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Darth Vader 07-09-2010 08:55 PM

Rear Shocks - Can't Remove
(Sorry for posting so many threads - So many questions, so leetle time :p )

I am having some major issues removing the rear shock on the right side of my '97 Wrangler. I got the bottom bolt and one of the upper bolts off, but the second bolt is sitting between the shock absorber and a large beam running through the undercarriage. It appears to be a 1/2" bolt but I can't get any socket on there tight enough to tell. It seems like my only option is to torch the bolt off, I have no idea how I am going to get a new shock on the vehicle though. Hopefully this is clear enough to tell what's going on:

AzTJ 07-09-2010 09:02 PM

Use a box end wrench on it. Also, try hitting it with some PB Blaster and letting that soak for a while before trying to remove it.

doclouie 07-09-2010 09:03 PM

Wow that is a lot of rust. Make sure and spray plenty of PB blaster or that bolt will shear off. You should be able to move the shock enough to get a socket and a long extension in there to remove it. Try your best not to break it or it will turn into a very long job.

03 RUBI 07-09-2010 09:07 PM

1. IIRC it's a metric bolt, not an SAE. 2. Get a box end in there!!!!! You must be joking. 3. That "large beam" is a frame rail.

Darth Vader 07-09-2010 11:36 PM

I can try the box screwdriver again. If it's a Metric bolt then it's probably a 12 mm, I swear I tried that already but I guess I'll have to give it a shot again tomorrow.Does anyone know how much PB Blaster is off-hand?

distortedtj 07-09-2010 11:52 PM

$3 a can and can be picked up at any auto store and walmart.

Darth Vader 07-10-2010 12:00 AM

TY. How long should I let it soak before I have at it? 1 hour, or several?

distortedtj 07-10-2010 12:04 AM

With that rust....several.

baja 07-10-2010 12:11 AM

If it were me,I'd cut that shock out of there,make you some room cuz it looks like that ones gonna be a pain.

Darth Vader 07-10-2010 12:26 AM

Well, it's already been quite a bit of trouble...doesn't help that I still have 3 more to do :banghead: at least this is the only one where I have to deal with the tailpipe. BTW, for cutting, should I just torch the bar, or somehow try fitting a sawsall in there?

And yeah....someday I'm going to tackle the rust monster. The guy before me really did a number to this thing. Guess it doesn't help that I'm in MI.

baja 07-10-2010 12:37 AM

Get the bottom loose and swing the shock out of the way enough to get to bolt.Get mean and give it the biz.

Darth Vader 07-10-2010 12:42 AM

Roger. I'm going to try and get up early tomorrow to do this so I will post back then. By the way baja, I dig the Jeep. I hope to paint mine like that, someday ;)

baja 07-10-2010 12:49 AM

Well thanks for the compliment,good luck on shock removal,where there is a will -there is a way.

burton160w 07-10-2010 01:58 AM

One of the top-posters here actually created a handy guide to removing your shocks in the rear :wavey:

The PB Blaster will help A LOT. and if you think the passenger side is a pain, wait to you get to the other side :crash: finding a way to get up near the tank is a pain!

Beer30 07-10-2010 06:45 AM

I second the suggestion to take a sawzall to the shock itself to give yourself some room. I just finished putting a lift in mine this week, which I started last weekend. Despite soaking all of the bolts with PB Blaster for a week prior to starting, I still broke one upper rear shock mount bolt on each side. It took me nearly two full days of drilling, pounding, and swearing to get them out.

IF you end up breaking it (very likely, in my opinion), here's how I got my broken ones out. In my case, it was the bolt heads that twisted off. I used a needle punch to put a dimple in the center of the bolt so I could start drilling there without the bit walking off. It is very important to have nice sharp drill bits made for drilling hard metal. I started with a small cobalt bit (but not too small or you'll break it) and drilled a pilot hole up to about the level of the top of the nut that is welded to the top of the frame rail. Since I had already put in my 1-1/4" body lift, I had some room to get in there with a large chisel and hammer and bust off the length of bolt sticking up through the welded nut. I was then able to drill through the rest of the way. I then ran a tap through the holes a few times (risky and probably unnecessary- if you break that off in there, you're screwed) and threaded new bolts in (they are 8mm x 1.25 pitch). On both sides, I used longer bolts, washers, lock washers and a nylon lock nut on the ones that I broke. So if you were looking at it from the cross section, it would look like: bolt, washer, shock mount, frame, welded-on nut, washer, lock washer, lock nut.

Trust me, after last weekend, I feel your pain. Good luck!

Darth Vader 07-13-2010 09:04 PM

Embarrassingly, I am still working on this. I broke both bolts on the passenger's side, but the shock finally gave in and broke free after a time. You're right, by the way - the driver's side is worse :banghead: the bolt is a 1/2 inch, right? I tried for 20 minutes to even get it on straight but just ended up rounding the bolt off. At this point, would it be less time consuming to drill the rest of the bolts out? I tried doing the front end shocks as well and was met with more of the same BS. How do I keep the shock from twisting so I can get the bolts on top off?

Beer30 07-13-2010 09:28 PM


Originally Posted by Darth Vader (Post 687311)
How do I keep the shock from twisting so I can get the bolts on top off?

I drilled a hole and stuck a punch in it. There may be less destructive ways, but I wasn't planning on keeping the old ones anyways.

Darth Vader 07-13-2010 09:49 PM

At my current level of frustration, I am feeling quite destructive :p but seriously, the car is at such an advanced state of rust that just about every bolt so far I've dealt with has been seized up. The Grand Cherokee that I'm going to get the new shocks off of should have it's own set of bolts, right?

whiteyj 07-13-2010 10:44 PM


Originally Posted by Darth Vader (Post 683176)
...I am having some major issues removing the rear shock on the right side of my '97 Wrangler.


Originally Posted by Darth Vader (Post 687358)
At my current level of frustration, I am feeling quite destructive :p but seriously, the car is at such an advanced state of rust that just about every bolt so far I've dealt with has been seized up.

......the more I read posts like these the more I appreciate my left coast YJ!:D None of these problems changing out 12 yr old shocks.

Darth Vader 07-18-2010 01:39 PM

So I've finally made progress, the 2 front shocks have been replaced. Broke both of the top bolts on the passenger side shock though. My dad tried drilling through the bolt and broke 6 drill bits while he was at it, now he's adamantly trying to convince me to drill a hole through my floor to get to the broken bolt so he can cut the welded nut out of there. I'm trying to save that as a last resort, but I'm at a loss as to what else to do. I don't want to throw more drill bits at it just to have them all break again. Do I have any other options?

Darth Vader 07-18-2010 05:00 PM

Bah, nevermind. After completely rounding off the two top bolts of the driver's side shock I decided that enough is enough. Unless someone else has any ideas that don't involve dropping the gas tank I think it's time to take it to a professional. As much as I don't have the ~$200 or so they're going to charge me I just don't feel I'm qualified to proceed any further.

danthebugman 07-19-2010 12:11 AM

Whoa! I just read this thread and my stomach is in knots...LOL. It sounds like you have had a horror story on your hands. I probably need to extend a word of thanks to you for making my mind up for me about having a future lift done at a local shop instead of trying it myself.
As Dirty Harry said, "A man's gotta know his limitations".
Let us know how everything turned out. Good luck!

Darth Vader 07-19-2010 02:52 PM

Yes, yes, my god yes :P the lift does help, any extra room in that pocket where the shock mount sits is lovely.

Anyway, I'm down to cutting the welded nut with a dremel. after I've cut off everything I can of the welds with that I'm gonna take a wrench to the broken nut. *crosses fingers* last resort is I cut around the broken bolts and weld new sheet metal in its place.

Jollyczar 07-19-2010 09:06 PM

I posted on this a week ago or so. I had a lot of rust too. I SOAKED the bolts from the top and bottom with Liquid Wrench everyday for about a week (pretty much every time I walked past it). I also removed the rear wheel plastic shroud. With all of the juice on it I was very lucky to have them loosen without breaking. Another trick that some one told me (which I did) was to give it a little bit of clockwise (tightening) torque to "break" the rust just prior to loosening. Sorry for your bad luck!

Darth Vader 07-20-2010 11:02 PM

Well, I hope to never do that again. I managed to dremel halfway through the passenger's side nuts. Didn't help. We were able to slip a chisel in between the wheel well and the frame and pounded the life out of it. It still took a chunk of the frame with it. The other was worse because my dad missed a couple times and seperated the two layers of metal between the nut and shock mount. We had to pound it away even more to put the bolt in.

The passenger's side was just as much of a pain. Had to cut through the floor with that one, then dremel, drill, and pound. Took over 5 hours, total. :9lame:

As an afterthought, is there a tool halfway between a dremel and an angle grinder so I could have reached around and cut the nuts off without all the trouble?

CY99TJ 07-21-2010 03:32 AM

Looks like a great excuse for a shock relocation project.

Darth Vader 11-07-2010 10:29 PM

The plot thickens :mad:

When I took it to the shop to have some work done on the exhaust and brakes, they informed me that the rear driver's side shock had broke free from the upper mounting and came to rest against the gas tank. Thankfully there was no damage but, uh...what do I do now? The mount is likely completely ruined, and the last thing I want to do is have somebody work on it when I know the passenger side shock is a couple steps from breaking loose as well. I've heard of shock relocaters...but how much are they, and how complicated are they to put in? Also, am I doing considerable damage to the Jeep by driving it with a missing shock?

Darth Vader 11-08-2010 11:39 AM


Neil F. 11-08-2010 12:22 PM

You need more info on what is broken.

- The bolts breaking is common and all that is required is to break the nut that is tack welded on off and put a nut on top.

- Broke free could imply that the bar pin slipped off the bolt, no big deal to put back on.

- The bar pin could have broken, no big deal. Replace it.

The Ugly Jeep 11-08-2010 12:38 PM

Whenever you start to get this back together, use Anti Sieze on any bolt you might ever need to take out as long as you live.

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