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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Long story:

Took 2009 Azera in to dealer for oil/filter change. The inspection resulted in a recommendation to replace front upper control arms (cracked), front and rear shocks and front and rear brakes. Left rear brake measured 0 so I told them to replace the rear brakes with the intent that I would do the rest. Cost for rear brakes was $250. Estimate for everything was a little over $2,000 if the dealer did all.

Got shocks ( KYB )and upper control arms from RockAuto along with front brake parts. Should have ordered isolators for front shocks so had to buy them locally. Front replacements were easy enough to do but I found NO cracks in the upper control arms. However, the ball joint in each control arm was much tighter than the ones on the new control arms. This made a tremendous difference in the steering effort after replacement.

Now for the real problem. The rear shocks looked super-simple to replace - a couple of bolts at the top and a nut on the bottom that came off easily. But the shock (both sides) would not budge off the stud. Turns out they were rusted solid to the studs. Difficult to get a puller in and absolutely no room to get a pickle fork between the link and the inner sleeve of the shock. No results with heat, PB Blaster or vise grips. It took a grinder and air impact hammer to free up each shock. First step was to use a deep hole saw to cut through the rubber and separate the shock from the inner sleeve. Then cut the remainder of the rubber off the sleeve. a Grinder was then used to take away some of the metal of the sleeve and put a 'notch' in the sleeve to allow the impact air tool to budge it loose around its circumference and then to help remove it. The first one took about 2-3 hours to figure out. The second one was off in about half an hour.

It was interesting to see that the inner circumference of the sleeve had 'notches' in it as if to ensure it didn't turn when secured. I have never seen this on any other shock.

When I first purchased the car, there was occassional 'popping' in the rear end and it seemed to come from either side randomly. Dealer never could give a satisfactory explanation. After a while it lessened and eventually disappeared somewhere around 40K - 50K miles. My thinking is that it is possible these 'notches' occasionally popped when the shock turned a bit and when they eventually rusted solid, the noise ceased. The opposite side of the sleeve is smooth. Both sides of the new KYB shocks are smooth.It took a while to remove the rust on the studs and the new shocks needed to be persuaded to slide on. Put lubriplate in the pits in the stud to help a bit.

The pictures below show the notched end of the sleeve and the amount of grinding that we (my son and I) found necessary to remove these.

Mike
 

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I hope you applied Anti-seize to the new ones for the next time you have to replace them! ;)
 

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