: Tips on replacing rear air struts in 1990 Cadillac Deville

03-16-10, 11:23 AM
Tips on replacing rear air struts in 1990 Cadillac Deville

Floor jack
Jack stands (2)
Wooden block(s)
Air compressor for powering air impact wrench
24mm box wrench
24mm Ĺ inch-drive air impact socket
Impact extension bar
Impact swivel joint (optional)
13mm and 15mm sockets (3/8-inch drive) or ratcheting wrenches like GearWrench brand.

My strategy:

Jack car up using floor jack under the rear lower control arm. Stabilize car with jack stand under rocker panel pinch weld (use wooden block between pinch weld and jack stand).

Remove wheel center cap, lug nuts, and tire.

Remove the air line from the fitting by twisting the small wire clamp. Careful!!! the clamp has a tendency to spring into the air and fly away Ė keep a good grip on it!

From inside the trunk, loosen and remove the 13mm or 15 mm nuts holding the top of the shock to the shock tower. The shock wonít fall out since the bottom of the shock is still attached to the control arm.

Using a 24mm box-end wrench on the bolt head, use the 24mm air impact socket to loosen and remove the 24mm nuts from both the upper and lower bolts.

Remove both bolts and the shock is free. You may need to adjust the height of your floor jack to allow enough free space to get the shock out. Be careful NOT TO LOWER the control arm all the way. FSM says lower ball joint can be damaged if lower control is dropped too low.

Maneuver it out and get your 24mm air impact socket ready.

Remove the 24mm bolt from the top of the shock to free the top shock mount.

Install the top shock mount on the new strut and make sure it is aligned at a right angle to the bottom shock mount; if it isnít perfectly 90 deg youíll have to twist the shock to ensure the top mounting bolts slide up through the mounting holes.

I had to jam a wooden wedge under the shock to hold it up so I could climb in the trunk and install the top nuts.

Install the upper nuts.

Install the lower bolts and make sure they are TIGHT!

The rest of the task is buttoning up and donít forget to attach the air line!!!!

Youíll also have to force the shock to inflate at least enough to expand the rubber boot. My first test drive the car rode hard and bouncy like it was on the rubber bump stops.
I was able to resolve that condition by ground the green connector at the air pump and forcing air into the new shocks. I heard and felt a pop, pop as both shocks inflated. Then the car rode smoothly with no issues!

Best of luck,
Ed in Maryland