Replacing the rear shocks is one of the most frustrating jobs on a c900. The upper nut is usually rusted to the shock shaft, and the shaft, coated in hard chrome, is impossible to grab even with a pipe wrench to keep it from turning. The lower bolt is often rusted to the inside sleeve of the shock bushing, requiring a lot of hammering and maybe a torch!

Difficulty: 3/5

Tools Required:
-Two 17mm wrenches
-19mm or ¾” socket
-19mm or 3/4” wrench
-Vise Grips (Mole Grips)
-Adjustable Wrench
-Very large flat screwdriver
-Breaker bar and length of pipe, or air tools
-Sawzall or cut-off wheel
-Punch for removing bottom bolt

Theoretically you might just need the wrenches, but I've never had that happen. Assuming your car has been driven a decent amount, or that the shocks are original, you will probably need all this stuff.
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Parts needed:
-Mounting hardware
-All rubber bushes (should come with the shocks).
-2 12mm nuts

To start on the right foot, soak everything in your favorite penetrating oil the night before. This worked wonders on my lower bolts. They both came right out.

Then, on to step 1, removing the top nuts. The top of the shaft usually has two nuts on it, locked together. Removing the first one is easy. Just put a wrench on the lower one and then start wrenching on the upper one, jamming the lower wrench into the wheel well. Taking that nut off all the way cleans the threads so you may have a fighting chance with the second top nut.

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You can stick an adjustable wrench on the flats of the shock and maybe you’ll get enough grip to hold the shock steady while you remove the nut. If not, you’ll probably rip the top flats off. This is OK.

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You can do one of three things with a rounded-off top.
1) First solution is to remove the shock bottom bolt and bend the shock outward to create a leverage point (don’t break the shaft! OEM shocks can only bend about 30 degrees!).
2) Second solution is to cut the nut off with some kind of electric or air-powered tool. I prefer this solution.
3) Third solution only works when the shock shrouds are metal (OEM are plastic). You can grab onto the metal shroud, which should be mild steel and easy to find purchase on with a pipe wrench or vise grips, and then turn the nut up top.

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Note the cut. This is the preferred cut with a sawzall. The cut with a cutoff wheel will be slightly different, and probably go across the face of the nut facing you rather than on the side. If you cut just barely into the shock shaft, you’ll relieve pressure on the threads, and might have a fighting chance of unscrewing the thing.

Compared to removing the top nuts, the bottom nut is easy! Just put your 19mm wrench on the nut and use your 19mm ratchet or breaker and a very long pipe on the bolt to break it loose. You probably cannot fit a deep socket in there, so better have a shallow one on hand.

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Once this is done, you may need to pound the bolt out with a punch or similar. I had to really WAIL on mine to get them out. But don’t be afraid to. SAAB, in their infinite wisdom, decided to put pointy ends on these bolts, so you can hammer until the cows come home without fear of mushrooming the end too much to fit through the bushing hole. It is brilliant. A note on removing the lower bolt: if you do it before the upper one, you will need to jack up the rear suspension to remove load on the shock.

To remove the shock (FINALLY), you will have to compress the thing either by hand if you’re strong or with a pry bar or large screwdriver if you’re not. You should be able to angle it out of its hole. Make sure you’ve removed all the rubber upper mounts from the hole, because they tend to get stuck and shred up there.

Installation is comparatively straightforward. Some shocks made in the USA may have SAE hardware, but European shocks should be entirely the same. You’ll have to compress the shock by hand (easy enough) and then stuff it in before it expands. Don’t forget the top bushing. Seating the bottom bushing in its mounts can sometimes be difficult. I’ve taken to putting a bit of grease on each side and persuading it in with a hammer on the end of a large flat screwdriver. It has worked for me every time.

And that’s it! This is one of the most frustrating jobs you can do on a c900. Just go into it with a good backup (cutting tool!) and the patience of a saint.