You'll need some special tools to make replacing the shocks on your Chevrolet Astro easier for you, but the money you can save on labour charges by doing it yourself will benefit you. Most quality aftermarket shocks come with a lifetime warranty, just like the installation centres advertise (but they will charge you labour to install them). So if you can determine how to do it yourself, you can replace the shocks on your Astro in the future for free.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Things you need
- Floor jack
- 2 Jacks stands
- Wheel chock
- 1/2-inch drive breaker bar
- 1/2-inch drive socket set
- 1/2-inch drive ratchet
- 1/2-inch drive adjustable torque wrench (recommended)
- Ratcheting hand wrench set
- Box-end wrench set
- Vice grip pliers
- Safety glasses
- Creeper (optional)
- Spray lubricant
Park the Astro on a flat paved surface and apply the parking brake. Place a wheel chock behind one of the rear tires. Break the lug nuts loose on both front tires using the breaker bar and a socket.
Lift the front of the Astro, one side at a time, with the floor jack and place a jack stand under each front frame rail. Remove the lug nuts and tires.
Remove the left (driver's side) inner wheel well splash guard to gain better access to the shock absorber. Spray the upper shock stem and nut with spray lubricant and allow it some time (a few minutes) to soak in. Also spray the bottom shock retaining bolts.
Remove the upper shock mounting nut from the stem of the shock. Use a ratcheting wrench on the nut while holding the hex-head stem with a box-end wrench. You may need to loosen the nut first with a box-end wrench and hold the stem with a pair of vice grip pliers, but switch to the ratcheting wrench to speed things up. Remove the nut, washer and bushing from the stem.
Remove the two lower shock bolts with the ratchet and a socket. If you need to get under the Astro, put your safety glasses on first. Crawl under on a creeper if you have one. The nuts for the lower shock bolts will remain on the lower control arm. Pull the shock out of the shock tower in the lower control arm. You may need to compress it to get it out.
Place the lower washer and bushing on the new shock and insert it into the shock tower up through the lower control arm. With the stem of the shock through the upper shock mount, place the bushing, washer, and nut on the stem of the shock. Tighten the upper shock mounting nut with a ratcheting wrench while holding the stem with a box end wrench. Replace the inner wheel well splash guard and replace the wheel and lug nuts. Tighten the lug nuts flush to the hub.
Replace the lower shock bolts and tighten with the ratchet and a socket. Replace the inner wheel well splash guard and replace the wheel and lug nuts. Tighten the lug nuts flush to the hub.
Repeat Step 3 through Step 7 for the right side shock absorber. Lower the Astro when you're through and re-tighten the lug nuts with the adjustable torque wrench set at 100 foot-pounds and a socket. Release the parking brake and remove the wheel chock.
How to Replace Front Shocks in a Chevrolet Astro
Park the Astro on a flat level surface. Apply the parking brake. Place a wheel chock in front of one of the front tires. Break the lug nuts loose on the rear tires using the breaker bar and a socket.
Lift the rear of the Astro, one side at a time, with the floor jack and place the jack stands under the rear axle, but away from the lower shock mounts located on the axle. Lift the floor jack lift plate to contact the rear differential of the Astro van without taking the weight from the jack stands. Remove the lug nuts and tires. Spray the upper and lower shock bolts with lubricant and put on the safety glasses.
Start with the left (driver's side) rear shock. Remove the top shock mounting nut from the bolt using the ratchet and socket on the nut and a box end wrench to hold the bolt head. Remove the nut and leave the bolt in tact with the frame. Remove the lower shock mounting nut in the same fashion as the upper. Remove the bolt from the lower shock mount. Strike it with the hammer if you need to and use the punch if necessary. Pull the shock off of the upper shock bolt.
Install the top of the new shock onto the upper shock bolt and replace and tighten the nut. Replace the lower shock bolt through the shock mount and through the bottom hole on the shock. You may have to compress the shock to get it on. Replace the nut on the lower shock bolt and tighten. Replace the tire and lug nuts and tighten the lug nuts flush to the hub.
Repeat Step 3 and Step 4 for the right-side shock absorber. You'll notice the shock angle is different for the right side, but the procedure to remove and replace it is the same.
Lower the Astro when you're done and re-tighten the lug nuts with the adjustable torque wrench set at 100 foot-pounds and a socket. Release the parking brake and remove the wheel chock.