After getting new wheels and tires on my daughter’s 4Runner, the ride, power, and fuel mileage greatly improved. But the shocks! They were horribly worn out; each bump or pothole just sent the truck bouncing: not safe, especially a young driver.
At first, I was going to have her purchase Rancho RS5000 or some comparable “off-road” shocks. Her driving needs don’t warrant that type of shock. I figured a good stock quality stock replacement shock would better suit her for now. A quick look at RockAuto Parts and we found a set KYB Excel-G shocks for really cheap. Done.
Shocks are super easy to do on your own; it does help if you have somebody with you. This was the prefect project to start Zoe wrenching on her truck with. We did the swap with the truck parked and the wheels on; there is plenty of room to work under these 4x4s.
On the rears, simply remove the old shock by taking out the bolts top and bottom. To install the new ones, bolt up the top, cut the plastic strap that keeps the shock compressed, and guide the bottom mount into position as it slowly expands. Bolt it all up and you’re done!
The fronts are a bit tougher, but same concept. The top mount is a stud; rotating the mounting nut will cause the dustshield and top mount to rotate; you’ll never get it off solo. I used some water pump pliers to grip the dust shield while Zoe removed the top nut. We removed the bottom bolt, took out the old shock, and slid in the new.
The ride of the truck has greatly improved. Zoe text me this morning and says that not only does it ride better, but she feels safer in it. It’s great to tackle a project that isn’t expensive and has immediate seat of the pants improvement! And it’s nice to get Zoe started on DIY vehicle maintenance and modifications!
NOTE: Always wear safety glasses! I’ve had too many pieces of rust or greasy debris get into my eyes. The top pic shows Zoe without eye protection: an oversight on my part that we quickly remedied.