Shocking

Installed shock absorbers all around this weekend and it was the smoothest, if one of the most strenuous jobs I’ve tackled. I used Monroe shocks, which I found for sale, sealed in the box, but second-hand on Craigslist. Despite some chatter on-line about the front shocks not fitting correctly, mine went in just fine after only a little head scratching.

Old vs. New: Front
Old shock on the right, new on the left. No telling if the old ones were designed for the T-bird.

The front shocks in the car looked nothing like the shocks I bought. To make matters worse, the instructions and diagrams in the manual didn’t look like either one. After double-checking the item number online (and confirming it was correct), I followed the instructions that came with the new units. Once I got that figured out, the installation went smoothly.

In the rear, the old shocks came out easily. To get the new ones in that space, I had to compress them–but the Monroes must have a spring in them, ’cause they didn’t want to stay compressed for long. Getting them installed was a muscle-building isometric  exercise of holding the shock completely compressed while trying to guide it into place. What a relief it was to see them finally snap in!

Three Studs
These 3 studs hold the lower end of the front shocks to the A-arm. Best part of this project? All the nuts and bolts could be reached with a socket wrench.

I expected a softer ride with the new shocks, but what I got was better control and a little more firmness. Not complaining–the ride is very nice.

Unfortunately, the nasty squeak in the front end was not significantly improved–something I was hoping for. For that, I’ve got a can of special grease on the way.

10 thoughts on “Shocking”

  1. Great info and pics. I think if you jack up the rear of the car , it makes it easier to install the rear shocks. The axle will hang down and give you space and length for the uncompressed shock. Tim

  2. I have been enjoying your posts. I too rebuilt the 390, installed new springs and shocks all the way around, rebuilt tranny, new trunk and gas tank, upgraded the brakes to a dual with new lines, new steering pump, two new Californian doors and front fenders … and then when I took it in to have the rear quarters redone we discovered that the rear torsion boxes were totally rusted through. So, now it is being offered as a parts car. Sad, but that’s life. Keep the posts coming. Cheers. Michael.

  3. Michael,that’s a pity. Sounds like an opportunity maybe to find a nice, cheap, rust-free shell and move some of those nice parts over.

  4. What did you use to compress the front springs, I have heard that the springs are so strong that a normal spring compressor won’t work, or shouldn’t be used?

    1. No need to compress or remove the springs just to change the shocks, though I expect to do this later in the year when I change out bushings in the front. There’s a great, recent discussion of compressors on the VTCI site. Its’ in the bullet bird section, but applies to flairs as well.

  5. I’m in process of upgrading the Master cylinder with a dual, and need to move the cross brace bracket thing out of the way just to get mc on. Not sure what I need to loosen/remove to be able to do this. Should I remove bottom 3 bolts to pull the whole shock + brace thing out? Or should I just try to get the top strut bolt off so the bracket pulls off?
    Any advice appreciated!

    1. You should be able to remove the cross brace by taking out the two bolts at the firewall, then removing the two nut/bolt combinations at the other end of the brace. No need to remove the top of the shock tower.

      Good luck!

      1. I already have the cross brace out, but to actually get the mc onto booster, because of long bolts, I need to temporarily remove top of shock tower as well 🙁

    2. Update – I have not been able to get the top nut off the shock, finally gave up. From what I’ve read an impact wrench is only solution.
      However, I did manage to get my master cylinder on by loosening the booster and tilting it down, then attaching mc and re-tightening booster, yay! But man, it’s a tight fit…

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