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So I just finished installing a set of Bilsteins on my 1500. If you haven't had the occasion to install rear shocks on your 4th Gen, the top rear bolt is fairly difficult to access... but can be done with hand tools if you modify an open ended wrench.

What I did was cut a 13/16" open end of a combo wrench down to 4". (21mm works too and is a whisker looser) Then it can be set down on the hidden nut and you can loosen (and tighten) at your leisure with one hand.

In the spirit of giving, I'll send the tool to the next person who's installing shocks with the stipulation that you post it for the next guy once you're done.

No sense in killing zillions of craftsman wrenches, after all.


PM me if you NEED it.
 

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Props for helping others out by giving them the tool man!

I have a some stubby wrenches in my box at work that are probably 3 inches long, would that be too short? If a stubby wrench would work it might help someone out who is a bit far away (like myself in Canada). I plan to do Bilsteins in the future, so this is handy knowledge.
 

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I just looked at the rear shocks earlier today and notice, there is very little room to work with since the gas tank is blocking access to the driver side top bolt. The passenger side has plenty room. How does someone gain access without dropping the gas tank? Can it be done by removing the wheel well?
 

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it is easier to access after removing the wheel well liners..
plus
notice all the painted metal up there, unprotected, waiting to rust out.,..

spend a few minutes cleaning the area behind the liner (I used a 'wheel brush'),
now spray a couple cans of 7$ 'rubberized undercoating' up in there.

do something else while the stuff dries..

now get yur little brush and put a nice smear of wheel bearing grease (or white lithium)
on every one of the wheel well liner clip nuts & screws as you re-install the liners.

altho wrestling the liners in & out isn't exactly "easy" either ;)
probably easier when they're warm and more flexible..
 

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Yeah getting the liners out is a bit of a PITA, but are you guys who are having trouble removing them first or just trying to get to the shock bolts with the liners in place?
 

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I just did the rear shocks on my truck. Passenger side we could get a regular 21mm wrench on after about half an hour of trying different angles, after that it was a snap. We didn't pull the liner all the way out, just undid it and moved it back enough so I could get a long extension between the liner and the wheel well opening. Worked well enough on that side.

The other (drivers) side was a different story. Didn't think of cutting a wrench short (did think about heating it up and bending it though!) but we ended up with some of those pass-through style sockets with a wrench on the end of those instead. That got the nut off. When we went to put it back on I welded an inch long piece of round rod to the nut, that kept it from spinning and will allow the nut to be taken off in the future with an impact from the easy side.

In retrospect, a stubby (or shortened) wrench would have been much easier!
 

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Great thread. Kudos on sharing the wrench, very nice.

I just installed the Rancho 9000 on my 2013 and luckily my buddy had a set of these...


The open end socket wrench worked well. Using it on a 90 degree angle I was able to get it on the nut. You still have to turn the bolt/nut until it lines up correctly but it works.

We removed the liners just to make things easier. Even if you can do it without removing them, I don't see the point. With the liner out of the way it's almost an enjoyable job.

The liner is no picnic but it's just one of those things you have to get positioned just right... and then force it. When reinstalling it, I put the top in first and then work the front and back to see which wants to drop behind the fender first. Then get the opposite side pressed in as far as you can. Next, push the center (of the front or back) with your fist and try folding the liner like a slice of pizza from the bottom. It will bend between your fist and your "pizza bending fingers" and allow it to slip past the fender. Be careful not to do this with a cold liner because it might decide to snap... so make sure it's warm.

If you're worried about scratching your fenders, use some masking tape to protect them. If I recall, it might have been easier to bend the front portion, so try getting the top and rear in first.

Ironically, I may be doing this job over very soon because the new shacks are rattling. :smiledown:
 

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There was a recall on shocks a few years ago and I had the pleasure of changing quite a few and I ended up buying a 21mm offset wrench that I then cut down and made work
 
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