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Old 03-11-2010, 09:19 PM   #1
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How To: Replace Rear Shocks

Disclaimer: I'm not a professional mechanic by any means. Actually, I'm not even that handy with cars at all. Read everything including comments before proceeding, and be sure to take all recommended safety precautions.

That said, I had to replace a blown out shock on the rear passenger side. Being that it was my first time diving into this project, I found there are not a whole lot of available resources on the internet besides an eHow article I found almost useless. So I decided to do a write-up. It's a fairly simple job, but the idea of working on your suspension can seem daunting to any new mechanic. Like stated, read through my tutorial first, as well as the comments, because I may have missed something or described something incorrectly. This is my method of how I did the job, so your results may vary.

With any shock replacement, make sure you replace them at least two at a time. If your doing a rear shock, do both, if your doing front shocks, do both fronts. You run the risk of uneven tire wear which will cost you much more in the long run. Plus, the ride is going to be uneven and harsh.

I have a 1999 Jeep Wrangler Sport 4.0L I6. Your mileage may vary, but the directions should be close to the same. Bolt size may be different. I chose Monroe shocks because AutoZone has them the cheapest, and they only need to hold up until July when I order my new lift kit. I would suggest looking elsewhere, possibly Sears or Advanced Auto Parts. Monroe shocks ride STIFF, but for me they will work fine. Read reviews and research.

Materials
  • Shocks (make sure to get the proper shocks for year and model)
  • 1/2" Ratchet (I used a 3/8", but strongly suggest against it)
  • 5/8" socket
  • 1/2" socket
  • 3/4" wrench
  • Extension (I used a 10", but you may need more then one)
  • PB Blaster (I'll use WD-40)
  • Gloves
  • Safety Goggles (forget safety, dirt in your eyes sucks)
  • Hydraulic Lift
  • Jack-Stands
  • Punch
  • Four beers (preferably Corona, Michelob is acceptable)

Sounds like an exhaustive list, but nothing any basic mechanic shouldn't have lying around the garage. Ignore the Diet Pepsi, unfortunately I'm still underage And no, I have Mechanix gloves to work with, the Under Armours just happened to be there.


  1. Start by first loosening the lug nuts on the rear wheels. Don't undo them all of the way. Jack the rear of the Wrangler up, and place jackstands underneath each side. Lower hydraulic lift slightly to avoid pressure on the rear differential. Remove lug nuts from wheels and remove wheels.

  2. Take PB Blaster (I only had WD-40, it works but not as well) and examine shocks. Spray the bottom bolts on both passenger and driver side, as well as the two top bolts. Don't be greedy, soak 'em if necessary. Seized bolts are not fun.

  3. Drink a beer. Wait fifteen minutes. Pat yourself on the back.
  4. Begin on the passenger side since it's easier to examine how to remove the shocks. Loosen the bottom bolt by placing wrench with 5/8" socket on outside bolt and a 3/4" wrench on the inside nut. Use your girly hands to loosen the bolt. You waited 15 minutes right? Do NOT even think about resting the 3/4" wrench against the brake line as leverage. Small damage to the brake line can cause SIGNIFICANT safety risk.

  5. Once the nut is removed begin pulling out the bolt. Use the punch on the backside of the bolt to "punch" it through the shock using the wrench or Chuck Fists of Fury. Once the bolt is removed, crack open a beer and drink half.
  6. Pull shock loose from the surrounding knuckle (brace, bracket, etc.) to freely move around. Put on glasses (dirt in the eye sucks) and crawl underneath. Locate two bolts holding shock bracket in. Only one will nee to be removed, the other loosened. Use the wrench with a 1/2" socket and an extension to navigate around the tailpipe and the shock. Apply serious ass pressure to loosen the bolts (PB Blaster'd right?). Loosen both bolts, but REMOVE ONLY THE ONE TOWARDS THE INSIDE of the Jeep. The knuckle assembly will fall out along with the shock, so take care not to loose any bolts or eyeballs.


  7. Passenger installation is simple. Your new shocks should come with it's own knuckle assembly, so just salvage the bolts. DO NOT CUT THE PLASTIC WIRE HOLDING THE SHOCK TOGETHER Hilarity will ensue. Begin by sliding the top of the shock into the non-removed bolt, then hand screw the other bolt into the Jeep. Use the 1/2" wrench, an extension, and your femine muscles to evenly screw the bolts back in.
  8. Finish second beer.
  9. Attempt to slide shock into the lower bracket. If it doesn't line up with the bolt hole, then it's time to cut the plastic cable holding the shock together. Use both muscles (toned) to line it up properly with the hole. Screw the bolt and nut back together (you can use the opposite side of the suspension to tighten) and you're set.
  10. Drink a third beer. You're half way done!
  11. The driver-side assembly is slightly more complicated since the 19-gallon tank happens to get in the way, or at least it appears that way.
  12. Just like before, loosen the bottom bolt assembly, knock out the bolt with the punch, and pull out shock.
  13. Now get underneath and look at the bolts. The one closest to the body just needs to be loosened. DO NOT REMOVE IT, it can be a pain in the ass to put back in. The one further from the outside is accessible by hand. Use the extension to loosen both bolts, elbow grease will be necessary, and remove the one further from the outside. In this picture, you can only see one bolt. That's the bolt you do not want to remove.

  14. Slide off the shock assembly and reinstall the new one like previous. You didn't remove the other shock right? If the shock doesn't line up, you may have accidentally reversed the shock, just spin it around (if necessary or possible).
  15. Again, bolt it in at the bottom. Shotgun final beer and proclaim to your woman that you are the MAN! Then do the dishes
Before taking them off-road, give them a good break in period. It helps to lightly engage the shocks by leaning on one side of the steps and then the other side.

Now here's a picture of my fender flares after I painted them last night. I actually took the hour (ok, two hours) to take all of the fenders off and then spray 'em down with Krylon Fusion. They came out looking brand new. Then I spilled gas on one of them today, and it ate the freshly laid paint right away. I can't win.

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Old 03-11-2010, 11:55 PM   #2
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Very good information! Thank you!

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Old 03-12-2010, 12:14 AM   #3
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Nice write up! PB Blaster works really well if you give it a couple soakings days before changing them.
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Old 03-12-2010, 12:16 AM   #4
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Tricked me. Problem number 1, Diet Pepsi vs. Bud Light. Athough your parts list recommended Corona with Michelob as a back-up, Bud Light is what helps Jeeps perform better on the trails!

Had you been drinking Bud Light, the job would have been much smoother. Granted, it probably would have taken about twice as long, but it would have been a much more memorable experience.
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Old 03-12-2010, 12:21 AM   #5
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Nice writeup. I would not consider WD-40 to be even a close subsitute for a true penetrant like Liquid Wrench or PB-Blaster however. Especially on those top two bolts that are well known for twisting off due to corrosion instead of unscrewing. WD-40 is good at many tasks but it is not good at long lasting lubrication or as a penetrant.
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Old 03-12-2010, 12:54 AM   #6
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Quote:
Tricked me. Problem number 1, Diet Pepsi vs. Bud Light. Athough your parts list recommended Corona with Michelob as a back-up, Bud Light is what helps Jeeps perform better on the trails!
I probably could have soaked the bolts in Bud Light. They'd probably just unbolt themselves in disgust Bud Light works as a great substitute if you have to pass a drug test. Just bring a warm can in with you and your good to go. There's no difference. Nah, I'm a Corona or Yuengling fan, or a Michelob if the wallets a little lighter. The Diet Pepsi is because my mother doesn't approve of underage drinking in her house, so when I'm home for spring break and under her house, her rules apply and get respected.

The WD-40 was because I started at 9:30 at night doing this job. I spent fifteen minutes trying to simply just unbolt the lower bracket, until I realized that I needed some type of lubrication (and got so pissed off that I accidentally tossed my wrench at my hardtop window, no damage phew ) . WD-40 was the only thing available, and I'm still surprised it did the trick, and actually quite well. But no, next time I'll be picking up a bottle of PB Blaster.
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Old 03-12-2010, 01:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by compshooter View Post
Tricked me. Problem number 1, Diet Pepsi vs. Bud Light. Athough your parts list recommended Corona with Michelob as a back-up, Bud Light is what helps Jeeps perform better on the trails!

Had you been drinking Bud Light, the job would have been much smoother. Granted, it probably would have taken about twice as long, but it would have been a much more memorable experience.
I would not suggest mixing bud light and 4wheelen.
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Old 03-12-2010, 01:47 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by csamn2007 View Post
I would not suggest mixing bud light and 4wheelen.
If the taste itself didn't make you sick, the churning will
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Old 03-12-2010, 04:58 PM   #9
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Conclusion...
You have to get drunk to change your shocks,right lol...
Thanks for the great write up!
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:08 PM   #10
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very amusing and informative write-up. thanks!
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:38 PM   #11
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Conclusion...
You have to get drunk to change your shocks,right lol...
Thanks for the great write up!
just to loosen the damn bolts. Its like a drinking game practically, "I bet I can loosen one side before you!" Thanks for complements. Really the job is so much easier then I expected, but it's something that before I thought would be intimidating and time consuming. It's six bolts total!
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Old 03-14-2010, 11:28 PM   #12
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i just puin new shocks. Broke off a bolt on the rear axle. Made the mistake of not usin pb blaster. Didn't have the tools to remove the broken bolt. Took it to a shop, now I'm down 220 bucks. Next time i wont forget to spray the bolts beforehand.
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Old 03-15-2010, 02:03 PM   #13
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My 03 Rubicon uses a 13mm for the top shock bolts. Also, no real need to remove the wheels. Just extra work.
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Old 04-06-2010, 05:42 PM   #14
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I have a '06 Unlimited and I need to change the rear shocks. One question, the upper bolts on the frame, are there nuts or does it screw into the frame or nut-zert or something. It looks hellish to replace them.
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Old 04-06-2010, 05:54 PM   #15
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um what do you do if the shock has rusted completely off and isnt attached? did I mention the jeep has issues. and prefer miller-lite for my girlish figure ha ha(haven't had that in a while) or yummm modelo
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Old 04-06-2010, 05:56 PM   #16
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Unfortunately, I can't speak for the 2006s, but the way I saw it, there are only bolts no nuts on the other side. It's two bolts on the top. I'm referring to these two bolts.



Also, no you don't need to remove the rear wheels, but you're jacking the rear up anyway, so you might as well take the five minutes and remove 'em. For me, it made the job THAT much easier because I could get to the shocks from the side.
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Old 04-06-2010, 06:07 PM   #17
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um what do you do if the shock has rusted completely off and isnt attached? did I mention the jeep has issues. and prefer miller-lite for my girlish figure ha ha(haven't had that in a while) or yummm modelo
Simple. Everyone must sign a waiver before getting in and you post a sign that states...



Also can you post a pic of the busted shock? And I haven't had my girlish figure in a long time so don't worry, plus the Jeep makes anyone look like they lost 20+ lbs. cause of how damn cool it is.
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:45 AM   #18
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thats funny and yeah I will and I will get those waivers printed...and true about the jeep wait loss thing..better then wearing black...
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:48 AM   #19
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Heer is a picture of my passenger rear shock..pitiful..I dunno what to even do about it..
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Old 04-08-2010, 12:24 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 03 RUBI View Post
My 03 Rubicon uses a 13mm for the top shock bolts. Also, no real need to remove the wheels. Just extra work.
i was wondering about that. i was going to attempt to do my shocks this weekend, i had no intention to remove the wheels.
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Old 04-08-2010, 02:33 PM   #21
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Kimball Midwest makes a delayed viscosity, penetrating grease (part # 80-925) I have not found anything that works better.
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Old 03-24-2012, 08:41 PM   #22
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Shock replacement how to

Burton160w, awesome how to post on the rear shocks. Just replaced front and rear in my 99 TJ. Soaked them in Liquid Wrench about a day before and all the bolts came out like a charm less than 2 hours in total with Miller lite breaks. Next I have to drop the gas tank and replace the fuel pressure regulator, any tips for that job?
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Old 03-24-2012, 09:54 PM   #23
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i messed up and snapped the bolts off the rear shocks at the top of the shock.... any suggestions on what i could do to fix it.
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Old 04-01-2012, 07:32 PM   #24
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That stinks Maverick... Not sure on any quick fixes for snapping the bolt off. You will have to get a tapping drill bit and drill out the old bolt. If you go to an auto parts store they should be able to get you a bit that would work but you will probably need to go to a hardware store to get a new bolt. Is the shock still in and the jeep drivable? I wouldn't drive it unless the other bolt is in and strong, but be gentle when driving. Sorry I couldn't be more help it is not too bad to drill the bolt out but in the rear it is really tight, you may need to drop the gas tank.
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Old 06-27-2012, 12:02 AM   #25
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Great post! Now, do any of you have a suggestion on shocks to get to replace the stock ones? I drive mostly road conditions but I like going off-road on occassion. Any suggestions would be great.
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Old 06-28-2012, 07:08 AM   #26
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I have stock size tires and no lift and I do the same as you. Road driving and beach driving, nothing too crazy. I got the Monroe Sensetrac lt shocks for mine they have helped the ride on the road and it corners better. If you look up your jeep model on an auto parts web site and look for those shocks you can get the shock model numbers and take those and shop them on Amazon or EBay. I got the shocks for around $30.00 each on Amazon. You will have two different types of shocks, ones that fit the front and ones that fit the back. Soak the bolts in liquid wrench a day before so they don't break! I took the tires off and it was a lot easier, just did the front then the back. Good luck it will help gas mileage breaking and the ride.
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Old 08-18-2012, 01:24 PM   #27
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Good write-up. I have been working on my '98 TJ and at first was only going to put in 2" spacers to clear my 31" tires. That turned into a brake-job and new shocks, since they apeared to be the originals. The front went great, the shocks started to spin but channel-locks on the housing held them. The front (disc) brakes went in smoothly too, so I figured I was headed for trouble when I went to the rear. My hunch was right. All 4 upper bolts snapped right off. I can't see how I would've even gotten PB into the area where the rust was.
I'm wondering why I couldn't weld bolts to the frame where the old ones originally screwed in? I know there wouldn't be the flat surface for the T-pin to rest against, but how critical would that be?
Funny thing is, after the lift I still have tires rubbing the sway bar. I should've bought wheel spacers and left the rest alone!
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Old 09-11-2012, 07:29 PM   #28
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Really good write up as I am going to be doing the same to mine in the next few weeks... and I don't want to bust a bolt...lol a buddy of mine told me to start spraying PB Blaster a week before I do it so I did... I hope it works
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Old 04-13-2013, 11:30 AM   #29
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Spot on! Thanks for the write up. If I hadn't read this, I'd probably still be busting knuckles trying to get outer bolts back in...

Cheers.

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