Out for a walk beside the Ottawa River in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada!
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Heading to Nova Scotia around August 1st.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Sherman's rear shocks

Well that was a little more difficult that I expected.

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.


  1. I bet you saved a boatload of money doing that job yourself. I shudder to think what it would have cost in a garage.

    1. It probably would have cost close to $500 including parts. I did it for around $160... :-)

  2. Great job Kevin. I don't think there are many out there that would have even attempted that job. Smooth driving.

    1. Thanks. The only thing that stops me from doing pretty much anything is the lack of a specific tool to do the job...

  3. At least you rear shocks are accessable, we had our done a few years ago and the shop quoted $200.00 labor and thats what we paid it took the mechanic over 5 hours to remove them, not a bad deal after all.

    1. I feel bad for the mechanic, but it's their own fault for not knowing what they were getting into when they gave you the quote...

  4. Well done Kevin. These days they just tell you their hourly charge and then add up the hours. With the cost of the shocks and $100+ an hour you could be well over $500. Definitely saved a bundle doing it yourself.

    1. Thank you Sherry! Yep, it definitely saved us a bundle being able to do it ourselves.

  5. Can't remember how many times my Dremel tool has saved me loads of trouble. I already wore one out and am on my second one. An indispensable tool in my box. ;c)

  6. Yes a lot of pros laugh at the Dremel but they can be as handy as a pocket on a shirt...

    1. Yes, they are definitely a handy tool to have around, especially with all the projects here at the park.


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