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Jeep Wrangler YJ Shock Absorber and Strut Assembly

Tips on Checking and Maintaining the Jeep Wrangler (YJ) Shock Absorber and Strut Assembly

Maintaining the Jeep Wrangler (YJ) shock and strut assembly is not just about bringing your truck to the auto repair shop for its routine checkup. In fact, a large portion of maintaining the shocks and struts should fall largely on their owners. With proper care and use, these key components of your truck suspension should be able to provide optimum performance for a longer period and keep costly repairs to a minimum.

Shock and strut assembly maintenance may not be easy, but it's not that difficult either and requires tools that can be found in most garages. And to help you, here are some easy, yet effective tips on how to check and maintain the Jeep Wrangler (YJ) shock and strut assembly.

  • Avoid using your shocks and struts beyond their intended applications.

The stock shocks and struts of a Jeep Wrangler are durable enough to withstand a drive through a rocky trail, but don't expect them to tackle an uphill trek through a mountain without getting damaged. If you are planning on using your truck in intense off-road conditions, consider getting heavy-duty shocks and other suspension components that are specially designed for such environments.

  • Do the bounce test.

One of the easiest methods to determine if the shocks and struts in your truck are working as intended is through the "bounce test". Simply push down on either the front or the rear as hard as you can and quickly release. If the truck does not bounce when you remove your hands, the shocks and struts are still okay. But if there is a noticeable bounce once weight is removed, more than likely that the shocks or struts are not working properly.

  • Spray the shocks with soapy water to check for air leaks.

Detecting air leaks in shocks and struts is not easy at first glance, but this can be made easy with a spray bottle filled with water and liquid dish soap. Spray the shocks and struts as well as the connecting lines or hoses thoroughly; if air bubbles seep from areas that have been sprayed, it's likely that it's caused by a leak.

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  • Pointers to Consider when Installing a Jeep Wrangler (YJ) Shock and Strut Assembly

    Whether you've got an OEM replacement to an ailing shock and strut assembly or you're upgrading to a high performance aftermarket kit, installing new shock and struts in your Jeep Wrangler (YJ) should be done with utmost care and precision. The shock and strut assembly is a key component of your truck's steering and suspension system, so any mistakes could lead to dire consequences on the road.

    Installing a new Jeep Wrangler (YJ) shock and strut assembly is best left to an expert mechanic, but if you have the skills and tools necessary, it is quite possible to do it by yourself. In this guide, we've listed some items you need to consider when installing such components:

    Tip #1: Secure the vehicle properly before starting.

    Installing shocks and struts will require you to spend a lot of time underneath your lifted Jeep Wrangler, so it's only right that your truck is safely secured. Aside from the obvious tasks of putting jack stands on the frame, turning off the ignition, and activating the emergency brake, we also recommend disconnecting the battery cables and locking the steering wheel. For the latter, you can wrap the driver's side seatbelt on the wheel to prevent it from accidentally pulling to one side while you're under the vehicle.

    Tip #2: Be careful when compressing and releasing the coil springs.

    The coil springs can store a large amount of energy when compressed, causing injury if not handled properly when removing the struts. Mechanics usually have a coil spring compressor tool that's specially designed to compress and hold the coil spring safely, so be sure to invest in this tool before you start.

    Tip #3: When lowering the vehicle to the ground, let the truck bounce up and down.

    Lightly bouncing the vehicle will allow the shocks to settle and to check whether the ride height is even and not leaning on one side. If you notice that your Wrangler is bouncing at an off-angle with its new struts and shocks, check the mounting of the shocks and struts again.

    Tip #4: Get the truck aligned once the installation is finished.

    Even if you've lined up those struts and shocks perfectly in your truck, you will still need to get the wheels aligned in the shop. Misaligned wheels could lead to uneven tire wear and poor steering and overall handling performance, so it's best to have them checked once the new shocks and struts assembly is in place.