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Shock Absorbers
#1
First of many questions I'm sure. My 73 Q code Mach 1 has air shocks in the rear. The last time I dealt with these kind of shocks was on a 68 Mustang I owned in high school! It's been a while since then.
I called the original owner (on the 73) who had no real explanation as to why he went that route. He says the leaf springs were replaced. People who have looked at the car seemed to be pretty negative on air shock. I assume that this is because they probably make for a harsher ride and I would imagine they could fail if the air bladder goes? Should I replace these with conventional shocks? They are certainly inexpensive enough. If I go conventional which brand is best suited for this car and is this a change I can do in my driveway? I don't have access to a lift but can get the car up a bit on ramps - but I am assuming I need to support the rear axle? I would prefer not to have the car land on my chest. Are the top of the shocks accessed from inside the car?
Thanks for your help.
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#2
I hate air shock that's my personal opinion. The first car I owned had air shocks they leaked and where just generally crap. Is the car going to be a cruiser or are you going to sent it fast around bends or hammer the strip as your end purpose my influence the kind of shock you need.

He has all the vices I admire and none of the virtues I despise
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#3
Luke;191660 Wrote:I hate air shock that's my personal opinion. The first car I owned had air shocks they leaked and where just generally crap. Is the car going to be a cruiser or are you going to sent it fast around bends or hammer the strip as your end purpose my influence the kind of shock you need.
On my 68 they worked ok for several years but I have seen posts on this forum that these shocks can even damage floor pans. Hopefully, that has not happened to my car yet. I should have mentioned. This is just a cruiser. Trying to keep it stock as possible and we don't have too many interesting roads with curves around here anyway!

Luke;191660 Wrote:I hate air shock that's my personal opinion. The first car I owned had air shocks they leaked and where just generally crap. Is the car going to be a cruiser or are you going to sent it fast around bends or hammer the strip as your end purpose my influence the kind of shock you need.
On my 68 they worked ok for several years but I have seen posts on this forum that these shocks can even damage floor pans. Hopefully, that has not happened to my car yet. I should have mentioned. This is just a cruiser. Trying to keep it stock as possible and we don't have too many interesting roads with curves around here anyway!
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#4
I had air shocks on my 73 but they are long gone. The mounting point on the body was not designed for the stress of those shocks when you use them to force the rear up. Besides that they would leak and I'd have to fill them all the time. If you plan it as a daily driver and have no clearance problems with the car sitting too low the I think any gas filled shock would be ok. If you need more height then new leaf springs might be needed or shackles with a little extra lift.

As far as installation a pair of jack stands on the rear is all that is needed. Depending on the back seat, folding or standard the top of the shocks are accessed from inside of the car. If you have the fold down seat it's under the last panel. Not sure about the fixed seat model but I am guessing that you have to remove the seat back.

Good luck.

-john
(jbojo)
351C 4V cc heads, 10.5 : 1 CR, 290 Herbert cam, Flat top forged pistons, forged connecting rods, Atomic efi,
C6 with Gear Vendor overdrive, 3.89 Tru Trac, Hooker Super Comp with 2 1/2" Pypes Exhaust.        

Some Mod pictures can be seen at:

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#5
    Any of the KYB shocks work fine for an inexpensive non-adjustable shock. I've used 3 or 4 sets of Gas Adjusts on restoration projects and they have worked fine. Some people prefer the GR-2s. I'd suggest using a floor jack AND jack stands rather than backing onto ramps. Do one side at a time, leave the wheel on and use the floor jack as a back-up safety item. The top of the shock is accessed from the trunk, remove two oval shaped plastic plugs. This tool is used to hold the shock while the nut is tightened. Other tools can be used, this just makes the job a little easier without resorting to using vise grips. K-D part number 465. Good luck and be safe. Chuck
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#6
Mine had what was left of its air shocks (the shocks themselves, and the broken tubing leading to them). The air shocks must've been cranked up too hard, since the previous owners tried to 'fix' the ruined upper mounts by forcing some 3/16" flat stock into the ruined holes to take even more damage.

The damage I discovered warranted replacing the shock cross-member... which are not reproduced. Going on the advice of QCode351Mach (Scott), I sectioned a replacement crossmember from a '69-'70 model - so now I have upper shock mount pockets again.

Swapping shocks is pretty easy - just as Chuck outlined. And yes, for the fixed seat cars, it'll be easier to remove the rear seat back and work through that area [than squeezing into the trunk and under the package tray].

Good luck!

Eric

[Image: mach1sig2.gif]
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#7
Good tip Eric! I sometimes forget that not everyone is "trunk sized" as I am.Smile Chuck
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#8
Thanks everyone. Please keep the advice coming.
I am not completely inept but this would be my first time dealing with shocks and more to the point, anything mechanical on this car!
My concern is exactly what a few of you mentioned. I cant help wondering if the PO used the air shocks to compensate for some short coming like bad leaf springs. Of course, if that is the case, I can attempt that install as well next. Only one way to really find out. If that is the worst thing I have to do on this car I am lucky.
I am more concerned about any possible damage to the mounting points which will make things a bit more complicated. Especially up top like one of you found on your car.
I like the stance of the car now but it is probably incorrect. My car is pretty much level in the front and back.
I suppose I can start by letting whatever air is in the shocks out to see if the car sags terribly and that might give us a clue as to the condition of the leaf springs?
Also, I don't mind spending some money on the suspension as shocks are relatively in expensive in the scheme of things so whatever you think will give the car the best ride and support in everyday street use I will go for.
I have the fold down seat so it sounds like I have to take off interior panels on both sides. Also sounds like the hardest part is getting the car lifted right and then, barring any problems removing the old hardware everything should bolt right up. I do want to get those old shocks out sooner rather than later although right now they don't seem to be leaking.

c9zx;191685 Wrote:Any of the KYB shocks work fine for an inexpensive non-adjustable shock. I've used 3 or 4 sets of Gas Adjusts on restoration projects and they have worked fine. Some people prefer the GR-2s. I'd suggest using a floor jack AND jack stands rather than backing onto ramps. Do one side at a time, leave the wheel on and use the floor jack as a back-up safety item. The top of the shock is accessed from the trunk, remove two oval shaped plastic plugs. This tool is used to hold the shock while the nut is tightened. Other tools can be used, this just makes the job a little easier without resorting to using vise grips. K-D part number 465. Good luck and be safe. Chuck
You know I was already reaching for those vise grips. Smile
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#9
Twins;191693 Wrote:Thanks everyone. Please keep the advice coming.
I am not completely inept but this would be my first time dealing with shocks and more to the point, anything mechanical on this car!
My concern is exactly what a few of you mentioned. I cant help wondering if the PO used the air shocks to compensate for some short coming like bad leaf springs. Of course, if that is the case, I can attempt that install as well next. Only one way to really find out. If that is the worst thing I have to do on this car I am lucky.
I am more concerned about any possible damage to the mounting points which will make things a bit more complicated. Especially up top like one of you found on your car.
I like the stance of the car now but it is probably incorrect. My car is pretty much level in the front and back.
I suppose I can start by letting whatever air is in the shocks out to see if the car sags terribly and that might give us a clue as to the condition of the leaf springs?
Also, I don't mind spending some money on the suspension as shocks are relatively in expensive in the scheme of things so whatever you think will give the car the best ride and support in everyday street use I will go for.
I have the fold down seat so it sounds like I have to take off interior panels on both sides. Also sounds like the hardest part is getting the car lifted right and then, barring any problems removing the old hardware everything should bolt right up. I do want to get those old shocks out sooner rather than later although right now they don't seem to be leaking.

c9zx;191685 Wrote:Any of the KYB shocks work fine for an inexpensive non-adjustable shock. I've used 3 or 4 sets of Gas Adjusts on restoration projects and they have worked fine. Some people prefer the GR-2s. I'd suggest using a floor jack AND jack stands rather than backing onto ramps. Do one side at a time, leave the wheel on and use the floor jack as a back-up safety item. The top of the shock is accessed from the trunk, remove two oval shaped plastic plugs. This tool is used to hold the shock while the nut is tightened. Other tools can be used, this just makes the job a little easier without resorting to using vise grips. K-D part number 465. Good luck and be safe. Chuck
You know I was already reaching for those vise grips. Smile
While vise grips have their uses, they seem to be mis-used often. As far as you reaching for them, I do have some "distant viewing" capability.Tongue Chuck
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#10
Lose the airshocks, they can cause damage to the chassis structure.

I'm with Chuck on the KYB gasAjust. I love them, the ride is modern car firm.

Jeff T.

Low buck, touring style, '73 Convertible "rolling restoration", 351c, 2v heads with a shave and a haircut, Performer intake, Holley 650(ish), roller rockers, screw in studs, guideplates, stainless valves, Duraspark / Motorsports MSD, T-5 conversion. 1-1/8" front, 3/4" rear swaybars KYB shocks and some home brewed subframe connectors. Future plans; JGC steering box, Cobra brakes and... paint, interior, etc.

When I die I want to die like grandpa, peacefully in my sleep... not screaming, like his passenger.

[Image: 1_12_09_14_10_15_11.png]
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