How to Change Truck Shocks: Step by Step Guide

Well, when our shocks failed on us, we could not even ride our truck at all.

And we were pretty much reluctant to pay the expensive mechanic’s fee. So, we learned how to change truck shocks by ourselves.

Trust us; it is not that hard as one thinks. A few simple steps can get those failed shocks replaced. Do not believe us? Read through till the end then!

Steps to Follow to Change Truck Shocks

While most of the other guides that are available on the internet make the whole process intricate, we focused on keeping things simple. And we did not really simplify the entire process overnight. We met an actual highly experienced mechanic and learned the simplified way, which we will discuss in this segment.

Step 1: Make Sure You Need New Shocks

The only thing that you need to know before replacing your truck shocks is whether you need new shocks or not. Replacing fully functional shocks does not sound cost-effective at all, does it?

Now, the real question is, how will you know that you need to replace the shocks or not? Well, firstly, you will notice that the bumps on the road will feel harder than before. That will happen because the shocks are not properly dissipating and absorbing the energy. Your truck will also bounce a lot on those bumps.

Secondly, a visual inspection can go a long way in terms of being sure whether a replacement is necessary or not. If you see any signs of wear on the shocks, it needs to replaced. Hydraulic shocks will usually leak or weep when they wear down.

Finally, you can push your vehicle down manually. Release it rapidly and notice whether the truck properly stabilizes or not. If there is even a slight bounce, the shocks have given up.

Step 2: Purchase New Shock Absorbers

At this point, you might have concluded that the shocks really need a replacement. So, now it would be time to purchase ones. And when you are on the market for shocks, make sure you go through a good truck shocks buying guide or just talk to a professional mechanic.

On that note, this would be a great time to opt for an upgrade. Now, how will you know what is an upgrade? Well, for that, you need to have a fair idea regarding the types. And, these are the kinds of shocks that are available in the market at the moment:

  • Coil Shocks

Just like the name suggests, these will rely on coils. And those coils will support the weight of the vehicle and control its movements. Also, these are adjustable, which means you can adjust the height according to your preference.

  • Twin Tube Shocks

Again, the name says it all. These have a set of tubes. One is on the inside, while the other is on the outside. There is a layer of air and shock fluid inside these. But these offer a frothy and foamy feeling, which can create a varying experience. Nonetheless, these are ideal for off-road vehicles.

  • Monotube Shocks

You might have already guessed that these contain a single tube. Well, you are absolutely right! These do have one tube but have two pistons, which works a bit like the Twin-tube shocks. However, these have nitrogen and air, which is a great choice for performance.

  • Reservoir Shocks

These shocks are filled with fluid and will have either nitrogen or pressurized air long with that fluid. When the shocks bounce, the gas resists the fluid, which dampens the spring action.

Step 3: Jack Your Vehicle in an Appropriate Location

Once you get yourself new shocks, lift the truck using a jack stand or ramp. Check the manual if you are a bit confused regarding the appropriate position of lifting. Then, loosen up all of the required lug nuts and remove the wheels. Locate the shocks.

Step 4: Spray the Mountings with a Metal Cleaner

Removing old shocks can be a pain. The road-grit and gunks will make it pretty much impossible to remove the shocks. So, before you attempt to remove them, spray some PB blaster or WD-40. Let the spray sit there for a while and move along to the next steps.

Step 5: Remove the Old Shocks

You might have already heard that the hardest part in replacing the shocks is when you need to remove the old shocks. Well, forget whatever you have heard and watch us make things easier.

  • Remove Bolts from the Shock Tower

First, you need to remove the bolts from the shock tower. These are usually under the fabric of the trunk. That means you would have to lift the lining to access them. However, we would still recommend checking the manual for specific guidelines.

  • Disconnect the Shock from the Suspension

Using the nut splitter or socket set, dis-engage the nut that connects to the shock. Remove the nut from the position. If there is not much room for you to operate with the splitter, applying penetrating solvent would be a good idea.

  • Remove the Absorbers from the Top and the Bottom Bolts

Wiggling the shocks out of the bolts can be a pretty tricky task if they are mounted on the studs. The retaining bracket can also be rusty and hinder any movement of the studs. However, if you wiggle the shocks for a while, both the rust and the retainer will give in. So, keep at it until the shocks are off the retainer clips.

You probably know by now that shocks are an essential part of a vehicle. Without that, the ride will be bumpy, and riding on uneven pavements will pretty much become an impossible thing.

Step 6: Install New Shocks

After you have removed the old shocks, it will be time to install the new shocks. And this process will be much easier than the removal process. So, do not get worried. Instead, just follow these parts carefully:

  • Place the New Shocks into the Control Arm

First and foremost, you would need to put the new shocks into the control arm. Here, you might need to use a good amount of pressure to make them fall into place. If it seems pretty much impossible to make them fall into the control arm, lift the suspension a little.

If needed, you can affix the anti-roll bar. However, that will not be necessary if you did not remove it while taking off the old shocks. Also, it might help if you reinstall the old tower nuts back into place.

  • Check the Torque Specs

Before you go all into tightening up the new shocks, you should refer to the service manual. There, you will find the right amount of torque that the shocks require. Keep that in mind and ensure all the other things are secured. Then, tighten up the shock into place.

  • Repeat the Process for the Other Shocks

At this point, one of the four shocks should be in place. Now, you need to keep in mind that most of the shocks wear out at the same time. That means if one is failing, probably the others will fail sometime soon. So, it would be a wise idea to replace all of the four shocks of your vehicle.

Once you are done, put the wheels back in place and tighten up all of the lug nuts you removed while taking the old shocks apart.

Final Words

As you can see, learning how to change truck shocks is not as hard as everyone thinks it is. You just need to know the proper steps, and you will be saving yourself a lot of money that would have ended up in the pockets of a mechanic.

Eric Hubner
 

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