Car Parts Shopping 101: Finding the Right Shock Conversion Kit
Replacing the broken suspension of a car or truck with an electric or air system is very expensive. There are too many sensitive parts involved that are too risky to tamper. For this, suspension manufacturers provide kits that do away with the costly air or electric shocks, and replace them with a more manageable and mechanical spring system. Here is a short introduction on how you can go with buying these conversion kits for your car.
Two-piece or four-piece kit?
Kits are usually sold in sets of two or four, depending on which suspensions you need to replace. A four-piece set has one for every wheel, each labeled as to which end and side it's supposed to go. For two-piece kits, read the label properly to see if it's for the front, or rear wheels. Shocks are designed specifically to suit the different load demands of the car ends.
What's in these kits?
These conversion kits can include either a coil spring-only set (for rear wheels), an absorber-only set (for rear wheels), or a combination spring and absorber set (available for one end, or all wheels).
- Coil spring-only: A spring suspension gives the car the ability to tilt upward or downward. This type does a good job of giving the car a smooth ride when travelling on uneven roads instead of being too stiff and bumpy. While they may be alright for rear wheels, the tail end may become too bouncy for your liking.
- Absorber-only: This type differs from springs because it absorbs and lessens the bouncy movement of the car. However, it might have difficulty keeping up with extra bumpy terrain.
- Combination: Put the two types together, and you get an ideal suspension for your car. One will adjust the wheels to the road's surface, while the other lessens the bouncing. If your car can be fitted with this type, go for it!
Conversion kits are a great and inexpensive fix for your car. The only downside is that any major changes such as these on a car are worthless if you are going for a full original restoration.
Coils In, Air Out: Installing Shock Conversion Kits
Replace busted air springs with quality shock conversion kits. These kits are great because of the low cost of installation, and the great improvement it can do to your car. Here is a simple guide to help you go through the whole process.
Difficulty level: Moderate
- Floor jack
- Jack stands
- Wrench set
- Vice grip
- Shock conversion kit
Step 1: Turn off the engine. Disconnect the battery. Raise the car with a floor jack. Secure it after with jack stands.
Step 2: Remove the wheels of the suspension you will replace. Disconnect the axle to the tire.
Step 3: Unplug and dispose the air solenoid to remove air from the old air spring. Pull out the clip holding the spring on its place. Take out the airbag from the car. Check the mounting area and remove any clips and retainers left behind.
Step 4: If you are installing coil springs, simply push the coil upwards to where the airbag was fitted. Pull the axle down if you need more space. Repeat the procedure for the other tires.
Step 5: If your kit has shock absorbers, it could either be the standalone type, or a coil-over type. Prepare it according to the specifications on its instruction manual. Insert the shocks on the same mounting area where the airbags used to be. Secure it with any screws and nuts that come with the kit. Repeat the procedure for the other tires.
Step 6: Once all shocks are done, connect the suspension to the axle, return the tires, and lower the car. Reconnect the battery to start and test the car. Check the feel of the car and for any alignment issues.
The whole repair will take about 1 hour.