KYB SHOCK INSTALLATION
Converting Electronically Adjustable Damping Suspension to Fixed-Rate Shocks
Step 1 - Interior Disassembly
Take everything out of the hatch compartment. There are tutorials online that claim to be able to replace the shocks without taking the trim out, but it will make your life hell when it comes to installation and making sure you meet factory torque specs. Take the time to properly remove every piece of trim in your way so that you can remove the speaker bracket and have direct access to the shock mounts.
Disassemble as follows:
Remove speaker grilles by pushing them towards the seats and pulling up on the other side.
Remove carpet, t-top straps, and sound-deadening. Set aside to dry completely if they are wet.
Remove spare tire trim as well as tire/inflator.
Remove tail light trim
Remove small compartment behind driver side shock tower
Remove coat hanger near the headrests. Taking the t-tops out will give you more leeway for taking the next part out.
Remove door sill trim, keep track of the push pins, replacements aren't too easy to find.
Remove quarter window trim, you will break a clip or two while doing this. Do not worry as they can be fixed with some JB Weld.
Remove the shock tower/speaker trim.
Remove the speaker mounting brackets
Make sure to keep track of every screw as you go and place them in a safe place. Do not try to take any shortcuts as they will bite you in the ass when you have to put the trim back in. I was able to take the passenger side shock tower trim out without removing the quarter window trim and I had to fight with it for 20 minutes when it came time to reinstall.
I took pictures as I went but do not use them as a 1:1 guide. Plenty of stuff was removed so quickly that I forgot to take a picture.
Step 2 - Exterior Disassembly
I did not take many pictures during this step. I trust your problem solving skills to fill in the gaps. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions along the way.
Jack up the rear of the car.
Remove both rear wheels and place a jack underneath both shocks to prevent any sudden movements.
Remove the electronic adjuster boot and connector. Use a pair of pliers to squeeze the bottom portion until it no longer engages with the threads, then pull directly up.
Undo all three nuts on the interior of the car. Consider leaving them loose to prevent the shock from falling.
Remove the bottom bolt that goes through the shock.
With the shocks now off the car, you need to remove them from their mounts.
Using an open ended wrench towards the top of the shock, you can remove the main bolt holding it together
You may need to use an extractor/puller of sorts to separate the shock from the top mount. One of mine was torn and came off easily.
Clean up the parts you removed from the shock as some will need to be used on the new shocks.
Step 3 - KYB Conversion Kit
KYB managed to write some pretty bad instructions on how to use their conversion kit so I had to free-hand it. After driving ~100 miles on this configuration, I can say that it performs as expected with no squeaks or noise.
Assemble your shocks as follows:
Metal washer, dished side up.
Rubber damper, dished side up.
Hollow mount from old shocks.
Rubber damper, dished side down.
Metal washer, dished side down.
Tighten down the new nut as much as you can, compressing the rubber dampers until they are flush with the mount and washers. I used an adjustable wrench to hold the top tab and and open ended wrench to torque the nut. Using both hands you should be able to tighten it quite a bit, though make sure you aren't on the verge of breaking anything. You should be able to press firmly on either side of the mount and see it move just a little bit since the rubber is isolating the shock from the mount.
Notice that I did not use the bump stop included in the kit. I do not see how this component could be used in the assembly as it covers nearly every thread, preventing you from putting the nut on at all. Even if it did fit, I do not advise using it as it would reduce your suspension travel by several inches. I also chose not to put a dust boot on the shock. This is mostly due to not having one and also because the factory shocks never had a meaningful dust boot in the first place.
Step 4 - Reassembly
Reassembly is pretty straightforward.
Compress shock if needed, holding it with a bent coat-hanger or piece of rope.
Insert lower bolt. Tighten but not all the way for now.
Aim the top of the shock so that the studs will enter the holes from which they came. Cut the restraint allowing it to expand upwards, or in my case just jack up the shock until it is compressed against the body of the car.
Using the big fancy interior washer, fasten the three nuts on the inside of the car.
Make sure to torque all fasteners to the manufacturer designated values.
Put the tires back on and put your interior back together!
By now you are probably regretting taking all your interior out but trust me, your life would have been far worse if you tried to work around it. Put on your favorite album and clean all your interior pieces before you put them back in. Also consider taking care of any other small problems while the rest of the car is disassembled!