How to replace front shock mounts (and strut)

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My Name: Ozvtr

Posts: 1043
Joined: Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:31 am
Model: C3 2002-2005, Original shape model
Year: 2003 (53)
Engine Size: 1.4 (8v)
Fuel Type: Petrol
Mileage: 80000
Trim Level: Other
Gearbox: Automatic PRND
Engine name: TU3 (75 PS)
Location: Brisbane, Australia.
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I am now working on the second C3 and of course the top mounts of the front shocks need replacing.

shocks 016.jpg
If you are getting clunking from the front of the car, particularly if you go over bumps, chances are the top shock mounts have gone.
The typical failure mode is that the steel bushing in the center of the mount has separated from the rubber in the mount.

shocks 001.jpg
The easy way to check the mount is to grab the retaining collar and see if you can move it. If you can move it at all, it is stuffed. The road wheels must be on the ground.
mount02.jpg (36.51 KiB) Viewed 1923 times
First up there are two types of mounts and they can be distinguished by where the locating pin is...well...located. The first version had the locating pin directly in line with the center line of the mount. The second version has the pin off-set. If you are planning to buy a set, note which one you require.
shocks 015a.jpg
The upper mount assembly is made up of the mount and bearing. Chances are the bearing is OK but if you dont pull it out of the mount correctly, the bearing will come apart from the seal. The bearing can be pulled apart, cleaned, lubed and re-assembled if it's OK I.E not corroded. The other thing is that if the bearing is stuffed it's a pain to stop and run off to buy a replacement. So factor this in when buying the mount and consider replacing the bearing at the same time.

This is a "how I did it" tutorial. There may be other ways to do it and follow in my footsteps at your own risk! Any remarks I make are purely for interest only.
engine 002.jpg
The car should be jacked up and floor stands placed under both sides. If you do one side at a time the drop link to the sway bar wont come off. You will need to find some way to disconnect it while the car is on the ground and on both wheels before you jack it up.

engine 003.jpg
Remove the road wheel and the wheel arch liner.

shocks 002a.jpg
Unstake and remove the hub nut.

I removed the brake disc and caliper because the shock assembly becomes very heavy and unwieldy with them attached. Also if you leave the caliper attached you will need to remove the banjo bolt and brake line from the caliper. This will require bleeding of the brakes later.

shocks 002b.jpg
Remove the two disc retaining screws.

shocks 002c.jpg
Remove the two bolts holding the caliper to the knuckle. Remove the brake line from the bracket at the back of the shock strut. Swing the caliper out of the way and secure it with string, rope, cable ties, whatever.

Remove the disc from the hub. It might need a bit of persuading. :-)

shocks 002d.jpg
shocks 002e.jpg
Remove the retaining grommets and cable for the ABS sensor from the shock strut. Remove the bolt and shield (yes there is supposed to be a shied around the top of the sensor). Lever out the sensor GENTLY. Do not pull on the wire! Swing it out of the way.

shocks 004b.jpg
Remove the tie rod end with a special tool.

shocks 008.jpg
shocks 007.jpg
Remove the pinch bolt holding the ball joint to the bottom of the knuckle. Spread the pinch joint with the special tool. You can get them from EBay.

shocks 009.jpg
I attached the jack handle to the control arm and levered the control arm off the knuckle. This took a lot of persuading!! Tap upwards on the knuckle while pushing downwards on the handle. Take your time it will come off.

shocks 009a.jpg
Pull the knuckle assembly off the drive shaft. Again this may require some effort.

shocks 011.jpg
Remove the little protector cap on top of the shock shaft. Undo the retaining nut on the top of the strut while supporting the strut assembly.

You can now remove the entire strut and knuckle assembly.

shocks 012.jpg
Compress the spring.

shocks 013.jpg
shocks 014a.jpg
Remove the special flange nut and the upper mount/bearing. Be careful with the top spring pad (the bit that engages into the bearing inside the upper mount). Try and keep it attached to the spring.
If you are going to replace the shock strut, withdraw it from the spring assembly. remove the retaining cup, bump stop and the bellows. Undo the pinch bolt at the top of the knuckle and remove the strut from the knuckle. Place the new strut in the knuckle and re-install the pinch bolt. install the bump stop and the bellows and retaining cup. insert the shock assembly back into the spring and pad assembly.

shocks 014.jpg
Put the new mount and bearing onto the pad and thread the shaft through the bushing in the mount. Install the special flange nut.

Re-assembley is the reverse. When installing the shock strut assembly into the wing, ensure the locating pin in the shock mount pokes through the OUTER most hole before doing the retaining nut up. I would recommend using copper grease or "anti seize" on the splined shaft of the drive shaft, the shaft of the lower ball joint and the tapered shaft of the tie rod end.

The Nyloc nuts on all the pinch bolts (which have been disturbed), the very top of the shock assembly (where it mounts into the wing) the tie rod end and the two bolts holding the caliper assembly are supposed to be replaced. They are only replaced because the locking device may be compromised on removal. The bolts holding the caliper assembly have pre applied locktite. It's up to you if you replace them or not.

The torque values for the various fasteners are:-

Pinch bolts...................................40 NM
Tie rod end nut...............................35 NM
Drop link nut.................................32 NM
Bolt for ABS sensor...........................hand tight (do not over tighten)
Brake caliper bolts..........................105 NM
Hub nut.......................................245 NM
Wheel bolt....................................90 NM
Shock retaining nut and special flanged nut...65 NM *

* This requires a special combination of tools (a crows foot on the torque wrench) and might not be attainable. Besides, doing the nut up twists the bush in the shock mount, thereby accelerating the deterioration of the mount!!!!! You can see the upper retaining collar twist and then "bounce back" when you tighten the retaining nut. The whole thing is a dumb idea! The upper retaining collar should have locating pins (like the mount) to stop it twisting when the nut is done up.
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