Installing Coil-Over Shocks





Spent Sunday putting on new Coil-Over rear shocks on the 61 and I thought those on the list might want the report. The bird was really dragging her tailfeathers, scraping the shackles with passengers in the back seat, or anytime going over that driveway bump at the 7-11.

I decided to give Kanter's coil-overs a try. What arrived was a pair of Gabriel load handlers, part 90081. Nice looking shocks, strong springs. Since the first shock took three hours and the other took 45 minutes, here's a couple of trial and error tips and the report card for those with weak leafs and lowriding birds who might want to go this route.

1. Pull the wheel and get at these through the wheel opening. You need to jack the side of the car WAY up to get the coil-overs in, since you can not compress them by hand. Brace the car up, of course.... you will be getting deep into the wheel opening.
I would recommend getting a small spring compressor set and saving some hassle by compressing the shocks for installation. But it was Sunday, and Pep Boys had no spring compressors, so we did it the hard way. Put a bottle jack under the rear axle near the shock mount so it is supported and so you can manipulate it.

2. Undo the bottom nut first on the old shocks. If you take the plate off first at the top, you can have some trouble getting the bottom off, as the whole unit will spin. This is a good time to restore the top shock mounting bracket. Assemble the new shock and bushings to the top bracket.

3. Contrary to the instructions, if you are not compressing the shocks, put the BOTTOM stud into the suspension first (don't forget the washer and bushing) but don't put the nut on it. Then, work your two jacks, by alternately raising the body and lowering the axle until you can move the top bracket into place.

4. The best you can do is line up the inboard mounting hole at first. Thread the bolt in, but do not tighten. Now start to raise the axle ( or drop the body ) with your jack to get the outboard two holes to line up - you actually twist the shock to muscle them into place and play with the jacks to close the gap so you can thread these bolts. The gap closes first on the forward hole, and when you tighten this up, the aft hole will come into alignment.


These do raise the rear. Measured from garage floor to the top of the wheel opening at center-hub:

Before 20 1/4 "
After 21 1/2"

With 30 lbs of pressure in P275-14 radials

The stance is much improved, and I can even tell the difference from the driver seat, now being able to see over the hood scoop.
The ride is great, not stiff or too bouncy, and with a lot less lean while cornering. The above measurement did not change after driving about 10 miles in stop and go. All in all, I would recommend them to improve ride height, but if your tail is not dragging to start with , these could be a bit too much lift.

Bob Cuzzolino
61 Hardtop "Phillybird"