Imperial Homepage -> Repair -> Springs -> Absorbers -> Year Specific
Question from David (1954):
My 54 Custom Imperial is really needs new springs--most likely. But, in the mean time, I am hoping some heavy duty shocks will help settle the car down from bouncing while going over small bumps.
Two Question: 1) What shocks should I use? and 2) How do I find the "right" size/model for my Imperial?
Assuming you don't want to pay Kanter's price for the correct fit shock, take one of your old ones off, measure the collapsed and extended lengths, and take the measurements and the old shock to your most old car tolerant auto parts store. Get the "Buyer's guide" catalog and just sit there comparing, until you find a shock with at least the length extended, and no more than the length collapsed, and the correct mounting provisions. Then you know what number to order. (You can also save others the hassle by noting what the shock fits in the current catalog application, so the next guy only has to ask for "shocks for a 1974 International 1200 Traveler" or the like. (That's an example, folks, I don't know what it will turn out to be.)
Hopefully this is helpful, I don't know what to say for the front shocks, but I needed rear shocks for my ol 54 Chrysler New Yorker Deluxe some years ago. There were none listed cause at the time, they didn't keep track of parts for old cars, like they do now. Using an old JC Whitney catalog for an interchange manual, I found that a Valiant-Dart used the same rear shock, so ordered a set of shocks for that, and they worked perfectly. If a 54 Imperial is the same as a 54 New Yorker Deluxe, at least on the rear shocks, maybe that will work for you too. Those old Warshawskis and JC Whitney catalogs were a good poor man's Hollander interchange. These days, they just say send them the description, and they'll figure it out.
Phil Paterson is right with his 54 New Yorker advice. We can add that ALL the 1954 Chrysler cars are equipped with Oriflow Shock Absorbers (similar to those used on 1953 models). These models: 1953 1954 Windsor.......... C-60 C-62 New Yorker....... C-56 C-63 Custom Imperial.. C-58 C-64 Crown Imperial... C-59 C-66
The principle of operation of the Oriflow Shock Absorber is that they provide greater damping effect than the precious type of Shock Absorbers. For this reason it must be remembered that the only way to properly check a car equipped with Oriflow Shock Absorbers is to road test the car. The car should never be jounced up and down and free oscillations used as the basis for replacement of the shock absorber. If the indications point to a complete failure, a bench test should be made to determine replacement.
The torquing specifications for the shock absorber to frame cross member is 63 foot-pounds, and for the lower shower absorber stud, 160 foot-pounds.
REMOVAL AND INSTALLATION To remove a shock absorber, remove nuts from pins which pass through eyes at top and bottom of shock absorber. Then slide unit off pins.
When installing a shock absorber, first install the bushings in the shock absorber's eyes. Then install the inner bushing retainers, the shock absorber and bushing assembly and the outer retainers. The concave face of each retainer must fit again the convex face of the adjacent bushing.
On page 19 of the last Kanter's 2001 catalog you can find them. They make shock absorbers for Imperial 1937-83, I see... You can order the catalog on-line. But there's other providers! Of course!
Question from Aubrey (1961):
I'm in the process of getting new leaf springs and shocks for my '61 and that will go on when she gets back from getting her new paintjob. From what I've seen in the past, it sounds like the KYB shocks are highly recommended but that they need a slight modification of the lower mount on the front shocks. Are the correct ones to get for the '61 Imperial numbers KG 4507 for the front and KG 5511 for the rear? Any recommendations on best sources for these?
Reply from Chris:
Those are the correct shocks. PST (Performance Suspension Technology) gives the best price - $119 a set of 4,including shipping. Because the front shocks are under 100lbs. of pressure, they can be tricky to install. There is a quick and easy way to so it, so have your mechanic contact me and I will give details.
Question from David (1966):
I wanted to know the part #'s for front and rear shocks for a 66 imperial. Kanter has some part # 733697 for the rear and # 739011 for the front. Is this correct? Has anyone else ordered shocks from them? They were the only ones that had the parts in stock.
Reply from Chris:
I think Kanter will ship you Gabriels. KYB also has shocks available that fit the '66. Having used both, I think the KYB's are vastly superior.
The parts numbers are: KYB model KG 4507's in the front. KG5511 in the rear.
Best prices I found were with Perfomance Suspension Technology. 973-299-8019. They were $119.00 for a set of four, and they paid the shipping.
One note: The front shocks need the lower mounting tube trimmed slightly to fit. (That is why they are not listed in the catalog.) Also, they have 100 lbs of gas pressure, so after you grind down the lower mount to fit, install the bottom half of the upper bushing and compress the shock back into the shipping sleeve. Install shock in the shock tower, and secure the lower mount. Align upper end of the shock with the hole in the top of the shock tower, then cut the sleeve. The shock will then extend itelf into the upper mounting hole. Install the upper bushing and you're done!
Question from Rodger (1966):
Can someone please tell me the part numbers for a set of front shocks for my '63 and '66?
Reply from Chris:
Shocks are KYB model KG 4507's in the front. KG5511 in the rear.
Question from Mike (1967-1968):
Hi all, after spending much time researching shocks for my 67, I can find nothing definite. Has anybody had new shocks installed on their 67-8 imperials lately, and remembers what kind fit.
I just bought a complete set from NAPA - I have not yet installed them, but they look right. They had no trouble looking them up. The part numbers at NAPA are: Front LE10009, Rear 94053.
Shocks are very easy to replace yourself if you have a way to work under the car.
You should remove the upper control arm rebound bumper. Once removed, it allows the upper control arm to drop an extra inch or two. This allows the lower control arm to drop a bit more which gains more clearance for the shock installation.
I installed KYB's front and rear on my 65 LeBaron. With the rebound bumper removed, the job was reasonably quick and easy. It has been a while since I've seen the 67 but I assume the concept still holds.
Question from Chris (1967-1968):
I've been having a hard time finding suitable front shock absorbers for my 1967 Crown. Lots of auto parts stores and even manufacturers like Gabriel list a shock for the car but when they arrive they're these puny little things, some of which not even able to extend far enough to install. Has anyone had any luck finding shocks for a 67 or 68 Imperial?
Most of the shock absorber suppliers (Big-A auto parts for one) have a catalog that lists shocks by type of mounting and by collapsed and extended length. Using this catalog, you can see what shocks are the right size to fit your car, and which car they were originally made for, with a little digging through the application file. Then you can match to a car (or in our case light truck) which has approximately the same weight. I have used this method to find shocks for everything that I own, which includes some really weird cars from the 40's to the 60's. For example, I discovered that my 56 Packard Patrician with Automatic Leveling takes the same front shock as the 65-8? Dodge 3/4 ton van! I have one of the Big-A catalogs that is about 10 years old, but if the numbers are still current, it should work for Chris's 67. If anyone wants to send me their dimensions including an accurate sketch or description of the mounting ends, I will try to match the shock to something more readily available at the local el cheapo parts store.
I looked up your shocks in my old Big-A catalog. As of 1984, they still showed the number for the front shocks as 35352 in their premium line. If that is still a good number, you're in luck. It was the same for 67-73 Imperials, and also for other Mopar big cars to 73. The length was 12 1/4" extended, 8" collapsed, no dust tube, a special note says "slim design for limited space", the mounting type is given as "S1" lower, "ES11" upper. As far as stroke and mountings go, you could also use a front shock from a 1/2 ton Datsun PU through 1979, or a Chevy LUV through 82 if there isn't some diameter restriction due to tight clearances (better make sure you can return them if no go), but you would have to stack up a couple of washers to take up 1/4" slack (sideways play) on the top mounting bolt, and said bolt clearance is 7/16 on the Imperial, and 12 mm on the Datsun and LUV. Hmm. lets see 12/25.4=0.472";7/16=0.4375. That'll work, if you wrap your old bolt with about 2 turns of electrical tape to take out the vertical slop or else buy some 2" 12mm bolts (at least grade 5).
Question from Roger (1969):
Have any of you changed the front shocks on a 1969 Imperial with Budd brakes/ If so how did you accomplish the task?
You will need to obtain the complete book of expletives, curses and swearing. Secondly, you should remove all women and children from earshot before proceeding.
I changed shocks shortly after purchasing my '69. I ordered KYB's and was all excited about getting them in. I enlisted the help of fellow Imperialist Chris Hawkins for the task -- another person around is a great idea -- having a witness forced me to retain some sanity. The old shocks came out easily, but installation of the new ones turned out to be a real chore. You will need to remove the rubber bumper pad from the upper control arm as you need every bit of room you can get. I think we even removed the stabilizer bars to get a better angle, though I do not believe this accomplished much. The problem is the lack of space to get the shock angled up into the shock tower. My new shocks came compressed, but only partially. You absolutely must get them compressed fully and tied off. We used picture hanging wire to tie it off once compressed. After much frustration and scratched paint on the new shock, we managed to get it into the tower and cut the wire to let it expand upwards into the upper hole. Be extremely careful to not break whatever is holding the shock compressed as you try to get it into the tower. This happened on the first one and I did not think we would ever get it compressed enough to get the upper shaft through the hole without dropping the whole lower control arm assembly. After many fruitless attempts and a reasonable amount of blood, I gave it up until next morning when I somehow managed to compress it and get it to expand into the upper hole after a number of attempts.
I had also purchased new shocks at the same time for my '73 which has the same shock tower design; they are still boxed and riding in the trunk until I muster the courage to try again.
I don't think the '70-'73 is as difficult. At least all I had to do with the '73 was make sure the shock was compressed and tied off. I used bailing twine which was easy to cut and pull out.
Roger's '69 has Budd Brakes and perhaps a slightly different design than the 'standard' brakes system for late '69-'73.
Question from Roger (1969 - '70):
Have any of you put shocks with helper springs on a 69/70 Imperial if so where did you purchase?
Reply from Roger:
Yeah, it is an overload shock. I think they still make them. just load shock with weight and tight springs to where you want them. If I remember right they weren't the best but helped. They sit on the leaf spring and mount in the shock area. Good choice. Good Guys or Posies rod shop can connect you.
Question from Phil (1973):
What was the part number of the KYB shocks for the '73? I've heard so much positive talk about KYB for heavy motorhomes I'm ready to try them on one of my cars.
Reply from Jack:
I used 4507 front and 5512 rear. The rears actually are the listing for C body's and not Y body's. They don't have a listing for our Imperials. these rear shocks are shorter than the originals, and I do understand that there is a pickup listing that is an exact fit. the shorter shock seems to work fine. They're great...
Question from Bill (1975):
In checking with the person who owned our 75 imperial, we found it hasnt had new shocks in about 15 yrs..although the car rides fine we would like to have these replaced..what type of shocks are right for this 5000 lb + car..
I recently had KYB's installed on my 65. I don't know the model number but they are great!
Ah, yet another opportunity to mention the virtues of KYB shocks. Mark, I concur. Bill, you would find a wide variety of shock absorbers. A good explaination of modern day shocks can be found here, http://www.whiteline.com.au/default.asp?page=/faqshocks01.htm I had about 20 year old "Atlas" brand shocks on my '72 Newport. I have installed KYB shocks on a number of various vehicles in the past, and have them on my Newport now. Front shock, #KG4507, is a standard fitment for my year of car. There should be a listing for your's. The rear shocks weren't listed for my Newport. I gave a tech guy at KYB my shock dimentional requirements and my intended future use of my car. He came up w/# KG5423, which is a very stiff KYB Truck & Van division shock for a late '80 Dodge 1/2ton pickup. My car is destined to tow an Airstream trailer at some point so added stability is worth the resulting very firm ride. I don't know if firm is the right term, the ride has a very quick rebound, maybe jouncy is a better description. The regular automotive spec fronts control rebound very well, taking out the boatiness of the old Atlas shocks, and give a comfortable and controlled ride. KYBs usually run about $35 per shock.
Tip from Dave about 1973 Imperial shock absorbers:
At long last, new front shocks are on my 1973 Imperial LeBaron. Installation wasn't easy.
The Gabriel 82011 shock I'd ordered did not fit. While the Gabriel catalog describes 82011 as about 8 inches long compressed, the shock that actually was shipped is more like 12 inches long compressed, and therefore unable to fit up into the Imperial shock tower.
The same was true for the shock Monroe specifies. I believe the number was LE0009. The catalog describes a short shock of the type Imperial needs, but the shock that was shipped does not match the catalog description. In fact, the shock looked a lot like the Gabriel shock.
It became obvious that if shocks were to fit the Imperial as Chrysler Corporation intended, then some modifications to a set of shocks were in order.
As it happened, I found a set of shock absorbers that I had ordered from Kanter Auto Parts about ten years ago for my 1971 Imperial. These shocks are too long to fit a '69 through '73 Imperial front end, and they look very much like the Monroe and Gabriel shocks autoparts stores kept pushing as "correct" for my car.
By cutting about an inch and a quarter off the rod of the shock, and extending the thread down, the Kanter shocks were made to fit. About half an inch of thread shows through the top side of the shock absorber bushing, which matches the illustrations in the 1973 Imperial factory service manual.
Speaking of bushings, none of the shocks listed for Imperial by KYB, Gabriel, Monroe and Kanter came with correct bushings. The car requires a mushroom style bushing about two inches long and an inch and a half wide. The little doughnut style bushings that came with the replacement shocks weren't a match by any means. Luckily, my original bushings were in good shape.
I consulted with my favorite MoPar parts department at a local Dodge dealer regarding shocks. The man there gave me the part numbers for the original '73 Imperial shocks. The shocks are unique to Imperial. Chrysler, fullsize Dodge and fullsize Plymouth DO NOT interchange. The front shocks are part number 03683994. The rear shocks are 03722735. The MoPar computer listed the shocks as being in stock at some dealerships, but none that I phoned claimed to have them. If you do, I'd like to hear from you. I still need shocks for the rear.
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