Changing shocks is typically a pretty easy job, provided you've got the tools to loosen the bolts. Normally, you don't even need air tools, although an impact gun is certainly handy to have. Not totally necessary though because sometimes there isn't room to fit the impact gun to where the bolt or nut is located. Otherwise, a half inch socket set and ratchet with a two foot long "cheater" pipe should do the job.
In Sherman's case, everything looked fairly accessible. The chassis is a 1995 Chevrolet P30 motorhome.
One nut at the top shock mount, and a nut and bolt holding the lower mount.
By the way, it looks like something has leaked on the rear axle housing and the shock itself, but that's not the case. That was just me spraying some oil on in the spring to keep the mice away!
The top nut and the lower nut and bolt came apart fairly easily. Once the bolt is out of the lower mount, the bottom of the shock is loose and swings freely.
However...while the nut came off the top mount easily, the shock itself wouldn't budge. For anything!
I'm betting these were the original shocks, and they've been on there for 20 years. The sleeve in the shock was rusted to the mounting bolt.
I have a Dremel tool in my workshop here at the park, and I specifically had bought some cut off wheels in case I had a problem like this.
Handy Dremel tool with cutoff wheel.
I then had to cut through the upper part of the shock where the rubber bushing is. It looks like there's a lot of room in the picture, but when you're underneath the motorhome it's really not very comfortable! I had to cut both sides because it's pretty thick stuff. The shock then dropped right off.
But that left the rubber bushing and sleeve still attached to the mount. I got a safety razor knife and cut some of the rubber away so that I could get some vice grips on the sleeve. It still wouldn't budge!
I tried heating it up with a propane torch, but I couldn't get it hot enough to make a difference. All it did was make a mess of the burning rubber left on the sleeve. A set of oxy acetelyne torches would have done the trick, but I don't have any here.
Hmm. What to do...?
I ended up back under there with the Dremel tool and I cut into the sleeve itself. I had to be careful not to go too deep, but was able to cut through just enough to break the bond.
What's left of the sleeve when I finally got it off!
Doing the installation of the new shock was then easy. And yes, I put some grease on the mount prior to putting the new shock on. Hopefully when I go to change the shocks again in 20 years it'll be an easier job!!
Of course I still had to do the other side...and sure enough I encountered exactly the same problem. But, at least I now knew exactly how to do it so it didn't take quite as long.
And yes, the old shocks were finished. They had pressure during expansion, but no pressure at all during compression. None. This should make for a better ride and less bouncing around of the back end.