Sunday, August 11, 2019


It's been a while, but it's been hot... but I finally had a decent weekend to replace the front and rear shock absorbers.

Here's a pic of where I started at:

Things actually don't look horrible, even though lots of bushings need replacement.  The upper control arm has been replaced--notice the adjustable link?  And also notice that KYB Gas-a-Just shock.

But it's filthy.  So a quick clean later:

Ahhhhhh.  Not show quality, but at least I can see what's under that grunge.

Changing the front shock absorber is dead simple.  Unbolt it from the bottom and top and pull it off.  It turns out the shock was completely frozen--it wasn't just stiff, wouldn't budge.  That explains the wagon-cart-like ride.

I installed Koni adjustables from Classic Alfa.  The Koni's were only a couple of bucks more than the Bilsteins, and I can play with them.  I left them on full soft as recommended by a couple of sites I follow.

They came with neat stickers, too.

It took me longer to clean than to replace the front shocks.  I can't say that's the case for the rears...

To replace a rear shock, you have to:
  • Remove the carpet behind the seats to access the access panel
  • Remove the panel
  • Unbolt the upper shock mount (two 13mm bolts--I'm still not used to this metric stuff)
  • Unbolt the lower shock mount (one 17mm and one 19mm--the 17mm secures the 19mm)
  • Remove the shock through the upper access panel
It is not as simple as it sounds.  The rear shocks were original OEM Alfa parts--and having never been changed, you can guess how much fun it was to get those bottom bolts off.  I ended up using a vise grip on the shock to hold it in place while I turned the 17mm bolt off, which finally gave after much cursing.  The 19mm then came off easily--so the keeper nut was a good call.  The other side wasn't much easier, though it went faster.

Once out of the car, changing the upper shock mount is pretty simple.  Keeping the lower rubber bush on the pin was fun until I used a little masking tape.  (I installed SuperFlex bushings for the fronts and on the top rear shock mounts, but I couldn't compress them enough for the bottom nut to catch--so I went with the rubber bushing supplied with the shock.)

Installation is then the reverse of disassembly.

Did I mention it was 106F out?  Nice, but not exactly cool.

While I was there, I also replaced the retaining straps as the ones on the car were rotting away.

The new ones are rubber and a very strong cloth weave that should hold up for ages.

With all that done, the car rides a lot better, though clunks and thunks in the front suspension tell me there's lots more to do.  The steering is oddly light in the center of travel, though precise.  At least it doesn't wobble and shudder down the road any more.

I also replaced the rotting door seals so the car wouldn't whistle from air leaks around the doors as it went down the road.

Anyhow, I went for a drive to get takeout.

This will be a great car once it's sorted.

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