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Top Ten damper replacement tips

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By Rob Marshall

1. Verify specification for the individual vehicle variant. Damper properties can vary within the same model range, dependent on engine, transmission and equipment levels.

2. Always replace springs, dampers and their ancillary parts in axle sets.

3. Renew the bump stop, piston gaiter and top-mounts.

4. Check which fastenings require replacement and use the correct specification nuts, bolts and washers. Make enquiries with your supplier about which fixings are included.

5. Follow all torque specifications. Do not use an impact wrench on damper fixings.

6. Where bushes are fitted to the damper, torque the fastenings with the weight of the vehicle on its wheels. The same advice applies to any suspension parts that you may have had to remove.

7. Never grasp the piston rod with mole grips, or pliers. The resultant damage risks abrading and tearing the piston seal, risking premature leakage of hydraulic oil.

8. Respect the restrained force within a compressed suspension spring. Never unscrew the top nut, until you are certain that the spring has been compressed safely. Therefore, familiarise yourself and your colleagues with your spring compressor tools.

9. Check ancillary parts for corrosion, such as the springs, the pan base and even the car’s inner wings.

10. Before fitting a new oil-filled damper, prime (pump) it in its working position (vertical or at an angle) to ensure that any air pockets that may have formed during storage are expelled from the oil.

For more practical advice on Steering & Suspension issues, please refer to the feature that begins on page 24 of the May 2020 issue here

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