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Author Topic: EXPERIENCE WITH LEVER ACTION SHOCK ABSORBER REBUILD  (Read 587 times)

Offline Jay Friedman

  • Posts: 2536
EXPERIENCE WITH LEVER ACTION SHOCK ABSORBER REBUILD
« on: July 05, 2019, 02:25:07 PM »
Some background.  Following the removal and replacement of a lever-action shock, used from (I think) 1934 to 1949, the front wheels of the car must be re-aligned, since the shock arm, which connects to the steering knuckle support (that holds the king pin) through a threaded eccentric pin, controls the wheel’s caster and camber.  Each wheel’s alignment is determined by the adjustment of the eccentric pin as well as the length of the shock absorber arm. 

Years ago I had my ’49’s left front shock absorber (Delco model 1946H) rebuilt by a well-known rebuilding company.  When I had the wheels aligned after this shock was rebuilt, the alignment shop was able to set the caster and camber to the required zero degrees with no problem.  All went well: that shock absorber is still in good condition and the left front wheel is in perfect alignment. 

Recently, I had my right front shock absorber (Delco model 1946G) rebuilt by the same rebuilding company.  After installation, when I had my wheels aligned the mechanic could not adjust the camber (side-to-side angle) of the wheel closer to zero than 2 degrees.  He pointed out to me that this was caused by the arm on the rebuilt right shock being slightly shorter than the arm on the left shock.  The result was the car to pulled to the right. 

The problem was that I had been in a hurry, so rather than have the company rebuild my faulty right front shock and return it me, I had the rebuilder exchange my shock for a supposedly identical, already rebuilt shock they had in stock.  Since the body of this shock had the same model number 1946G stamped on it, and the difference in arm length is not easy to see, I had only myself to blame. 

Since the shock arm is made up of two parts held together by a welded joint that must be split apart for rebuilding, I’m guessing that someone in the past either mixed up the parts of two different arms, or damaged the original arm beyond repair and substituted another similar looking but incorrect arm.  I suppose I could have made a claim against the rebuilding company, but the above scenario took place over the course of several months and I wasn’t in the mood for a protracted, possibly acrimonious, discussion with the company about the issue.

Assuming all responsibility, I purchased another right front Delco model 1946G shock absorber with a correct arm that needed rebuilding.  I then had it rebuilt and when installed on the car the alignment shop was able to correctly align my car’s front wheel caster and camber to zero degrees.  This was an expensive and time consuming affair that I feel could have been easily avoided.  I suggest that owners of Cadillacs with lever-action shock absorbers have their original shocks rebuilt, rather than exchange them for a rebuilt unit the rebuilder has in stock. 
« Last Edit: July 05, 2019, 03:47:20 PM by Jay Friedman »
1949 Cadillac 6107 Club Coupe
1932 Ford V8 Phaeton (restored, not a rod).  Sold
Decatur, Georgia
CLC # 3210, since 1984
"If it won't work, get a bigger hammer."

 

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