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Old 05-01-2010, 11:34 PM   #1
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There Will Be Blood

This is for anyone in a similar position who is thinking of replacing their shocks. In another thread , I spoke of the new shock absorbers I was going to get for my 03 Dipl, the one with 8 shocks. Well, I ordered them and the 8 Koni FSD's arrived yesterday. Some of you were very helpful on information on replacing them. I was going to pay someone to do it but after reading some posts, decided to tackle the job myself.

So today, got all my tools in order. Drug out the compressor. Got the eye protection. (That one was good advice). I had thrown liquid wrench on the bolts hoping that woud make things easier. Turned the front wheels and went to work.

1st front shock, skinned my thumb knucle. Blood everywhere. So into the house I go ( shoulda drug out the box of band aides when i got the tools). That 1st shock was a pain, literally. Power tools were useless ( you guys told me my 3/8 air drive wouldn't work. It didn't) That big 2 foot long socket wrench worked great though. That and a pair of vice grips.

Replaced all front 4 shocks in about 2 hours. Not bad I thought and I was feeling cocky until I tried the top bolt on the front rear shock.

Now for the question. How in the heck did you guys get those rear ones
off ? There's only room for one arm reaching up there and not much else.

I made notes on this, so I tried the part about using a set of channel locks.
I need a bigger set of channel locks. I'm not giving up. Gonna tackle the rear 4 tomorrow after I borrow a bigger set of channel locks.

Besides that, does anybody else have any other tricks to get those top bolts off? .

And I gotta figure that Monaco put those shocks on before they built the house.

Also, my old Munros (yellow) did not appear to be in too bad of shape for 60,000 miles. Rubber bushings were shot.

The Koni's (front) look pretty. Still waitin to see how they ride.
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Old 05-02-2010, 12:19 AM   #2
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I didn't have any problems and 1/2 inch snap on air gun with a deep 3/4 impact socket on it no other tools required. I guess being a mechanic most of my life prepared me for these kinds of spaces but it really was easy with the right tools. No Channel Locks Use the right tools even if you have to rent them.
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Old 05-02-2010, 12:42 AM   #3
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Ouch!

Did mine without air tools. I used Craftsman end wrenches. I agree it's probably not a place for channel locks and vise-grips. As I get older, I work more slowly and carefully. Takes too long to heal. Some bolts were way tight, both feet or both hands! Some were real slow, moving the wrench 16 times for one full turn. I use leather gloves where I think I might slip or run into something. I use exam gloves from Costco for dirty or oily areas. I was pleased to find the old rear shocks had no dampining left at all.

Hang in there!
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Old 05-02-2010, 01:54 AM   #4
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JImmy. did you have any problems with the top bolt turning the whole shock?
Like I am. If you did how did you hold it from turning while using the 1/2 inch air tools.

The front ones were easy. I was able to put an open end wrench on the bolt portion of my shock and was able to hold it while I unbolted the top bolt.

I have the 4 on the rear tires. All you can get up there is one arm at a time.
Two arms at the same time not possible. No other body parts fit up there.

The shocks on my 03 had to be put on before they mounted the body to the chassis.
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Old 05-02-2010, 05:27 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Galvanizd View Post
JImmy. did you have any problems with the top bolt turning the whole shock?
Like I am. If you did how did you hold it from turning while using the 1/2 inch air tools.

The front ones were easy. I was able to put an open end wrench on the bolt portion of my shock and was able to hold it while I unbolted the top bolt.

I have the 4 on the rear tires. All you can get up there is one arm at a time.
Two arms at the same time not possible. No other body parts fit up there.

The shocks on my 03 had to be put on before they mounted the body to the chassis.
Yes, the rears are a real pain. I'm the one who said use a 3/8 air wrench with the swivel on the end so you may think I am pulling your leg. Here is what the swivel looks like:
Dynaquip 190011A Non Marking Air Tool Swivel Fitting

Getting to the top of the rear shocks is very difficult and once you get your arm up there you will not have much room to apply pressure. By having the swivel on the end of the air wrench I was able to get the wrench into position and push the air trigger with my palm. The air wrench did not have enough torque to break the nut so I was able to push on the tool using it like a manual wrench. Once the nut broke loose the air wrench spun the nut off.

Like Jimmy, if you can get the larger 1/2 inch drive air wrench up there it may be able to break the nut loose if you let it chatter. The chatter helps to break rusted bolts loose. Also make sure the air pressure is as high as it will go and the air wrench is set to high.

Consider Diplomat Don's trick. Use a pair of vise grips to clamp down on the top nut and put something in the path of the vise grips to keep them from turning. Now take a pipe wrench and turn the body of the shock that is rigid with the threaded rod that the top nut is fastened to. The down side to this one is it will most likely destory the shock so you will not be able to turn back and leave the old shock in place.

Like you, I found the front shocks to be less difficult and more accessible. When I got to the rear I was having doubts if I would be able to get them all off.

Good luck,

Bob
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Old 05-02-2010, 10:41 AM   #6
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NODINE, thanks for the info. I had notes from you and Dipl Don on that. Thanks.
Gonna try and break that top bolt loose later today.

Either or those ways you described sound pretty good. Either way, The shocks are coming off and don't really care what they look like afterward. After 60,000 miles I won't be saving them

I'm wondering if the Diplomat is set up different near those rear shocks, than other Monaco models. They sure didn't leave any room to get to the rear shocks.

You've got a Dipl. So does Dipl Don. You're aware of the reach needed and the small space.
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Old 05-02-2010, 01:24 PM   #7
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Galvanized...An open end wrench on the top nut, allowing it to turn until it hits the frame. Then the Channelocks on the housing, the housing and shock stud are one as Bob said. You could probably use a one of the rubber strap filter wrenches on the shock body too, if you have the room to turn it.

Think of the satisfaction you'll feel when you're done! Next time around the campsite.....you can flex a bicep and tell how you installed eight shocks on the beast!
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Old 05-02-2010, 03:02 PM   #8
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The best way to get those bolts loose is to take the coach to a good heavy duty vehicle suspension shop, take out your credit card, leave for a while and, like magic, you have nice new shock absorbers on your coach.

While they're at it, you can have the front end aligned, the chassis lubricated and have the bottom side of the coach inspected by somebody who knows what they're doing.

I just had a shop in Albuquerque install my new Koni FSD's (bought from Shox.com). They charged three hours of shop time to do the job and I couldn't be happier.
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Old 05-02-2010, 04:38 PM   #9
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Anybody ever remove the lower fender screws and raise the fender to get into the rear shocks?

I found that I could get 2 hands on the job. Still a tight fit but removing the airbag protectors and mud flaps helped as well.

But, if I ever have to do it again, I will pay a shop will do it.
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Old 05-02-2010, 08:39 PM   #10
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Oh Man!! Call me a whimp..... I almost did them myself too after reading the shock post, but I paid Les Schwaub $20 for each shock when they put on my Michelins last week. But I've still got some skin on my hands, LOL.

Good job Galvie!
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Old 05-02-2010, 08:51 PM   #11
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Ok, got the four rear done. 3 hours total time. Someone suggested removing the wheel skirt. Thought about that. Didn't do it. Some else suggested credit card and let somebody else do it. Thought real hard about that one. Didn't do it. (I can get that kayak I've been wanted now on the money I saved) Layed under the coach for awhile and thought about it. 4 lousy top bolts keeping me from success. I don't like giving up on stuff. Goes against my nature.

Finally figured it out. Vice grips on the bolt below the top bushings. The right combination long socket with extension on my "breaker" 2 foot wrench. Set it on the top bolt. Reach in over the tire outside of the wheel well. Break the bolt loose. It was almost too easy. Not sure why I hadn't thought of that before. Once the top bolt was loose. Easy with the socket wrench. Finished the other 3 in short order.

My old shocks, as a whole, were not too bad. Two of them were looking kinda wimpy, so it was worth the change. Can't say too many bad things about my factory Munro's at 60000 k. they did all right.

Now, would I do it again. Yes. Luckily with the Koni's I shouldn't have to. Probly not a job I would suggest for everyone. I'd rather spend the installation money on that kayak though.

Test ride in a couple of days. Thanks all for help and suggestions.
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Old 05-03-2010, 05:30 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Galvanizd View Post
Ok, got the four rear done. 3 hours total time. Someone suggested removing the wheel skirt. Thought about that. Didn't do it. Some else suggested credit card and let somebody else do it. Thought real hard about that one. Didn't do it. (I can get that kayak I've been wanted now on the money I saved) Layed under the coach for awhile and thought about it. 4 lousy top bolts keeping me from success. I don't like giving up on stuff. Goes against my nature.

Finally figured it out. Vice grips on the bolt below the top bushings. The right combination long socket with extension on my "breaker" 2 foot wrench. Set it on the top bolt. Reach in over the tire outside of the wheel well. Break the bolt loose. It was almost too easy. Not sure why I hadn't thought of that before. Once the top bolt was loose. Easy with the socket wrench. Finished the other 3 in short order.

My old shocks, as a whole, were not too bad. Two of them were looking kinda wimpy, so it was worth the change. Can't say too many bad things about my factory Munro's at 60000 k. they did all right.

Now, would I do it again. Yes. Luckily with the Koni's I shouldn't have to. Probly not a job I would suggest for everyone. I'd rather spend the installation money on that kayak though.

Test ride in a couple of days. Thanks all for help and suggestions.
Way to go Galvanizd! Now wait until to drive it. We could tell the difference as soon as we pulled out of the driveway.

Bob
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