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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
CLICK HERE for front shocks
CLICK HERE for rear shocks

Scroll down to #12 on the story with the rear shocks.

Last year I bought off eBay, new OEM replacement front Bilstein shocks for my Base 2.4L which included the springs.

I just installed them. Now that I did it, I think I can change each one again in about 20 minutes after the front is jacked up and both front tires are off. Each corner requires removing only 5 bolts and disconnecting the ABS wire. Here is the process.

Both front wheels need to be raised at the same time using jack stands, otherwise it gets more complicated disconnecting the stabilizer bar end links.

1) Remove the two top 15mm shock nuts. One is done from the outside with a box wrench utilizing both the box and open end. The other is removed from under the hood with a socket wrench. The power steering reservoir is moved aside by removing one extra bolt.

2) Remove the bottom two shock bolts with nuts. They require a 13mm deep socket wrench from below, and a 13mm standard socket with extensions from above.

3) Place a floor jack or stack of lumber under the outer end of the lower control arm to gently support it.

4) Disconnect the ABS wire from the hub. You squeeze the top portion of the locking tab which may require a pliers. I used tiny RoboGrip pliers which was the idea tool. Don't over-squeeze it. Be gentle.

5) Remove the 18mm upper control arm bolt using a standard socket. Once removed all the way, screw it partially back on by hand with a nice gap remaining. Place the 18mm socket over the nut and gently tap the nut upward to release the upper control arm tapered joint.

5) Using some strength, pivot upward, the upper control arm until it contacts the fender liner. Be mindful of the wire harness attached to it.

6) Slide the bottom of the shock sideways to allow the shock to drop which then the top is clear for removal.

7) Reassemble in reverse order.

If you wonder, my Base Sky has 121,000 miles. Last year a friend of mine Leo Franchi who supports auto racing teams with engine management systems and modified engines, took my Sky out for a test run. He highly recommended new shocks all around. I am finally getting around to it.

Soon to follow are the rear shocks. I bought new OEMs from Rock Auto. Unfortunately they did not include the coil springs so I have to transfer them over. Without considering that extra task, I understand the rears are a lot harder than the fronts.
 

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I believe there is a difference in bilstein shocks for the back and front...although they have identical numbers....this goes for both FE2 and FE3. I hope someone else clarifies this.
 

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I believe there is a difference in bilstein shocks for the back and front...although they have identical numbers....this goes for both FE2 and FE3. I hope someone else clarifies this.
Yes, the rear shocks are different from the fronts, but they do not have the same part number. FE2 and FE3 are package numbers that represent the front and rear springs, shocks, and stabilizer bars.

Also, the rears are more difficult to change, or at least they were on my RL.
 

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Yes, the rear shocks are different from the fronts, but they do not have the same part number. FE2 and FE3 are package numbers that represent the front and rear springs, shocks, and stabilizer bars.

Also, the rears are more difficult to change, or at least they were on my RL.
How many miles did you have on the car when you changed the shocks?
 

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Yes, the rear shocks are different from the fronts, but they do not have the same part number. FE2 and FE3 are package numbers that represent the front and rear springs, shocks, and stabilizer bars.

Also, the rears are more difficult to change, or at least they were on my RL.
just to clarify this for me...r u saying...a FE2 shock package number has an FE3 shock to distinguish it for the rear?
 

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just to clarify this for me...r u saying...a FE2 shock package number has an FE3 shock to distinguish it for the rear?
I believe he is saying an FE2 front shock has a different part number from an FE2 rear shock. FE2 and FE3 are RPO codes for the shocks, springs, and anti-sway bars that came on our cars as a whole but there is a difference between the front and rear shocks of those packages. My BC coils were the same way.

@rjgramps The rears are more difficult. IIRC I had to separate the lower control arm from the ball joint, disconnect the sway bar link, and remover the rear tow link from the knuckle to get the rear out plus the upper shock nuts are harder to get to and get back on. Not a lot of room. A ratcheting box wrench (18mm??? 15mm??? Same size as the front uppers) will be your best friend for those.

Putting the BCs in the rear are easier because you can shorten them, put them in place (or take them out) then set their length after installation. Don't need to take all that other stuff apart.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The rears are more difficult. IIRC I had to separate the lower control arm from the ball joint, disconnect the sway bar link, and remover the rear tow link from the knuckle to get the rear out plus the upper shock nuts are harder to get to and get back on. Not a lot of room. A ratcheting box wrench (18mm??? 15mm??? Same size as the front uppers) will be your best friend for those.
Thanks for that tip!
 

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I have 2 Bilsteins in my garage as spares....I am not in Florida and cannot go and check what I have....not confusing but would like to be able to label them. All I know is that they are FE2s for my NA.
 

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How many miles did you have on the car when you changed the shocks?
It had about 90k miles, but they really didn't need to be replaced. I bought the car after it had been rebuilt from a collision that damaged the rear suspension. I was assured that it had been properly aligned, but was having a problem with bump-steer and rear tire wear. I had a set of OE coilovers so I swapped them after the same person who told me the car had been aligned said that the problem was worn shocks. I didn't agree, but already had them so I swapped them just to be sure. Then I bought a rear caster gauge, had the car properly aligned, and replaced the 3000-mile old tires that had pretty much been destroyed by the misalignment.
 

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I have 2 Bilsteins in my garage as spares....I am not in Florida and cannot go and check what I have....not confusing but would like to be able to label them. All I know is that they are FE2s for my NA.
To expand on what @Robotech said, the FE2 suspension is the standard suspension designation for the NA Sky and Solstice. The Sky part numbers are:
Front Shock: 15224875 Code = C404​
Front Spring: 10376421 Tag = Dark Green​
Rear Shock : 15236924 Code = C406​
Rear Spring: 15280026 Tag = Tan​
Front Stabilizer Bar: 10342785​
Rear Stabilizer Bar: 10342786​

The FE3 suspension is the standard suspension designation for the RL Sky and GXP Solstice. The part numbers are:
Front Shock: 15901220 Code = C646​
Front Spring: 15784872 Tag = Brown​
Rear Shock : 15901221 Code = C648​
Rear Spring: 25787858 Tag = Purple Stripes​
Front Stabilizer Bar: 15224873​
Rear Stabilizer Bar: 15224878​

The FE3 is stiffer than the FE2, and the shocks and bars are the Z0K and Street Edition parts for the NA.
 

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To expand on what @Robotech said, the FE2 suspension is the standard suspension designation for the NA Sky and Solstice. The Sky part numbers are:
Front Shock: 15224875 Code = C404​
Front Spring: 10376421 Tag = Dark Green​
Rear Shock : 15236924 Code = C406​
Rear Spring: 15280026 Tag = Tan​
Front Stabilizer Bar: 10342785​
Rear Stabilizer Bar: 10342786​

The FE3 suspension is the standard suspension designation for the RL Sky and GXP Solstice. The part numbers are:
Front Shock: 15901220 Code = C646​
Front Spring: 15784872 Tag = Brown​
Rear Shock : 15901221 Code = C648​
Rear Spring: 25787858 Tag = Purple Stripes​
Front Stabilizer Bar: 15224873​
Rear Stabilizer Bar: 15224878​

The FE3 is stiffer than the FE2, and the shocks and bars are the Z0K and Street Edition parts for the NA.
That is terrific...life is less confusing
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
CLICK HERE to watch a 4 minute video summary on the changing of rear shocks.

I just replaced the rear shocks with new OEM Bilsteins bought at Rock Auto which did not include the springs so once the old shock/spring assemblies were removed from the car, I used a spring compressor ($40 @ AutoZone, cheaper at Harbor Freight) and rebuilt the assemblies with new shocks. As others mentioned, the rear shock project is more difficult, but I expected so much worse. "Less Easy" would be a better description. I am used to dealing with much worse. Rebuilding the shock assemblies was surely more work but it went well. I will make a short video reviewing the process like I made for the fronts.

I compared one new shock to the originals buy standing it upright on the floor upside-down and leaning my body weight into it to compress it and watch it's retraction action. One old front and rear shock compressed and retracted exactly like the new one using the same amount of force so I consider them in good used condition.

The other front and rear shock were a "CATASTROPHE". The bad front shock barely compressed at all, it was basically locked up acting like a connecting rod instead of a shock. It had motion on the car, but locked up after it got fully extended. The bad rear shock travelled only 50% of the way using less down-force, then would NOT move any further. This explains some of my complaints concerning the ride. Hopefully a lot of the squeaking in our Sky will go away as well.

Working on my Sky has been a pleasure compared to local Chicago area cars. Everything comes apart so easy. There is no corrosion anywhere except minor rust forming on the surface of lower nuts and ends of bolts. Maybe it's from the southern humid climate where the car spent all it's life.

I demonstrated "a good shock versus a bad shock" to my wife of which she immediately understood. It's good that she understands the investment in Money Pit. Like me, she is very hopeful our Sky will ride much more comfortably and with less body squeaking. Unfortunately a test drive is some time away because I am moving forward changing all fluids and valve cover gasket.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I finally had my Sky drivable and took it out to run an errand. There is a noticeable improvement in the ride and handling and creaks and squeaks, but not as dramatic as I had hoped for. Still I am pleased and the shocks did need to be taken care of given 2 of the 4 were definitely messed up.
 
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