Friday, May 30, 2008

Front shock absorbers

Last year I made some extended front shock absorbers from some truck shocks,after installation I found out that I made them a little too long. The front suspension is too stiff and hardly moves down.

So a modification was in order and I ordered a set of Old Man Emu front shocks which I modified.

I used some pieces of pipe and welded a solid piece of bar on the bottom that is 1 3/8" long and has the diameter of the original shock.

Next I cut the bottom eyes of the brand new shocks(sometimes you have to take a bit of a risk)and pressed the rubber bushing out of it, welded the eye to the tube bottom, powder coated it (the yellow that I used was a bit off from the original color, but beggars can't be choosers)and pressed the rubber bushing back in place.

Now I have to install it and rotate the shock so that the spring coil doesn't hit the upper A-arm when the suspension is totally extended.

Once installed, I will have to make 2 small welds to weld the tube to the spring plate.(Note:If you do this, do not weld to the shock itself, it may explode!)

It should lift the van up about 2" and still have the full stroke of the shock available.

The only material used is two pieces of pipe and two 1 3/8" pieces of solid bar.

The bottom of the shock is resting on the solid bar and the tube is touching the spring plate of the shock absorber.


SK said...

Hi Herman,

you started a very ambitious project with lots of expertise and creativity (liked the gauge pod!). I recently moved to Canada and imported my 1988 Vanagon Syncro. I the car needs some tune up in the future and I have lots of ideas to upgrade it to modern standarts (it already has a 1.9 TD AAZ engine). It also has a body lift from Bernd Jaeger, Germany.
As I am new to the continent I am in the need for some reliable companies to do sandblasting, powder coating, etc. I live in Calgary and are frequently in Field BC. Would you mind to meet for a coffee and share some of your experience?

Thanks, Stefan (

Herman said...

Thanks Stefan, I have left you a message on your Email.

Anonymous said...


I love this idea, have you had a chance to drive it with the extended shocks? Do they fit tightly into the tubes? I'm wondering about shock rebound, do you think they'll pop fully extended?

Eric Didier

Herman said...

Hi Eric, thanks.

The shocks fit fairly tight in the tubes, plus I have put some small welds from the tube to the spring base plate, I don't think that they will pop fully extended, the upper A arm will hit the spring coil before the shock will reach the end of its stroke.

I don't have the van on the road yet, this summer was unbelievable busy with travel and other stuff. It runs etc but now I have the dashboard and heater out and doing body work. It will hopefully be finished this coming summer.

Did you have any problems with your CV joints up front when you raised yours and how many miles did you drive it raised?

I read that you have sold it, hope you build another one again, it sure looked great!

Greetings Herman

Eric Didier said...

Herman, My 2" lift worked fairly well. It did clunk a few times when the suspension was unloaded. This was due to the extreme angle of the upper A arm, hitting the spring. I could have used a pair of your upper spacers!
The CV's held up really well actually. I had to use inner CV boots from a late 70's vw bus. The ones that have the inner boot pressed to the flange. They seemed to stay on the longest. The outers held up fine. I put at least 5000 miles on that setup.
I'm lifting my new Syncro right now, I really like your idea with the tubes. I want to try a slight variation to your concept. I was thinking of adding a height adjusting section to the bottom of the tube.


Eric Didier said...

I just made a set of those, they don't work. The new OD of the tube is too big for the axle to fit directly next to the strut. I'm going to offset the base so the axle has room to clear on my next set. It might be possible to cut out the side of the tube to gain clearance, but I'm going to try offsetting the tube 5mm - 8mm


Herman said...

Hi Eric, I have about 8mm clearance between the axle and the strut. You must have used a piece of pipe that has a bigger OD than I have. Mine is 60mm OD galvanized pipe that is used for scaffolding.
It is probably easiest to grind it down a bit where it hits the axle.