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Author Topic: MK1 Rabbit- Air shocks?  (Read 1350 times)

November 19, 2016, 11:58:13 pm

4x4_Welder

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MK1 Rabbit- Air shocks?
« on: November 19, 2016, 11:58:13 pm »
83 Rabbit turbodiesel, the rear springs are pretty sagged out.  The struts are also leaking, so time for full replacement. 
The Monroe Max-Air MA700 looks like it'll work going by the numbers, but has anyone used these or other air shocks as a replacement for the rear struts?  I do use this thing to carry weight from time to time, so the ability to not have it squat would be nice. 


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Reply #1November 20, 2016, 02:45:02 pm

ORCoaster

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Re: MK1 Rabbit- Air shocks?
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2016, 02:45:02 pm »
I too was hauling max loads of wood in my 81 Rabbit from time to time.  I found just running a good set of regular shocks with a 2 inch spacer was good enough.  It sits nose down a bit or butt up depending on your perspective. 

I think I followed a link here at one time for how to do. I can't take credit for the idea. I think I have some pics on Photo Bucket I could upload if you want to see it. 

Let me know.   
Now Own 1981 Caddy as the NEW DISTRACTION to all that is around me.  Project Away!

Reply #2November 20, 2016, 06:54:06 pm

4x4_Welder

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Re: MK1 Rabbit- Air shocks?
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2016, 06:54:06 pm »
I would appreciate that.  I did see some references to using a pipe nipple and muffler clamp as a spacer to hold the spring seat off the boss on the strut tube, is this similar to what you did?
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Reply #3November 20, 2016, 08:40:00 pm

ORCoaster

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Re: MK1 Rabbit- Air shocks?
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2016, 08:40:00 pm »
Took a while to find.  Mostly due to file cleaning on Photobucket.  So much garbage I didn't need to have there.

So yes you take a pipe coupler, 2 or 2.25 and cut it in half.  Then use a good quality muffler clamp to hold it on the shock just above the seam and suspend the coil plate that amount of lift. 

I used the spring compressor to make it manageable. But you would have one on these for the job of removing the shocks anyway.  Unless you care to live dangerously. 



As it sits, a bit high until loaded.  These are my 13 inch wheels on it.  I also run 14 inch Snowflakes as my winter tires

« Last Edit: November 20, 2016, 08:56:37 pm by ORCoaster »
Now Own 1981 Caddy as the NEW DISTRACTION to all that is around me.  Project Away!

Reply #4November 26, 2016, 05:09:55 pm

4x4_Welder

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Re: MK1 Rabbit- Air shocks?
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2016, 05:09:55 pm »
Yeah, size was a bit off.  1 3/4" OD above the spring seat swedge, 1 1/2" pipe size.  So I'll try again next week. 
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Reply #5November 26, 2016, 05:29:16 pm

ORCoaster

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Re: MK1 Rabbit- Air shocks?
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2016, 05:29:16 pm »
Sorry about that.  It has been years since it did that mod.  Don't know how I was so far off on the diameter.  Only way to check is take them off.  maybe measure around them and do the math.  That would have involved a jack, a tape and a good rain jacket at the time.  Rain and blowing again now.  Barely lets up.
Now Own 1981 Caddy as the NEW DISTRACTION to all that is around me.  Project Away!

Reply #6November 26, 2016, 06:35:00 pm

air-cooled or diesel

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Re: MK1 Rabbit- Air shocks?
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2016, 06:35:00 pm »
I used the spring compressor to make it manageable. But you would have one on these for the job of removing the shocks anyway.  Unless you care to live dangerously. 
for any mk1(as i remember), mk2, or mk3 i have/had, no reason, for rear that is, at the stock height to use spring clamps, putting spring back on so body weight will allow you to get nut started. perhaps when turning nut off making sure it doesnt pop or fly off. not pertaining to your height mod.
1wire will do it all-
0-60.must still be in school.

Reply #7November 26, 2016, 10:53:03 pm

ORCoaster

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Re: MK1 Rabbit- Air shocks?
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2016, 10:53:03 pm »
I think he was going to replace all four corners.  So for sure for the front.  I think you are right though.  For the standard swap out you can get them on without a compressor.  I did the squeeze play on the springs while on the car and then slipped in the pieces of pipe and the clamp.  You have to have slack to raise the spring holder off the shock.

« Last Edit: December 03, 2016, 07:08:00 pm by ORCoaster »
Now Own 1981 Caddy as the NEW DISTRACTION to all that is around me.  Project Away!

Reply #8December 03, 2016, 02:39:16 pm

4x4_Welder

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Re: MK1 Rabbit- Air shocks?
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2016, 02:39:16 pm »
Fronts were new, done by the previous owner, the rears are all saggy and thrashed out.  I'm going to give it another shot today.
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Reply #9December 03, 2016, 08:41:57 pm

4x4_Welder

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Re: MK1 Rabbit- Air shocks?
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2016, 08:41:57 pm »
It's all happy now.  I was still off on the size, OD of the strut above the seat swedge is 1.5", so 1 1/4" pipe female threads almost fit over it.  I took a pair of couplers and hit the threads with a carbide burr bit until the narrow part of the strut just fit through.  Since I had to use a spring compressor anyways, I pulled the struts (about an extra five minutes), pulled the springs clear off, and fit the whole coupler under the spring seat.  One piece is almost always stronger than multiple pieces, and now the car sits much nicer.
I am a bit surprised at how much better it feels though.  Every Rabbit and Cabriolet I have ridden had sagged out springs and an uninspiring ride, this thing is actually much more stable and fairly confident on the road now. 
How it sits now:

The coupler in place:
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Reply #10December 03, 2016, 11:01:09 pm

ORCoaster

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Re: MK1 Rabbit- Air shocks?
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2016, 11:01:09 pm »
Well that method of grinding it out saves having to purchase the muffler clamps and keeps you from cutting a coupler in half in order to get it to work.   Nicely done sir. 

I noticed the same thing on ride.  Maybe it is shifting the weight a bit more to the front struts and getting that load off the rear end.  I still watch it around tight corners just in case it wants to skip a bit. 

Now, for a paint job?   Just pull it into one of those storage units and go to town like one other is doing on his. 

Now Own 1981 Caddy as the NEW DISTRACTION to all that is around me.  Project Away!

Reply #11December 03, 2016, 11:57:51 pm

4x4_Welder

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Re: MK1 Rabbit- Air shocks?
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2016, 11:57:51 pm »
A paint job is in the plans, but not just yet.  I'm going to take it back to the stock metallic slate blue, but go with a little bit of a rally style with front driving lights, mudflaps and maybe some mild flares, and nice wheels like white Team Dynamics Pro Rallys. 
The building behind it is the shop I work at, I'm actually lead tech there.  Six bays with 14' square doors, overhead crane, warehouse and showroom up front.  The warehouse and showroom are housing a late model used car dealership.  This place used to be the primary Caterpillar equipment dealer and overhaul shop in the area. 
Here's a shot of the interior, with my 71 F250 project on one of the lifts.


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Reply #12April 09, 2017, 08:03:52 pm

4x4_Welder

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Re: MK1 Rabbit- Air shocks?
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2017, 08:03:52 pm »
Well, the lift couplers worked for a while, but the shocks are now completely blown.  I went ahead and ordered a set of MA700 air shocks, and they were a nearly bolt-in installation.  The damping is a bit stiff as they are designed to control a much heavier axle on a heavier vehicle, but not overly harsh.  The only downside so far is that they need to be run at close to 120psi to get the ride height required, but the max pressure for the system is 150 so not too bad.  The only real trick to the install is that I had to heat the lower bushing sleeve and pull it out of the old shock, it was vulcanized to the rubber. 
Now to see if it actually holds pressure and holds up to abuse, I'm doing 160 miles a day right now.
Diesel tech and fabricator.

 

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