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    Thread: A Rear Shock Replacement How To for Kammy.

    1. Member tolusina's Avatar
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      01-08-2005 11:49 PM #1
      A Rear Shock Replacement How To for Kammy.
      Starting with a MAJOR SAFETY DISCLAIMER.
      The procedures following regarding spring removal are only KNOWN to work safely on VW A1 chassis REAR shocks/struts. They may work on other vehicles, do so at your own risk unless you know for certain they are safe.
      These spring removal procedures ARE NOT SAFE FOR FRONT SPRING REMOVAL, severe personal/personnel injury and/or property damage including but not limited to DEATH or WORSE are possible using these techniques on other than REAR Shocks/Struts on VW A1 chassis!!!!!!!!!
      Having said all that, just making sure there is no mis-understanding, Author has performed this procedure many times during his career as a Professional VW Tech and has never had a safety issue, not even a close call. Most recent personal application of this procedure was this past Wednesday, 05 January, 2005, again, no sweat at all.
      This procedure also assumes Factory Stock springs, hardware and configuration. Boge shocks are Exact Fit, excepting the allen wrench needed for the fronts, stock is 7mm, Boge is 6mm. KYB's are very close to factory configuration, or were when I last did them several years ago. IMO, KYB's are too stiff for street driven Cabbies, Boge Turbo Gas really are a GAS!.
      Tools needed; Jack and stands, chocks for front wheels, lug wrench. Minimum wrenches would be a pair of 17mm open ends, combination wrenches preferred, 17mm deep well socket and driver is deluxe. You may need a hammer and a long drift punch capable of driving a 10mm bolt through a bushing. Gloves, safety glasses. Best with a helper, no beer additives, please. Notice no spring compressor is listed, A1 REARS ONLY! A creeper is nice. Bentley might help.
      Break loose the lugs in preparation for wheel removal.
      Jack the rear of the car, set the jack stands under the main body pinch welds on the side of the car, wooden blocks are good, wood grain at 90 degrees to the pinch. If you put the slot of the stands under the vertical plate of the axle beam, the slots will prevent the axle from moving down when we need it to. Same for putting the stands anywhere under the axle beam, we will need the suspension hanging free. Give the car a GOOD SHAKE after it is on the stands, making certain it is stable and cannot fall on you as you work underneath.
      To make sure we won't get stuck later on and have to put it all back together in frustration, we'll jump ahead a little in preparation for later.
      Get under the car with a pair of 17's, loosen the lower shock mounting nut, then make sure you can turn the bolt. This is the part that hung me up when I tried to change mine at home with hand tools, the bolt had rusted/frozen to the inside of the steel sleeve inside the rubber bushing. If the bolt won't turn, try gentle "persuasion" with a drift and hammer on the threaded end of the bolt, leave the nut in place while doing so. If you mushroom the head of the bolt, you'll have big trouble getting the nut back on, also it may not pass through the steel sleeve. If you can't get the bolt to turn with gentle "persuasion", stop, button it up and take the car to a shop where they can loosen it with air tools, then come back and pick up from here.
      If you really force turning these bolts and manage to break the sleeve loose from the rubber, the lower shock eye will have to be cut for removal and new bolts acquired, we hate when THAT happens.
      Hopefully your bolts have turned easily, let's continue, the rest is CAKE!!
      Cabby top down, rear windows down, back seat forward, that was easy.
      On both sides, behind the rear seat, find the black artichoke (but smooth) shaped rubber cones and remove them. They have a groove inside the bottom that fits over a lip on the body. Bare or gloved hands, maybe a little screwdriver help, that was easy #2.
      Under the artichokes you'll see the top of the shock shafts. Any rust, clean it now, a little WD40 love would be good. Loosen the nuts you see on the top of the shafts and unscrew them to the top of the shaft leaving the full thickness of the nut still engaged, no worries, we are nowhere near releasing spring pressure yet. If the nuts don't turn freely on the threaded shafts, there are flats on the top of the shaft for holding with an open end. Easy #3.
      Rear wheels off by now, ONE SHOCK AT A TIME, off and back on before you proceed to the other side, okay?
      Time to take out the bottom bolt we loosened above. Shove the axle down to free the bottom of the shock, wrestle the bottom end clear of it's lower mount, might be helper time. Easy #4.
      Stand up, reach in the wheel well, grab the strut by the spring with one hand, reach over the rear window with the other hand and take the top nut all the way off, the whole strut is now is your hand, big grin time, say "Easy #5".
      Here is the A1 rear shock specific part and explanation. With stock springs (aftermarket springs maybe), the front's have so much energy stored under compression they cannot be compressed and/or controlled by hand, you can literally die trying. Our rear shocks are very easily controlled by hand and you should be convinced by the time it matters. THIS IS THE TIME FOR A HELPER if you have never done this before, three hands are good, four may be needed.
      Time to loosen the top nut that holds the top spring seat, I SAID LOOSEN!! One of the two of you holds down the top spring seat, compressing the spring and releasing tension from the nut, you may need a fourth hand and wrench to keep the shaft from turning. Get the nut to the top but not off and both of you relax a minute and look at what is happening, it really is safe. If it was dangerous, removal of this last nut would be the moment of hazard. Recognize that one person can easily compress and control the spring, it goes back together just as safely and easily. Once YOU BOTH ARE CONVINCED it is safe to proceed, one pushes down on the top spring seat compressing the spring, the other takes the nut OFF, the spring holder now relaxes slowly and lifts the spring and seat off of the strut housing, noting or marking which way is up before setting it down. Note the arrangement of spacers and washers, Bentley has a good blow up diagram. Big Grins #2, High Fives, Easy #6.
      EDIT!! Also make note of how the ends of the spring spiral nest into the spring seats so you can put it all back the same way.
      Assuming a stock hardware configuration as my Boge Turbo Gas shocks are (EXACT FIT!!), there is a washer with a groove, the groove sits on a snap ring on the shaft, the dust sleeve/snubber is below that. Switch this stuff over to the new shock, set the spring in place, compress the spring with seat, put the top nut on and put it all together. Easy #7.
      Repeat on the other side, Drive. Easy #8.
      It took longer to write this up than it takes to do the job.
      Ron


      Modified by tolusina at 9:23 AM 1-9-2005
      Quote Originally Posted by kamzcab86
      I hate reading: "But I bought this car for $500 and don't want to put another dime into it."
      ____(hey, it's VW AND it's electrical, what's not to fail?) neoBentley+



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    3. Member kamzcab86's Avatar
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      01-09-2005 12:02 AM #2
      [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG] [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG] Awesome!!
      Quote, originally posted by tolusina »
      THIS IS THE TIME FOR A HELPER if you have never done this before, three hands are good, four may be needed.

      Daaaadddddd! He's gonna be sooo happy to work on Cabby again!

      Quote, originally posted by tolusina »
      It took longer to write this up than it takes to do the job.

      But thanks for doing it!
      Cabby-Info.com -- Your online guide to VW Cabriolets/Rabbit Convertibles
      Old Blue's Blog -- The adventures of a 1990 Westfalia
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    4. Member Cabby-Blitz's Avatar
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      01-09-2005 02:03 AM #3
      Very good and detailed write up. Though I have down it and gotten it all down with just me. It prolly does make things easier when you have 1 person comperssing the spring and the other taking the nut off. What I found to be a small problem other than if you have frozen bolts and busings. Cutting that crap off was a huge PIA. But after the lower shock bolt and upper bolt are all off. I had trouble actually finding the right way to remove the assembly is a pain and takes some time to wigle it around and get it out.

    5. 01-09-2005 03:14 AM #4
      Hmm, Interesting....VERY interesting....gonna have to try that.
      As for the fronts,,well truth to tell, strut springs are one of the few things in the world that I am truly afraid of, WHen I was younger, I had a part time job cleaning up a mechanics shop and I got to see a strut spring under pressure give...scared the bejezzus out of us, sounded like a 50mm cannon went off and a spring fragment embedded itself into a wall....scary stuff
      When I have to do the front struts, I pop the entire puppy out and take it to a mechanics shop to swap the springs. THe mechanic usually only charges 10-15 a strut and I have piece of mind.... I know I could buy the tool and do it myself, but unfortunatly I am a wimp LOL
      THanks for the cool write up dude!!!



      Modified by mgyver74 at 12:16 AM 1-9-2005

    6. Member tolusina's Avatar
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      01-09-2005 03:44 AM #5
      Marc,
      For stock front struts a compressor is mandatory. Some aftermarket springs are so short they have no preload, but there are so many possibilities, I can't even begin to address them.
      You notice Cabby-Blitz states he has the procedure down to where he can do it himself. I can too.
      I didn't write it for Black_Cabbie, BMack or Steve Langford, they don't need it. I wrote for first timers like you, Kammy, ensone and , dare I dream Lenz might try??
      That's why I so thoroughly explained the cautions and advised two people do the job.
      I'm Totally Stoked Kammy and her Dad are going to be working together, clicking my heels like Snoopy finding steak in his dog dish.
      Here's a pic of the type of front spring compressor I use, it serves me well, oh and the url it came from.
      http://www.thepartsbin.com/car....html
      Ron



      Modified by tolusina at 12:46 AM 1-9-2005
      Quote Originally Posted by kamzcab86
      I hate reading: "But I bought this car for $500 and don't want to put another dime into it."
      ____(hey, it's VW AND it's electrical, what's not to fail?) neoBentley+



    7. Member Cabby-Blitz's Avatar
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      01-09-2005 03:51 AM #6
      YEa this is a great writeup for the 1st timer. I have done suspension way to much on my car and have gotten everything down including the PIA autotech rsb removal everytime.
      I havent seen that spring compresser but used a simpler 2piece one that you can rent prolly from a local autostore. Works in the same fashion in that it clamps each side of the spring at the top and bottom and you tighten it to compress it.

    8. Member tolusina's Avatar
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      01-09-2005 04:19 AM #7
      I have 3 or 4 different varieties of the 2 piece spring compressors, I far prefer the clamshell type pictured, it's faster, easier and safer with excellent reach.
      Quote Originally Posted by kamzcab86
      I hate reading: "But I bought this car for $500 and don't want to put another dime into it."
      ____(hey, it's VW AND it's electrical, what's not to fail?) neoBentley+



    9. Member kamzcab86's Avatar
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      01-09-2005 01:33 PM #8
      Quote, originally posted by Cabby-Blitz »
      I havent seen that spring compresser but used a simpler 2piece one that you can rent prolly from a local autostore. Works in the same fashion in that it clamps each side of the spring at the top and bottom and you tighten it to compress it.

      This is how the fronts were done on mine (by Dad and his friend -- I was the supervisor: stood around and watched and helped when needed; Dad hates working on cars -- he's a high-performance engine mech. -- but he'll work on mine 'cuz it's something he can do for his only kid ).
      Now that I have a jack and stands, all will be good for working on the Dubs myself now...
      Cabby-Info.com -- Your online guide to VW Cabriolets/Rabbit Convertibles
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    10. 01-09-2005 02:40 PM #9
      Quote, originally posted by tolusina »
      Marc,
      I didn't write it for Black_Cabbie, BMack or Steve Langford, they don't need it. I wrote for first timers like you, Kammy, ensone and , dare I dream Lenz might try??

      Hey Ron,
      My apologies if it sounded like I was complaining, far from it, I was only stating that suspension springs make me nervous...
      I know this was meant for us first timers, and for rear springs only. Writeups like this, done by people who really don't have to, but want to anyway are part of what makes the Tex so great.
      When I saw that spring give, it was in a professional spring compressor, It didn't explode, (Only a very small piece went flying, and I am not entirely sure what part of the spring/strut it was from) but it shure made one LOUD bang.....
      Mabye I should get over my "Autospringaphobia" and attempt the fronts myself...How much does a spring compressor cost these days ?

    11. Member tolusina's Avatar
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      01-09-2005 02:54 PM #10
      Marc,
      The spring compressor pictured above lists for $341.74 as shown on the link with the pic. That's way too much to pay for one pair of struts, you can have it done cheaper at a shop.
      Tool Shed, A-1 Rents, whatever tool rental shops are in your area will probably be glad to rent you a compressor for the day for not much money.
      If you have a choice, the clamshell pictured above is very quick, easy and safe to work with.
      Pulling the struts and taking them to a shop for the spring work is also an option, just not as gratifying as doing it yourself.
      Ron
      Quote Originally Posted by kamzcab86
      I hate reading: "But I bought this car for $500 and don't want to put another dime into it."
      ____(hey, it's VW AND it's electrical, what's not to fail?) neoBentley+



    12. 01-09-2005 03:20 PM #11

      Hi ya... I already have my weitech 40mm kit installed... and in a couple weeks the rears will be lowered down a couple perches....
      I am the "assist" only. I tend to break everything I come into contact with.
      Thanks though, good write up. Sounds like pretty much the way its done. I have seen it done, so the write-up makes great sense.

    13. Member Black_cabbie's Avatar
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      01-10-2005 12:11 PM #12
      Very good guide!
      What we could also do is gather a few photos from here and there and add them.
      Chip Tuning for a living @ www.microchips-tuning.com

    14. Member tolusina's Avatar
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      06-01-2005 02:24 PM #13
      bump
      Quote Originally Posted by kamzcab86
      I hate reading: "But I bought this car for $500 and don't want to put another dime into it."
      ____(hey, it's VW AND it's electrical, what's not to fail?) neoBentley+



    15. Member Moljinar's Avatar
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      06-01-2005 02:33 PM #14
      Quote, originally posted by tolusina »

      To make sure we won't get stuck later on and have to put it all back together in frustration, we'll jump ahead a little in preparation for later.
      Get under the car with a pair of 17's, loosen the lower shock mounting nut, then make sure you can turn the bolt. This is the part that hung me up when I tried to change mine at home with hand tools, the bolt had rusted/frozen to the inside of the steel sleeve inside the rubber bushing. ...
      If you really force turning these bolts and manage to break the sleeve loose from the rubber, the lower shock eye will have to be cut for removal and new bolts acquired, we hate when THAT happens.

      Ok Ron, great write up. Done this many times. However this time I have the dreaded frozen sleeve/bolt thing going. Any suggestions?
      BTW I have used a sawzall to cut the bolt on both side of one of the shocks to liberate it from the mount. Now I need to figure out how to press out the rubber/sleeve/bolt mess and replace it.

    16. 06-01-2005 02:51 PM #15
      Super write-up! Thanks!
      I'm a suspension newbie. I've done rear shocks on a 1970 Ford Fairlane (installed gassers for lift...cheap looks!) and a 1976 Chevy Nova. Oh...and I replaced a front boot on a 1983 Honda Civic. That's it. My complete experience with suspension. I had no idea the springs had to be removed. I'd have gotten in there and been baffled.
      Many thanks!
      Thomas

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      06-01-2005 02:54 PM #16
      In the FAQ it goes..... [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]
      Chip Tuning for a living @ www.microchips-tuning.com

    18. Member tolusina's Avatar
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      06-02-2005 12:14 AM #17
      Quote, originally posted by Moljinar »
      Ok Ron, great write up. Done this many times. However this time I have the dreaded frozen sleeve/bolt thing going. Any suggestions?
      BTW I have used a sawzall to cut the bolt on both side of one of the shocks to liberate it from the mount. Now I need to figure out how to press out the rubber/sleeve/bolt mess and replace it.

      Oran,
      A one word answer, ok? AIRTOOLS [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG] [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG] !!
      http://buy1.snapon.com/catalog...talog
      I lucked out when I found mine frozen. At one of my work stops, a Major Brand Tire Store, the shop tapped my brain and experience to bail them out of a three week old jam. Once I analyzed the problem and offered a solution, I wanted a little pay for my efforts. Instead, I pointed to tolusina, grunted, "Boge, in trunk, air tools, on car, ugh, ugh". An air impact was all that was needed to break loose 12 year old California rust and I was merrily on my way.
      Should the bolts be solid to the steel bushings and spun loose from the rubber bush, an air hammer as shown in the link above might be able to drive the bolt out. Yeah that tool is pricey, worth every bit (pun intended). $49 chatter guns are not worth owning, they ruin far more than they fix.
      No air hammer? Time to cut, sawzall, hacksaw or oxy/acetylene torch will do.
      Ron

      Modified by tolusina at 9:15 PM 6-1-2005

      <edit>
      link above is busted, try either of these pricey beauties
      http://buy1.snapon.com/catalog...talog
      http://buy1.snapon.com/catalog...talog
      </edit>





      Modified by tolusina at 7:48 PM 10-25-2007
      Quote Originally Posted by kamzcab86
      I hate reading: "But I bought this car for $500 and don't want to put another dime into it."
      ____(hey, it's VW AND it's electrical, what's not to fail?) neoBentley+



    19. Member sehaare's Avatar
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      10-25-2007 09:55 PM #18
      put me down for "rusted/frozen to the inside of the steel sleeve inside the rubber bushing"
      I tried tapping it out with a hammer but with the nut on to protect the treads I couln't get enough movement. Tried twisting it out and the sleeve turned inside of the rubber (Ron don't you get tired of being right? ) So now I'm into the "I've got nothing left to loose mode" and tomorrow I'm going to try a bigger hammer and beat on it while I order new bolts.
      Steve
      Enjoy every sandwich - Warren Zevon

    20. 10-26-2007 01:04 AM #19
      Quote, originally posted by tolusina &raquo;
      Marc,
      I didn't write it for Black_Cabbie, BMack or Steve Langford, they don't need it. I wrote for first timers like you, Kammy, ensone and , dare I dream Lenz might try

      I haven't been forgotten!!! Actually I put a weitech kit on my cabby about 3.5 years ago. I was an assist, nothing more. I'm not afraid to try anything - just important to have the space (not in a dirt/rock drive) and tools (power is always preferred). But, I'm always willing to try. Funny thing is - Kammy is nearly neighbors with my boyfriend. He can do it all - so I'm very lucky in that respect.
      p.s. my cabby is dead right now.. believe a starter issue. originally thought to be an issue with battery - applied cables, car started up. new battery is in place now. car unwilling to turn over. i haven't had any trouble with her for over 3 years. so i was due.

    21. 10-26-2007 01:05 AM #20
      Quote, originally posted by sehaare &raquo;
      put me down for "rusted/frozen to the inside of the steel sleeve inside the rubber bushing"
      I tried tapping it out with a hammer but with the nut on to protect the treads I couln't get enough movement. Tried twisting it out and the sleeve turned inside of the rubber (Ron don't you get tired of being right? ) So now I'm into the "I've got nothing left to loose mode" and tomorrow I'm going to try a bigger hammer and beat on it while I order new bolts.
      Steve

      this too happened to me.. and without power tools it wouldn't budge - plus the use of a vice.

    22. 10-26-2007 01:20 AM #21

      tolusina! 2005 - what a great year! that was sooo long ago...

    23. Member Moljinar's Avatar
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      10-26-2007 08:24 AM #22
      Let me update my "bolt stuck in sleeve" post.
      I eventually used my sawzall to hack out the rubber from inside the shock "eye" and removed all the rubber. Then I called Bilstein to get a new rubber grommet with metal sleeve in it. Then I emailed them. Then I called them again. Then I said, "screw you" and bought a universal shock rubber "kit" from AutoZone (one of those MotoMite bubble packaged things $5). Cut rubbers to fit and reinstalled.
      Bye a Sawzall. Your cabby's best friend.

    24. Member kamzcab86's Avatar
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      10-26-2007 06:01 PM #23
      Quote, originally posted by gabtic &raquo;
      tolusina! 2005 - what a great year! that was sooo long ago...

      And the rear shocks still haven't been replaced!! Someday in the near future, I swear... new ones are sitting in the box, ready to go.
      Cabby-Info.com -- Your online guide to VW Cabriolets/Rabbit Convertibles
      Old Blue's Blog -- The adventures of a 1990 Westfalia
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    25. Member tolusina's Avatar
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      10-26-2007 11:23 PM #24
      Quote, originally posted by kamzcab86 &raquo;
      And the rear shocks still haven't been replaced!! Someday in the near future, I swear... new ones are sitting in the box, ready to go.

      What??!! You changed to sport springs a while back and didn't do shocks at the same time? Just shocking......




      Quote Originally Posted by kamzcab86
      I hate reading: "But I bought this car for $500 and don't want to put another dime into it."
      ____(hey, it's VW AND it's electrical, what's not to fail?) neoBentley+



    26. Member sehaare's Avatar
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      10-27-2007 12:53 AM #25
      Quote, originally posted by kamzcab86 &raquo;
      And the rear shocks still haven't been replaced!! Someday in the near future, I swear... new ones are sitting in the box, ready to go.


      Well mine are still sitting in the box at this moment too. What a PITA.
      I snapped the bolt on the second shock.
      just spent 2 hours with dremel, chisel, hacksaw, breaker bar and box cutter to get the first one out. [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG] And now I'm all stop due to the top spring seat being all rusted out.
      I don't have the passenger one apart but I can alread tell that it upper spring seat is shot too.
      Time to order parts
      Must be nice to live in the land of no rust.
      I'll do a write up on how I finally got it out when I get a chance.
      Steve
      Enjoy every sandwich - Warren Zevon

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