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Old 10-03-2019, 10:33 AM   #1
alexiskai
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Default Pics of KD tube shock installation

I recently installed Ken Davis's tube shocks on my '29 coupe, and it occurred to me that there aren't many good images out there of how these install to the car. The photos on Ken's website are very small. So here are some posts with pics and commentary.

First two photos here show what comes in the box. These are Monroe shocks plus Ken's custom-fabricated brackets. Two shocks have the driver's side brackets pre-attached so you can see how everything goes together. Second photo is a close-up on the brackets. They are very stout.

Right off the bat I had an issue where one of the front shocks would not extend and compress smoothly. I recommend checking all four shocks when you unbox. These are standard shocks that should be near-stock at O'Reilly's. Ken was kind enough to assist me in setting up a warranty replacement at my local O'Reilly's. Within 24 hours I had a working replacement shock.

To be continued...
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Old 10-03-2019, 10:42 AM   #2
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Default Re: Pics of KD tube shock installation

I installed the shocks at the same time as I was also lubricating the springs and rebuilding the rear brakes. Was just easier since I had the frame up on jack stands, wheels and drums off, etc.

In the photos here I show the installed position of the rear passenger's side shock. The upper bracket attaches to two existing holes on the cross-member. This operation was easier with the wheels off and the rear end dropped a bit.

Note: I had to purchase new bolts to go through the cross-member and the bracket because my existing ones weren't long enough and none came with the kit.

The lower bracket attaches to the back of the backing plate via the rear two bolts that hold the plate to the axle. Ken provides new bolts to use, but they're not the same type as the originals, with the long shoulder and castle nut. They're standard bolts with a nut and lock washer. However, what's pictured here is not Ken's bolts but instead a pair of original long bolts that normally go on the other side of the backing plate, where the radius rod attaches. More on that in the next post.

Rear shock installation was pretty easy, but if you don't already have your rear drums off, you will need to remove them to get at the bolts for the lower bracket.

To be continued...
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Old 10-03-2019, 10:53 AM   #3
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Default Re: Pics of KD tube shock installation

Pictured here is the front of my passenger's side rear brake backing plate. First reason is just to show off Randy Gross's great work, this is a fresh rebuild from him.

What I really want to show is my choices for which bolts go where. I mentioned that Ken provides new bolts to replace the short originals. However, I happened to have two spare long original bolts and I found that these worked perfectly well. They didn't even have that problem where the cotter pin doesn't catch in the castle nut.

I also didn't have the right size wrench for the nuts that Ken provides, so I had to use an adjustable wrench. Because Randy shipped his backing plates with the emergency brake carrier already attached, I knew I'd have trouble getting the adjustable wrench back behind the carrier to tighten the bolts.

The solution (for me) was to use my long shoulder bolts to attach through the lower shock bracket where the short bolts originally went. Then where the long bolts had been, I put one spare long bolt and one of Ken's bolts. This positioned Ken's bolt in the one open spot where I could get at it with the big adjustable wrench.

Obviously this solution is specific to me; I mainly include it to point out that if you have additional long shoulder bolts for the rear backing plates, you can use them in place of the bolts supplied with the kit. This preserves the original castle nut setup on the front of the backing plate.
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Old 10-03-2019, 11:09 AM   #4
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Default Re: Pics of KD tube shock installation

This picture shows the passenger side front shock installed.

Yes I KNOW my front spring needs to be replaced. It has 3/16" clearance with the front axle, and you can see that there's only about 1" of motion possible for the front shock. It is on my list of projects for the near future.

What I want to show here is the drill site for the bolt through the front axle. Ken is a little vague on where to drill; I think he said to do it "about four inches" in from the spring perch.

The way I chose the site was to mount the upper bracket and the shock. Then, with the shock hanging vertically, I marked the spot on the axle in the middle of the shock. This minimizes the shearing forces on the components that attach the shock to the bracket.

To drill the hole, I definitely recommend starting with a pilot hole and working your way up. I think I did 4-5 passes for each hole.
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Old 10-03-2019, 11:35 AM   #5
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Default Re: Pics of KD tube shock installation

Last post, detail of the front shock brackets. First photo is driver's side, second photo is passenger side.

The upper bracket mounts directly to the existing mounting holes for the old shock absorber. The lower bracket mounts to the front axle via the hole drilled earlier.

The one thing I'll say about the lower bracket is that, because the shock is positioned right next to the axle bolt, and because with my weak front spring I didn't have much room to compress the shock, I had to mount the shock to the bracket before mounting the bracket to the axle, and this also meant that I had to put the bolt head on the rear side and the nut on the front side, which I would've preferred not to do. It was very awkward to get everything tightened down. If your front spring is in better shape, you may not have this problem.
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Old 10-03-2019, 11:41 AM   #6
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Default Re: Pics of KD tube shock installation

Final note, if you do have weak front springs, Ken says you can thin the black rubber bushings to get more travel distance for the shock.
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Old 10-03-2019, 12:51 PM   #7
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Default Re: Pics of KD tube shock installation

Thanks Alex for not only the pictures but the descriptions to go along with it. Wish I had this to refer to when I installed mine several years ago.

In your post #3, you mentioned using the longer shoulder bolts rather than the bolts that Ken supplied. That is exactly what I did, only I just ordered new ones from one of the vendors, probably Snyder's. I have recommended to others that they order the bolts (and nuts) before they even attempt installation, as it really does make things go easier, and it looks like it belongs. (I bought 4 sets; A2248 + A2250) so that all of the bolts were the same.)

Oh, and I painted my shocks black before installing them, just so that the bright blue color didn't stand out like a sore thumb.
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Last edited by CarlG; 10-03-2019 at 01:09 PM. Reason: add info
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Old 10-03-2019, 12:59 PM   #8
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Default Re: Pics of KD tube shock installation

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlG View Post
I have recommended to others that they order the bolts (and nuts) before they even attempt installation, as it really does make things go easier, and it looks like it belongs.
I agree. The only reason I held off on recommending this is that the bolt sets are kinda expensive, $17 or so, and you'd have to buy two sets to get the right number of long bolts. So with shipping you're looking at $40 for something that's mostly aesthetic. But it certainly is an option.

Edit: Looks like Snyder's sells them as individual pieces, that's nice to know.
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Old 10-03-2019, 05:02 PM   #9
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Default Re: Pics of KD tube shock installation

There's no way I'd drill the front axle. Besides being illegal here, it just isn't right. I make clamps just like the ones the vendors sell. # cars done that way and no sign of trouble.
It only takes a short time, an angle grinder, a couple of pieces of 1" (25mm) square steel stock, some drills and taps and a few bolts from the local bolt bloke and you're done.
BTW, the only set of telescopic shockers I have had trouble with are the ones I bought from a vendor (and copied). The bottom bracket for one of the rear shocks broke through the lower bolt hole. I'd reinforce that as part of installation right from the begining. It's an obvious weak spot.
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Old 10-03-2019, 05:09 PM   #10
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Default Re: Pics of KD tube shock installation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Synchro909 View Post
The bottom bracket for one of the rear shocks broke through the lower bolt hole.
Can you rephrase that? Which piece broke and how did it break?
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Old 10-04-2019, 12:16 AM   #11
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Default Re: Pics of KD tube shock installation

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Originally Posted by alexiskai View Post
Can you rephrase that? Which piece broke and how did it break?
There are two bolts that hold the bracket for the bottom of the shocker to the backing plate. It broke through the lower hole. If yu go to the second picture in post #2, it was througfh the bolt you can see just below the brake adjuster.
PM if I still didn't make it clear enough.
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