Parts Catalog Accessories Catalog Tech Info Tech Forums
 
  Search our site:    
View Recent Cars  |   Cart  | Project List | Order Status | Help    
 >  >
Replacing Porsche 911 Carrera Shocks and Springs
 
Bookmark and Share

Pelican Technical Article:

Replacing Porsche 911 Carrera Shocks and Springs

Time:

8 hours8 hrs

Tab:

$1,200

Talent:

****

Tools:

Spring compressor, floor jack, jack stands

Applicable Models:

 
Porsche 996 Carrera models (1999-05)
Porsche 996 Turbo, GT2, GT3 (2001-05)
Porsche 997 Carrera models (2005-08)
Porsche 997 Turbo, GT2, GT3 (2007-08)

Parts Required:

Shocks, springs, and hardware

Hot Tip:

Purchase an electric or air impact wrench for this task

Performance Gain:

Smoother, crisper handling

Complementary Modification:

Install performance springs and lower your suspension

One of the most popular projects to perform on the Carrera is the replacement of the front and rear shocks. I usually recommend that you replace both the front and the rear at the same time, as they take roughly similar abuse over their lifetime, and the fronts or rears are not likely to be more or less worn than the other ones. As a rule, the shocks should always be replaced in pairs (left and right together). The replacement procedures for the front and rear shocks are very similar.

I recommend that you replace your shocks every 50,000 miles or so or if they start to show signs of fading or wearing out. If you push down on a corner of the car, it should spring back with almost no oscillation up and down. If the car bounces up and down, then you probably need new shocks. Different driving patterns may also affect the life of shock absorbers. Cars that are raced or often driven on windy roads may need to have their shocks replaced more often than street cars. It is also important to remember to have the car realigned if you install performance springs into your car that lowers it from its stock level. Changing the height of the suspension changes the values of the alignment/suspension settings.

With the car elevated in the air and the wheels removed, start with one strut, and remove the brake caliper (see Pelican Technical Article: Replacing Porsche 911 Carrera Shocks and Springs). Unplug any brake sensors that may be connected to the caliper and disconnect them from the strut (see Figure 1). Use some rope or wire to tie the brake caliper aside so that it doesn't hang by its rubber hose. Now, disconnect the sway bar drop link from the wheel bearing carrier (see Figure 2). In the front trunk compartment, mark the location of the three nuts that hold the shock to the tower and then remove them (Figure 3). Finally, loosen but do not remove the bolt that attaches the wishbone to the chassis (see Figure 4). This will allow us to drop the strut downward to its lowest point so that we may pull it out from the car after we remove the shock insert and spring.

With the strut assembly and wheel bearing carrier loose, you should be able to push down on the wishbone and maneuver the shock down over the top of the fender. If your car has been lowered or has had some other suspension changes made from the stock configuration, you may need some extra wiggle room. In this case, use your spring compressors to compress the spring and remove it while the strut is still under the fender. Then you should be able to compress the shock further and remove it from the bottom of the fender. When working close to the fender here, be careful that you don't scratch your paint--lay a moving blanket or something similarly soft out to protect the paint finish.

With your strut assembly off and on your workbench, install your spring compressor onto the spring and compress it until it no longer is tight in the strut assembly. While compressing the spring, be sure that you wear safety goggles--these springs are under a lot of pressure, and it is possible that the spring compressor may slip off suddenly. Place the two halves of the compressor on exactly opposite sides of the spring. I have found it very useful to use two ratcheting wrenches (I prefer the ones manufactured by GearWrench and available at PelicanParts.com) on each side of the compressor to assure that I achieve even and equal compression on both sides. Failure to maintain even compression when compressing the springs can make the compressor slip off.

With the spring compression removed from the strut assembly and the springs loose on their perches, remove the center nut that is attached to the top of the shock (see Figure 6). The reassembly process on the Carrera doesn't necessarily require an impact wrench, but it can sometimes make the job easier. So if you don't have one, now is a great time to buy one. I recommend an electric one--no air compressor is required (see Tools of the Trade in the front of this book).

With the upper strut mount removed, you should simply be able to lift the old spring off of the bottom spring perch. If you are reusing your old springs, then simply place them back onto the top of the lower spring perches. If you are replacing your springs with new ones, then move the spring to your workbench and slowly release the spring compressor on your old springs. Compress the new springs in a similar manner. You can use stiffer springs like Eibach Performance Springs, which serve to create a stiffer suspension and lower the car a little more than an inch in both the front and the rear.

Install the compressed spring assembly back onto the lower spring perch and reassemble the assembly as per Figure 8. Reinstall the dust boot/rubber bumper assembly over the shock to protect it from road debris and grime. Reinstall the upper spring plate and spring pad, taking care to verify that the plate is nestled correctly against the top of the spring. Inspect your upper strut mount and bearing carefully prior to assembly. The mount is manufactured out of rubber--both the rubber mount and the bearing will wear over time. I recommend replacing both of them if they look old or if they haven't been replaced previously. Reinstall the upper strut mount on top of the spring plate, and tighten up the retaining nut. Always use new hardware when replacing your shocks--all of the nuts are self-locking and will loose some of that self-securing ability if they are reused.

Reinstall the shock assembly into the wheel carrier, and attach the lower sway bar drop link (which also functions as the pinch bolt for squeezing the shock assembly). Install the assembly back into the top of the shock tower. The upper strut mount may have to be rotated a couple of times in order for you to properly line up the studs integrated into the mount with the holes in the chassis tower. Attach the three nuts at the top of the tower, lining them up with the marks you made when you removed them. Reinstall the brake caliper (Pelican Technical Article: Replacing Porsche 911 Carrera Shocks and Springs) and any other components you may have disconnected. Plug in the sensor connectors that you may have disconnected, and route the wires and hoses back through the tabs in the strut.

Replacing the rear shocks on the 996 is easier than replacing the front shocks. Begin by jacking the car up, supporting it on jack stands (please refer to Pelican Technical Article: Jacking Up Your Porsche 911 Carrera, Jacking Up your car for more info). From inside the car, remove the panel behind the rear seats. On convertible models, you'll need to remove the carpeting from under the body flap. Please see out article (Project: Convertible Top Mechanism) for more information.

Once the upper mount is accessed, Mark the location of the three 15mm bolts that hold the strut to the chassis with a Sharpie. Support the underside of the control arm with a floor jack and unbolt the 15mm nuts inside the car holding the strut in place.

From underneath the car, disconnect both sway bar end links from the sway bar. Hold the 17 mm nut on the inside of the sway bar link while removing the 15mm nut on the outside. Once removed, use an 18mm socket and wrench to remove the bolt holding the rear strut to the control arm. You may have to knock the bolt out of the hole with a long drift. Now use a pry bar to lift the rear strut off its mount of the control arm.

With the cable disconnected from its holder, make sure the wheel speed sensor and brake pad sensors are unplugged from their connector (green arrow).
Figure 1

With the cable disconnected from its holder, make sure the wheel speed sensor and brake pad sensors are unplugged from their connector (green arrow). Then remove the bracket entirely by unbolting it (yellow arrow).

2:The shock (yellow arrow) is held onto the wheel carrier (blue arrow) by a long bolt that is integrated into the sway bar drop link (green arrow).
Figure 2

2:The shock (yellow arrow) is held onto the wheel carrier (blue arrow) by a long bolt that is integrated into the sway bar drop link (green arrow). Remove the bolt/sway bar link, and then the shock should be free to be pulled out of the wheel carrier.

An electric impact wrench is a very handy tool for both removing and installing new shocks.
Figure 3

An electric impact wrench is a very handy tool for both removing and installing new shocks. The tool allows you to tighten nuts without having the shock shaft rotate. The three nuts that hold the front shock to the tower are shown by the yellow arrows. Mark the position of these nuts prior to removal--you want them to be in the same spot when you put them back on.

The yellow arrows in the photo show the bolt that needs to be loosened in order to gain enough clearance to lower the shock and clear the edge of the fender.
Figure 4

The yellow arrows in the photo show the bolt that needs to be loosened in order to gain enough clearance to lower the shock and clear the edge of the fender. You don't need to remove the bolt--simply loosen it so that the arm can rotate a bit more than is possible through the deflection of the rubber bushing. Don't retighten this bolt until the car's tires are back on level ground and the suspension is fully loaded. In the lower right is shown a new bearing installed in a new front strut mount.

With the wheel carrier supported by your jack, lower it down so that you have enough clearance to rotate the assembly out from under the fender.
Figure 5

With the wheel carrier supported by your jack, lower it down so that you have enough clearance to rotate the assembly out from under the fender. Then, pull on the shock to remove it from the wheel carrier (green arrow). Watch out that you don't accidentally scratch your paint.

Use a hex socket to hold the shaft of the shock as you tighten the nut and clamp down the entire assembly.
Figure 6

Use a hex socket to hold the shaft of the shock as you tighten the nut and clamp down the entire assembly. In order to get the springs compressed enough to be placed on the shock, you will need a spring compressor like the one shown in the upper left. When the assembly is clamped down with the locking nut, then carefully release tension on the spring compressors and remove them.

When replacing shocks, I recommend installing new parts.
Figure 7

When replacing shocks, I recommend installing new parts. Shown here is a new front shock (A), a new strut bearing (B), a new lock-nut (C), and a new front strut mount (D). Your Bilstein shocks should come with a beveled washer on the shaft (green arrow).

This diagram shows the installation of a new front shock and how all the bits and pieces fit together.
Figure 8

This diagram shows the installation of a new front shock and how all the bits and pieces fit together. These new Bilstein shocks came with a tapered washer that needs to be fit to the shaft prior to assembly (see Figure 7) Shock Bellows Spring Bumper stop Cup washer Foam insulator Upper strut bearing Upper strut mount Cup washer Nut

When removing or installing the shock, be sure to remove and replace the wire harness for the brake pad and wheel speed sensors.
Figure 9

When removing or installing the shock, be sure to remove and replace the wire harness for the brake pad and wheel speed sensors. Don't forget the beveled washer when installing the new shocks (inset).

Shown here are the 15mm nuts that hold the upper rear strut mount in place on a 996 convertible (green arrows).
Figure 10

Shown here are the 15mm nuts that hold the upper rear strut mount in place on a 996 convertible (green arrows). You may need to remove some of the sound deadening material in order to access it. On coupe models, the upper strut mount is accessible through a small panel behind the rear seats.

Disconnect the sway bar end link from the sway bar.
Figure 11

Disconnect the sway bar end link from the sway bar. Hold the 17mm nut on the inside of the sway bar link (green arrow) while removing the 15mm nut on the outside (yellow arrow).

Counter hold the 18mm shock bolt (purple arrow) while turning the 18mm nut (green arrow).
Figure 12

Counter hold the 18mm shock bolt (purple arrow) while turning the 18mm nut (green arrow). Once removed, you may need to use a drift to drive the bolt out of the mounting hole. Once out, pry the lower strut up and out of the control arm.

Bookmark and Share
Comments and Suggestions:
Dspturtle Comments: The reason I have purchased three copies of the engine rebuild book is because I have worn out the page with torque values. I wish you guys would put an addendum together so I don't have to parse through my set of factory manuals.
September 22, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. I'll pass it on. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
DSPTurtle Comments: Where are the torque values? Is there an addendum to the book? I have a hardcopy and there isn't a single torque value in it.
September 19, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don’t have that info. It's best to get the torques from Porsche.

I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Robin Comments: Just a quick follow up to my last post in case it helps anyone in the same situation strut appears too long. In the end I had to stand on the hub sticking out from the brake rotor in order to make the suspension descend enough and simultaneously pull the strut into position. It needed a couple of tries, but went in pretty easily using this technique.
May 7, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for sharing your installation process and experience. These type of comments add so much to the Pelican tech community.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Robin Comments: I've removed my old rear strut on my 1999 Carrera 2, and assembled the new one same part number and am reusing the spring. Problem is I can't get the new strut into place as it seems like around 2 inches too long. I have only jacked one corner up, but with the sway bar disconnected that shouldn't have an effect. I tried to refit the spring compressors to compress the strut but there's not enough room. Any suggestions how to get the new strut into place?
May 6, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: if levering the suspension down doesn't do it, you may have the wrong part. Double check the part numbers. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Fixitrod Comments: So I bought your book and was going by that for a c4s but as it became difficult to drop the hub devil of time loosening wishbone. Can't get wrenches on it well enough. Bentley says gotta remove hub by pressing it off and ball joint needs to be pressed out and put hub on bench. Mention of this difference in your book would have been helpful unless it really can be dropped more. I can't get leverage your way. Any tips before I go and get these press tools
June 25, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I've found that difficult as well. The secret is finding the right wrench and socket combination. Usually an offset boxed end wrench, or shallow socket with a thin 3/8" ratchet works to loosen the wishbone from the sub frame. - Casey at Pelican Parts  
Jerry Comments: What are the torque specs for the clamping bolts for the front strut and rear shock? Thanx
December 22, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't have those specs handy. I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 

  Search our site:    

View Cart & CheckOut | Project List | Order Status |  Help    

 

[Home] [Customer Service] [Shopping Cart] [Project/Wish List]
  [Privacy Statement]  [Contact Us] [About Us] [Shipping] [Careers]

Copyright © Pelican Parts Inc. -    DMCA Registered Agent Contact Page

Page last updated: Mon 12/5/2016 02:31:34 AM