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Our van has about 220,000 miles on it, and we are pretty sure the shocks are original to the van. So, it is time for an upgrade in suspension on our 2007 Sprinter! We replaced the front and rear shocks in this week’s Sprinter Maintenance video.
WHEN TO REPLACE SHOCKS ON A SPRINTER VAN
A much debated topic in mechanics, when to replace your shocks is really based on the wear and tear on your vehicle. Having an unusually bumpy or rocking vehicle when going over bumps is one way to tell that you need to replace your shocks. Our van had a lot of body roll, especially over bumpy roads, which indicated to us that we needed to replace the shocks. A rule of thumb is generally 50,000 miles, so ours was long past due at likely 225,000 miles. We aren’t sure if the shocks had ever been replaced, but our guess is that they hadn’t.
TUNED FOX SHOCKS FROM AGILE OFFROAD
After a bit of research on the best shocks for a Sprinter Van, we opted to purchase specifically tuned Fox Shocks from Agile Offroad for our rear shocks. Unfortunately, Agile Off-Road did not have any of the front shocks for our van in stock, so we opted to purchase Bilstein Shocks for the front shock absorbers.
NOTE FOR FRONT SHOCKS: Amazon shows that these Bilstein Shocks do not fit a 2007 Sprinter. However, their information is incorrect and the ones that are listed here DO, in fact, fit a 2007 – 2014 Sprinter 2500. If you are unsure, check the Bilstein website HERE.
REPLACING SHOCKS ON A SPRINTER VAN
Replacing the shocks was a pretty simple task, and the rear shocks were much simpler to replace than the front shocks, although neither were too difficult. If you can change a tire, you’ll be able to handle this job. There are a total of just 10 bolts to remove between all 4 shock absorbers, 3 on each of the front and 2 on each of the rear shocks. And while you do need to remove the wheels on the front to replace those shocks, the rear shock absorbers can be replaced without even taking off the wheels.
RIDE IMPROVEMENT FROM REPLACING SHOCKS
After we finished replacing the shocks on our Sprinter van, we immediately noticed a huge difference in the ride. After feeling how the van handles bumps and turns with the new shocks, we realized just how bad the old ones actually were! We’ll be excited to take the van on some more bumpy roads to see just how much of an improvement it was, but overall we are already very happy with the upgrade. And for just around $600, this was money well spent!
HOW TO CHOOSE THE CORRECT SHOCKS
There are 1000 different shock companies out there so it can be confusing to choose which brand to go with. Our opinion: It doesn’t really matter. Just check a few reviews and call it good.
Step 1: Go To Amazon and Use their Parts Picker. Click here for that. You’ll be brought to a page that looks like the picture below.
Front Shocks typically have a ‘bolt’ on top with a thread and look similar to this:
Rear Shocks usually have a bushing (hole) on each end and look similar to this:
CHANGING THE SHOCKS
This was written for our 2007 Dodge Sprinter 2500 2 wheel Drive. Changing shocks on most vans is a very similar process but the sizes of wrenches, sockets, and rachets you’ll need will vary. Do your own research and check those ahead of time to make sure you have them on hand. A well rounded set of hand tools will generally get you through most shock replacement projects.
- Penetrating Oil
- Jack Stands
- Lug Wrench
- 7mm Hex bit
- 24mm wrench
- 19mm Socket
- 1/2″ Rachet
- 1/2″ Torque Wrench
- 6″ Extension
- Torx bits
- Ratcheting Tie Down Strap
Liberally soak all of the bolts you will be removing with a penetrating fluid like PB Blaster or Liquid Wrench. (10 bolts total. 3 per side in the front. 2 per side on the back). Preferably do this overnight.
- Removing the driver side front shock
- Chock the back wheels so the van can’t roll and set the emergency brake.
We are going to start with the bolt goes through the floor and is accessible under the dash.
- Remove the 3 torx screws on the trim panel just inside the door to remove the floor mat.
- Set floor mat, trim piece, and screws aside.
- Use the 24mm wrench to remove the bolt off the top of the shock. You’ll need to use the 7mm Hex bit to keep the shaft from turning.
- Break the lugnuts on the wheel loose
- Jack the van up by its approved point.
- Lower the van onto the jack stands
- Remove the wheel.
- Remove the clip that secures the brake lines to the shock.
- Using the 19mm socket with extension and rachet, remove the two bolts holding the shock to the steering knuckle.
- Remove the old shock
- Remove the shock boot from the old shock and place on the new shock (if your new shock didn’t come with a shock boot)
- Replace the new shock to the steering knuckle in the reverse fashion you removed the old one and tighten to 103 ft-lbs then turn an additional 120 degrees (Aka, don’t be scared to really tighten it down).
- Place the jack (or a 2nd jack if jack used to lift the van is still bearing weight) under the lower control arm to lift the upper part of the shock into the upper shock bushing.
- Replace the upper shock bolt and tighten to 21ft/lbs (snug it up for sure, but don’t put your full weight on it)
Replace the wheel, lower the van, replace the floor mat.
Passenger Side Front Shock Replacement
The process is the same except for the floor mat doesn’t need to be removed. The top of the shock is accessed from the jack storage box under the dash.
Rear Shock Replacement
Replacing the rear shocks on a sprinter is much easier than the front. Removing the wheels is not necessary.
- Remove the lower bolt
- Remove the upper bolt
- Remove the shock
- Replace the shock boot from the old shock to the new shock
- Secure the new shock in the bottom shock mount
- Jack the rear of the van (chock the wheels) until the wheel is almost off the ground
- wrap the ratcheting tie down strap around the shock
- Use the tie down to compress the shock
- Once compressed, bolt the top of the shock into the shock mount and release tension on the tie down
- Lower the van
- Tighten the bolts