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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, can any of you help guide me on some install info for the following?

Shocks: All 4 of mine are due for replacement (bouncy riding).
I thought I'd start with shock replacements (they do need replacement) before I look into added leafs or air helpers (the van is an extended/15 pass a GVR of around 5900 and rear of van gets loaded with some weight when it's used - band touring van. The rear two bench seats removedto hold gear)

I've ordered 4 KYB shocks (to replace myself - musician $ intake here and it's rough in this economy). I decided on KYB gas-a-justs after reading a bit here.

2 KYB-KG5403 fronts
2 KYB-KG5418 rears

I've done rear shocks on my 87 dodge mini ram van, and on my 85 chevy s10 4x4...but this will be my first time doing them for this 2000 dodge 3500 5.9L van.

I've got a service manual but looking for more tips on doing this job myself, what I'll need and what will help. The rear shocks should go smoothly but I'm worried about doing the fronts. Can anyone provide some advice?
What to remove, advice, etc.?

HEADLIGHT BULB REPLACEMENTS>

I also bought some new britelight wagner bulbs for my headlights as I don't like the rather dim light I have now on the roads (tougher and worse in rainy conditions).

Is this a pretty easy replacement...I can just replace the bulbs, correct?
or are there some things/tips I should know for this install?

My headlight glass could also use some clarity/polishing...it's a little bit faded.
Not sure if this is on the inside or outside of glass though. Anything I can do there?

Bought all parts for this van via rockauto (came to $190.00 total).
 

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About the shocks, liberally coat the bolts on top and the bottom control arm with penetrating oil, and hit with a wire brush on the threads. I broke off the bolts on one side, and had to drill them out and tap for a bigger grade 8 bolt. Since you don't care about the old shock, grab the stem with some vice grips, tight.

About polishing the headlamps, there are kits that they sell to do it, but you can do achieve the same results by wetsanding by hand the exterior of the plastic lenses. Start with 800 grit, move to 1000, 1500 and 2000 grits. Use lots of water. Then you can use a plastic polish or a car wax. If they are still hazy, start again with the 800 and work up.
 

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HEADLIGHT BULB REPLACEMENTS>

I also bought some new britelight wagner bulbs for my headlights as I don't like the rather dim light I have now on the roads (tougher and worse in rainy conditions).

Is this a pretty easy replacement...I can just replace the bulbs, correct?
or are there some things/tips I should know for this install?
Yes, You will find two black tab looking metal pieces above each headlamp. These need to be pulled up about 1/4 to 1/2 inch. You may have to use pliers to help pull them up. Then pull the headlamp housing off and disconnect the bulb's electrical connector. Either you bulb will then turn and come out or yours may have a retainer ring to unlock and then remove the bulb.
 

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DO NOT touch the bulb with your fingers!
They will burn out quickly if you do.
If you do wipe them with a piece of white cotton wetted with alcohol.
:gr_patrio
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks so much...

I had to laugh about my headlight question...as it made me realize I've been dealing with my ancient autos (85 and 87) where the entire headlight assembly gets changed. I think this will go fine.

I'm concerned about the front shocks but the service manual makes it seem like it isn't too involved.
Not sure what you mean by holding the stem..which stem is this?

I'm concerned with jacking. Where is the best place to put the jack in front to raise it all...where then to put the jack stands in regard to the front?
I don't want to break anything...but still have a solid place for them to hold when I'm underneath there.
I wish I had a lift of course ;)

Where's the best place to put the jack in th rear...and I assume it's ok to put the jack stands on the axle pipe once lifted?

The service manual jacking pics are kinda too brief/not descriptive.

thanks so much - can't wait to see the effect of new shocks as this ride needs it.
 

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Best to use a floor jack.

Lift the rear by placing the jack under the pumpkin of the rear axle. Place the jack stands under the axle tube under each spring set.

Lift the front under each lower control arm close to the wheel as possible. Place the jack stands under the frame where the rear side of the control arm strut rod connects to the frame.
 

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Not sure what you mean by holding the stem..which stem is this?
The shiny part of the Shock at the top, I can't remember the correct nomenclature, but that part will spin when you try to unscrew the nut. There are some flats to grab on the very top, but they're hard to get a tool onto.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Just an update, got the KYB shocks installed and man what a difference, I knew my OEM's were due but they were in awful shape (3 of 4 of them wouldn't even return after compressing without pulling on em a bit). That mushy/bouncy ride is gone finally.

The headlights went in fine thanks, didn't touch em. I thought they would be brighter then older oem ones though (bought Wagner 9004BL - Brite-Lite), but then again my lit carport may not be the best place to test.
I wanted to change them because in rain/nasty weather I can barely see the road.

What brand and bulb model do you guys suggest for a brighter and better view? The headlight faces aren't "that" hazed imo...but maybe it's enough to affect it to that degree? maybe i should do the sandpaper fix?

Anyway, thanks for the help once again! Thank god for these forums.

Now it's onto deciding to do a water pump for my dodge 3.0L (may as well do the timing belt, tensioner and more).
 

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Glad the KYB's meet your satisfaction.

I don't know what to recommend in terms of brighter bulbs. My friend has a Tacoma with one replaced headlight lens. One is hazy and yellow, the other looks new, and the one side is noticable brighter than the other from inside the cab, and when he is driving at you. The bulb could have been replaced as well, but as this was done by an insurance company, it is unlikely they spent extra on a brighter bulb.

In terms of driving in stormy conditions, it is par for the course that the headlights seem weak. The wet surfaces reflect the light away. You could add a pair of driving lights. I have a cheap pair, but am not impressed. They only seem to help close up, and only slightly.

When you are loaded down with band equipment and members, the headlights are pointed too far in front of you to do much good, maybe adjust them downward.

Do people flash their hi-beams at you when driving on a 2 lane backroad?

I have a set of airbags on the rear axle. 100 psi in the bags makes the rear rise just over 4 inches compared to 0 psi. A 1 inch difference in ride height makes a huge difference where the light hits the road in front of you. The bags also help greatly reduce leaning in corners.
 

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No, nobody flashing lights at me in those situations...but I hear where you're coming from and I'll check adustment at full loads.
Which adjuster handles the up and down direction of lights, the bottom one? (there are 3 screws to adjust)

I think it's just the rain factor here, have to live with it.


I'm thinking of going a less expensive route in add-a-leaf in helping ride height at loads - anyone ever deal with that?
Can't really afford $500 quotes on installing the air-bags (although I'd like them) right now.
 

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Installing the Airbags is pretty simple. If you can do the shocks yourself, you can do the airbags.

The only difficulties that might arise are the exhaust pipe might be in the way of the heat shield. I extended mine by about an inch by cutting it, and joining the 2 ends with hose clamps and steel cans cut to fit.

I put the Schrader valves inside so I can adjust them from within.

Adding a leaf is good as well, but can make the unloaded ride harsch.
 
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