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After suffering for years with the annoying rear shock squeak (dealer wouldn't fix it for free) I finally got around to installing replacements.

I wrestled with the top nut for a long time, fighting to keep a crescent wrench on the flat stub so I could loosen the nut. It's a 2003 Tundra, so the threads were nice 'n rusty even after soaking with PB Blaster.

After noticing that the factory shock dust cover was thin plastic, I whipped out the wife's kitchen scissors and just cut it in half. Peeling back the plastic, I was able to grab the shock piston with a pair of Vise Grips...no more crescent wrench needed. The stock shocks are trash anyway so no harm in dinging up the piston.

This made removing the top nut much easier and faster. Hope it helps somebody!
 

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I should've looked before I posted...I could've just hijacked your post. How did you get a good bite on the piston? When I do this, it spins in the jaws of the vise grip no matter how good of a bite i get - and yes, the vise grips have good teeth on them. I was considering grinding some grooves or a flat spot on the piston to allow for a good bite.
 

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Cutting that plastic is the first thing i did since i also wondered how the hell i was gonna get the vise grips on there.

If you just can't squeeze the vice grips enough to clamp onto the shock then try using a quick-grip clamp(see link if you don't know what they are) to squeeze the vice grips on there. Then if that's not enough then grind a flat spot. Using those quick-grips sure have saved me quite a few times getting the vice grips on there. Just watch out releasing them cause they go flying and if it gets ya, it's gonna sting.

http://www.irwin.com/irwin/consumer/jhtml/newProductsSelected.jhtml?attrId=IrwinProd300003
 

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I should've looked before I posted...I could've just hijacked your post. How did you get a good bite on the piston? When I do this, it spins in the jaws of the vise grip no matter how good of a bite i get - and yes, the vise grips have good teeth on them. I was considering grinding some grooves or a flat spot on the piston to allow for a good bite.
Sounds like some serious rust stopping the nut from turning. I also cut away the plastic and used vice grips when I did mine... worked very well after trying to get a wrench on the top and the stem just whittling away to nothing. Not to mention how tight it is up there to work.

If you can get one on there a pipe wrench might work.
 
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