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The Ford Capri Laser Page

Rear Shock Absorber Replacement

The rear shock absorbers are quite easy to replace on the Capri so save yourself some money and do the job yourself. The dampers sold by the Capri Club are nothing special but are cheap and quite adequate for the job.  However you will get much more pleasing results if you fit gas filled shocks such as Monroe, Spax, Koni or Bilstein.  The 2.8 shocks will also fit the 1.6 and 2.0 Laser Capris.

I have replaced the rear dampers three times now (the front dampers are much bigger and more expensive to replace but so far they have lasted OK). Usually things start to feel a bit bouncy on the back end. This is most noticeable when you are driving very slowly e.g. in a jam on the motorway.

Jack up the rear of the car and place some axle stands under the axle. The rear of the damper is a attached to the axle with a large 19mm bolt. You can remove this bolt without taking the rear wheel off although it may be easier to see what you are doing if you do. Spray the lower part of the damper with WD40 to make the job a bit easier.

Once you have removed the lower bolt, climb inside the car and lower the rear seats down. On the plastic fitting that covers the top of the suspension tower you will see a small rubber cover about the size of a matchbox. Prise this cover off with your fingernails to reveal the top of the shock absorber. The top fitting usually comprises a pair of rubber bushes that sandwich between the metal of the car, a metal plate either side of the bushes and a lock nut.

You need to get the lock nut undone which can require a bit of patience as there is not much room for maneuver. Make sure that you get hold of two small sized open ended spanners that fit the nut and the slot on the top of the shock absorber correctly. With one spanner stopping the shock from rotating slowly undo the locking nut. Eventually this will come away and you can remove the other fittings. You can now remove the shock absorber from the car by pushing it downwards back through the hole in the wing.  If they are gas shocks you will have to get under the car and wrap your hands around the top of the shock and heave!

A word of warning here: once I managed to drop one of these fittings down the back of the plastic trim and I had to dismantle most of the rear of the car to recover it ! Make sure that you grab these small bits and keep them in a safe place.

Most shock absorbers are filled with oil and you can easily stretch them open to the required length just like a bicycle pump. However if they are gas filled dampers they will rest in a fully extended position and you will need to compress them down by hand before you refit them.  The new shocks I purchased had a plastic strap keeping them compressed.  Do NOT cut this until the shocks are in position!  If you do not have this strap then you will need to use some wire to keep the shock compressed while you fit it.

Place one of the metal dishes on the top of the shock spindle and fix one of the rubber bushes in place.  Some also have a small metal tube that also needs to be fitted by pushing it down inside the rubber bush.

Attach the new shock absorber at the bottom first remembering to put a bit of copper grease on the thread of the bolt. This will make the job easier next time. You may have to wiggle it a bit to get the new bush to fit. Try dipping it in brake fluid if you are really struggling.  Fit the locking washer and nut and tighten by hand.

Once the bottom is attached then you can stretch the oil damper upwards so that the top spindle passes through the hole in the wing. Hopefully it will stay where you put it as you refit the second bush and and metal dish. It is of course easier if you can grab the wife or girlfriend for a few moments to hold it in place for you.  If it is a gas shock then locate the top spindle just below the hole and then cut the retaining strap allowing the shock to extend into its resting position.

You must make sure that the top nut is refitted tightly before you close the locking nut down. Try grabbing the upper part of the damper - you should not be able to rotate it when it is tight enough. Make sure that the lock nut is tightly clamped down to prevent the top mounting working loose.

Once the top fixing is finished return to the underneath and tighten the lower fitting bolt to 44 pounds foot making sure that the other side of the bolt is held still using a 19mm ring spanner.

All that remains is to refit the rubber cover and do the other side. It should take you no more than twenty minutes per side to complete.

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Last updated 26/10/21
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