Thanks to Bob Caffee for his ongoing maintenance tips.
The introduction to the tool box was on EO’s front page under the truck topics heading on February 23rd.   In the first installment we learned how to change our own fuel filters.  This time we will change our shocks (shock absorbers). Shocks should be changed every 100,000 miles or once a year. Shocks need to be changed in pairs by axle.

Most people do not know their shocks are bad as they go bad slowly and you do not notice the ride change.  OEM (original equipment manufacturer) shocks are oil filled and can leak oil down the lower body of the shock when bad.  Another way to tell if the shock is bad is by temperature, after a day of driving the lower body of the shock will be warmer than the surrounding chassis parts if the shock is working properly.  If the shock is ambient temperature it is probably not working.  Good shocks improve ride quality, tire life, and fuel mileage the more your tires run true and smooth the better the fuel mileage.

First we need to get the right parts.  Shocks come in two types, standard (oil filled) which is good or gas charged which is better.  These can be purchased from your OEM dealer or you can get the part number from them and get after market shocks which are usually cheaper and the same or better quality from NAPA or other truck parts suppliers.

Shocks are simple to change as they only have two bolts holding them in place.  Using the tools from our basic toolbox find the right sized wrench and use the adjustable wrench as  a backup, remove the nut on the top and bottom bolts turning to the left, pull the bolts out of the old shocks and reinstall in the new shocks.  Keep in mind which end is up same as the old shocks.  Install new shocks into position, reinstall nuts on bolts getting them as tight as you can turning to the right.  If you have a ½ inch drive socket set this will speed the process of removing and reinstalling nuts.  Repeat this process for other shocks you are going to change.

It will be to your advantage to us WD-40 or other penetrating oil to aid in loosening bolts.  This project ,with wrench’s should take approximately twenty to thirty minutes per shock, with sockets approximately fifteen to twenty minutes per shock.

On an M2 Freightliner shop estimate is 1 ½ hour per axle, at $90.00 dollars an hour you could save $270.00 on a three axle truck.  That is enough to get parts for the next project, more tools, or just save it!

Until next time Happy Smoother Trucking!

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