hub needs to come off to change the shocks. Are we missing something? Is it possible to replace the shocks without removing the entire wheel hub? Can you pull them out the top without removing the entire deal?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks.

Derek

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I have a 77 280 but things should be pretty close as far as replacement of strut inserts. I did remove the entire assembly when replacing mine and it wasn't too bad being a novice.Hit all the bolts with a rust penatrant and let it soak in first. You may also see what else you may want to replace before you start and wait for those parts and do it all at once. You can do a search on thrush bearings and insulators on the 240 to give you an idea of what should need replacing. Fighting "while I'm at it " will be the toughest part.

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First and most importantly, do you have a spring compressor? If not, then changing the shocks will be quite dangerous if you have never done this before. The springs will be underload and if you remove the nut holding it in place without comressing te springs, the spring/spring perch will launch.

Saying that, you can replace the shocks without removing the entire strut assembly. First, remove the two bolts connecting the t/c rod to the control arm. You will also need to disconnect the steering knuckle from the outter tie rods. You will need to do this so that the control arm has its full range of motion. At this point you are quite close to being able to completely remove the strut assembly altogether. Simply remove two more bolts in the ball joint and the strut assembly is free.

Then make sure that you have loosened the nut in the strut tower that locks the shock inplace. Do not take it off completely, just loosen it first. Once that is accomplished, you can start removing the three nuts in the strut tower. Make sure that the control arm is supported by something before you do this. Once removed, you can start to lower the control arm/strut assembly.

The rears are quite a bit easier. There is no way of just removing the strut asembly in the rear without removing the spindle pin. You will have to change the rears in place. To do this, you simply disconnect the half shaft from the rear hub (behind the drum). That's it really. You may or may not need to disconnect the emergency brake cable (very very easy) and the rear drum brake line in order to get the clearance you need.

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The Atlantic Z article says they are not very expensive - you can probably get them from NAPA, Schucks, Autozone, maybe Sears? Usually you can check them out if you buy your struts from Schucks, Autozone, etc. Also, local rental places (Rent-X, etc.) typically rent them as well.

Gary S.

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The reason why Blue (the author of the tech article) removed them was because he was replacing his bushing at the same time also. Please read the article. You can ask others here (i.e., Jon Mortensen) about having to remove the entire assembly.

See this link if you do not believe me (read jmortensen's post at the bottom of the first page): http://www.classiczcars.com/forums/showthread.php?t=23673

I forgot about the front sway bar.

Secondly, you do not need to buy a spring compressor. Autozone has a tool loaner program. You simply put down a deposit, use the tool, return tool and get your deposit back. I have used their loaner program quite a few times.

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I just changed the rear springs in my yellow 240Z yesterday. I did not remove the housings from the car. I have done the rears on Zs this way many times in my prior career.

  • Loosen - but do not remove - the three nuts at the top of the strut tower, and also the center shaft nut.
  • Jack up the car and support on jackstands. Remove wheel.
  • Disconnect and plug the brake hose at the chassis end. Unbolt the halfshaft, disconnect the parking brake cable. If you have one, disconnect the rear sway bar.
  • Now remove the three upper strut tower nuts. Pry the strut down and out of the strut tower, then down a bit farther and pivot it outside the wheel opening. Be careful not to scratch the fender lip when you bring it out.
  • Now the strut is out in the open. Compress the spring, remove the center shaft nut, disassemble the spring and upper spring seat. You can now un-do the gland nut and replace the strut insert.
  • Reassembly is the reverse. Be sure to orient the three upper studs correctly before getting the strut back into the tower, and again, be careful about the fender lip.

Fronts are easier, because removing the housing from the car is a simple bolt-in job.
  • Loosen - but do not remove - the three nuts at the top of the strut tower, and also the center shaft nut.
  • Jack up the car and support on jackstands. Remove wheel.
  • Disconnect and plug the brake hose at the strut end.
  • Unbolt and remove the brake caliper. (Not required, but makes the strut housing lighter and easier to handle.)
  • Remove the two bolts going up from the bottom that attach the strut housing to the steering knuckle.
  • Using a pry bar, dislodge the steering knuckle from the housing by prying the knuckle and control arm downwards. Once free, remove the three upper nuts and pull the housing from the car.
  • As with the rear, reassembly is the reverse.

Granted, I have done this process more times than I can count. But doing it this way, with hand tools only (no air tools), I can do all four in a day, easily. I swapped the rear springs in the yellow car yesterday in 2 to 2 1/2 hours. The biggest part of that time in a spring swap is compressing, then un-compressing the old springs, and then compressing and uncompressing the replacement springs as well. Takes a while with hand tools, but otherwise no sweat.

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Hey Arne --

So I think you're saying:

Rear, leave the assembly on the car, attached at bottom.

Front, remove the assembly altogether.

In the '70s I worked at a place that had a Bilstein franchise, and we used the "leave on car and pivot" method a lot -- the one you describe for the rear. In many cars this could be done with the front as well. Often leaving the brake line attached.

I have no memory of how I did the job with my old Z. But I currently have the front fenders off my '73, so the whole clearance picture changes in regard to potential use of the "leave on car and pivot" approach. What do you think, would it work at this point?

Thx,

Steve

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So I think you're saying:

Rear, leave the assembly on the car, attached at bottom.

Front, remove the assembly altogether.

You'll have to disconnect the brake lines, but otherwise you are correct. I've done it this way on my car and it worked out just fine.

Compressing and decompressing the springs is the most time-consuming part of the process, particularly if you don't have access to air tools. I installed lowering springs on my car, and one nice thing about this is that you don't have to compress them in order to install or remove them.

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The car is 37 years old and presumably has the original springs. While this is all taken apart it probably makes sense to replace those too huh?

Any reason it wouldn't be useful and advised to replace springs when doing shocks? Also - what springs would you guys advise for someone who wants a stock look and ride without breaking the bank? I dont care about crazy high performance and dont want any lowering or raising of height.

Thanks

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The car is 37 years old and presumably has the original springs. While this is all taken apart it probably makes sense to replace those too huh?

Any reason it wouldn't be useful and advised to replace springs when doing shocks? Also - what springs would you guys advise for someone who wants a stock look and ride without breaking the bank? I dont care about crazy high performance and dont want any lowering or raising of height.

You're right. If your springs are at all questionable, NOW is the time to replace them....

I went with the Tokicos that are available on eBay, and they are supposed to lower the car 1.5". However, my original springs were sagging pretty badly -- I didn't realize how much until after the new springs were installed on the car -- and as a result I more or less kept the same ride height.

Last I checked, Courtesy Nissan still had the Euro springs....

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You're right. If your springs are at all questionable, NOW is the time to replace them....

QUOTE]

I wish I had changed the springs when I had my Tokico struts (the blue ones) installed, but I honestly didn't even think about it-I was just excited about having a car that wouldn't sit on it's arse when I thought about hitting the gas.

Do it all now, no need to tear everything down again, unless you want the practice!

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You have some good info to go from, only thing Id do if you was get up under there and make sure you dont have any other problems before starting. Bushings and such, maybe even make sure your bearings all good and brakes are all fine. Your going to be in that area for a bit, might as well knock out as many problems you can at once. Maybe even get some penetrant sprayed around the day before to make life easier once you start.

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agreed-might as well get as much done at once as is reasonably possible.

I would be very careful about falling into the "While I'm At It" syndrome (discussed in length in a different thread), and biting more off than you can chew.

As such, might I suggest that when you are under the car spraying the PB blaster (or lube of your choice-though PB is GREAT), you check all the afformentioned items, make your to-do list, order whatever you need, and stick to your list!

good luck!

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The car is 37 years old and presumably has the original springs. While this is all taken apart it probably makes sense to replace those too huh?

Any reason it wouldn't be useful and advised to replace springs when doing shocks? Also - what springs would you guys advise for someone who wants a stock look and ride without breaking the bank? I dont care about crazy high performance and dont want any lowering or raising of height.

Thanks

What is the factory spec height from the ground and what is the point of measurement so I can see if I am sagging today?
Wouldn't be a bad idea at all to replace the springs, and yes, now is the time to do it.

Courtesy Nissan sells both repro stock US-spec springs, and also repro Nissan Euro Stage 1 springs. Thing is, both will raise your ride height if used with gas shocks, and the Euro will raise it even if you use non-gas (hydraulic) shocks. The thread below will tell you more than you want to know about ride height:

http://classiczcars.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21115

FWIW, I plan to use NOS Mulholland non-gas shocks with slightly cut Euro springs in my red car.

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Per Carl Beck the stock height from ground to bottom of rocker panel (not counting pinch welds) is 7 3/4" to 8". I just measured mine at 7" to 7 1/4" depending on where you measure (rear is 1/4" higher) so it looks like my old springs are saggy and need replacement.

Does anyone have a perspective on the quality and height of Tokico springs off EBay vs the Courtesy Nissan repro US spec springs?

I am using the KYB GR-2 shocks (part # 361002 front , 361001 Rear).

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Per Carl Beck the stock height from ground to bottom of rocker panel (not counting pinch welds) is 7 3/4" to 8". I just measured mine at 7" to 7 1/4" depending on where you measure (rear is 1/4" higher) so it looks like my old springs are saggy and need replacement.

Does anyone have a perspective on the quality and height of Tokico springs off EBay vs the Courtesy Nissan repro US spec springs?

I am using the KYB GR-2 shocks (part # 361002 front , 361001 Rear).

First, remember that those specs are assuming stock height tires. If your tires are shorter than stock, your measurements will be shorter as well.

Tokico springs are reputed to lower the car about an inch, even when used with gas shocks.

With new US-spec springs from Courtesy and KYB GR2 strut inserts I would expect the ride height to be 1/2" to 3/4" higher than stock due to the increased spring-rate effect of the gas shocks.

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Per Carl Beck the stock height from ground to bottom of rocker panel (not counting pinch welds) is 7 3/4" to 8". I just measured mine at 7" to 7 1/4" depending on where you measure (rear is 1/4" higher) so it looks like my old springs are saggy and need replacement.

Does anyone have a perspective on the quality and height of Tokico springs off EBay vs the Courtesy Nissan repro US spec springs?

I am using the KYB GR-2 shocks (part # 361002 front , 361001 Rear).

I have both the Tolkico setup (installed) and the Euro spec (not yet installed). As Arne has said, the Euro spec need to be cut down. The Euro spec springs are designed to give you a stock ride quality, but to keep the front height equal to the rear. The US springs came stock, with the front of the car riding slightly higher than the rear.

As to the quality, they both are quality. There are four of us with them, up here in the NW that chat quite a bit. One set is installed. Arne will be next. Mine will come down the road. Most of the the forum members here that have ridden in our burgandy car say that it is too stiff of ride for their taste. As a cruiser, I'd have to agree. That is why I am planning to move them to my other car, and put the Euro specs in. I love the ride height, but I get some tire rub on the front left in one spot. Unfortunately, that spot is when backing out of my driveway and cranking the wheel hard left. Now, my caster is off about a degree, but the stock suspension has no adjustment. I bought winter tires for it last year, and they really rubbed. Had to take them back. Too much tread height.

So, buy struts and springs according to the use you forsee for your car. If you are going to AutoX, then the Tokicos are probably great. Otherwise, be aware of the joints on a bridge and so on. They can jar your kidneys.

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I have been playing catch up, on the discussions, research and work put into this effort so far. With the combined efforts of Arne, Carl & others, all of us will be able to make a better informed decision. I'm not ready for struts & springs yet but it has been just one more question in the back of my mind. Thanks to this forum and the input from everyone it will be easier to figure out. In a previous thread this week a member resurrected the debate on Tokico shocks/springs. Questions will continue to be asked about the nature of Tokico's products because of the lower price. Everyone saves a buck whenever they can. Personally, to me, the price would be a secondary factor. First I want to achieve the desired results. I'm sure many will be very happy using them and get the results they want. Just as many others will swear by their particular combination. In that thread Jeff Grauer offered to do a spring rate test on the springs supplied in the Tokico HPK 251 Kit. He is going to do this in a few weeks from now and then post his findings.

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When I installed a complete Tokico package on my car, it lowered it by about an inch. I am used to very firm suspensions after my 325Ci, 350z, S4 with iNtrax, and now our FX35. I would say that the ride is quite comparable to the 350z/FX35 ride, firm but not overly stiff.

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  • 1 year later...

I really apprciate this thread. I need to replace the Spindle Pins in the rear on my 240Z.

The clowns that worked on my car replaced the spindle pin with a long bolt.

By pure luck these same clowns didn't get the car running enought to drive it.

At this point I am hoping the Lower Transverse Links are not trashed.

I plan on dropping both shocks on the rear to replace the Spndle pin + put some grease on the urathan bushings (More clown stories)

zdisease

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  • 4 years later...

Questions...

1. Is it possible to remove the three nuts a top of the struts and the one bolt at the bottom of the strut. Bend the tab holding the brake line and then take the whole strut/spring assembly out in one unit? If so, I could take the assembly to my mechanic buddy where he will allow me to use his spring compression unit for free. There I could remove the old struts and replace them with the new ones. Afterwards I would just reconnect the three nuts on top, the one bolt on bottom and bend the tab to hold the brake line... Is there something I overlooking?

2. I bought "Monroe 73953 Sensa-Trac Strut Cartridge", are these sufficient for normal driving?

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