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Background: I am new to Jeeps in general and WranglerForum as well. I am also fortunate enough to have a nice shop at my home where I can easily work, I also have many of the tools necessary to do everything on our JK or my other toys. However, since this is our first jeep and I know a lot of people don't have the luxury of having a shop or expensive tools to work with, I decided to do a quick how-to on shock replacement for anyone that may feel discouraged from changing their own shocks on the JK. I doubt this doesn't apply to TJ or YJs, but I have only ever crawled under a JK, so here you go.

I purchased a 2016 JKU, mostly for my wife as she has always wanted one in April 2016. A few months after purchasing it (and 5000 miles later) I had a Fabtech 3" lift installed and 33s. This is mostly a kid hauler and we do use it around my farm/riding the miles of dirt roads around our home with the kids. A few weeks ago I noticed I had a busted seal on the passenger rear shock. Having fabtechs 5/60 warranty, I figured I would just drop it off and have it changed out. The shop stated they knew fabtech's batch of shocks had issues with the seal, so they were going to change all 4 shocks to the newer style (great for me, only 12k miles on these shocks). I scheduled a time and had to drop off at the last minute due to a work conflict. Long story short, they never got around to it. I picked up the jeep and the replacement shocks to do it myself.



Below is a how-to with a lot of pictures for anyone that can find it useful for taking care of something this easy at home or in your apartment parking lot. Note, NO JACK was used in this pictures, tires were left on (as you will see in the pictures). This is for Fabtech Stealth shocks, so part numbers will differ based on your manufacturer of choice.

Disclaimer: I am not a certified mechanic, anything written or followed is at your own discretion. Damage to yourself or your Jeep are on you.

Tools: You will need TWO (2) 19mm open end wrenches for the top of the front shock. You will need an 18mm 6pt socket with ratchet and an 18mm wrench. You will also need a vice or clamp for pressing in the misalignment key on the rear along with a 17mm socket and a long extension. You will need about 10 ft of paracord (550lb test). This is used to compress the new shocks and hold them so you can work. You will also need a pry bar or large flat head screw driver.

Cut a piece of paracord 12" long and tie loops at each end.



cut a piece of para 30" long and tie a loop at 1 end and other about 12" from the end loop.



How-To: JK Shock Replacement - No Jack Method

I use superlube on all the parts to help protect them and avoid squeaks as long as possible (especially on poly parts). I mostly use this on my tacoma when I installed a new suspension lift from OME and poly bushings everywhere else.



Rear Shocks:

Step 1: You will need to loosen the top misalignment key bolts (17mm socket). Do not take them all the way out, simply get them loosed enough for you to move the top around. Take the nut off the bottom shock bolt using the 18mm ratchet/socket and 18mm wrench to keep the bolt from spinning. Since I used the rear shock as a test method for the fronts (rears can be installed without using para cord (I did on the driver side rear), but wanted to make it easy for anyone that may be concerned about having to compress the shock by hand once the top is installed.

misalignment key


bottom shock bolt


Step 2: Tie the longer paracord around the bottom shock by inserting the tail through the loop you made earlier.

**see image above for paracord around bottom of shock.

Step 3: loop the shorter paracord around the top of the shock by inserting one end through the other end' loop.



Step 4: Compress the shocking by looping the long tail from the bottom para cord through the loop on the top shocks paracord and pull HARD down. You will see the shock compress and space appear under the misalignment key on the top of the shock. Using your fingers, pinch the loop where the tails meet and tie a couple of half hitch knots on the line to hold the shock. After you release your grip on the loop, you will see the shock expand a small amount, but you should still have space (business card thickness for example) between the shock mount and misalignment key.





Step 5: You will probably need to use a flat head screw driver to slightly pry up on the bottom of the shock and remove the bolt. Then use your fingers to unscrew ONE of the top misalignment key bolts and remove the shock. You will use the second misalignment key bolt to help get the new shock in your JK easier.



Step 6: Find the parts for your specific shock (will include the misalignment key and bottom shock sleeve (on fabtech stealth for the JK I used the same part numbers that came off the old shocks). I lubed those suckers up real good to help with rust prevention and noise issues later on.

Step 7: Hand install the misalignment key into the top of the shock. You will likely only be able to get it in a small amount, but that is what the next step is for.



Step 8: Use a vise, Press (I have a 20 ton, but wanted to use somethat that most people may have access to) or a large C-Clamp, and SLOWLY press the misalignment key into the shock. It will not go all the way in. Once the vice jaws are touching both end of the key, I simply flexed back and forth to get the shock centered on the key.





Step 9: Press the bottom shock sleeve in by hand. It takes minimal effort to get it inside the bottom of the shock, especially using some type of synthetic grease.

Step 10: Mount the shock to the top mounting location and re-install the misalignment key bolt you removed earlier. DO NOT torque these down super tight yet. Let them have a little bit of play.



Step 11: line up the shock with the bottom mount and cut the wrap keep the shock compressed (**note, some manufacturers send their shocks with a metal wire holding the shock compressed, you will need to use the paracord method to compress the shock and remove that bracket. Do not remove it before you install the top in the jeep or you have made your life harder, but not impossible). You will find it easier to have the shock go higher up on the mounting bracket and use your screwdriver pry method to get it lined up and the bolt installed.



Step 12: Torque everything down and do the other side. 56 ft-lbs for bottom shock bolt and 26 ft-lbs for top mount. shock manufacturer may recommend something else, so check with them first.

**I'm limited to 15 images, so I will add a follow up to this post with the front section completed.
 

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** Continued from above:

Front Shock:

*Tire is still on and there is no jack to lift the vehicle. All work done from the ground.



Step 1: Remove the top shock bolt. You will need to use a 19mm wrench on the shock and on the top nut as well.



Step 2: Remove the bottom shock mount nut. (18mm)



Step 3: Use a screw driver to pry slightly up on bottom shock and remove the bolt.



Step 4: Use the screwdriver to get the bottom shock out of the mount and allow it to expand to it's full length, which will allow you to simply pull the shock out.

Step 5: Get the new shock and use the "paracord" press method to allow you to install the supplied bushings/isolators and mount the top. Install the correct sleeve into the bottom shock.







Step 6: Get the top installed and torqued down (26 ft-lbs). Then line up the bottom with the shock mount.

Step 7: Cut the paracord, or loosen the slack slowly (works especially well if you wrap the tail through one of your coils and use pliers to supply the pulling/loosening power.



Step 8: Use your screw driver to align the bottom shock and install the bolt.

Step 9: Torque the bottom bolt to spec (56 ft lbs).

Your done...

I hope this helps anyone that is hesitant to undertake this project at home. It is very easy and simply takes some time (took me about 1.5 hrs, but I was making sure to take pictures, etc. It could easily be done in 1 hr from the ground with no jack, air tools, etc. Using my shop and tools, I could have taken care of this in 30 minutes of less).ll if you wrap the tail through one of your coils and use pliers to supply the pulling/loosening power.
 

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Its super easy even without pictures. I didn't use para cord to hold anything together, but I did use a floor jack to lift front shock bottom close to level, then use a flathead screwdriver as a lever to move it into place. Did not need that for the rear.

The hardest was the passenger front, I ended up cutting a hole under the fuses, after failing to cut a big enough slot under neath with a Dremel style oscillating tool.

Overall easy job glad I did it myself
 

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Google it. There are a ton of videos out there. Info to note: if doing this on stock shocks the upper nuts on front are 16mm. Backs will be 16 mm unless someone changed the bolts. After market shocks are probably not 16mm Rancho's I just did have 19mm (3/4) on front.
 

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Watched a YouTube video showing what you describe. It didn't look that bad, but I thought this sounded like an option.
 

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Google it. There are a ton of videos out there. Info to note: if doing this on stock shocks the upper nuts on front are 16mm. Backs will be 16 mm unless someone changed the bolts. After market shocks are probably not 16mm Rancho's I just did have 19mm (3/4) on front.
They're stock. I have 140k on them and pot holes can bounce me half a lane over. Found some Bilsteins on Amazon that were rated pretty well.
 

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I did all mine on the ground but I did take my front fender liners off as I have Ace liners.
 

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They're stock. I have 140k on them and pot holes can bounce me half a lane over. Found some Bilsteins on Amazon that were rated pretty well.
Welcome to the Forum, from Cave Creek AZ.
 
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