71 Imperial 4dr - Installing Front Shocks (how To?)

Brakes, Suspension, Rims and Tires

  1. Retired_JC

    Retired_JC New Member

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    I'm putting new shocks on the front of my Imperial BUT, what a bear of a job. I found this post on here ( Front shock install/removal )

    I'm wondering if this is the best/easiest way to do it? I seem to remember a tool we used (back in the day) that allowed us to compress the shock in order to get the top in the 'tunnel' and then there was a release on the handle to remove the compressor tool and slip the top of the shock in, sort of like a valve spring compressor.

    Any help/advice appreciated.
     
  2. detmatt

    detmatt Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    What does your factory service manual have to say about it?
     
  3. ayilar

    ayilar Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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  4. Mr C

    Mr C Senior Member

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    Some shocks come pre compressed with a plastic retainer that you cut once it's in. Overall it's a pain in the butt. Last time I did it, I found the old shocks were skinnier than the new stuff which made it even more sporty.

    BLUF- a lot of fiddling to get them in.
     
  5. Big_John

    Big_John Illegitimi non carborundum FCBO Gold Member

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    It wouldn't say anything about gas charged shocks. The oe shocks can just be compressed and they'll stay that way.
     
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  6. ceebuddy

    ceebuddy Well-Known Member

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    I always thought that the original equipment FRONT shock absorbers were of the gas charged type since it is a mono tube design.
     
  7. detmatt

    detmatt Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    If you don’t have a manual get one. No one should be without. Remove the rubber bump stop from the control arm for a little extra wiggle room.
     
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  8. Big_John

    Big_John Illegitimi non carborundum FCBO Gold Member

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    No. The original shocks weren't "gas charged". That's something that came along after these cars were built.
     
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  9. CBODY67

    CBODY67 Senior Member

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    )The OEM and most aftermarket replacement shocks are not of the "monotube" design. Only a FEW aftermarket shocks are that way, especially for the older vehicles, by observation.

    All (from the specs I've seen over the years) of the Chrysler Corp car front shocks have a 1" diameter piston. If you compare the diameter of the front shocks to that of the 1 3/8" piston bore rear HD shocks (think the old Monroe 500 HD shocks, from back in the '60s) you can easily see why the fronts were limited to a 1" piston diameter.

    What made the front shocks "HD" or "High Control"? The internal valving.

    As mentioned, these were not "gas shocks" in the way we later came to think about "gas shocks". In more modern times, there are THREE levels of "gas charge". The basic shocks will have something like 15psi pressure, or less. Just enough to help keep the shock fluid from foaming a bit in "high motion" situations. Then comes the likes of KYB, which is "medium pressure". Definitely have the twine or other retention device to keep the shock compressed prior to installation. The likes of Bilstein has the highest gas pressure.

    The lowest gas pressure shocks can extend on their own, but SLOWLY. The others will be more forceful, proportionately. So have them aimed well before you clip the retainer.

    As for removal? If you can't lever the bottom of the shock away from the control arm and then let it extend, or compress it from the top with a rod of some sort, then worse case scenario might be to put a small hole in the outer part of the shock to bleed off the pressure and fluid, but that might get messy quick. Wouldn't matter if it was a C-body or not, probably just worse with the C-body or other Chrysler vehicles with "the tube" the shock is protected by. So any DIY vids for a B/E body might work? Other ideas?

    Just some thoughts,
    CBODY67
     
  10. Retired_JC

    Retired_JC New Member

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    Sorry, got busy with things, the manual I have says I may have to remove a part (forgot which) to install.
     
  11. Retired_JC

    Retired_JC New Member

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    That's what I was thinking too, a couple bolts and the would slip in easier. I also have a double wire to keep them compressed and that also helps, I should be done tomorrow (9-23), hopefully. (I do have the manuals)
     
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  12. ceebuddy

    ceebuddy Well-Known Member

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    You are right, the OEM shocks seem to have been of the conventional design (not conventional anymore today, I guess) and hence were not gas-charged. However, by observation I am compelled to say that all replacement FRONT shocks and many REAR replacement shock abosrbers for our C-Bodies available today are gas charged.

    For example, the Gabriel 81091 for the REAR looks like a conventional shock absorber, but is indeed of the gas-charged variant.
    81091.jpg

    Having said that I second the opinion that the mere fact of a shock being gas charged has no influence on firmness of ride which is all done through the internal valving.

    If you push a shock absorber together you not only move the piston within the oil. You also insert more of the rod that moves the piston. In other words, you push more metal into that oil-filled compartment than was in there before. Since liquids cannot be compressed there must be room to go to for that amount of oil which equals the volume of "added" (i. e. inserted) rod. On conventional (i. e. two-tube) shock absorbers there was space between the inner and the outer tube for that amount of oil to go to. On modern single-tube shock absorbers the gas-filled compartment will be compressed to compensate for the increased contents of the oil-filled compartment.

    The reason for gas-charged shock-absorbers to expand if left alone is simply that the area of the lower side of the piston is bigger than the area of the upper side of the piston with the rod attached, at least if you only take into account the area in direction of possible movement (in or out). Hence the gas makes the oil push on more area of the piston on one side than on the other side of it, resulting in an outward movement. The higher the gas pressure, the faster that movement ist. But it has nothing to do with firmness of ride, the forces are minimal compared to what is going on in a shock absorber on a bumpy road.

    As an added bonus, the gas in a gas-charged shock absorber exerts pressure on the oil preventing foaming of the oil, at least to a certain degree. But I strongly doubt that this would be the main reason that gas-charged shock absorbers exist. Except for maybe rallye sport applications which was the domain of Bilstein shock abosbers in the 1970's. I assume that once the sealing of the floating piston that separates the oil compartment from the gas compartment became standard issue, gas-charged shocks were cheaper to produce than conventional shock absorbers, plus they are more compact.
     
  13. CBODY67

    CBODY67 Senior Member

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    The first shock to use compressed gas to help minimize foaming was the Delco Pli-a-Cell shock in the later 1960s. Billed as having more consistent "ride" in continued rougher-road situations. The Chrysler "Oriflow" shocks, by comparison, had a multi-viscosity shock fluid for consistent ride in all temperatures? Everybody had their "angle", it seems. I believe the Delco Pli-a-Cell shocks used a multi-segment "bag" which was in the main oil reservoir, as the print ads of the time illustrated.

    It's also been claimed that a "gas shock" will allow the tire to be in contact with the road more than a non-gas shock. It would be easy to do this exclusively with the internal valving, but having a gas pressure inside the shock would allow more conventional valving in normal ride situations, but the added gas pressure (especially in the mid and higher-pressure brands) could do some of this, too. It's also possible that the higher pressure gas shocks can raise the vehicle ride height after their installation.

    I will concur that finding a non-gas replacement shock these days might now be in the realm of NOS or NORS shocks more than not. But the lowest-pressure brands, while still having restraints on their shafts, CAN be worked with more than the other higher-pressure gas shocks. The last set of KONIS I bought for my '77 Camaro were lower-pressure gas shocks, under the same part number as the ones I'd gotten for it before. No real big deal on that car, related to the shaft extending by itself.

    Just some thoughts,
    CBODY67
     
  14. Retired_JC

    Retired_JC New Member

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    The shocks are in, it was a task but MAN, what a smooth ride now compared to before! I love it!.....
     
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  15. 330dTA

    330dTA Well-Known Member

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    Which brand did you use?
     
  16. Retired_JC

    Retired_JC New Member

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    KYBs
     
  17. 330dTA

    330dTA Well-Known Member

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    There are other options, as I'm sure you know.
    Left from right: KYB, NOS Oriflow, and KONI 80-1011 before modification.
    IMG_2411.JPG
    Left from right: modified KONI, Oriflow, KYB and another modified Koni.
    IMG_4829.JPG

    The KONI's will be going to my '70 NYer.
     
  18. MrMoparCHP

    MrMoparCHP Senior Member

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    If you are doing other work like ball joints put the shock in first (top).

    Alan
     
  19. ceebuddy

    ceebuddy Well-Known Member

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    What about Gabriel 82011? Are they any good?