How To Remove Rear Shocks For Harley Softail? [Video Documentation]

The stock rear shocks of any HD model simply suck. They keep bottoming out and the passenger gets uncomfortable. So not just you, a lot of Harley enthusiasts keep asking how to remove rear shocks for Harley Softail? The Harley touring shocks from Progressive Suspension is your savior to give you a new smooth riding experience!

Changing rear shocks on a Harley may sound daunting if this is the first time for you. It’s true that breaking the rear bolts on the passenger area sometimes becomes impossible. But with the right guide and tips from experienced owners should be more than enough to get the job done if you are confident.

Tips To Remove Rear Shocks For Harley Softail

remove rear shocks for harley

Before I go any further, let me tell you the real challenge here. You can easily remove the rear shocks only if the rear bolts break loose easily. So, my main focus will be on how you can break loose such bolts. That being said, let’s begin.

For performance improvement or for any other reasons, you may have to remove the rear shocks. But, you won’t find plenty of useful guides or tips on it. That’s the reason I have written this guide on adjusting Softail rear shocks.

But if you don’t get enough confidence after reading this guide, don’t try to do it yourself. Take it to the dealer or take help from your experienced friends. But for now, let’s see how you can do it yourself.

You do not need any special kind of tools. If you have regular garage-type tools, you are good to go! However, due to several reasons, you may find the bolts on the shocks too hard to break loose. In that case, you will be needing a heat gun.

The real challenge is getting your bike off the ground. So, you should pay attention here. You need a strong lift table that has enough room to swing the box end wrench. That being said, let’s see what you should do now.

Make sure to take some pressure off the rear shocks. You can use blocks of wood or a floor jack to block the rear wheel to take off that pressure once the bike is on the lift table.

To make your job much easier, just remove the rear wheel from the bike. You will have plenty of room to work with.

You will find a bolt on the rear shock and another on the front shock. To remove the bolt, use the wrench that works for you. But if the fasteners seem tight and if you are sure the bolts on the shocks won’t budge easily, you can always apply heat to loosen it up with precaution.

Now, with heating and with some foot pressure, the bolt should break loose with the box end wrench.  Here is a complete video to change the shocks.

Safety Measure
Applying heat comes with a little bit of danger. Oil lines, brake line, wiring harness, etc. a lot of them are nearby the bolt. So, applying heat on the passenger seat should be done carefully. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby you.

Crazy Alternative Approaches

The situation varies a lot. If you clean the passenger area and apply lube to bolts and joints regularly, you may be able to loosen up the bolt without any difficulty. You may not need to apply the heat gun too.

But, crazy things happen where nothing seems to work. Not just you, a lot of HD owners became frustrated and angry simply because they could not loosen up the bolts.

Before you give up, there is one more thing you can try. Try to tighten the bolts first. Sounds crazy? I know, but if nothing works for you – try this. Use a breaker bar to tighten the bolts and then try to loosen them up. This technique worked for a lot of Harley owners while adjusting softail rear shocks.


There will be lots of staging improvements in the near future for your Harley. It’s better learning some tricks for yourself. I believe changing rear shocks on a Harley should not be a problem for you from now on. Let me know in the comment box if the above tips work for you.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.