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Old 12-03-2013, 08:37 PM   #1
stallerl
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Default Frozen Shocks

What is the general census for what to use to free up a set of frozen shocks? I'm in no rush so I'd like to set them in a bucket full of ??? and just let them soak until I get/make the time to work on them. I've read that ATF and acetone is the hot ticket but I've also read that there is new stuff available that breaks down rust in hours or a few days. What's the best stuff to use?
Thanks for your input, opinion and past experience.
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Old 12-03-2013, 08:41 PM   #2
glenn in camino
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Default Re: Frozen Shocks

My favorite is Kroil, but if they're frozen and the shafts are off center, they're not rebuildable.
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Old 12-03-2013, 08:47 PM   #3
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Default Re: Frozen Shocks

I would start with the Kroil as well. It is good stuff.
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Old 12-03-2013, 08:48 PM   #4
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Default Re: Frozen Shocks

Is there a way to determine if the shafts are off center while they are together? If so and if they are off center I won't go through the process of soaking them...
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Old 12-03-2013, 09:02 PM   #5
Kevin in NJ
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Default Re: Frozen Shocks

You can not expect shocks to function properly by just adding some oil and letting soak. That would be the rare exception. There are some small check ball passages that need to be cleared and other inspections that need to be done.

Degrease them then put them in an electrolytic rust removal tank (google it).

You are not likely to get them to move easy and will not get them functioning properly without a full tear down, cleaning and (if good) reassembly. Function is based on how tight the shaft is and if there are significant pitting in the chamber.

Take apart needs some big tools. There are a number of methods. I will not go into take apart as I need to work on techniques and I do not know how to properly advise you.
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Old 12-03-2013, 09:14 PM   #6
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Default Re: Frozen Shocks

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I first want to determine if they are usable. If so I would consider taking them apart or send them out for rebuilding. I didn't expect to soak them for a while, paint them and then install them. Life is never that easy! Plus there's no challenge there! Thanks for your input. (I'll Goggle electrolytic rust removal tank.)
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Old 12-03-2013, 09:28 PM   #7
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Default Re: Frozen Shocks

I understand you just want to soak them to get them apart. Search here at the Barn in the Red Bar at the top of the General Discussion a page, lots has been posted about taking them apart.
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Old 12-04-2013, 12:37 AM   #8
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Default Re: Frozen Shocks

I read a long tine ago here on the Ford Barn. If they wont come apart by soaking them, and you want to get them apart.

Build a fire in your Charcoal BBQ, and place them the Coals for about 4 Hours. After let them cool by themselves at least 6 hours.
When I wintered up North, I had a Wood Furnace, I would place a couple in the fire box over night, then let them cool as above. Every one I put in the fire came apart, 10 of them. The Fire did not hurt the Insides.
Try it, it works, you are going to rebuild them anyways.

PS; I forgot to add, bury them in the coals, and rotate them once in a while.

Last edited by Jazzjr; 12-04-2013 at 01:53 AM.
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Old 12-04-2013, 12:51 AM   #9
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Default Re: Frozen Shocks

Ha!I gave up charcoal years ago so all I have is a gas grill! I'm sure I can go to Wal Mart and pick up a cheap grill and a bag of charcoal to use for heating up the shocks. Thanks for your input.
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Old 12-04-2013, 07:26 AM   #10
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Default Re: Frozen Shocks

Just get the charcoal, you can use an old steel pot, or a wheel rim or even a shallow hole in the ground (my favorite makes the neighbors wonder) for the forge.
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Old 12-04-2013, 07:59 AM   #11
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Default Re: Frozen Shocks

I question if heating them beyond hot is good for the metal.

Using electrolytic rust removal and clever tapping (along with some big sockets) you can get most of the shock apart without much if any heat.

The valve will require lots of heat. That is important to take out in one piece undamaged.

I have not got to my shocks. At some point I expect to be able to go further with techniques, unless someone else beats me to it.
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Old 12-04-2013, 10:38 AM   #12
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Default Re: Frozen Shocks

I Goggled "electrolytic rust removal" and was amassed at what a simple process it is and how effective it is in breaking down rust. I plan on picking up the supplies I'll need and trying it out on one of my old rusty shocks. There's nothing difficult about doing it except making sure the leads (positive and negative) are correctly attached. Other then that submerge the part, wait a day or so and the part will be free of rust. I'm just hoping that the solution will soak into the threaded part of the shocks enabling me to dis-assemble them. We'll see... Thanks Kevin in NJ!
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Old 12-04-2013, 12:18 PM   #13
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Default Re: Frozen Shocks

Shocks that are frozen up are usually the only ones that can be rebuilt. The shocks that are loose are usually not rebuildable and the shaft will be obviously loose and off center. Soaking rusty shocks does NO good, I've tried it for over three months at a time with no luck. Heating the shocks and quinching them in cold water will usually work. Many use this method with frozen up Zenith carbs and it works good I've done it many times but I use my acetelene torch. Even the loose off center shocks will have some usable parts and in some cases are worth taking apart. There are right and left shocks and it is best to have several to start with and maybe there will be enough usable parts to make a set of usable shocks.
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Old 12-04-2013, 04:07 PM   #14
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Default Re: Frozen Shocks

You can rebuild them yourself, but you may not get them back to proper operation without the special tools for assembly, disassembly, and inspection of the internals to insure all the passages are good and there what wear is acceptable on the butterfly's and cavities. There are people that do this professionally like John Holland in Ohio and a fellow in Colorado. They have the tools and experience to rebuild them correctly and know when parts need to be thrown away or can be salvaged. The rebuild cost use to be about $55.00 each for John Holland. There are some things I will tackle and then others send out. JMHO. Sent John 7 shocks to get 4 good ones back.
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Old 12-04-2013, 04:38 PM   #15
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Default Re: Frozen Shocks

Before heating them take the fill plug out so they will not explode!
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Old 12-04-2013, 05:50 PM   #16
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Default Re: Frozen Shocks

Once I get them apart, if I do, I intend to send them out to be rebuilt. I've read enough to know it's better to leave the rebuild to someone with experience. Working on the shocks is going to be a 'filler' project that I work on when I'm in between other projects. I've had these shocks for a while and there's not rush to get them apart or rebuilt. Just another fun Model a project!
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Old 12-04-2013, 09:52 PM   #17
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Default Re: Frozen Shocks

You know what happens when you work on it first.

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Old 12-04-2013, 10:04 PM   #18
Purdy Swoft
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Default Re: Frozen Shocks

Bob C makes a good point. If you are going to have them done it would be best to leave them alone. Most wouldn't even want to touch them after they had been disassembled
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Old 12-04-2013, 11:25 PM   #19
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Default Re: Frozen Shocks

I was unaware that re-builders want them intact. Thanks for bringing that point up.
I only have 4 shocks and with what I read chances are good that half of them are trash. So I'll have to round up more to get another 2 good ones, assuming of the 4 I have some will be bad, if not all 4. Gulp! When I get ready to have them rebuilt I'll send them out intact and wait for the news.
Thanks again...
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:04 AM   #20
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Default Re: Frozen Shocks

According to the experts only about 1 in 8 are rebuildable. So far I am about 1 in 5 that have been rebiuldable. I have been gathering shocks for the delivery and for Dad's coupe, so as soon as I have 64 of them I will send them to the rebiulder, hoping to keep my average about where it has been so there will be some core value on the extra good ones. Rod
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