Shock Building Tips

The first step is to take all of the shock components out of their bags and organize them carefully on the table.  I typically group like parts together at this point to make it easier to inspect the parts.

When plastic parts are injected molded, the final parts usually have a small amount of flashing where they were held to the parts tree during the injection process.  This means you will need to manually inspect each plastic part for flashing, and then remove any remaining flashing using a file.  This is especially true for the shock piston, since even a small amount of flashing there can cause the shock piston to drag on the shock body (which makes the shock feel inconsistent).

If you find some flashing, use a small hand file to carefully sand away the flashing.  Be careful not to remove too much material, though.

In addition to inspecting the plastic parts, you will need to inspect the rubber shock bladders.  If there is any flashing on the edges of the bladders, it is possible the bladders will not remain seated properly during final assembly.  If you find any flashing on the edge of the rubber bladders, carefully cut the flashing away using a hobby knife.  Be extremely careful not to remove too much material.  If you remove too much material, the bladders will not seal properly and your shocks will leak out of the top.

Make sure you place the shock piston on the shock shaft with the shock number facing up.  That will make it easier for you some day down the road when you are trying to quickly figure out which shock piston you have in your car during a shock rebuild.  If you install the shock pistons with the numbers down, you will have to completely disassemble the shocks to determine which pistons are installed.

Gently slide the piston and shaft assembly up and down in the shock body.  If it feels like it is catching at all, then you need to sand the piston a bit more.

Spin the piston gently in the 2000 grit sand paper to fine sand the edge of the piston.  Then try sliding it up and down in the shock body.  Once you are done with this step, the piston should slide perfectly smoothly within the shock body.

When you start to assemble your shocks, be sure to put a little bit of shock oil on the rubber parts.  That will help keep them safe as you slide them over plastic or aluminum parts.  If you don’t place a little oil on the rubber rings, they may rip, and that would cause leaks later.

It is very important to fill your shocks with oil that does not contain air bubbles, since air bubbles will make the shocks feel inconsistent.  Start by filling the shocks to the top with shock oil.  Then slowly slide the piston up and down within the shock body. You will see some bubbles begin to rise to the surface.  If a lot of bubbles come out, the oil level will fall a bit.  When this happens, add some more sock oil to the shock.

The next step is to create a vacuum around the shocks to encourage the bubbles to quickly rise to the top.  If you do not have a vacuum tool, you can simply let them sit over night.

The next step is to install the shock bladder.  First, make sure all of the shock shafts are fully extended (pulled down).  Then set the bladder on top and then gently press down on the center of the bladder with an allen wrench.  This will push the excess oil out of shock.

Then neatly clean up the extra oil and then attach the shock cap.

Here is a picture of the shocks completely assembled.

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