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First Generation RL (1996-2004)

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Old 05-03-09, 06:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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How to replace rear shocks?

I was wondering if anyone has replaced the rear shocks/struts on their RL? I've read the maintenance manual, which states that the rear speakers have to be removed...consequently the rear seat and rear deck cover. Is this true?...or is it possible to remove the nuts that hold the top of the rear struts on without removing the speakers?
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Old 05-03-09, 07:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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yep, you will have to take apart the bottom seat cushion first, then the rear seat back followed by the c-pilars. lastly, pull out the rear speaker shelf and speakers to get to the strut towers. there's no way around it. a pain just to replace the struts. stupid honda!
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Old 05-04-09, 01:49 AM   #3 (permalink)
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To clarify:
The rear speakers DO have to be removed. Also remove the rear headrests to make it easier for yourself.

The rear seat and cushion DO NOT have to be removed. I thought you had to, so I tried it, but got nowhere. We're lucky, all you have to do is remove the 2 speaker covers, the 4 screws surrounding the speakers, and pull it up.... you don't need to disconnect the speaker wires, just place them to the side. Look at the hole where the speaker was, and the shock is right under it!!!

Another thing, just a precatution, but i'm sure you probably know this already. This is of course, after you have removed the shock and spring from the car. DO NOT REMOVE THE CENTER BOLT BY ALL MEANS UNTIL YOU HAVE COMPRESSED THE SPRING WITH A SPRING COMPRESSOR!!!. And remember to point the shock AWAY from you... last thing you want is for the shock to shoot at you.

Don't unscrew the 3 bolts in the triangular pattern from the speaker side all the way at first. Loosen them quite a bit, but make sure there is still some thread holding it on. Remove the bottom up... so after you've taken off the bolts on the bottom, and got the bottom removed, fully loosen the 3 bolts holding the top of the shock. It'll drop down... put something to cushion the fall. Trust me, you don't want to jam your finger and lose a nail, which happened to my friend because he removed the top bolts completely first.

Hope this helps, let me know if I can further help you.
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Old 05-09-09, 04:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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OneBad, Thanks for the advice. I'm going to tackle it tomorrow. I feel better now that I know I don't have to remove the rear seat.

Tomorrow's goal: Install '02-'04 suspension on a '97, and replace a few worn parts.
- Front and Rear Shocks and Coils
- Front and Rear Sway Bars (rear is actually already installed)
- Energy Suspension Sway Bar Bushings
- New Sway Bar End Links (all 4)
- New Front Upper Arm Bearings

Still haven't figured out if swapping the front sway bar is easy or not. I've heard you have to remove part of the front sub frame, but that seems a bit excessive. Anyone replace a front sway bar on an RL? Is the setup much different than a Legend?
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Old 05-09-09, 08:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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can't wait to hear your review of the upgrades....should be interesting.

were you coming to NALM Rower?
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Old 05-10-09, 12:21 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Aren't the front sway bars the same size throughout the years? I thought it was only the rear ones that had gotten beefier.
I haven't taken a look at the front sway bar yet... but i will do it soon since i need to replace my cv boots real soon.

Keep us updated. Looking forward to your updates!
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Old 05-10-09, 12:25 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OneBadNA1NSX View Post
Aren't the front sway bars the same size throughout the years? I thought it was only the rear ones that had gotten beefier.
I haven't taken a look at the front sway bar yet... but i will do it soon since i need to replace my cv boots real soon.

Keep us updated. Looking forward to your updates!
naw, I think in 2002 they changed out the hollow bar for a solid bar. It gave it like another 30% more stiffness or something.
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Old 05-10-09, 02:07 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Dangit, I might change both....

Just a thought...no rear sway bar= oversteer easier if I remember, right? ... or was it the front?
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Old 05-10-09, 01:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The '02-'04 front sway bar is about 50% stiffer than the '96-'01 front sway bar. "No rear sway bar" equals lots of understeer...like an old Buick. Stiffer rear sway bar gives more oversteer. The '02-'04 rear sway bar is well over 100% stiffer than the '96-'01 rear bar. So if you replace both, the car will still have an overall stiffer rear sway bar compared to the front; i.e., more oversteer.

Definitely going to try and make it to at least part of NALM. Livin' in Omaha, it's an easy drive.
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Old 05-10-09, 06:28 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks Rover, I couldn't remember which one to take off I'll be taking off my front and testing it!

Are you going to replace your balljoints sometime?
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Old 05-10-09, 09:10 PM   #11 (permalink)
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My ball joints were replaced back at around 60k. They started creaking again around 100k. Re-greased and re-booted and all is still well at 120k. Hopefully if I grease them periodically I can get them to last for another 20-30k.

If you pull off the front sway bar, you will definitely have more oversteer, however you will have more body roll as well. It's gonna feel like an 80's Buick with oversteer...not the most stable feeling combo. If you're talking about your '01, I would try and upgrade the rear bar to the '02-'04 bar, and then keep the rear tires 5psi higher than the front. That should increase oversteer while reducing body roll. Another option is to get a '02-'04 rear bar, and instead of replacing the old bar with it, clamp it to the old bar at 6-8 points along the bar. Kinda getto, but it should increase the rear roll stiffness some 300%, plus or minus. Let us know how you experiment goes!

My suspension upgrades have been put off, raining outside and only have a 1-car garage....didn't want to have to do it in there. It's killing me to have all the parts lying there and not putting them on. On the other hand....I could just do it in the rain....
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Old 05-11-09, 12:04 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Yessir, I'm talking about the '01. Not planning to mod the '04 at this moment in time. I'm working with a company right now on a custom coil over for the RL. If it all works out fine, I will be modding the '04.

I'm going to get a rear sway bar for sure, hopefully it comes with the bushings... if not i'll buy them too. I'm probably also going to get end links in case.

Did you happen to replace the balljoints with OEM ones, or did you use SPC, or Ingalls? I think i'm going to replace them anyways, as a precaution, since i'm at 97K and have lots of neg camber. Greasing them...do you mean just greasing the outside rubber boot, right?

The front sway bar shouldn't be a problem. I drove my friends TL, and we took out the sway bar for some fun. I started giggling like a little school girl when it slid out. I already oversteer at the limit in the RL.. Its the point right before it starts to oversteer that annoys me. The car seems not to know what to do for a moment, and then decides to slide out.

I'll play around with the suspension a bit. I've set a near perfect dampening on the ksports for myself. Just a bit more experimenting to do, though.... maybe i'll stop and wait until I get the rear sway bar!
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Old 05-11-09, 12:05 AM   #13 (permalink)
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BTW, let me know if you still need help on the suspension removal, i'd be glad to help

Hopefully the rain goes away soon!!
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Old 06-03-09, 10:39 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Suspension upgrade finally completed!

On my '97 RL I replaced the following:
- All 4 sway bar end links (old ones were shot, one was about to separate)
- Energy Suspension sway bar bushings
- 2003 RL Coils and Struts
- Front Upper Arm Bushings (old ones were knocking)
- 2003 RL Rear Sway Bar (actually swapped out a month ago)

I was unable to swap the front sway bar. I think I'll have to remove part of the sub-frame to do it. Need to get it on a real lift before I attempt that.

First thing I noticed is that all creaks, squeaks, and knocking is gone! It's so nice to go around corners, over bumps, and into driveways without suspension noises.

Second thing is that the handling is much less "Buick" and much more solid. It's no S2000, however for a heavy luxury car, I am very happy with it. Any and all "boat" feel is gone. Corners much more level and turn-in is much improved. The car feels noticeably more stable at higher speeds as well. It's also more stable when braking hard. I actually want to find a twisty country road now...never had that desire in this car before.

Of note, the car sits about 0.75-inch higher at all four corners. I attribute this to the fact that the coils have not been compressed in, at least a few months, if not longer. I'm sure they'll settle soon.

This is THE suspension setup the car should have always come with. Now I know why '02-'04 RL owners like the way their car handles. The balance is great. I may not want to swap the front bar at this point, to avoid adding any understeer.

The next this is brakes. Now that I can "enjoy" twisty roads, I'm gonna need better brakes! Anyone know of any Acura/Honda brakes that will swap in and fit in the stock 16-inchers? I know the '02-'04 brakes are slightly bigger, but I'd like to get at least a 2-piston caliper in front without dropping major coin for the StopTech kit.
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Old 06-03-09, 10:42 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OneBadNA1NSX View Post
...balljoints...Greasing them...do you mean just greasing the outside rubber boot, right?...
OneBad, Ya, I just removed the ball joint boots, packed new grease in there, then replaced the boots. If the boots are the original ones, you may want to buy new boots.
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