How to Change Motorcycle Shock Absorbers
- 1). Remove the seats from the motorcycle, either by unlocking the seat latch or by unbolting it from the frame with a socket or Allen wrench. Remove any exterior body panels, saddlebags or fairings from the motorcycle, especially near the rear shock absorber and swingarm, using a socket wrench.
- 2). Place motorcycle-specific jack under the motorcycle's engine. Secure both handlebars to the anchor points on both sides of the jack, using ratcheting tie-down straps. Lift the motorcycle slightly off of the ground, just enough to relieve the tension placed on the rear shock absorber(s) by the weight of the motorcycle. Alternatively, lift the motorcycle onto its center stand, if it is equipped with one. You may disregard the use of the jack, if you are using a center stand.
- 3). Remove the cotter pins from the ends of the lower shock absorber bolts, using pliers. Skip this step, if the motorcycle you are working on does not have cotter pins in this location.
- 4). Loosen the upper and lower shock absorber nuts, using a socket wrench. Twin-shock-absorber-equipped motorcycles will place the upper nuts along the rear fender rails and the lower nuts along the sides of the swingarm. Mono-shock-equipped motorcycles will place the upper nut along the frame below the rider's seat rails and the lower nut below the center of the swingarm. Use a long-handled breaker bar in place of a socket wrench, if the nuts will not loosen.
- 5). Unscrew the lower shock absorber nuts, or nuts, using a socket wrench. Pull the lower mounting bolt out from the bottom of the shock absorber by hand. Lift the swingarm slightly by hand, if the lower mounting bolts are difficult to remove. Remove the lower mounting bolt from the remaining shock absorber, if applicable. Lower the rear wheel to the ground.
- 6). Swing both shock absorbers toward the rear of the motorcycle until the lower shock absorber eyes are clear of the mounting tabs built into the swingarm. This step applies only to twin-shock-equipped motorcycles.
- 7). Unscrew the upper shock absorber nut, or nuts, using a socket wrench. Support the shock absorber with one hand, then pull the upper mounting bolt out with the other hand. Lower the shock absorber, and pull it out from under the motorcycle. Alternatively, pull the upper shock absorbers off of the mounting studs built into the rear fender rails.
- 8). Install the new shock absorber onto the motorcycle, either by pushing the upper shock absorber eyelets onto the mounting studs built into the rear fender rail or lifting the upper shock absorber eyelet into the bracket built into the frame under the rider's seat. Slip the upper mounting bolt into the bracket and through the upper shock absorber eyelet. Loosely screw the upper nut into place over the mounting stud or upper mounting bolt, using a socket wrench.
- 9). Lower the jack slightly until the lower shock absorber eyelets are aligned with the mounting tabs built into the sides or bottom of the swingarm. Slide the lower mounting bolts into the tabs and through the lower shock absorber eyelets. Screw the lower nuts loosely onto the lower mounting bolts with a socket wrench.
Tighten the upper mounting bolts and nuts, followed by the lower mounting bolts and nuts, to the torque specification listed in your motorcycle's factory service manual with a torque wrench.
Place new cotter pins into the holes at the ends of the lower mounting bolts, if applicable. Bend the cotter pin legs over the sides of the lower mounting bolts with pliers.
Double check that all mounting bolts and nuts are tightened firmly. Reinstall all exterior body panels, saddlebags or fairings, using a socket wrench. Reinstall the seat onto the motorcycle, using the seat lock or a socket or Allen wrench.
Remove the motorcycle from the jack and lower it onto its side stand.