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Good method for replacing rear shock?

Old 06-19-2011, 04:39 AM
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Question Good method for replacing rear shock?

just got a rear shock from JD. before I launch into dropping the exhaust to pull the stock unit and replace it with the new one- any words of wisdom from the guys who already did this? Hoping to avoid stripped screws etc w the exhaust.

Also the manual indicates I should install new bolt for top end of shock and replace all exhaust gaskets - is this highly recommended? I'll need to order those in advance if so.
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Old 06-19-2011, 06:50 AM
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Shouldn't need to replace any exhaust seals if your just taking off standard cans with their links pipes - just carefully wiggle em off & back on.

While you're into the shock/swingarm linkage area it might be an idea to re-grease all the bearings

Have the bike safety secured (here's my thread when fixing squeaking rear bearings and installing new shock)

www.vtr1000.org • View topic - Doom averted on squeaky rear end

Note: The manual has it wrong in regards to the top bolt for dropping the shock it is the nut under the seat near to where the front of the tank sits.

Last edited by Wicky; 12-07-2012 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 06-19-2011, 07:19 AM
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You don't have to remove the exhaust system or any part of the exhaust system.
A new bolt through the top eye of the shock isn't necessary unless the original is damaged, which is unlikely.
Don't try to unscrew the nut through which that bolt goes. It's welded on.
You'll have to lift the tank to get at the bolt holding on the upper shock mount bracket. Removing the tank can improve access but it's not necessary.
Removing the rear wheel makes access to the linkage bolts a lot easier.
Wicky's suggestion to grease the bearings in the swingarm and linkage is excellent. It's also a good time to replace the seals.
It goes without saying the the back of the bike must be supported by the subframe. There are about a dozen ways to do it.

Last edited by comedo; 06-19-2011 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 06-19-2011, 08:30 AM
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I'd be interested in pictures or your thoughts about how this swap goes. I'll be going through the same thing soon, since I have a shock waiting to go on . . .
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Old 06-19-2011, 02:02 PM
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Thanks guys. In the mean time Jamie clued me in via email that the shock is most easily changed from the top, so no exhaust drop is needed. Likewise he affirms it's not necessary to replace the top bolt. I'll take pics to post. Can't wait to get my rear shock replaced, it's like riding a buckboard wagon lately.
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Old 06-21-2011, 07:48 PM
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Shock went in from top no major problem.

While I did not have to drop the exhaust like the manual directs, I did have to loosen and move a clamp on the left header pipe to gain enough clearance to get the bottom shock bolt out, and this was with a significant amount of pushing, pulling prying and finesse. It was so tight that when I reassembled the new shock, I reversed the direction of that bolt. Plan on complete removal of battery, rear nacelle, rear fender, along with separation of wiring harness connectors above the battery.

While I had everything apart I put a couple fender washers above the upper clevis for some increased ride height.

The JD overhauled Showa OEM shock is a huge improvement. Well worth the time trouble and cost.
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Old 06-21-2011, 08:21 PM
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I hope you didnt take the wheel off. You can just jack the rear end up like you did by the subframe, prop the tank & drop the shock straight out the bottom. You just remove a linkage bolt and the bottom shock bolt. I put a barbell bar on these two homemade stands. You dont have to remove any exhaust stuff either.
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Old 06-22-2011, 10:13 AM
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upside down scissor jack on top of rear wheel and chock/pad as required to not cause damage to mudguard/under tray, and use paddock stand under swing arm, do this on all my bikes and works a treat as you can make minor adjustments.
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Old 06-22-2011, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by smokinjoe73 View Post
I hope you didnt take the wheel off. You can just jack the rear end up like you did by the subframe, prop the tank & drop the shock straight out the bottom. You just remove a linkage bolt and the bottom shock bolt. I put a barbell bar on these two homemade stands. You dont have to remove any exhaust stuff either.
Wheel removal was not necessary. I don't have a huge selection of metric sockets, extensions, universal joints etc. So for me it was much easier to take it out the top. For never having wrenched this bike before, I was pretty satisfied to do this in a couple hours. I don't aim to be efficient, just effective.
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:32 PM
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G'Day all,
Only recently joined the forum. I did read this thread before tackling the removal of my rear shock due to it dumping it's oil. I took notes on all the above advice because the last thing i wanted to do was remove my exhaust although i didn't really want to disassemble all the battery tray either. I removed the rear wheel for better access, tried to remove the shock bolts as well as the lower linkage bolts but none of the bolts had sufficient clearance to be removed. They'd either hit the lower exhaust configuration or the frame. I think it took about 3 stubbies and 10 circles of the bike before i gave up and dropped the exhaust. After that it was easy enough. So if anyone has the time to let me know, sort of step by step, to remove the shock without taking the battery tray or exhaust off it would be appreciated.
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Old 12-07-2012, 04:14 PM
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how did you support the bike?
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Old 12-07-2012, 04:35 PM
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Rear shock removal

I removed the Ohlins shock off my bike this year to sell to a forum member. Its really was not that hard too do? I loosen all the bolts first, I only removed the right hand muffler (not any of the exhaust system) then supported the bike and removed the shock from below. No need to remove the battery tray? It was a little more complicated for me than a stock Oem shock because of the Ohlins remote reservoir and remote preload adjuster. Good idea is to duck tape a rag around the shock body to stop it from getting scratched up.
Really it's not that hard of a job to do! Couple of hours taking your time, or 30 minutes if you know what your doing!
Its a bit of a knuckle grazing job if you have big hands!

Good idea to apply some grease while your in there.
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Old 12-08-2012, 06:21 PM
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I used the race stand to remove the back wheel and exhaust-




Then the engine block for the shock-




Last edited by ceck; 12-08-2012 at 06:30 PM.
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Old 12-21-2012, 04:51 PM
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My suggestion is to not remove the shock by dropping it out thte bottom. While this works with the stock shock, it won't work with anything that has a remote reservoir.

In fact, an easier way for any shock (stock included) is to take it out the top/side. It's actually easier than it might look. Just make sure to hold the bike up high enough to allow flexibility with the swingarm - it's often helpful to tilt the swingarm down a bit. I use straps from the tailsection up to hooks in the ceiling of my shop. Most people don't have this option, so supporting under the engine like ceck shows is a great way to do it. This method is the fastest, easiest, and requires the least amount of bolts and parts to be removed. I never remove any exhaust parts, bodywork, etc. etc. Besides the shock itself the only other part I take off is the seat.
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:27 PM
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So I'm in the process of removing the rear shock on my bike and found this thread and a few others. Just for clarification when jaime says don't remove anything but the shock does that mean you don't remove the shock linkage as well? Also I am curious after unbolting the bottom of the shock how do you get clearance to remove the bolt without removing the header? I was able to remove the two nuts on the bottom of the shock as per manual instructions how ever I am finding it difficult to remove the bolts them selves without having to remove the headers. Also the top bolt i was able to get out of the nut how ever getting the bolt out has been problematic with clearance from the fuel lines and frame. Is it safe to shoot a little wd40 in there to help lubricate the removal? Also during this process I have the subframe attached to the ceiling without a rear stand so to let the swing arm hang. Should i drop the whole suspension linkage, hex screws and all to get the rear shock bolt out?

Last edited by JakeT; 01-21-2013 at 11:37 PM.
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Old 01-22-2013, 01:47 AM
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You get clearance by moving the swingarm through its stroke. Using my 2x6 wood method (see above) it allows this movement.
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by smokinjoe73 View Post
You get clearance by moving the swingarm through its stroke. Using my 2x6 wood method (see above) it allows this movement.

Thank you smokinjoe! I was using a floor jack to raise the swingarm however I wasn't raising it high enough to get clearance from the header. I was worried about jacking it too high, though after you said that I went just tad higher than before and the bolt came out with not too much issue. Thank you very much for your pointers.
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:50 AM
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I have never removed the header for a shock removal/installation. When installing an F4 shock I have found it easier to remove the front bolt that connects the horizontal link to the engine cases. That way you can swing the whole linkage assembly out of the way.

Shocks are not easy on any bike. A little patience and persistance and you should have it. Good luck!
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:47 PM
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Thanks Jaime, I looked at removing the bolt on the engine case and thought about doing that when I installed it though playing with the swing arm and the jack ended up working like a charm. I did how ever reverse the shock bolt for easier access next time I grease the bearings. Also the side that I found the easiest to remove and install the new shock was on the left side next to the header it fit right in; in front of the mud flap. Had I removed the mud flap it might have been even easier. I did install the shock with the res incorrectly placed so that the hose was pointing outside the swing arm. So I took it all apart again and low and behold the third time around it took about 10 minutes in all with removal of the shock link bolt. lower shock bolt and the upper bolt. Regreased the bolts reinstalled them one by one and loctited the nuts. Must say I am very very happy with the performance of the modified f4 shock.
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Old 01-24-2013, 03:53 AM
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Originally Posted by JakeT View Post
I did how ever reverse the shock bolt for easier access next time I grease the bearings.

Ditto.
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