Strategy to lift rear to replace bushings, sway rubber and AHC shock cushions

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I've done lots of work on the front suspension of my 98LX. Now I'm moving to the back, which I'm less familiar with. It seems like it will be pretty straightforward but I thought I'd get some opinions.

The front is currently on jackstands and it would be convenient to keep it that way for now. I have another set for the rear. All I need to do is remove the control arms, panhard bar, sway bar and ahc shocks. I assume it may be easiest to do this one or two pieces at a time.

As simple as this question is, I'd like some advice like where and how to lift and support the truck, and what to expect as far as axle movement and resistance on various parts when removing. What should my strategy be?
 
I don't like working on a vehicle on four jack stands. I'd put the front end back on the ground if you need to lift the rear.

That said, most of what you need to do can be done with the back wheels on the ground.
- Control arms - do one at a time otherwise the axle will move
- Panhard - shouldn't have any load with the truck level side to side, I would do it once I got all 4 control arms installed
- Sway bar - also shouldn't have any load with the truck level side to side
- AHC shocks - this part I am not sure about, I have never dealt with them. They should be compressible by hand, like a normal shock, but I am not positive
 
Just converted from AHC to Ironman. I had almost no rust, but still cut the shocks out. Some have welded a socket on something to allow access to the top bolt. Some have cut a hole through floor. I think some have used an offset combo wrench. I tried withering sockets and wrenches I had, but nothing would work. So, I used sawzall. Wont work for what you are doing obviously. I dont envy you this part of the project.
 
-I'd also prefer front end on the ground. In addition to wheel chocks, lock the CDL so the transmission parking pawl works on front wheels while the rear wheels are off the ground.
-Remove rear wheels so you don't have to jack the rear up as much.
-You'll need ratchet straps to align the control arm bolt holes.
-Between the bolts and the nuts on the control arms, you turn nut with your socket wrench and not the bolt (or is it the other way around), as the bolt has hash marks that match up with the mating surface.
-Vehicle should be at ride height before tightening down the control arm bushings... granted they are OEM style.
 
Just converted from AHC to Ironman. I had almost no rust, but still cut the shocks out. Some have welded a socket on something to allow access to the top bolt. Some have cut a hole through floor. I think some have used an offset combo wrench. I tried withering sockets and wrenches I had, but nothing would work. So, I used sawzall. Wont work for what you are doing obviously. I dont envy you this part of the project.

I used the hole saw method for my rear shocks and it was extremely easy and saved me a bunch of time. Sprayed it with primer real quick and then sealed it up. Should be easy next time I need to replace them. I'd recommend it.
 
Sway Bar Links: I replaced the rear sway bar link yesterday. I took the wheels off to have a little easier access, but it is VERY straight forward job. I do not recommend taking the frame-side bracket off. There is definitely enough room to remove the 14 mm nut on the top.

Shock Cushions: Drill a hole in the floor for access. I removed my AHC shocks last winter and I had to cut every damn shock out. There is hardly any room to reach the 12 mm bolts that hold the hydraulic line on the top of the shocks. That line needs to come off before you can begin taking off the large single nut that holds the top of the shock in place.

Rear Control Arms:
  • Keep the truck on it wheels when working on Rear CAs.
  • Take the spare off to give you easier access to the rear mounts of the upper control arms.
  • The nuts are the ones you want to loosen and then tighten and torque upon assembly, the bolts have ridges that catch on to the mounting brackets and don't really move (an excellent design IMO).
  • Do one arm at a time, otherwise it would be a nightmare to get the axle to align with the frame!
  • Finally, I had trouble lining up the holes with the new arms and each time I had to raise the axle housing slightly on my jack to make them align. 3 out of 4 times I raised the SAME SIDE as the arm I was working on, the last one required raising the OPPOSITE SIDE!
  • I installed the axle side first on each arm and then raised axle slightly to align the frame side (frame side is easier to reach)
Good Luck!
 
In addition to what is said above here, I would add that the truck is more stable on 4 good axle stands than on 2 wheels + stands, provided that the stands are wide and stable. Put the rear stands at the rear ends of the frame rails. Take off wheels and take the shocks off the lower mounts so that the axle can go a bit further down, and the springs will be completely loose. Then if you pick out the springs, it's easy to adjust the axle with 2 small jacks and put it at the right height for the part you're working on. Observe the brake line(s), breather, ahc and abs cables, don't lower the axle too much without disconnecting.
 
Thanks guys. I only got going on it last night. Been productive so far. I got the upper arms off, one at a time, and their bushings pressed out and replaced. Next I did the panhard bar, again no problems with the bushings. Then I removed the sway bar and links and did all the rubber bits, though I haven't installed it yet. I think I'll leave that until I finish the lower arms.

I appreciated learning that I could do it with the back wheels on the ground. Sure enough it wasn't too hard to get the bolts out. I found that getting the uppers back in was easiest by securing the rear bolts first, then manipulating the axle up a bit with a floor jack to align the holes for the front bolts.

I'll leave the shock cushions and bushings for last. You have me concerned with the top nuts, but I'm hopeful to do it without cutting any holes if possible.

I'll continue to update as I work and hopefully add some pics. Thanks again for your suggestions
 
Thanks guys. I only got going on it last night. Been productive so far. I got the upper arms off, one at a time, and their bushings pressed out and replaced. Next I did the panhard bar, again no problems with the bushings. Then I removed the sway bar and links and did all the rubber bits, though I haven't installed it yet. I think I'll leave that until I finish the lower arms.

I appreciated learning that I could do it with the back wheels on the ground. Sure enough it wasn't too hard to get the bolts out. I found that getting the uppers back in was easiest by securing the rear bolts first, then manipulating the axle up a bit with a floor jack to align the holes for the front bolts.

I'll leave the shock cushions and bushings for last. You have me concerned with the top nuts, but I'm hopeful to do it without cutting any holes if possible.

I'll continue to update as I work and hopefully add some pics. Thanks again for your suggestions

The rear shocks are a pain, but not enough to cut a hole in the floor. I also have drawers, and removing them to drill a hole in the floor isn't happening.

Here is the way to do it:

Pro tip... go get a ratcheting 22mm wrench and it won't be terribly difficult
 

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