Ford Focus Rear Shock Absorber Replacement

July 4, 2013 Ford  No comments

Our 2002 year Ford Focus 1.8 diesel recently had its year check up (dreaded MOT) and failed quite badly on a number of suspension components including a ‘Serious fluid leak from the nearside rear shock absorber’! Usually I would try to take on all of these fixes myself over the space of a weekend and arrange a retest the following week but this time I am due to be working away and would not be able to get the retest done in time so I had to compromise and do a few of the easier (and quicker) fixes myself one evening after work and then get the garage to do the rest. In this case the stock of the local motor factors dictated that I would be doing the rear shock absorber. As with brakes, it is always recommended that you replace these in pairs on the axle that you are working on so that meant I had to get both the drivers and passenger side shock absorbers replaced.

Tools/Parts that I required:

  • 19mm Socket for removing the wheel nuts (don’t forget your locking wheel nut too!)
  • 15mm socket for removing the lower shock absorber bolt
  • 13mm socket and spanner for removing the upper shock absorber nut (you may also need some pliers here))

the first job is to remove the centre cap from the wheel on the side of the car you are going to work on first (or both sides if you able to safely jack up and support both sides of the car)


Once you have removed the centre cap you can slightly loosen off the wheel nuts before you jack up the car.


Using a safe jacking method get the car in the air and put some suitable stands under the car before removing the nuts completely and taking off the wheel, this can then be slid half under the car to provide an extra support should your stands give way. You should under no circumstances use the jack provided with the car to carry out work such as this.

As you can see from the next image the shock absorber is wet on the outside from the fluid that is leaking from it so we definitely need to replace this one.


The bottom of the rear shock absorber is held in place with a 15mm bolt, this is done up pretty tight but shouldn’t be impossible to undo with a standard 1/2″ socket and ratchet.


Once the lower bolt has been removed you can find the top of the shock absorber inside the boot, in our case we were able to simply pull the carpet trim to one side without removing any of the surrounding plastic.


Using the 13mm spanner you can now undo the securing nut, you may notice the suspension arm spinning too, if this is the case you can get a grip on the flat section at the top with a pair of pliers whilst still being able to get your 13mm spanner in place. Once the nut is removed the large metal and rubber washer can be lifted off, this needs to be kept to be re-fitted if you haven’t bought a new one.


You should now be able to easily compress the shock absorber and ‘wiggle’ it free from the upper tube to remove it completely from the car. As you can see from the next photo there are some parts that needed to be moved from the old shock absorber to the new one, just slide them off of the old unit and onto the new one ‘simples’


We found it easier to slide the new shock absorber into place and loosely fit the lower bolt before putting the upper nut on as this stopped the complete shock absorber from dropping down (if you have a spare pair of hands then either way should be easily achievable).


Refit the metal/rubber washer onto the top of the shock absorber in the boot and put on a new nut (our new shock absorber came with one). According to our Haynes manual this nut needs tightening up to 13 ft lbs, again you may need to hold the suspension rod with a pair of pliers whilst starting to tighten this nut up.


Once you have the upper nut tightened up you can go back to the lower bolt and finish tightening that up to 85 ft lbs and then put your wheel back on remembering to tighten the wheel nuts up to the correct setting, ours was 63 ft lbs (don’t forget to check the wheel nuts after 30miles or so to make sure they are still tight!

Job done! Time for a cup of tea before doing the other side.

Disclaimer: The information contained here is to be followed at your own risk, takes no responsibility for your own personal experiences be smart, be safe and have fun!

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