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2004 Z06 Front Shock Upgrade

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Since I replaced my OEM rear shocks with those from the 2004 Z06, I decided to go ahead and install the 2004 Z06 front shocks (GM part number 10339944) as well.

What follows is a step-by-step illustration of the installation process with photos for anyone who wants to go the same route. Where appropriate I'll provide photos that clarify a topic. I'll also point out the errors posted on other Corvette sites with respect to bolt torque, etc.

Here is a list of parts that you will need.

Front shock absorbers (2) (GM part number 10339944, AC Delco part number 540-136 )

You will need only a few tools for this upgrade. Here is a list.

4 jack stands
1 very low jack

3/4-inch 1/2-inch drive socket (lug nuts)

13mm sockets (2) (Lower shock mount bolt and nut) 15mm socket (upper shock mount nut) 10mm deep socket and three inch extension (nuts holding windshield washer resevoir and coolant overflow tank) 15mm ratcheting box wrench (upper shock mount nuts)

18-inch 1/2 inch drive breaker bar (lug nuts)
3/8-inch drive air ratchet (optional but recommended)
3/8-inch drive ratchet
1/2-inch drive ratchet

1/2-inch drive torque wrench (click type is better)

The first step in the process is jacking the car. There are various techniques. I choose to jack up the front by sliding a very low jack under the air dam and position it in the center of the front cross member (see arrow). Jack the car and place jack stands as far out on the front cross member as possible. Loosen the lug nuts before jacking the car or have someone hold their foot on the brake pedal while you loosen them with the car in the air if you prefer.

Once you have the front wheels off the ground remove them.

Replacing the front shock is more difficult than replacing the rear shock because the front shock must be compressed in order to remove it. Removing the rotors makes the job easier, but if you remove them you must use new caliper bracket mounting bolts and washers. You can not reuse the ones you remove.

The top of the front shock has a nut mounted on a square shaft that requires a special socket to remove. It is made by Lisle and available at Pep Boys. There is no Torx fitting in the top as some sources indicate. If you do not buy the special socket use a 1/4 inch open end wrench or a small Crescent wrench to hold the shaft while you use a 15mm ratcheting box wrench to loosen and remove the nut.

If you have the special shock socket you can get to the nut by loosening the two windshield washer fluid resevoir retaining nuts with a 10mm deep socket. Once free move it aside so you can get to the upper shock mount nut (see yellow arrow in previous photo). Remove the upper shock mount nut with the special deep socket and a ratchet. You'll have to loosen and remove three 10mm nuts and move the radiator coolant overflow tank aside on the passenger side to get at the upper shock mount nut on the passenger side. Note that there are three nuts holding the tank in place. Two are obvious, the the third is on the inner side of the tank opposite the fuel rail cover.

Next loosen and remove the lower shock mount bolts and nuts with a 13mm socket mounted on the end of a six inch extension and ratchet. Put a 13mm socket on the nut below and hold it with another ratchet or a short breaker bar while you loosen the bolt.

Now comes the difficult part. In order for the shock to come out it must be compressed, and once compressed it must be held in the compressed position. A jack under the lower control arm will compress the shock and you can use a piece of coat hanger to fashion something similar to GM tool J-43822 (shock support tool). Once it's compressed you can slide it out. You can also use a pry bar wrapped in a shop towel to push the shock down and move the shaft out of the mounting hole. This photo shows where to insert the pry bar (see arrow).

Once the shock is removed you need to resuse the parts marked in this photo with yellow arrows. The large yellow object on the shaft is the jounce bumper. The new shock will have one installed.

You must compress the shock and keep it compressed to insert it into the upper mounting hole. You can use GM shock support tool J-43822 (if you can find it) or use a coat hanger. Use your floor jack to lift the shock from the bottom with the top wedged inside a frame support. Once the shock is compressed, wrap part of the coat hanger around the top shaft, then run it down through one of the bottom mounting holes and wrap it around the mount a few times. When you release the jack the shock will remain compressed. Slide the shock into position, putting the shaft into the mounting hole first. Use a pair of cutting pliers to cut the coat hanger and unwrap it from the lower mounting bolts. You can now install the lower bolts and top nut.

Torque the upper mounting nut to 19 ft-lb and the lower mounting bolt to 21 ft-lb.

Reinstall the washer fluid resevoir and the coolant overflow tank (if you removed them).

Reinstall the wheel and torque the lug nuts to 100 ft-lbs.

This job takes about three hours.

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Creation Date: Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Last Modified: Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Copyright Ray Smith, 2007

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