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My rear coil swap in with Monroe Max-Air shocks

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  • My rear coil swap in with Monroe Max-Air shocks

    I finally got the rear suspension done and am pretty happy with the shock mod. So much so, I think it merits a brief break down of what it took to modify a non listed option for our VIII's. There's plenty of info around on how to do a coil spring swap so I'm not going into that. I happen to like a air shock on a sport coup. I had put them on a 71 Cutlass Supreme and a 79 Camaro I had back in my younger days. They gave me the look and ride I was looking for and they are not a bad idea for trailer towing since that's their primary roll. Now my new to me 97 VIII is equipped with them and can't wait to get the rest of the car done to really enjoy the new ride.
    The shocks to buy are the Monroe MA815. Additionally you need the Monroe AK29 air line kit since the MA18 kit the shocks come with are not optimal for this application, 2 Moog K700537 sway bar link kits for their bushings & washers and a Energy suspension 9.9105G shock eye bushing kit.
    First, you need to know the MA815 shocks will increase the wheel droop by an additional 1" . That's one reason why using the Moog sway bar bushings on the OEM sway bar link rod is necessary. Those thicker bushings will give you a longer assembled link geometry and the fact that it will be in more of a stock position with the car slightly higher in the rear when all is said n done. The MA815's are not drop in shocks since they come with a simple rubber eye bushing that is to small in its center ID. The bushing must be pressed out in using a hand press arbor or other tool. The pic shows that rubber bushing to the right and a finished shock eye on the left using the Energy 9.9105G kit. That kit is NOT a drop in kit and needs 2 modifications to work with the OEM shock eye bolt. First the bushing width must be ground shorter by .100" and the steel bolt bushing must be bored out to minimum of .550" or drill it out to a max of 9/16th.

    The bushings press in very easy in a bench vise and then I put bearing grease in the inner gap that you see here and then the steel bolt bushing gets pressed in. That inner gap will close up quite a bit once the steel bushing gets in.

    Use a full diameter 1/2" washer against the arm to fully support the poly bushing flange.

    The air line kit that comes with the shocks use a simple straight in 1/8th" air line on a single rubber O ring washer. You need to 90 degree the line as it comes out of the shock. The MA29 kit has a air line pre bent and it has a formed flange on the end of the line with dual O ring washers. That is the air line you want to use with the thumb nut of the MA815 shock. Discard the angle boot that line comes with. Plus, with the 2 air line kits, you can put a air fill valve on each shock rather than one for both as intended in the kit.

    Here, I made a pair of aluminum brackets for the brass air valves I bought off Ebay.

    The tire is about an inch or more away from the air line coming out of the shock at its closest with the wheel up into the well if the car were to sag badly. All in all, a nice alternative to the cheap china shocks that came with my spring conversion set.