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One of the most difficult parts of building an Associated Off-Road car or truck is getting all four shocks to feel the same. This is a "tutorial" on how to properly build and re-build Associated shocks.

Parts needed (other than shocks-DUH!) - to get your shocks to be as smooth as they possibly can, you should always start out with a new shock rebuild kit (Associated part #6440) that has new spacers and new 0-rings. I do not use a new kit every time I rebuild my shocks, but I usually replace the parts about every 3 weeks. You should also have a couple of clean rags along with some Simple Green or some other cleaner that is comparable to Simple Green. This works very well for cleaning the outside and inside of your shocks. If your shocks are old, it might be a good idea to get new shock shafts also. Unobtainium shafts are very good, but right now I am using the stock shafts that come with the kit.


  • Assuming that you have a shock rebuild kit, take all the parts out of the bad and set the 0-rings aside. Make sure you have a really sharp X-acct knife or preferably a razor blade.
  • Next, you will cut the parts off of the tree. When doing this, make sure that you leave no burs on the spacers and the locking washers. It is better to cut further into the part and take some extra material off of them than to leave any burs on. If you do leave burs on the parts, your shocks will not work correctly, nor will they assemble easily.
    (If you are starting with new shocks that have never been run before, disregard these next 2 steps.)
  • Remove the shocks from the car and clean them off really well using a clean rag and simple green if needed. Make sure you clean off the spring cups at the bottom also and the ride height adjusters as well. Getting everything clean will help to make the shocks smoother.
  • Take the cap off and empty the oil then take the shafts out and also remove the seals and spacers from the bottom of the shocks bodies. You should clean the bodies and caps out using simple green then motor spray.) Sit the bodies aside to dry out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Reassembly

  • Next you will assemble the seals/spacers. Put a generous amount of shock oil onto the shock assembly tool followed by the locking washer. Next, slide the first small spacer onto the assembly tool followed by the first 0-ring, large spacer, second 0-ring, and last small spacer. Then apply more shock oil to the whole seal assembly to make sure the 0-rings are lubed well enough.

  • (For shocks that have been used-make sure the area where the seals sit in the bodies is totally clean) Insert the seal assembly into the body of the shock and push down on the tool until you hear and feel a "click". Do not force the assembly in place, as it should be fairly easy to install. If it does not click, then you probably have some burs on the edges of the spacers or locking washer and you will have to cut them off.

  • It is a good idea to use new pistons every few months as they do get worn in and develop slop that affects the damping of the shocks.

  • Put the pistons that you will be using on the shock shafts and apply oil to the threads of the shaft.

  • Insert the shaft slowly into the body of the shock and pull it all the way through until the piston is against the bottom of the body. Wiggle the shaft around some to seat the seals and make sure everything is aligned correctly.

  • Thread the shock ball end onto the shaft until it bottoms
    out.

  • Holding the shock upright, slowly fill the body up until there is a slight dome of oil above the top of the body (fill is slowly to make sure that you get a minimal amount of air in the oil). Now move the shaft up and down slowly until you do not see any air coming out from beneath the piston.

  • Thread on the shock cap until slightly about a quarter of the threads are showing.

  • Now, push the shock shaft up into the shock slowly until the shock end bottoms out against the bottom of the shock body. Now thread the cap on the rest of the way (still holding the shaft in). You only want to tighten the cap FINGER TIGHT. No tighter. You should not need tools to assemble your shocks. When you let go of the shaft, it should rebound slightly, and when fully extended, it should suck back in slightly also. I suggest that you move the shaft in and out rapidly a few times to mix the oil and air so that the shocks will be more consistent. How far you push the shaft in depends mainly on the size of the shock body. For buggy front shocks, generally, you should push the shaft all the way in, for rear shocks, you should leave about 1/16 of shaft showing. This seems to work the best for me.

  • You may have to vary how much shaft is showing between shocks on either side of the car depending on how much the shafts rebound so that both rear shocks are the same and both front shocks are the same.

  • You can now assemble the rest of the shocks according to the instructions. When putting the springs on, make sure that they do not rub against the bodies when moved up and down. Rotate the springs to fix this if it happens.
Notes: Many people say you should use “Green Slime” when assembling shocks. I do not believe you should. If you apply too much, it can get into the oil and possibly clog a piston hole. Also, the oil seems to be more consistent and doesn’t dry out like slime seems to sometimes. I sometimes run 3 o-rings. This is to change the damping properties of the shock. Associated doesn’t make any ½ weight oils (like 32.5), so running 3 o-rings provides enough friction to give the effect of running a ½ wt heavier oil.

Thanks to Jason LaDow - Peak Performance
 

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Something else that works wonders... Use Yokomo shock caps. They have a small screw in the cap and you bleed the shock from that.
 

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custom works shock cap.. its flat, so you dont need a bladder.. once you figure how to build with this cap your golden for weeks..
 

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I rebuilt the shocks on my T4 for the first time last night. I read your article and found it helpful....BUT my springs are still rubbing the shock bodies. I rotated them several times and couldn't eliminate the problem..any ideas?
 

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hey guys.heres a note from a driver that hardly "ever"gives his race secrets out....so write it down!!!!!I take 3 pistons....superglue em together...then cut a 1/8th slot in one side so they will slide onto the shock shaft...then I rebuild my shocks using this little tool to eliminate rebound when racing on tracks that offer minimum rear traction for it eliminates "rebound" which is BAD!....for these type of tracks.

FROM:BiG D
 

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no I dont leave it on the shaft for it would get knocked of in a race...it is simply a good way to keep the rear planted in slick conditions for more rear traction.works better on the rear than the front.
 

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local nc driver said:
hey guys.heres a note from a driver that hardly "ever"gives his race secrets out....so write it down!!!!!I take 3 pistons....superglue em together...then cut a 1/8th slot in one side so they will slide onto the shock shaft...then I rebuild my shocks using this little tool to eliminate rebound when racing on tracks that offer minimum rear traction for it eliminates "rebound" which is BAD!....for these type of tracks.

FROM:BiG D
I want to try this but want to make sure i understand. I built my rear shocks as you said above and what i got was a shock shaft that packed up if you will before going all the way in. Almost like it had limiters on the outside of the shocks. did i do this rite or did i miss something? I'm running this weekend on a hard packed clay track that doesn't groove up and stays sandy on top so i thought this might help. I'm running 10th scale gas (gt). Thanks for any help with this.
 

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If you are running the TC3 shocks, I have found that the biggest problem with them if you build them as recommended, leak. Mainly because of just using shock oil for the bottom o-rings. I have found that the O-rings that KVRC (Gary Riser) sells is a much better o-ring. I also use a good amount of stealth diff lube on them when inserting them in the bodies helps a ton with the leak problem. I run DirtOval and we rebuild pretty often, but without them leaking, it cuts this down to half. Just my 2-cents worth.
Kevin
 
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