Before the car was taken off the road, it was fitted with the uprated KYB UltraSR shock absorbers. The back had been clunking a bit, which is characteristic of some KYB rear shocks. Knowing that the rears needed to be replaced and since the roads I’d be using the car on aren’t the best, I opted for the standard setup, which is the KYB Excel-G shocks. There was no point leaving a harder, worn shock on the front and a new, softer set at the back so the decision was taken to fit Excel-G’s all round, and use them with the existing springs which were in good condition. New top mounts all round while I was in that far seemed like a good idea, and new dust boots to keep everything in good nick.
Removing the struts is fairly easy – I usually try to crack (not remove fully!) the top nut on the shock while the strut is in place and you can use the weight of the car and the fact that the shock is in place as leverage. After that, jack up, support, undo the big 19mm bolts at the hub, then unscrew the small nuts that attach the strut to the top mount. After that, it’s time to attach two of the most important tools I own, the spring clamps. I always take my time to make sure these are on right, given that I’d like to hold onto my teeth and prefer my jaw where it is now, in one piece. Once they’re on right, it’s time to undo the top nut, nice and slowly, until usually with one foot on the shock, the spring comes adrift in a nice controlled fashion. I always do this by hand to make sure everything is smooth and controlled rather than using power tools like an impact wrench.
Then it was time to build it all up again, with the new top mounts and dust boots, only doing the final tightening and torquing up at the very end. The end result is very pleasing indeed, as the picture shows. It’s especially nice, sitting in the cleaned up wheel arch and tied to the coated chassis. When I was undoing the front shock, I noticed the ball joint was kaput so that was replaced after the car was put back on the road, along with the drop link.