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  #1  
Old 12-06-2009, 12:05 PM
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Shocks questions

I have my new Bilsteins and am now trying to schedule when to get this done. At this point I don't see having an entire day to do all 4 for some time. I know it's going to take two or three times as long as any of you think it should due to our newbie-ness and the methodical way I do things. I'm now thinking that I'll do two at a time and wonder if it would be better to do the fronts or the backs first. Since they're all leaking pretty good and my indy says he thinks they're the originals, would there be a control issue after doing only the backs first, assuming the car'd be driven for a few days before doing the fronts? I really want to get started on this but with all this silly merriment and unpleasant socializing that's going on this time of year it's hard to find a nice stretch of uninterrupted time.

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  #2  
Old 12-06-2009, 12:25 PM
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I don't think it will take that long, even for a newbie, but if so, do the fronts first, they are more important for proper handling of the car.
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  #3  
Old 12-06-2009, 12:54 PM
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Contrary opinion: I'd recommend the rear first, since they're easier and you're less likely to get distracted by "Hey - what's this? Should it be like this? Let me see..."

You'll undoubtedly want to putter around and look at stuff and even with methodically cleaning and checking stuff out doing both rear shocks should only take a 2-4 hours, max.

I can't imagine causing any handling problems by fixing a leaking shock. The "danger" I've found in doing small repairs is that there's never just one repair and you get drawn into fixing the previously unknown problem.
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  #4  
Old 12-06-2009, 01:02 PM
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I'd suggest that you do the rear shocks first for the simple reason that they are relatively easy to do and there is little chance for failure.

The front shocks are a PITA because of the restricted space, the requirement for a 1/4" drive, 10mm, 12 point socket and universal joint, and the risk of snapping the screws that secure the shock to the lower control arm.

Do yourself an extreme favor and soak the screws in Kroil for a few days before making the attempt. Some heat will also assist. This is a procedure where knowing the limit for applied torque is very valuable. Snapping those screws will ruin your day.
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  #5  
Old 12-06-2009, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Carlton View Post
I'd suggest that you do the rear shocks first for the simple reason that they are relatively easy to do and there is little chance for failure.
I'll second that; go for the rear shocks first. When you remove the back seat close your eyes or you'll spend too much time cleaning out all of the garbage and decaying horse-hair back there though.
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  #6  
Old 12-06-2009, 01:17 PM
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This one came with a set of front Bilstiens, 3/8 inch drive.
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Shocks questions-shock-socket-cropped-again.jpg  
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  #7  
Old 12-06-2009, 01:41 PM
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That must be the 12 point socket. I bought a set of 12 pointers at harbor freight, but they were 1/2" and they didn't have any smaller, so I had the craziest series of adapters I've ever had, going from 1/2 to 3/8 and back to 1/2 with a 10" extension in between!

Anyway, I just did the front and the passenger side was a pain, but the driver side literally took like twenty minutes. I don't know why. You likely already know, but at least on a 300D removing the coolant expansion tank is very helpful if not necessary. removing the air filter housing might make it even easier but I didn't do that.

I figured the rears were harder because of the self leveling hardware, but I guess not, so I'll be paying attention to this thread. I haven't done the rear yet.

Oh yeah, I replaced those 12 point bolts with automotive grade hex bolts. Probably sacrilege for some reason unknown to me, but I did it. White KYB's and shiny new hardware is a sure contrast to the rest of the front end.
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Old 12-06-2009, 02:15 PM
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My 3/8 drive, 12-point Craftsman socket worked fine on the fronts. You'll also need a 17 mm wrench, and a 7 mm or 8 mm wrench to keep the shock shaft from spinning. The problem I had on removing the original fronts on my '83 was that the locking nut and fastening nut were stuck together. I ended up using the dremel cut-off wheel on the top nut. I had no troubles on the rear.

Do yourself a favor and take it to the pressure washer before working on either end. Even in rust-free AZ, you're going to have oil-saturated dust on most of the parts.

Regardless if you choose the fronts first or rears first, the penetrating oil is a good tip. Clean the parts, assemble the tools and soak the parts one weekend, then do the repair the next. That way you can tinker for a few hours, then festivize and have sparkling party conversation about fixing your 30-year old car.
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  #9  
Old 12-06-2009, 03:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattmacklind View Post
That must be the 12 point socket. I bought a set of 12 pointers at harbor freight, but they were 1/2" and they didn't have any smaller, so I had the craziest series of adapters I've ever had, going from 1/2 to 3/8 and back to 1/2 with a 10" extension in between!

Anyway, I just did the front and the passenger side was a pain, but the driver side literally took like twenty minutes. I don't know why. You likely already know, but at least on a 300D removing the coolant expansion tank is very helpful if not necessary. removing the air filter housing might make it even easier but I didn't do that.

I figured the rears were harder because of the self leveling hardware, but I guess not, so I'll be paying attention to this thread. I haven't done the rear yet.

Oh yeah, I replaced those 12 point bolts with automotive grade hex bolts. Probably sacrilege for some reason unknown to me, but I did it. White KYB's and shiny new hardware is a sure contrast to the rest of the front end.
Yes, that's a 12 point socket, thankfully the shocks I replaced came out without drama. The rears took me longer because you need to remove the rear seat cushion and seat back, but not the wheels. Unless you have a wagon, there won't be a self leveling suspension in back.
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  #10  
Old 12-06-2009, 06:17 PM
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I think the fronts are easier too. I use a 1/2" drive socket with an extension and breaker bar. To get it in you must take the top out and swing it forward and backward to get a straight in shot at the 12 point fastener.

If you do it this way it is a piece of cake.
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  #11  
Old 12-06-2009, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yak View Post
My 3/8 drive, 12-point Craftsman socket worked fine on the fronts.
I wonder if the W123 is slightly different in that area? On the W126, I barely managed to get the 3/8" drive, 12 point socket to engage the fastener. It was really marginal and was not completely square with the head of the fastener. I got it done but would never advise anyone else to use it.

If the W123 accepts the larger 3/8" drive with no difficulty, the available space is definitely greater.
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Old 12-06-2009, 06:31 PM
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^I don't think so, haven't worked on the SD's shocks yet.
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  #13  
Old 12-06-2009, 06:59 PM
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I replaced all the shocks on my W116 in less than 2 hrs. Needed to jack the back of the car up pretty high to drop the shock out. I used a box end wrench for the funny bolts on the front shocks. Can't turn it a lot with each bite but entirely doable.
Schedule the job when your mother in law is visiting and you'll be happy to take your time.
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  #14  
Old 12-06-2009, 07:31 PM
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I'll post again on this thread instead of thew one I started two days ago. I thought the 300D sedan was self leveling as well, but that shows what I know. I look forward to replacing the rear shocks now!

Here is a pic of my old shock and the new KYB. You can see how much longer the threaded top screw is. I thought maybe a bushing went underneath the mount and then one more on top, but realized today that it makes no sense as the shock has a raised area that actually slots into the underside of the hole in the top mount (does that make any sense?) so I double bushed the top so I wouldn't run out of thread. I placed a metal cap between the two bushings. Couldn't figure out any other way to solve that particular issue.

Anyway, I tightened everything up today and its pretty nice. Something else is loose down there (control arm bushings possibly) so my work continues, but I'm done until new years anyway. Good luck to everyone else.

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  #15  
Old 12-06-2009, 07:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Carlton View Post
I wonder if the W123 is slightly different in that area? On the W126, I barely managed to get the 3/8" drive, 12 point socket to engage the fastener. It was really marginal and was not completely square with the head of the fastener. I got it done but would never advise anyone else to use it.

If the W123 accepts the larger 3/8" drive with no difficulty, the available space is definitely greater.

Not owning either a W124 or a W126, I can't say for sure. I think the accumulation of advice for the OP stands, though: a good 10 mm 12-point socket is required; maybe a 1/4 or a 3/8 drive - having both wouldn't hurt; probably an extension and/or u-joint.

One advantage of going with Bilsteins was they provide new 12-point bolts with the shocks so you can test fit the size of the sockets before trying the repair. If you don't have anything in the tool box that'll fit, you can do the tool run early.

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