Some people here said they were thinking about doing the install of shocks + springs on their s13s themselves, so here’s a DIY.
The very first thing you need to do: Locate and identify your offensive stock-sized fender gap.
Okay, now here’s a list of the tools/parts you’ll need:
4 shocks (2 front, 2 rear.duh.)
4 springs (ditto)
Jack + stands
Spring compression tool (can be picked up at any auto store. I got mine at autozone for $18)
Metric Socket and open-ended set
A pair of lockjaw or slipjoint pliers
A rubber hammer (makes things easier)
Your old suspension.You’ll need some parts from them.
1 friend to help (seriously)
Step 1: Taking a look at what you have to do
I started with the rear suspension peices.Everyone I talked to said they’re much harder than the fronts, so I figured why not get em outta the way first.
First thing to do is jack up your car, put the stands under, and take your rear wheels off.
It’s a little messy, I know, but soon we’re gonna make it beautiful.
Make sure when you set up the jack stands that you have enough room to work on the suspension.Place the jack far enough forward to be out of your way, but also far enough towards the rear so that it supports the back of the car.I put my stands right past the point where the frame rail slopes up towards the inside of the car.
Step 2: Take off the bottom bolt
On your rear shocks, there is only 1 bolt holding the bottom of the shock to the brake/hub assembly.Back that sucker out with a 17mm socket and you’re golden.
Step 3: Unbolt the shock from the top
Access to the top of the shock tower in the rear is inside the hatch through a little peep hole.Look around in the back and you’ll find it.Inside there is a black dust cover, just pull it off and we’re on the same page.
There are 2 12mm bolts holding the top of the shock in.Now, you can either try to take the carpeting off here so you’ll have better access to the bolts, or do what I did and just stick a wrench in there and get it off at like 1/3443th a turn at a time. It’s a real pain to do it through the peep hole, but I just DIDNT want to mess with all that carpet crap.It’s up to you what you want to do.
Make sure you have a friend holding the shock from the bottom when you unbolt this.The shock should still be sitting on it’s little peg, but better safe than sorry.
When you’ve got both of the top bolts out, you can now take out your shock + spring combo.It’s sitting on a little peg on the bottom (where you unbolted first).Just take your rubber hammer (if you need to), and tap it towards the center of the car.It should pop right off.Make sure you are holding the parts well when you tap them off, they’ve got some weight to em and you dont want to drop anything…
Step 4: Compress the spring and take off the hat
Okay, I didnt get a good picture of this… I forgot… but it’s pretty simple.
The tool we had to compress the spring was basically 2 clamps that grabbed onto the spring on each side and (with a socket driver) squeezed them together to compress the spring smaller.
The “hat” of the shock holds the spring on the shock when we’re not compressing it, so there is normally too much pressure there from the spring for us to just take the hat off normally: the spring would snap up (if we could get it off at all) and shoot the peices we need everywhere.
What you need to do is compress the old spring that you just took off enough so that you can move the “hat” (the disc thing at the top of the shock with the 1 bolt in the center) around freely.
Once you’ve done that you can take the hat (and it’s assorted parts) off safely.Be careful with that spring: it’s under a lot of pressure… if your compression tool unhooks for some reason it could snap up and hurt ya pretty bad.
Getting the “hat” off
The hat in the rear is held on by a single bolt at the very top.Once the spring is compressed enough, it will come off pretty easily.You need to grab onto the rod sticking through it with some pliers though first: if you dont the bolt will just spin around and never come undone.
Here’s where 2 people come in handy.Have your friend grab that top part (GENTLY!) while you take that bolt off.
Note: be SURE not to grip the top of that shaft too hard.You dont want to crimp the threads so you cant take the bolt off.You may be throwing the shocks away so you might not care, but this is something that really can bite you in the a$$.
Again, be careful with that compressed spring.
Step 5: Disassemble the old shock + spring
Once you have the “hat” unbolted, you can pull up that piece, and all it’s bushings along with it.Unless you bought replacements for some reason, you are going to need all of these parts for your new setup, so keep em organised and clean.
The spring will now just slide right off the top of the old shock.Grab ahold of it and pull it up.While you’re saving the top bushings and whatnot, also snag the little rubber coil cover things from the old spring, as well as the rubber (accordion-like) dust jacket off of the shock.You’ll need these too for your new stuff.
My dust jacket was all messed up on one of the sides.All cut up and broken in half.If yours is like this I strongly suggest picking up a new one (or at least fixing the broken one).It helps stop dust/sand/grit from getting all up inside your new equipment.A new OEM replacement from Napa was $22.00.Expensive, but ya cant go without it.
With the spring off the old shock, we can really get a good look at how much better the AGX look over stock.
Step 6: Putting the new shocks together
Take those little rubber coil-covers that you stole off of the old springs and put them on your new ones, they’ll help reduce wear and noise while driving.
Next, remove the spring compressors off of the old springs and put them on the new springs.Just like you had to compress the spring to get the hat off the old set, you need to do the same to put the hat back on the new set. There are a few gaskets, bushings, and whatnot that compose the top “hat” peice that you need to put on your new shocks.Remember the order that they go on
Step 7: lining up the hat to fit your car
Not knowing about this step cost us at least a half hour in wasted time trying to figure out how to line up the shock + hat.
See, the shock bolts in on the bottom pretty simply… the peg just goes through the hole (with the adjustment dial facing outwards), and that’s basically it.The top “hat,” however, with it’s 2 bolts that go through the top of the shock tower, must line up with the holes already drilled in the car.You changed the stock position of that hat when you took it off of the old suspension, and now it’s all messed up.
We found this out the hard way, putting the shock on and finding out that it doesnt fit in the top.Here’s how to set it straight the first time:
I couldnt find a good way to take a picture of this so I’ll try to explain it well.The bottom of the shock looks sorta like a doughnut, its round and it has one hole in the middle.If you look down on that doughnut from the top though, it looks almost square-ish, cause the rounded edges look like corners.
Looking down on that point, you line up the 2 top bolts with those 2 corners.It will be either once side or another, you can figure out which by putting the shock towards the car and seeing in which direction the points line up.
You can pretty much eyeball it: it’s not that hard.Just make sure the position of the hat doesn’t move when you remove the spring compressors.
The assembled shock + spring
When you’ve got it all lined up and bolted down, you can take off the spring compressors. NOTE:That dust jacket (the long rubber thing that goes over the shock’s rod).. I forgot to mention that it should be held down on the bottom part with a zip tie.If you dont hold it down like that it’ll just coil back up: you’ll see when you do it.You need to have that dust jacket on before you put the spring over the shock and the hat on.
Step 8: Getting the new setup on the car
This is the easy part.
Slide the new shock + spring combo up through the hole and into place just the way the old shock was setup.With KYB AGXes like I have, the adjustment dial needs to face out towards the wheel.
Get the bolt studs up through the top holes, and thread on the bolts fingertight so that the shock can dangle there while you work on the bottom first.
When you do this, you’ll notice that the shock hangs a little lower than where it needs to be to line up with the peg it sits on.This is normal, the shock is just extended out a little bit.We pushed the shock up to where it needs to be using the car jack and a block of wood.It pushes up VERY easily here, I wouldnt reccomend doing it any other way simply because this took like 1 minute total.
Here’s a neat trick to save time:when you’ve got the shock pushed up far enough and lined up with the peg, just roll the jack back towards you so that the shock just slides onto the peg.This is much easier than trying to jimmy it on there with a hammer or whatever, I was suprised how easy this was.
Once you’ve got it on there, snug the bottom bolt + washer on, but dont torque it down yet.The car needs to be sitting on the ground with all it’s weight down before you tighten things up.Just like putting wheels on a car.
Speaking of that, put the wheels back on, you’re done with the back end!!Make sure you’re all cleaned up in the back, bolts snugged a little to stay on, and you’re ready to move on to the front!
…And they said this was hard! The front is even easier!
Step 9: The front
Putting on the front involves pretty much the same techniques as the back, so I wont spend so much time detailing every single step.
Step 10: Removing the front suspension
The fronts are held on by 5 bolts.There are 3 at the top of the shock tower (the ones you see every time you pop your hood), and 2 down near your rotors.
You’ll need 2 wrenches to get these off- you gotta grab each on one side and turn it from the other.
The brake line
The brake fluid line is threaded through the shock’s main plate.It’s just held in by a little clip and set in this groove.Pop the clip out with a screwdriver or whatever and pull the brake line free.
Once you’ve got the brake line free, undo the last of the bolts holding the shock on, and it’ll drop right out: and I do mean DROP right out.Make sure you’ve got a good hold of that assembly, cause it’s even heavier than the back, and you dont want to just let it fall down.
Step 11: Pulling the fronts apart
You must be getting pretty good at this now, having done both the rears already.The front shocks come apart pretty much the same way the backs did: compress the springs with your tool and pull the “hat” assembly off.You’ll need the rubber coil-cover thing again, as well as the hat parts.
Now is also a good chance to wipe down those parts that you’re gonna re-use.For some reason the fronts were WAY dirtier than the rear peices were… there was sand all up in the hat peices that had to go before I put it all back together… watch out for dirt in yours, too.
Step 12: Putting your new stuff together
The new shocks go together the same way as well: install your dust cover, compress the new spring, place it on top of the new shock, put the hat on, bolt it down, and bolt it back onto the car.
The front shocks dont need to be pressed up like the rears, they fit right in nicely because the hub/caliper assembly moves pretty freely.
Also, in case you dont have a book, the 2 bolts on the bottom of the shock need to be torqued to 85 ft lbs, and the tops are good at about 18-20 ft lbs.Dont torque them down untll the car is standing off the jacks, though.
Step 13: Stickers and admiring
If you like em (I do!), put the AGX stickers on the shocks and take a step back..So much better.
Set the car back down and admire it’s new height, then go around and tighten all of the suspension bolts up to specs.You’re pretty much done now!
I recommend going to get an alignment at this point as well… they say you should always get one after doing suspension work:I’m getting mine tomorrow.
I hope this helps somebody.If there are any other questions about my install feel free to email me, the addy is in my profile.