1963 buick skylark front shocks

It has been challenging to finding shocks on the 63 skylark, along the way I have installed incorrect shocks and not much options to choose from. The vintage car market for parts has moved up to inflated prices including J-nuts for qty of 4 to $225. + $9. shipping on ebay. I decided to increase my choices, performance and make it more convenient and affordable to replace front shocks as well eliminating the predatory vintage car market. Of course, safety is concern, handling by 63 technology doesn't compare to today's vehicles' capabilities we have accustomed to.

COFAP HD125.jpg
Shocks that can be fitted on 63 skylark are with an extended length of 15 in. and upper and lower with BP4(Gabriel) mountings. Except that I found you can take it wider on the upper possibly BP7. The shocks that fit factory on the front with BP4 upper and lower were of a brand Cofap, HD125, 5-D-3, Made In Brazil. I don't recall where I bought them, there was a big silver logo sticker placed right over the shock hiding the identification. I currently don't know where to get them.

template jnut.jpg


Upon removing the front shocks, I found a broken J-nut. That appeared to be another impossible task to locate. AMKproducts or ebay did not have any that were correct T-5624, 5/16-24 thread. There were plenty of the wrong 5/16-18 thread all day long. Since, they are obsolete I decided to fabricate one following the same method used by the manufacturer.
I first formed a T-nut shaped square that would be the threaded nut. Then, I cut out my template. Third I predrilled my nut prior to inserting into template followed by mushrooming it in permanently locked. Fourth, I final drilled and threaded to 5/16-24. Fifth, j-shaped into the correct form using 1/8 in. spacing same as the lower arm. Last, carbon encased.

I fabricated upper mounts to accept stud type mounting of the S series of shocks from Gabriel and many manufacturers. This makes it capable to install 1964 Buick Skylark shocks in a 63 along with many multiple of options. I selected Gabriel 82110 that fit on a full sized vehicle like a 65 Pontiac Bonneville. My goal was to have a firmer ride for highway stability over street driving soft suspension.

shock mounts.jpg

Gabriel 82110.jpg
The spacing of the bolt holes on the brackets were a bit wider on the top than the 2.25in. specified for the lower and it has to do that the top is flat and the bottom there is a cup shape for the coil springs. They accept a 1 in. OD bushing that is a common size for the stud type mounting. I did consider the rear shock mount for the camaros and novas that has a too wide of bolt hole center to center at 3 in. Another thing is that it is very difficult to get the specifications for that mount, yet it is widely available, along that it is import sold by many vintage car markets. The fabricated mounts without the rings have the same thickness as a cross pin mount. C shape would be preferred to reduce deflection. I'm at a trial run on these mounts with the rings additionally reinforced.

The Gabriel shocks (#82110) I selected come with BP7 lower mounts, it is necessary to install BP4 in place of these cross pins, which skyjacker provides through Summit. Alternatively, you could trim these BP7, to BP4 specs like I did, if you don't have a Barb-Q to attend.

left right shocks.jpg
There is clearance and room to trim if necessary some of the shock stud guide portion. Therefore, adding more space, but there is no contact at this point. As an added step I spent some time securing the fuel lines so that they were properly fitted.

In summary, upon short test drive, the ride is comfortable, quiet and performs as expected. I now have more shock choices and increased availability. I expect the vehicle to handle better therefore increasing the safety of driving it.