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Rear Shock Installation Major Upgrade Mod

Discussion in '5th Gen 4Runners (2010-2024)' started by jstam316, Jan 23, 2023.

  1. Jan 23, 2023 at 7:06 PM
    #1
    jstam316

    jstam316 [OP] New Guy

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    (warning: title & post is abundant with sarcasm. & see pics for the "mod")
    This weekend while finally deleting my XREAS and installing ORP take-offs with a friend we had fun breezing through the system delete, both fronts removal, then install+reassembly, but then we went to the rear... We're no mechanics at all, but felt great to this point & we thought we had saved the easy part for last. Our elation quickly turned to frustration as those rear top shock nuts which are barely accessible fought against our wrenches, even Liquid Wrench. As they loosen they become increasingly more difficult to reach as they move up on the bolt, up behind the fender liner (or is that splash guard? forgive my ignorance). They were seriously barely accessible for our normal size hands, if only we had those small burger king hands. Bonus: the rear shocks try to spin while you do this too. Well, after frustratingly finally successfully removing both rear shocks, which we thought would be the easiest part of our day, we decided to take out our frustration by using an underpowered multitool (thank you harbor freight) so that this wouldn't be a problem during the install this time nor for any future work done. So, with these pictures below, please observe my "Rear Shock Installation Major Upgrade Mod". Are they different shapes on left/right? Very much so. But can you fit a box-end ratcheting wrench easily on top now? Very much so. Plus, with some layers of surface shield, mud, dirt, etc. It'll look OEM in no time haha!

    Unfortunately, this was the small hurdle we faced during the "this will be easy" comedic rear shock swap. I might write up the other issue too whenever I start a build thread to document my minor mods. In the end, when you're making garage memories with a good friend, on a vehicle you appreciate, and you still end up getting all the work done by the end of the day, that's a great way to spend a day.

    TLDR: see pics. cut the fender liner/splash guard above the rear shock nut so that you can easily access with a wrench, especially box ratcheting makes life much easier during rear shock swap.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 23, 2023
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  2. Jan 23, 2023 at 7:10 PM
    #2
    jstam316

    jstam316 [OP] New Guy

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    Someday I'll figure out how or if it's possible to make the pictures not post huge like that.
     
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  3. Jan 23, 2023 at 7:12 PM
    #3
    DIRTRCR13

    DIRTRCR13 New Member

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    Use Thumbnail version...

    This is fairly common to do to help with removal/ install of the rear shocks, as you found out. Ive seen a few that were way worse than yours. But hey, if it works!
     
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  4. Jan 23, 2023 at 7:15 PM
    #4
    Slopemaster

    Slopemaster Slope Survivalist

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    I’ve never messed with that but your not alone. Think it takes just the right kinda wrench. Notching out the area makes sense but my only concern would be compromising the fender/body seam weld.
     
  5. Jan 23, 2023 at 7:16 PM
    #5
    jstam316

    jstam316 [OP] New Guy

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    hahaha found out you just don't click anything and it uses them as attachments and I can edit the post too! sweet! Also, I didn't know it's common because I hadn't seen anyone else do it in my thread searching before this job, but wow do I understand why it's common, such a pain to access!
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2023
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  6. Jan 23, 2023 at 7:21 PM
    #6
    DIRTRCR13

    DIRTRCR13 New Member

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    Im an electrician and still shock myself. It happens to the best of us!
     
  7. Jan 23, 2023 at 7:21 PM
    #7
    jstam316

    jstam316 [OP] New Guy

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    I did think about that a bit before going ahead, but I thought maybe with less than probably 2-3" of metal moved it shouldn't harm much at all? but I really don't know haha
     
  8. Jan 24, 2023 at 3:19 PM
    #8
    McSpazatron

    McSpazatron New Member

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    :bowdown:

    Rear shock theft is on the rise. You just made it easier to steal. ;)


    No need to be shocked at yourself. Honestly, everybody get’s surprised at their own shortcomings at some point.:laughing:

    Sorry for the bad jokes…couldn’t resist just going with the current. It’s probably just a phase I’m in, it will pass.




    :anonymous:
     
  9. Jan 24, 2023 at 3:52 PM
    #9
    beedee

    beedee SR5 Peon

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    Way to dampen the mood of the thread. :rimshot:
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2023
  10. Jan 24, 2023 at 7:13 PM
    #10
    jstam316

    jstam316 [OP] New Guy

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    hahaha love the pun action here. Fortunately, my new struts are only mere stock suspension, which according to the online 4runner world rarely even seem worth selling as I hear many folks just stash em or trash em. Anywho, keep the puns coming :woot:
     
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  11. Jan 24, 2023 at 8:55 PM
    #11
    glwood54

    glwood54 Stop making me buy stuff!

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    What year model did the stock OR suspension come from?

    FYI, when I put on my Eibach shocks, the rear stockers gave me the same problem, and my truck was only a year old at the time. I did similar to you, cutting a notch there, only much smaller. I just needed enough room to get another wrench in there to hold the shock rod from turning while loosening the nut. I learned later I could have held the shock body with a pipe wrench in order to loosen that nut. Live and learn...I never mentioned the notch in my install thread, as I was a bit ashamed I couldn't figure out how to loosen that nut without cutting something.:mad:
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2023
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  12. Jan 24, 2023 at 9:31 PM
    #12
    McSpazatron

    McSpazatron New Member

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    Are we talking vocation-based punnery?

    I bought Dobinsons IMS front and rear to do my lift, and got a quote to get them installed.

    But after hearing what they wanted, the decision to DYI was made in a flash. Too much money, screw that noise! Yes, it was a snap judgement, but the highlight was that it was a chance to develop my wrenching skills. On the other hand, making mistakes could expose me to danger. Oh well. Sometimes you shoot from the hip.

    Anyway, I focused my efforts and finished the front coilovers easily. Like you, I had the image that the rear shocks would be light work. I struggled with the small aperture to reach the top bolt too, but managed to spool them off without cropping any steel.

    This all sounds like the install was the picture of perfection? Well, to this point, it was.

    But I kid you not… as I finished the entire installation, on the last shock, tightening the last bolt, on the LAST and FINAL TURN of the wrench !!!!!!….it slipped off that fricken top nut, and my hand shot straight into that damn pinch weld, slicing my knuckle wide open!:rofl:

    I usually whine and cuss like a baby in situations like this. But my brother-in-law and a friend were over helping me when that happened. I’ll have you know, despite the bleeding, I was well-composed.

    :rimshot:

    moral of the story? Um, not sure…
     
  13. Jan 25, 2023 at 8:02 AM
    #13
    jstam316

    jstam316 [OP] New Guy

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    It was from a '22 with 7 total miles, felt like sweet deal for me who wasn't looking to lift. Anything was an "upgrade" to my completely dead XREAS.
    And yeah my trucks coming on 10 years ('14) so I suppose it's nuts were a bit further aged haha. Holding the shock body was necessary me but still needed more help for my situation. Haha, I understand in a forum of enthusiasts the hesitation, but as a relative newbie to wrenching, I'll be the first to admit my hack-job :D. Next time the tires come off I will likely smooth out the cuts but man, if it's me changing the shocks again whether I upgrade or wait another 50k+ I think I'll be glad I notched those spots.
     
  14. Jan 25, 2023 at 10:37 AM
    #14
    jstam316

    jstam316 [OP] New Guy

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    Moral of the story: it's not over till cleanup is finished hahaha oh and it's not real wrenching unless something goes wrong?? Man, that's unbelievable it was on your last turn, I can't imagine that happening in real-time.

    Yeah I was in the same boat with finances, seeing that quote and then seeing it as an opportunity to work on the skill. In the end, it really was fun doing it myself & spending time with a friend! As per the small aperture up top, my pride made me take the bolts OFF without cutting, but once I got them off I decided I wasn't playing the game twice, and the cutting was prior to install haha. Thanks for sharing your story, good to hear I'm not the only struggler ha.
     
  15. Jan 25, 2023 at 12:00 PM
    #15
    glwood54

    glwood54 Stop making me buy stuff!

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    Agreed on expecting issues! In my case, I had actually gotten a great quote for the installation, but mine fell smack into the few months after COVID hit, and the shop who quoted the installation was short staffed, and out weeks on scheduling. So there I was, sitting at home due to our office being closed, parts sitting there staring at me, so I said "I'm going for it", broke out the tools and proceeded to do it myself. Took me a day and a half, mostly due to the rear shocks, but by George, I got it done.

    Some choice expletives were probably still wafting through the air around my neighborhood for a few days.
     
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  16. Jan 25, 2023 at 1:25 PM
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    McSpazatron

    McSpazatron New Member

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    lol, yup…it was literally the turn to finalize the torque (by feel). Probably because of the excitement of finishing up the install, and having good buddies there to bear witness lol.

    Seem to remember commenting on on how the install went off without a hitch about the time that happened. Not sure if I ever verbalized it though haha.
     
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  17. Jan 25, 2023 at 1:33 PM
    #17
    McSpazatron

    McSpazatron New Member

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    By the way, not gonna lie…I’m a bit disappointed your post didnt maintain the pun format.


    :laugh:
     
  18. Jan 25, 2023 at 1:43 PM
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    BazookaJeff

    BazookaJeff New Member

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    For the record installing my 4runner's lift was so much easier than replacing the shocks on my daughter's 2000 Camry. You actually have to remove the back seat to get to three still impossible-to-reach top shock nuts with an open-ended wrench for about one hundred turns each.
     
  19. Jan 25, 2023 at 2:00 PM
    #19
    jstam316

    jstam316 [OP] New Guy

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    In retrospect, I should've done better. Opportunities were missed lol
     
  20. Jan 25, 2023 at 3:23 PM
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    McSpazatron

    McSpazatron New Member

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    Hey man, I get it. Sometimes we miss the shot. :p
     
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  21. Jan 25, 2023 at 5:31 PM
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    wdsteven

    wdsteven New Member

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    Oh You just made me have a Shiver! I'll never forget the absolute Joy of get kicked on my arse by doing a 460VAC lag to ground I was ready to Kill the SOB who ran a live second Unmarked 3 Phase into the Same box on a different disconnect than the main one for that box. I was in it removing old wires, I did check all cables for power all clear my disconnect locked out then someone turned on the Unknown Disconnect that was 20 foot away and lit me up!
     
  22. Jan 25, 2023 at 5:37 PM
    #22
    wdsteven

    wdsteven New Member

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    Just take time to clean it good paint it and seal it up make sure there are no gaps for water and dirt to sit in.
     
  23. Jan 25, 2023 at 8:31 PM
    #23
    jstam316

    jstam316 [OP] New Guy

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    That’s the plan, soon! and I’ll also be starting with Surface Shield this year, so I’ll be sure to get that area also to prevent rust.
     
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  24. Jan 28, 2023 at 10:04 AM
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    MAXIM

    MAXIM New Member

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    The little flat shaft area above shock upper nut is to small (9mm) to obtain meaningful hold if the nut seized up due to corrosion or just age. Six point box end combination wrench and large channel lock curved jaw pliers or good strap wrench to TURN shock's BODY while only HOLDING top NUT from turning is the ticket in that tight area without needing to cut away body. There should be no issues with your solution, just throw some primer, paint and undercoating on the cut but there is always a better way.
     
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  25. Jan 28, 2023 at 8:00 PM
    #25
    jstam316

    jstam316 [OP] New Guy

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    Yep! We were able to remove both struts by doing just what you said, no cuts needed! Definitely could've avoided cuts for re-install, bbuuttt, we decided it was gonna make life much easier to do the cut and since no harm done I'm glad we did now.
     
  26. Jan 30, 2023 at 4:59 PM
    #26
    3JOH22A

    3JOH22A Toyota Gigolo

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    There are several Youtube videos on this. As you loosen the top nut, hammer on the shock body to move it down. That'll keep the nut exposed for the wrench to fit.

    Northern shops often don't even bother with a wrench. They torch the top stud and nut in one shot...
     
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  27. Jan 30, 2023 at 8:19 PM
    #27
    jstam316

    jstam316 [OP] New Guy

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    Thanks for that info, hopefully someone else approaching this job finds your tip! I answered a few others to say that we didn't have much trouble with removal and definitely could have completed installation without the cut too, but we had some other frustrations in-between and decided we wanted to make our lives a bit easier haha.
     

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