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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,
I'm replacing the front struts on my 1982 280ZX 2+2. The original struts were submerged in oil within the strut housing. From what I've read this was to help dissipate heat created by the strut action. The new KYB struts I'm installing are gas. Does it need the oil with gas struts? Would it matter to add oil to it?
 

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On searching the forums I found my answer. One member said adding oil not only helped in heat dissipation but also to keep the shock tower canister from rusting from the inside out. Made complete sense to me. Condensation can form in the most unlikely places - even places you'd think moisture couldn't get into.
Parts for these cars are not getting any easier to find, so anything I can do to prevent or minimize wear and tear is always a good idea.
 

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I do however have one question. How does one prevent moisture getting in or oil leaking out without an O-ring or gasket of some kind? The KYB strut replacement provided the gland packing but it is hollow - no O-ring or gasket to insert that will create a snug seal around the strut rod. The only "seal" that I can see being created is the metal housing of the gland packing to the top of the strut rod casing. There was a metal "O-ring" that looked more like a thick slightly beveled washer. The directions indicated it was to be used only if I was to reuse the original gland packing, but the KYB strut's thickness and length prevents me from doing that. Is the metal on metal "seal" created by the pressure when the gland packing provided by KYB is securely screwed into place enough to keep moisture out and oil in?
 

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1983 280ZX Turbo
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When I replaced the shock inserts in my 1983 280ZX I used oil. This makes perfect sense, because shocks get hot when used hard, and oil obviously improves heat transfer to the outer shell of the strut.

I have never seen any evidence of oil leakage. If there was some immediately after the installation, that's long past and it never came to my attention anyway.
 

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1983 280ZX Turbo
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Mine were Tokicos, and IIRC it said to add oil. Perhaps a difference in heat characteristics...or maybe the factory manual said to add oil. Haven't checked that.
 

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If you don't add oil the strut tubes when you're using strut inserts (shocks) I can guarantee you that the shocks will overheat and fail prematurely. It's a gradual condition and it doesn't matter whose shocks you use or how good they are, they will all fail with no oil in there for heat transfer. Don't believe the website on KYB if they say not to use oil. If any of you have installed shocks without oil you should pull them asap and fill it up with oil. I recommend the oil level to be about 2 inches from the top of the strut tube with the shock already in there. I've been installing KYB and Tokico shocks and struts in 70-83 z's since 1990 and I've had to warrantee about 6 of them. 4 were from the back of the zx, the rest were 70-78 z's. Not bad when you figure I"ve done a couple of hundred shock jobs on z's in the past 43 years. I have had to replace 10-20 sets of shocks in the 70-78's and 6 or 7 pairs of front shocks in the zx that were KYB or Tokico because someone else put them in and didn't fill the tubes with oil. You also need to use polyurethane bump stops on these cars. It doesn't matter what weight of oil you use, just use good clean motor oil. Z man of Washington
 
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Thanks Zmanofwashington! I think having oil has a two fold purpose. 1) to dissipate heat and 2) to prevent rust from forming inside the canister. So tell us, from all those shocks without oil that you have installed over the years - how many had rusted in place?
 

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I've never installed shocks in these cars without adding oil to the tubes. I have had to use a slide hammer with a chain on the end to pull a few shocks out of the tube, I even have had a pair of front ones that I couldn't get the shocks out even after applying heat to the tubes so I had to replace the strut assemblies. I remember one car that some idiot even drilled a hole in the side of the tube near the bottom on all 4 struts so I had to weld it up. I guess they wanted the water to drain just in case it built up. Go figure. ZMOW
 
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