Fix your broken rear shock mounts

by Martin Verburgt

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Ok, so you have managed to break one, or even all of the bolts in the upper rear shock mount.  No big surprise there.  A friend of mine managed to break all four bolts on his 2001 Cherokee, which was real surprising, since it was less than two years old at the time.  So, he needed help to fix his situation.  Simple enough.  Our plan?  To go in through the top.

In these pictures, you can see both mounts with all four bolts snapped off.  shock mount 1.jpg (24531 bytes)  shock mount 2.jpg (27936 bytes)

First thing we needed to do was to get under the carpet.  We unscrewed the plastic trim along the floor nearest the hatch.

shock mount 3.jpg (19820 bytes) 

Then we unscrewed the side panels.  For the driver's side, we needed to remove the spare tire rest plate.  

shock mount 4.jpg (17656 bytes)

Next thing was to pull up the carpet.  There are four cargo anchors that are bolted to the floor.  Just reach under the carpet and push it up over the anchors.

shock mount 5.jpg (25063 bytes)

Now, just throw the carpet over the back seat so it is out of the way.  We found it easiest to have the back seat folded down.

shock mount 6.jpg (28075 bytes)

The plan now is to get access to the shock mounts, so we needed to know exactly where to cut.  Looking at the shock mounts from underneath, you will see a recessed area between the two bolts.  In the center, there is a hole.  We drilled into that hole until we went through the floor.  Now we know where the center is. 

shock mount 7.jpg (28230 bytes)

Mark the area around the hole by drawing a rectangle approximately 4" x 5".  Once you have the area marked, use an angle grinder or die grinder with a cutoff wheel to cut out the section.  The floor is thin, so it will go very quickly.  Keep an eye on your carpet so you don't start a fire with the sparks. 

shock mount 8.jpg (17421 bytes) shock mount 9.jpg (26478 bytes)

Once the panel is cut out, the top of the shock mounts will be exposed.  Be sure to put a little paint around the bare edge to prevent rust.  Next, from underneath, we used an air chisel to punch the weld nuts off, but a large punch and hammer will work.

shock mount 10.jpg (21050 bytes) shock mount 11.jpg (29043 bytes)  

Once the old nuts are out of the way, use 5/16" Grade 8 bolts and washers and drop them into the holes.  The length of the bolts is determined by whether you are using the supplied shock bar pins, or if you use JKS bar pin eliminators.  For the bar pins, the bolts need to be 1" to 1 1/4" long.  The bolts for JKS BPE's need to be about 3/4" to 1" longer.  

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Here is where having a friend around comes in handy.  Someone needs to use a wrench to hold the nut and washer in place from the bottom, while the other uses a socket wrench and tightens from the top. 

shock mount 14.jpg (22422 bytes)

Now that the shocks are mounted, we need to cover up the access holes.  We cut aluminum panels about 1" longer and wider in dimensions to cover the holes.  The aluminum is easy to hammer and bend to match the contours in the floor.  Put a bead of sealant caulk around the edge of the access panels to keep water and debris from getting inside the cab, and use sheet metal screws to lock the panels down. 

shock mount 15.jpg (20251 bytes) shock mount 16.jpg (24319 bytes)

Throw your carpet down and screw all the plastic trim back into place, and you will never know that there were holes cut into your floor. 

shock mount 17.jpg (25696 bytes)

 

If you have access to a welder, you could weld in new nuts, and then use Zinc plated Grade 8 hardware to prevent the bolts from rusting and breaking off the next time you change your shocks.  This would also eliminate the need to go through the access panels and use a friend if the shocks needed to be changed.  There seems to be a lot of steps involved with this method, but with a guide to follow, it can really cut down the time involved.  This procedure should take no more than an hour (time may vary).

We hope this article will be of some help to make this task go much easier and faster, and make things a lot easier in the future when it comes time to change the shocks again.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please email me at 

 info@rocklizardfabrications.com