How To Install Front Shock Absorbers: Imperial or Chrysler, 1957-1966

by Chris Hawkins


Imperial Home Page -> Repair -> Springs -> Absorbers -> Install Article


KYB shocks (KG4507 front, KG5511 rear) can be used with great success on senior Mopars of the 1957-66 era. However, there are two issues to address on the front shocks: The lower mount on the FRONT shock is too wide to fit into the bracket on the lower suspension arm. Also, a fully extended gas shock is too long to insert up into shock tower.

Part 1: Trimming lower mount

Remove front tire.

DO NOT CUT OR DISCARD THE PLASTIC RETAINING STRAP AND LEATHER CUSHION ON SHOCK. Compress shock and slide the strap off. You will need this strap and cushion later.

Take the old front shock out and use it as a guide for grinding down the lower mount of the KYB to the proper width to fit into the lower suspension arm bracket.. Take care to cool the mount frequently by dipping in cold water or you risk damaging (melting) the rubber bushing.

Part 2: Installing shock into front shock tower (Note: this method works well on 1967-78 models, too.)

KYBís have 100 lbs of pressure holding them in their fully extended position. In order to have them compressed short enough to insert into shock tower, here is what you do:

On the top of the shock, install the bottom portion only of the bushing/washer set.

Compress shock and re-install the leather cap and retaining strap.

Insert shock into shock tower and position upper mount as close to upper mounting hole as possible.

Your next step is to cut the retaining strap. The shock will expand fairly quickly so be ready to guide it up through the upper mounting hole while simultaneously guiding the expanding shock into position onto the lower mount. Donít worry about any strap material you couldnít extract, or whether the bottom mount is lined up Ė just be sure the upper mount went through the upper mounting hole. That is your primary goal at this point.

If you did not get all the retaining strap removed from the upper mounting hole, just compress shock slightly to ease tension and pull remainder of the strap through.

And if you didnít successfully guide the shock into the lower mount the first time, donít worry. Just secure the upper mount loosely, installing upper portion of the bushing/washer set first. The will ensure it doesnít slide out again. Youíll then be able to compress shock and slide it into position onto the lower mount. A big screwdriver used as a ramp to guide the shock into the lower mount is sometimes handy.

Cinch down upper bushing until bushings have expanded to the width of the washer/retainers. Insert lower mount bolt and tighten nut to proper torque.

REAR shocks install with no problems whatsoever in about 10 minutes.

Enjoy a miraculous improvement in ride and handling!


This page last updated October 31, 2004.  Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club