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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About six years ago, I installed a set of the original TeamWest Racerunners...a 2.0" threaded body adjustable coilover manufactuered by SwayAway.

At the time, I was new to all this, and installed them--even adjusted them on the truck--without lubricating the threads or otherwise protecting them from the elements.

I later moved to Ohio, where the roads are heavily salted, and the combination of steel bodies and aluminum adjusting collars led to siezed threads. Fortunately the coils were not in compression on the shock prior to installation, so Hovisimo and I removed the frozen adjusting collars with a chop saw, hammer and chisel.

Later, the shocks were rebuilt, and I ordered new, longer springs. During installation, I used plenty of grease on the threads, including shooting grease in the set screw hole until it came out between the shock body and the adjusting collar (just fill the hole with grease, then insert the screw, remove, repeat...the screw will force grease between the body and collar).

In addition, I cleaned the top of the collar and the threads to about an inch away, and covered them with a thick bead of RTV. This is just before I installed 35" tires, right before winter in Ohio.

A year later, the shock bodies had (again, or as usual) corroded, but the threads beneath the RTV were clean, and the grease between the collar and body was still fresh. I was able to adjust the shocks without incident, and reapplied grease and silicone during installation.

It has been two winters (one Ohio, one Colorado) since I touched the coilovers. The coilovers need a rebuild again. Yesterday, after removing the silicone bead, cleaning the exposed threads with a wire wheel and greasing them in preparation to turn the adjusting collar, I was able to easily release pressure on the coil. The grease underneath the collar was still fresh after two winters.

As easy as it is to apply (finger) and remove (wire wheel) RTV from the shock bodies, I'll be applying the same thing to the entire body where it isn't directly covered by the adjusting collar, and the area to which the adusting collar must move in order to provide the correct ride height for my truck.

Pics in my gallery of the takedown process, I'll have a couple pics of the shock bodies tonight.

Sorry no pics of disassembled shocks, it's my roommate's camera and he's out :p.

-Sean
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Finished rebuilding the coilovers this evening. It is very, very easy. Sorry, no camera, no pics...but it is a piece of cake. The first shock took me a couple hours to figure out. The second shock took about thirty minutes from opening the seal cap to closing it again.

Necessary stuff:

Seal kit, part number SAW-52400-101, 2" shock seal kit
Shock oil (get the large bottle, each shock is ~1/3 the bottle)
1/8" hex wrench
7/8" wrench
Couple of very small screwdrivers or picks
Bench vise
Pressurised air (or CO2 tank)
Shop towels
Red threadlock
Oil catch pan for used oil
A few zip ties

Terminology
I messed up a few items below, here's the correct terminology, will sort later.

Rod Guide- The chunk of aluminum inside the end of the shock body, with the three threaded holes. I was calling this the main seal, below.
Seal Cap- The anodized, non-threaded cap that covers the rod guide, contains a wiper, and is at the end of the assembled shock.
Wear Bands- Two of these. One (nylon) on the dividing piston, the other (metal, teflon coated) is over the O.D. of the valve.

When the teflon on the I.D. of the rod guide or on the valve wear band starts to wear through, replace the part.

Disassembly

Assuming the coil is off and the body is clean, hold the shock vertically with the Schraeder valve on top. Remove the valve cap and release the pressure. Some oil may come out, no big deal. Now compress the shaft ALL THE WAY and release pressure at the valve again. Letting go of the shaft, it should STAY collapsed. If not, the shock is emulsified and disassembly will require a press.

Assuming the shock is no longer pressurised, pull the shaft back out all the way. This decreases pressure in the nitrogen chamber and will make it easier to take apart.

Remove the three hex head machine screws using the 1/8" hex wrench. If the shock has never been serviced they will be stiff as they are assembled with threadlock.

Now pull the seal cap away from the shock body...this is the red anodized cap with the black wiper seal in the center. It may be stiff as well...a pipe wrench may be in order but don't damage the area around the wiper. The first time I opened mine it took a little persuasion from a screwdriver and a light tap with a hammer to move the cap, then it came off by hand.

Under the seal cap is the main seal (aluminum, no visible wipers or o-rings) and a circlip. The main seal must be pressed down to access the circlip. The low pressure (from a previous step) in the nitrogen chamber will help. I used the height adjusting wrench to press the seal down, but anything flat will do. Don't damage the surface of the main seal. It only needs to be pressed down far enough to reach the circlip, putting the top of the main seal (the part directly around the shaft) level with the end of the shock body. If the shock is emulsified, a press is required to safely move the main seal down so the circlip can be removed, then allow the seal to come out of the body without hitting the ceiling.

Use a small screwdriver or pick to get the circlip out of the groove. I found it easiest to push the circlip down from the groove, then hook it and it will spring out on its own (watch eyes etc).

Position the shock body over the oil catch pan and pull it apart. It will be a little stiff as the o-rings must pass the circlip groove and the end of the shock body. The main seal is only an inch or two thick, once the outer o-ring passes the end of the shock body oil will start to come out. If you pull hard all at once, oil will dump everywhere :rolleyes:.

If the oil is red, everything is probably still fine. If it's dark grey or black and stinks, it's baked and the service interval should be decreased.

Next note the orientation of the seal cap, main seal and valve on the shaft. Put the misalignment bushing side of the shaft in the vise and use the 7/8" wrench on the nut at the end of the shaft. Turn the wrench counter clockwise, either the nut will loosen or the eye end will loosen, it doesn't matter...on my shocks it was one of each. If the nut loosens, be extremely careful removing the shim stacks and valve...lift gently and have a zip tie waiting so the order isn't changed and you don't lose any shims. Set it aside.

Remove the main seal and seal cap. Note the orientation of the black wiper in the seal cap. Use a pick or small screwdriver to remove the wiper, and clean the seal cap inside and out. Coat the new wiper in shock oil and insert in the seal cap.

There are two o-rings and a wiper on the main seal (the aluminum chunk from the end of the shock body, which you depressed in order to remove the circlip). Remove the black outer o-ring. Next look inside the seal for an orange o-ring. Use a pick to remove it. Finally, look inside the seal for a white wiper, near the end where the seal cap rests (the end with three threaded holes). This wiper can be difficult to remove, one person can do it by mounting the main seal in a vise with a couple pieces of wood between the jaws to avoid mauling the outer surface then attacking the wiper with two picks. I had someone else help with the second pick. Whatever, remove the wiper...hook the top, pry away, insert second pick, repeat until you can get a pick behind it and remove it from the groove. Pay attention to the orientation of the wiper...the V-groove side goes AWAY from the threaded end of the main seal.

Thoroughly clean the main seal. Coat the two o-rings and the wiper with shock oil and install. Coat inside and out of the main seal with shock oil.

Next replace the red o-ring on the valve. If the 7/8" nut came off, clean the valve and shim stack while they're still held together with the zip tie, put them and the nut back on the shaft before doing this. Gently remove the metal wear band from around the valve, and remove the o-ring from underneath. Coat the new ring in shock oil and install.

Put everything back on the shaft in the order it came off. The new seals and wipers will be tight, be persuasive but not violent especially if you're putting them on over the threads on the eye end of the shaft.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Next remove the dividing piston. Easiest way is to loosely zip tie a shop towel around the open end of the shock, then put some compressed air to the Schraeder valve. The dividing piston will shoot out and land in the towel.

The seal kit does not come with another o-ring to replace the ring on the dividing piston, nor does it have a new nylon bushing, but these can both be reused if they are in decent shape. Remove, clean, and put the o-ring and bushing back on the piston.

Finally, clean out the empty shock body, all the way to the top.

Reassembly

Pour some shock oil down the clean shock body. Coat the entire inside surface, pour it back in the bottle.

Insert the dividing piston, cavity side toward the open end of the shock. Be careful not to maul the nylon bushing. Press it down by hand until it is inside the shock, then release pressure at the Schraeder valve. Use the box end of a wrench or something to push it in a few inches while holding the Schraeder valve open.

Next, take the reassembled shaft+valve+main seal+seal cap and push the main seal and seal cap up against the eye end of the shaft, with the seal cap fully over the main seal. This is very important, this will be used to properly position the dividing piston.

Now gently insert the shaft in to the shock body. Press it up against the dividing piston, open the Schraeder valve and gently depress the dividing piston by inserting the shaft until the main seal is sunk in the shock body about halfway between the shock body end of the main seal and the main seal outer (black) o-ring. This puts the main seal about 1/4" inside the shock body, with as much shaft inside the body as possible. Make sure pressure is completely released from the Schraeder valve and gently withdraw the shaft. The dividing piston is now correctly positioned for the oil and nitrogen volume within the shock. If the piston is placed too high, the shaft will (violently) contact the piston on compression. Too low and nitrogen pressure will ramp too quickly on compression and make the shock feel too stiff. Depressing the piston a short depth beyond max shaft stroke provides some slop room when the shock is reassembled, without overly decreasing available nitrogen volume--it doesn't have to be 1/4", it just has to be slightly deeper than the end of the shaft at full compression.

Next, set the body upright in a vise (use wood between jaws and body and be gentle, and make sure the body is completely vertical) and fill about halfway with oil. Keep the main seal and seal cap all the way at the eye end of the shaft and gently insert the shaft. Don't force it to the bottom, let it settle...this way the dividing piston depth isn't affected. Don't let the shaft sink all the way, you'll still be adding oil. The shaft could be completely extended, but inserting it compressed is the easiest way to measure oil volume and piston depth without having to break out measuring tools...the shaft and main seal are the measuring tools this way. With the shaft mostly settled in the body, add oil all the way to the top of the shock body. Let the shaft settle on its own until the main seal is ALMOST resting on the shock body. Give it a second...any air trapped in the valve will bubble up. Wait for the bubbles to stop, THEN gently insert the main seal until the seal cap is resting against the end of the shock body. Be gentle at first but it may take a little force to push the main seal outer o-ring past the circlip groove in the shock body.

Release pressure at the Schraeder valve again, it will have increased when the main seal was fully inserted. Ignore the drops of oil that will come out the Schraeder valve but be aware a couple drops will probably bubble out, from when you rinsed the body earlier with shock oil. A little oil on the walls in the nitrogen chamber helps lubricate the piston.

Hold the seal cap down with one hand and pull up on the shaft with the other hand, not far, just an inch or two so you can insert the circlip. Pulling the shaft out a little creates a partial vacuum in the nitrogen chamber again, so it will be easier to depress the main seal.

Using fingers, depress the main seal enough to seat the circlip.

Now take your compressed air, CO2, nitrogen, whatever, and give the Schraeder valve a LITTLE bump to seat the main seal against the circlip.

Position the seal cap over the threaded holes in the main seal and insert the machine screws.

Hold down the Schraeder valve again and extend the shock all the way (sucking air in to the nitrogen chamber). Test the shock by letting the Schraeder valve close, then compressing the shock all the way...it should compress easily, getting harder at the end as pressure builds on the air side of the dividing piston, but the shaft should compress all the way with minimal effort. If it contacts the dividing piston, becomes extremely difficult to move as the shock compresses or becomes impossible altogether, either the dividing piston moved during assembly or the shaft was inserted in the extended position, not compressed. Take it apart and make sure the dividing piston depth is set properly, without pressure held in the chamber, and that the shaft is being inserted with the main seal and seal cap against the eye end of the shaft during assembly.

If it all works, give the Schraeder valve another bump, this time no greater than 200psi. If you had nitrogen on hand, you're done. If you only had compressed air or CO2, take them (off the truck) to get filled with nitrogen.

Filling them on the truck will result in the wrong pressure and ramp rate in the nitrogen chamber.

Assembling the shock with the shaft extended after setting divider depth with a collapsed shaft will result in too much oil and insufficient space for the shaft when eventually compressed.

Spare parts can be ordered from Kartek and a couple other places, or directly from SAW.

-Sean
 

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My 2.5 coilovers are at SAW right now. I was getting a noise form the drivers side. I mentioned that I take them off for the winter and they told me that they are waiting on some shock bodies that won't corrode. I can't wait to get them back. I'm seriously thinking about getting some TC UCA's. I'm not excited about spending $650 though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Any noise from the shock body can't be good :p. They're extremely simple construction, the non-bypass shocks anyway...I can't imagine what would cause a noise unless one of the o-rings or bushings was torn and putting metal on metal...sounds expensive.

Are they looking at doing the same treatment Donahoe uses?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Stupid Stuff

AKA things I screwed up on and had to figure out in order to properly reassemble the shocks, and stuff I fortunately realized before doing anything dumb.

Always be gentle with o-rings, flanges, wear bands, bushings and everything else that is inserted in the shock body.

Make sure there's oil on everything when you're putting it back together, leave no part dry, including the walls and top of the nitrogen chamber, and all sides of the dividing piston. A little oil in the nitrogen chamber (like a couple drops, or the amount left after rinsing the shock body with fresh oil) helps keep the dividing piston lubricated.

Don't reinsert the main seal with the shaft fully extended, it needs to be fully compressed. Reinserting when extended leaves the shaft nowhere to go when the oil is topped off.

Only add oil about halfway up the shock, then insert the valve and shaft. Topping off (or near top) just wastes a lot of oil, since it will be expelled from the top of the valve as it sinks and the shaft will change the volume of the oil column as it's inserted anyway. Let it sink on its own, forcing it down will move the dividing piston and screw up the oil volume if the piston sticks in place lower than you originally positioned it. Once the valve is near the bottom (main seal will be near the end of the shock body, top off the shock body. No air should be inside the body, topping off at this point is the easiest way to make sure. Some oil will overflow as the shaft is fully inserted, once the main seal is inserted it will push down the oil column as well as the dividing piston (hyrdaulic pressure, not contact pressure), this is ok...just release the pressure as usual and button everything up.

It's gonna cost me ten bucks a shock for a nitrogen charge, and I gotta wait a day since the guy's pretty busy. 20$ per recharge, with heavy use maybe bump the shocks three or four times a year, with an ownership life of at least four to five years I'm better off getting a small nitrogen tank, not to mention I don't have to send the shocks out...the entire teardown, rebuild and reassembly could be easily done in a long day, or a weekend. Add the cost of a rebuild (not including parts), somewhere between 40$-60$ and again I'm better off getting a tank and a couple seal & bushing kits.

This is all based on a set of heavily used 6.5" travel 2.0" body SAWs with an internal dividing piston and small nitrogen chamber. YMMV for pavement pounders, light offroading, non-salty environments, different travel lengths, and other manufacturers. There's no need to drop the lower control arm for any other bolt-on shock I'm aware of, only with these does it help because the extended length is so long.

The o-ring in the seal kit is for the dividing piston, reuse the o-ring on the outer diameter of the rod guide.

Replacement Component Prices as quoted by Kartek, rounded price per each:
(42$) 6.5" travel shaft
(15$) 2.0" shock seal kit
(10$) Valve wear band, metal, teflon coated
(10$) Dividing piston wear band, plastic
(20$) Rod guide
(12$) Seal cap

After roughly six years of use and abuse, I should replace all of the above except the seal caps in the next year or two. Complete internal R&R is roughly 1/4 the cost of the coilovers when they were new, but keeping them in good shape (regular service--change oil, o-rings and charge nitro) will prevent wear like mine show. The only reason the shafts need changing is pitting, probably from enduring four salty midwest winters. The seal caps, rod guides and wear bands are most likely worn as a result of the shocks getting low on oil and me not rebuilding them soon enough.

TIO: yeah man, I thought my fingers were gonna fall off. I need a camera :rolleyes:
 

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It was a noise/vibration when going over washboard roads. They are still under warranty.
 

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Typical D67 post...

16 pages long, so long it can't be fit in one post...

:devil: :D :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ok, I'll cut it down a bit :devil:.

Take off the seal cap, press down the rod guide, remove the snap ring, use compressed air or whatever to push out the rod guide and dividing piston, replace all the wipers and o-rings, replace the oil, put it back together and BAM you're done :devil:.

You're right, that was easier :D. :clown:.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It never ends...until you find a machine shop.

I got this trick new gauge from Kartek, liquid filled, allows the shock to be filled and then the valve closed under pressure so the charge doesn't drop when the chuck is removed.

Problem is, the Schraeder valve was set in a well that's too deep and too narrow to get the head of this chuck secured.

Solution was to remove the valves (one busted in the process, closeup pic is of the replacement), plug the holes, then machine a little clearance at the top of the well to allow the chuck to seat.

Both shocks are charged to exactly 225# and are again ready for me to beat the living piss out of them.

Three pics in my gallery.

FWIW shock dimensions are 2.0" dia body, ~10" long threaded section, 6.5" travel which is why they're set so high in the coil bucket and strap limited on the bottom...the shock is never compressed to the seal and the valve is never extended to the rod guide, there's about 1/4" to 1/2" extra at both ends so the shock can't be damaged during normal use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Part Numbers

81769... Seal Carrier
52070-001... Rod Guide
52400-101-1... Seals/Wipers
56060-006... 6" Nitro Shafts (the trick new coated ones), actually 6.5" travel
52007-001... Dividing Piston Wear Band/Bearing (nylon)
52036-001... Valve Wear Band/Bearing (metal, teflon coated)

Not cheap, about 300$ shipped for parts to rebuild two shocks, plus two extra seal kits and a gallon of oil (for future rebuilds).

The rod guide presses in to the seal carrier...if the teflon-coated guide is scored, both pieces have to be replaced.

Scoring and seal damage will all come from pitted shafts. I'm looking forward to fully rebuilt, clean, effectively new shocks...now with the really nice shafts.
 

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I got my shocks back from SAW and I'm very impressed. Corrosion proof bodies and a complete rebuild. One shock was empty. I'm having trouble finding a gauge that fits on the shrader valve. I'll keep searching for now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I got my shocks back from SAW and I'm very impressed. Corrosion proof bodies and a complete rebuild. One shock was empty. I'm having trouble finding a gauge that fits on the shrader valve. I'll keep searching for now.
You and me both. It's easier to just machine a wider well around the port, then the standard guages will fit.
 

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I got my shocks back from SAW and I'm very impressed. Corrosion proof bodies and a complete rebuild. One shock was empty. I'm having trouble finding a gauge that fits on the shrader valve. I'll keep searching for now.

IF you don't mind me asking, how much did it cost to have them refresh your shocks. I have had my Team West SAWS since ohhh...2003 and I have never taken them off. I looked closely at them recently and noticed that the shock bodies are completely corroded and the paint on the springs are starting to chip off bad. I know I've been neglecting them but I've been crazy busy.
 

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IF you don't mind me asking, how much did it cost to have them refresh your shocks. I have had my Team West SAWS since ohhh...2003 and I have never taken them off. I looked closely at them recently and noticed that the shock bodies are completely corroded and the paint on the springs are starting to chip off bad. I know I've been neglecting them but I've been crazy busy.
Not to just jump right in, but I just got mine serviced. I dropped them off at their manufacturing facility (which is pretty badass) and they were ready within 24 hours. If you can send it to the northern california facility, I think they would be done faster. Chris at the Socal facility was saying that this is a buys time for them and I should expect a wek or two to rebuild. Total cost was $132 full rebuild, with new rod ends. (I think I got new shafts too, or they just got all the nasty gouges out.)
 

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Not to just jump right in, but I just got mine serviced. I dropped them off at their manufacturing facility (which is pretty badass) and they were ready within 24 hours. If you can send it to the northern california facility, I think they would be done faster. Chris at the Socal facility was saying that this is a buys time for them and I should expect a wek or two to rebuild. Total cost was $132 full rebuild, with new rod ends. (I think I got new shafts too, or they just got all the nasty gouges out.)

Doesn't sound to bad. Did you have your shock bodies replaced too or were yours good already. Remember that I can from an island so my shock bodies and springs are pretty ate up :eek:.
 

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IF you don't mind me asking, how much did it cost to have them refresh your shocks. I have had my Team West SAWS since ohhh...2003 and I have never taken them off. I looked closely at them recently and noticed that the shock bodies are completely corroded and the paint on the springs are starting to chip off bad. I know I've been neglecting them but I've been crazy busy.
Because they were about 6 months old everything was covered under warranty, so it didn't cost me a thing. Chris at SAW is a top notch guy. He didn't have to tell me about the new corrosion proof bodies but he did. He could of charged me for them but he didn't. I waited about 2-3 months for the bodies to be released but it was worth it. I highly recommend that you contact Chris and make arrangements to get your shocks rebuilt with the new bodies.
 

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Doesn't sound to bad. Did you have your shock bodies replaced too or were yours good already. Remember that I can from an island so my shock bodies and springs are pretty ate up :eek:.
I dont really need them, so I didnt even ask. I dont think they can do anything for your springs though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The only things left of the original coilovers I got almost six years ago are the bodies, top cap/heim & valve carrier, rod end and valve.

The new rod guide and seal carrier don't come assembled. It's pretty easy to press the rod guide in to the seal carrier, just use a bench vise and a couple pieces of plate to keep everything straight and to keep the rod guide from misaligning against itself.

The new seal carriers take two O-rings now, the dividing piston bushing is different from the original material and appears to be a better fit.

The easiest way to get the rod end and valve off the shaft is grind a big flat spot on one side of the shaft, throw it in the bench vise and use a large monkey wrench on the rod end. The valve nut is 7/8".

I have a couple pics, will post them when I get a chance.
 
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