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57 Buick Front Shocks


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I am at the point where I need to install the front shocks on my restoration project. I have looked high and low on the internet and visited several auto parts stores. All seem to show a blank on front shocks. There are rear shocks available, but no fronts.

At the local O'Reilly store, one of the guys said my shock looks like an early 70's Chevy truck. However, these shocks are both too long as well as being upside down.

I see that Rare Parts shows front shocks as being a special order. That sounds scary and expensive.

Has anyone ever dealt with this issue and what have you used for front shocks? I think this goes beyond the 57, I would suspect it probably goes into the early 60's.

Sure would appreciate some feedback.

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In the world of shock absorbers, there is a spec for "extended length" and "compressed length". Plus different variations of the the upper and lower mounting designs. If you can find somebody with an older shock absorber paper catalog, it should have these things listed in the back of the catalog, illustrations fo the mounting configurations and specs for the lengths. Measuring your shocks can lead you to some "close fits", I suspect, from which you can then match the end set-ups for a closer match. Typically, compressed length of the new shock candidate would need to be equal to or just a little less then what our existing shocks are--compression will be limited by the suspension bumpers on the lower control arms as extension will be limited by the bumpers for the upper control arms.

I looked at the Gabriel shock absorber e-catalog. They show coverage for '58 Buick front shocks, but not '57, but rear shocks are listed, but they also have '56 Buick front shocks. There is a picture for each of these shocks, but none of the specs I mentioned (lengths) although you can see the end mounting designs. Might have to play with it for a different year or even a different GM car of that vintage. In these approx '57 model year shocks, they list different "levels" of product (i.e., probably piston diameter--std=1.0", hd=1.38" . . . and "gas" or "non-gas charged").

The RockAuto.com website also has pictures, with similar '58 no '57 listings for Monroe SensaTracks . . . plus clicking on "Info" will get a detailed description of the shock . . . piston diameter, with the "length" and "travel" and hardware package info at the bottom of the illustration.

In the "upside down" reference to the Chevy light truck shocks, was this in respect to the hole in the end bushing rather than where the shield and shock body are? The production Chevy light truck shocks had the mounting bolt as a part of the upper mount, but the aftermarkets used a replaceable bolt/stud arrangement, with the upper being of a larger diameter than the lower one.

This should get you in the ballpark, as to the catalog issues. Then you can choose something from a vehicle that is of a similar weight to your Buick.

Up to this point, "valving" has not been mentioned. Some claim that modern replacements for earlier shocks have something of a universal valving set-up, rather than one more customized to the particular application (as the OEM production units would have been), weight and spring rates.

If Rare Parts might build you something of the correct external configuration, with valving appropriate for a 4000+ pound Buick vehicle (have to consider passenger/cargo weights) AND will guarantee it to be appropriate in that area, then that might be the best choice. But you'll have to pick their brains some as to the specifics. Whether you end up with the "standard" or "heavy-duty" piston sizes and/or valving is up to you--your judgment call. Or you could just specify "OEM production" for your vehicle and see what happens . . . with full return capabilities if they are too soft.

Just some thoughts,


Edited by NTX5467 (see edit history)
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