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Front Shock Replacement

Front Shock Replacement

Henry Fok, photos by Larry Karpman

This task is very easy. You do not need to remove the front springs. You can easily do this in your driveway in under an hour per side.

The red car in these pictures is Larry Karpman's 1987 XJ6 VdP. The brown car in these pictures is my 1985 XJ6 VdP, named Molly - and of course, the ugly galoot in the pictures is yours truly. This information applies to the Series III only - other Series are similar, but I can't guarantee that they'll be identical.

For this task, you will need a ratchet, a selection of SAE sockets and wrenches, and possibly a set of Vise Grips. You will also need the shocks, and I recommend that you obtain a set of genuine Jaguar shock bushings, as the ones that come with the Boge shocks can (oddly) be of the undesirable hard rubber.

You may click on any picture to see a much larger version. This FAQ is not a substitute for a workshop manual. It is intended as a supplement, to give you some idea of what things look like and what the manual is talking about. Therefore, not all the details will be given.


Loosen the lug nuts appropriate wheel. Jack the car up and support it properly. Instructions on how to do this are elsewhere in the FAQ's, so I will not reprise that information here.

Remove the wheel. What you see should look something like the following picture. The picture shows a car that is improperly supported. Do not attempt to service your car while it is supported by a jack. This was done for photo purposes only, please do not endanger yourself by doing this.

You see the shock is clearly visible. Remove the upper shock bolt nut and upper bushings. You may find it difficult to remove because the whole upper shock tends to spin around when you try to undo the nut. If this is the case, gently but firmly grip the upper housing of the shock near the shaft with the vise grips to stop the rotation. On the left side of the car, you may have to loosen the coolant tank to get to the nut. Note how everything comes out.
Use your ratchet and wrench to remove the bolt that the lower eyelet of the shock attaches to.

Compress the shock by pulling the upper housing down. You will probably need both hands to do this. Once you compress it nearly all the way, the shock will lock into shipping mode and will not want to extend any more. This lock is very tenuous, so be very careful not to disturb it, or you will have an expanding shock on your hands. Of course, if your shocks are totally trashed, they won't resist at all. Remove the compressed shock by lifting it up and out. New shocks are shipped in this same mode, so be careful on install.

The shocks may come with mounting hardware, but try to reuse the original metal bits as much as possible. Separate the metal parts from the (usually) degraded foam. Clean them, then install the new Jaguar foam bushings, as below.

Put the lower bushing assembly on the shock, as pictured below. Place the new shock into the place vacated by the old one, and install the lower mounting bolt. Pull up a little on the upper housing to disengage the shipping lock. The shock will begin to expand. Guide the shaft through the upper mount hole, and make sure that the bushing and hardware seat properly. Install the upper bushing assembly on the top side, then the nut.

If the shock begins to expand before you are ready, simply pull it back down to engage the shipping lock. The rest, as the famous line goes, is "installation is the reverse of disassembly."


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