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How to tell if your shocks/springs are shot?

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by Can Can, Jul 24, 2001.

  1. Can Can

    Can Can Pusher Man Staff Member Super Moderator

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    In the last few months I've replaced quite a few worn out front end parts hoping to eliminate my wandering problems. Although the truck drives a whole lot better, I can still feel some play in the wheel. I'm planning on replacing my steering box soon because the adjusting screw only makes it harder to turn the wheel and still leaves a little play.

    Which leads me to this: Obviously the condition of the springs and shocks contributes greatly to how a K5 handles. Other than a few cracked bushings, everything looks ok. I don't really know enough about springs to make a call on whether they need replacing.

    If I jump up and down on the front or rear bumper, the truck does the one bounce thing and stops dead, however if I pull the truck side to side it the swaying lasts for a couple of seconds. I'm not sure if this has always happened because I only tried it recently. Another thing I've noticed(It could just be that I'm getting older and grumpier[​IMG]) is that I seem to feel cracks in the road a lot more, and when I drive on bumpy gravel roads the whole truck shakes like I have no cushioning(have you ever driven a hardtail Harley?) . I've also noticed marks on the springs where the bump stops have been making contact.

    Sorry for the long post but I need your input.................



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  2. muddin4fun

    muddin4fun 3/4 ton status

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    Well, a blazer is gonna sway some cause they're top heavy. One way to tell if your springs are worn is to test the flex. I got almost a 750 on stock springs and they were worn bad. Even after the lift and shocks though there is still some rolling.

    What have you replaced on the front end? ball joints, drag link, tie rod ends will cause wandering. Also you're alignment being out. you're steering stabilizer, is it worn pretty bad? Just a few things if you haven't checked/replaced those. Bearings could be loose too.

    I've got a mind like a . . . a . . . what's that thing called?

    <a target="_blank" href=http://www.geocities.com/muddin4fun79blazer/>http://www.geocities.com/muddin4fun79blazer/</a>
     
  3. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Some poly spring bushings would help a bit. Check the body mounts too, usually the rubber gets all mushy and or cracked. This can cause the harshness over the bumps to be amplified.

    I noticed an improvement in ride after switching to poly body mounts and poly spring eye bushings on the front springs.

    If your shocks a more than a few years old they may need replacing too. They're only designed to last about 50,000 miles.

    For your wandering problem check your 'tow-in' if its no longer to specs it'll wander quite a bit. As hard as my truck has had it in the last year it still tracks pretty straight and doesn't wander too much. I run Bias ply Swampers so its always gonna grab the ruts in the road but it truly is not that noticable. With my Radials on the truck it doesn't wander at all.

    Rene

    <font color=green>Dyslexics of the world...UNTIE!</font color=green>
     
  4. Can Can

    Can Can Pusher Man Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Lara- The front end has new u-joints and upper and lower ball joints on both sides. The bearings are good and properly adjusted and installed. My tie rod ends checked out ok, and the dang steering stabilizer is almost impossible to move by hand. And I just had the Blazer re-aligned two weeks ago.

    The reason I'm trying to figure out if it may be a shock/spring problem is because it's the last thing to consider other than the steering box............

    I'm not sure how I could check for flex(no such thing as a flex ramp around these parts). The only flex I regularly witness is when I try to impress my wife with my chiseled bod before bedtime[​IMG]...........LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!



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  5. muddin4fun

    muddin4fun 3/4 ton status

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    LMAO!

    I put mine on a fork lift. There is a formula for figuring out what the ramp index is from the measurement of how high you get your tire off the ground.
    How are your tires too? Do they need to be rotated?
    Do like Rene said too, I could see how body mounts could cause that.

    I've got a mind like a . . . a . . . what's that thing called?

    <a target="_blank" href=http://www.geocities.com/muddin4fun79blazer/>http://www.geocities.com/muddin4fun79blazer/</a>
     
  6. muddin4fun

    muddin4fun 3/4 ton status

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    Oh, and did you check the drag link?

    I've got a mind like a . . . a . . . what's that thing called?

    <a target="_blank" href=http://www.geocities.com/muddin4fun79blazer/>http://www.geocities.com/muddin4fun79blazer/</a>
     
  7. Can Can

    Can Can Pusher Man Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Rene- If I remember correctly, Boss found that his truck rode WORSE after installing the poly mounts............Are there different brands that offer different resistances?

    I've checked my body mounts and they look ok- Surprisingly the rubber is still in good shape. My shocks probably have about 80,00 kms on them, but other than hitting the odd gravel road to go fishing, the truck is almost always on the pavement(And mostly driven by my wife..............HMMMMMMMMMMM!!!! Maybe that's the problem[​IMG]!!!!!!)

    Toe in is bang on especially since the alignment.



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  8. CV202

    CV202 1/2 ton status

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    Check on your sway bar bushings. I had a similar problem and replaced them with urethane. Made a big difference. Also consider replacing the springbushings, they carry one hell of a load.

    Why do people keep calling it a Bronco!!!!! [​IMG]
     
  9. Can Can

    Can Can Pusher Man Staff Member Super Moderator

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    It's funny that you mention that.........The only bushings that look really rough are on the sway bar. I always thought that they didn't make that much of a difference. Are these poly bushings all they're cracked up to be?



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  10. riz

    riz 3/4 ton status

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    <font color=purple> My shock bushing were shot but now with the new ones it rides like a charm .

    L8r,
    . Riz . <a target="_blank" href=http://www.geocities.com/rizmonkey>www.geocities.com/rizmonkey</a>
     
  11. riz

    riz 3/4 ton status

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    <font color=purple> Ride quality will tell you a lot about how well your shocks are ...........

    L8r,
    . Riz . <a target="_blank" href=http://www.geocities.com/rizmonkey>www.geocities.com/rizmonkey</a>
     
  12. Can Can

    Can Can Pusher Man Staff Member Super Moderator

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    See.....that's what I'm talking about. It doesn't ride as smooth as before(I think) and even little bumps seem to feel hard. My big problem is I don't want to shell out a few hundred bucks for shocks just to find that the truck still rides the same way. Is there a way to disconnect the shock and see if it's still got the resistance it needs to offer the proper amount of cushioning?



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  13. riz

    riz 3/4 ton status

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    <font color=purple> You can take one off and try to see if you can push it in or out easily by hand ........there should be quite a bit of resistance there , if not replace em .

    L8r,
    . Riz . <a target="_blank" href=http://www.geocities.com/rizmonkey>www.geocities.com/rizmonkey</a>
     
  14. Eagle86K5

    Eagle86K5 1/2 ton status

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    Well you borrow your neighbors moose, we all know you folks up there have them for pets...then let him sit on the tailgate...if the bumper touches the ground then it is time to replace the shocks and springs. Don't forget to return the Moose to the rightful owner...unless you already got one tied up to your igloo.....[​IMG]
     
  15. Can Can

    Can Can Pusher Man Staff Member Super Moderator

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    You are SOOOOOOOOO wrong..........up here we have either penguins or polar bears for pets. The problem is that you can't keep both at the same time(for obvious reasons) and the damn bears are always eating the fish that the nsieghbor's penguins bring home!!!!

    Good to have you back- speaking of moose, are you still as big as ever?



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  16. riz

    riz 3/4 ton status

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    <font color=purple> OUCH !

    L8r,
    . Riz . <a target="_blank" href=http://www.geocities.com/rizmonkey>www.geocities.com/rizmonkey</a>
     
  17. Eagle86K5

    Eagle86K5 1/2 ton status

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    got back from the Doc today...it is official...I have survived anorexia...5'11" 305 lbs...with 34 waist 54 chest. Yep still a big guy. So what is the deal with the Crazy Eagle Tatoo? does this mean we are going steady or something?
     
  18. riz

    riz 3/4 ton status

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    <font color=purple> Just a guess but if a penguin sat on your tailgate and the bumper touched the ground........ it's time to change your shocks ! Hahahaha !

    L8r,
    . Riz . <a target="_blank" href=http://www.geocities.com/rizmonkey>www.geocities.com/rizmonkey</a>
     
  19. Thunder

    Thunder 3/4 ton status

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    What riz said about disconecting the shock and pushing it in and out is right. If they move easily they are shot.
    I thought mine were good till I did that. found my right rear was real mushy. I replaced the rear shocks which were old rancho 5000s with some Gabriel VSTs. The truck rides a lot better now and doesn't pull to the right when I hit the brakes.
    I actually like the Gabriels better than the Ranchos. They dont give as harsh of a ride.


    <font color=orange> You are just jealous, because the voices only talk to me.</font color=orange>
     
  20. Triaged

    Triaged 1/2 ton status

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    For the play in the steering 2 very cheep things can be done to improve it.
    1) Install a new rag joint. They are cheep and make the steering have more "feel".
    2) Adjust the other adjustment on the steering box. Most people don't even know it is there and it is the one that most often has to be adjusted. It is under the rag joint and is adjusted by loosening the stamped steel lock nut (about 4" across) and tightning the adjuster with a spanner wrench or just a screw driver and hammer. Try turning it in about 1/8 of a turn. This will adjust the worm shaft preload (bearings).

    '71 Blazer CST w/ a 400sbc, 4" lift, 36" Supper Swampers, and alot of rust
     

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