2013 G63 AMG ORC springs and King Shocks install

coastal435

New member
Hello all, I'm a long time lurker, but this is my first post. I'm posting mainly to describe some of the good and the bad with my latest project. Hopefully I am able to save someone else some of the pain I encountered. I have a 2013 Mercedes G63 AMG (and a 1981 Mercedes Unimog 1300L). I decided to add the ORC blue springs and after market shocks to improve the ride on and off road. Bottom line, the modifications have greatly improved the ride but I do not recommend the King shocks on the AMG due to having to cut a substantial bracket on the driver's side front.

First off, the ORC springs were an easy install. No issues. I started to installed the shocks on the same day. I was feeling pretty good and thinking that I might be finished sooner than expected (rookie mistake).

While shopping for shocks, Jack Wagon (also on this forum) gave me a great deal on a pair of King shocks that someone else had ordered prior to Covid and no longer wanted once they actually became available. The shocks were the correct model for my 2013 G63 AMG. I confirmed with the King website. They have received lots of good reviews and are adjustable, so I pulled the trigger on the Kings (2.5 in., remote res., adjustable).

The two rear shocks went in, no issue. The passenger front required trimming back and bending some metal near the wheel well. Structurally not an issue. Aesthetically, not really an issue because I did not need to trim the plastic that goes over the sheet metal in the wheel well. This was expected from the King Shocks install instructions that shipped with the shocks. Slowed me down a little, but still ahead of schedule on the project at this point.

But then came the driver's side. The shock would not fit on the upper mount. On the driver's side of the AMG there are two upper shock brackets. A front primary bracket and a rear secondary bracket. The body of the Kings will not fit between the brackets. This was not even hinted at in any of the install literature from King. This is when I reached out to Jack at Jack wagon overlanding. Jack was very helpful. He dug up a few contacts for me and was able to get a few pictures from a previous client who had ran into the same problem on a different year model. That client had cut the secondary bracket off, this was something I wanted to avoid since I plan to use this truck off-roading even more after the mod.

I then called King shocks. I must admit, this first call was not very fruitful. I then called Viking Off road to see if they had a fix. Maybe a bracket I could purchase. Viking was very helpful. Even did a video chat to see the issue. In the end, they did not see any way to make the shock fit other than cutting the bracket, which they recommended against. I then called King shocks again. This time was much better customer service (maybe the last guy was just having a bad day). Anyhow, the sales rep spoke with the King engineers who sent some pics of how to remove the bracket. Apparently this was a known problem. Honestly, though the shocks are great, I would not have purchased the King shocks if I had known installing would require cutting the bracket off. Maybe this isn't a big deal to some, but I trust the Mercedes engineers to know what they are doing.

Then I weighed my options. Getting my money back on the shocks did not sound likely. Selling them myself would take a loss as well. The shocks themself seemed to be just what I was looking for if I could get them to fit. With all this in mind, I took the plunge and removed the bracket. I spoke with a fabricator that could move the bracket and re-install for less money than I would loose if I ditched the shocks and started over. Again, not ideal, but the best option considering my truck was up on blocks. Others had apparently removed the secondary bracket without replacing it and had reported no issues. I haven't replaced the bracket yet either, but will before I do much serious off-roading. Of note, the passenger side only has a single shock upper bracket, but the single bracket on the passenger side is much more robust than the front primary bracket on the driver's side. This design is likely due to the lack of space because of the steering knuckle on the driver's side. In addition to helping bear the load, the secondary bracket on the driver's side is probably to prevent the bolt from pivoting as much as anything since the contact space on the shock mount is not as large.

After cutting the bracket, things sped back up. The end product is great. The higher stance looks more natural for an off road beast with military service heritage. The King shocks are great. The ride is better on road and off. Jack Wagon and Viking Off Road went above and beyond. Took calls on the weekend, and really tried to help even though neither stood to make any money from my problem. They are just good people helping the community. King Shocks came through with the pictures of removing the bracket. But I do think that they should be more forthcoming with that info. The directions I received with the shocks were for an older model and stated that only slight trimming of sheet metal may be required. An updated install instruction shipped with the shock would be great. In their defense, I'm sure that off road shocks for a G63 is not King's biggest seller. I'm not hating on King Shocks, just describing my one time experience. In the end, they helped out and sent the pics I needed to get the job done. Hopefully this thread will help someone in the future. I'm pretty sure a Mercedes Engineer would have an aneurism if he knew I cut that bracket.

image001[1].JPG
Pic from King shocks showing the bracket being removed.
image002.JPG
Pic from King Shocks showing the place where the bracket was removed from.

IMG_3936.JPG
Comparison of the out-going AMG spring and in-going ORC front spring.

IMG_3954.JPG

Picture from Jack Wagon showing the removed bracket. IMG_4040.JPG
Install complete. I have also removed the front grill and original running boards then installed ORC double-sill protector rails and removed most of the AMG badging. Tires are still 275/60 R20 which did not rub before the install. I plan to go a little larger in the future but will likely change wheels and get rid of the shiny spare cover by then as well.
 

Attachments

shiann

New member
Thanks for the detailed write up. I wonder what other W463 chassis have this issue vs your 2016 G63. Does the secondary mount go on the other side of the king shock upper mount eye? I would be concerned with the upper shock mounting if the OE design was to mount the top of the shock in a double shear configuration vs a single shear configuration. The strength difference between the 2 mounting configurations is significant, but we also do not know how much load this mount was designed to take. It may be fine for 99% of driving situations on and off road. Maybe a good move would be to take the cutoff bracket to a shop and have it redesigned slightly to allow for the shock to clear, and then welded back in.

On an unrelated note, could you also measure the length of your uncompressed G63 springs? I wonder what the difference in length is between the G500/550 spring and the G63 spring vs my G55.
 

coastal435

New member
Thanks for the detailed write up. I wonder what other W463 chassis have this issue vs your 2016 G63. Does the secondary mount go on the other side of the king shock upper mount eye? I would be concerned with the upper shock mounting if the OE design was to mount the top of the shock in a double shear configuration vs a single shear configuration. The strength difference between the 2 mounting configurations is significant, but we also do not know how much load this mount was designed to take. It may be fine for 99% of driving situations on and off road. Maybe a good move would be to take the cutoff bracket to a shop and have it redesigned slightly to allow for the shock to clear, and then welded back in.

On an unrelated note, could you also measure the length of your uncompressed G63 springs? I wonder what the difference in length is between the G500/550 spring and the G63 spring vs my G55.
No problem on the write up. This forum has helped me plenty in the past, so I'm happy to return the favor. My truck is a 2013 (not 2016). I have now heard from a guy with a 2014 G63 that had the same issue and another with a 2016 (possibly a G550, not sure). What you described about the difference between the two configurations and the currently-unknown-to-me designed mount load capacity is why I had concern about cutting the bracket. The secondary bracket did not appear to be "as load bearing" as the front one. It was considerably smaller than the mount directly above the spring. But, cutting the smaller mount away can only weaken the original design, which seems counter-productive if I'm installing the shocks to make the G more capable off-road. In the end, several people with more experience than myself, including the engineers at King, looked at the mounting design and said it would be fine to not have the secondary rear bracket at all, even in off road situations. Also, your suggestion to have a fabrication shop redesign and reattach a bracket using the old bracket I removed is exactly what I am planning to do (I have the bracket in my garage). I'm glad to see others are looking at this problem and coming to similar conclusions. Makes me feel a little better about the decision.

As for the outgoing AMG springs. Measured at the tallest point, the front is 18 3/4 while the rear is 16 3/4.
 

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shiann

New member
Your assessment/concern completely makes sense to me. My wonder now is how this differs to earlier year trucks. I'll be tackling some suspension upgrades on my 2005 G55 in a few weeks so I'll take a look and some pictures what it looks like to compare.

Thanks for the info on the length of your G63 outgoing springs. I'm trying to figure out if I'll need the longer G63 springs, spring spacers, or nothing for my G55 when I upgrade to Fox 2.0's or King shocks. (Viking Offroad documented needing longer springs for G55 models)
 

coastal435

New member
Good luck with your upgrades. If caught between what King says and what Thor at Viking says, I'd go with Thor. He knows the G very well, while the G is a very small part of the King market. I am unfamiliar with any G55 specific requirements when changing just shocks. I know that I could have put the Kings on my G63 without changing springs according to King Racing. The issue for the G63 (and most that I am familiar with) is the reverse; you must install longer shocks if you go with a longer spring, but a slightly longer shock on original springs is OK because the shock will compress the extra inch or two as needed. I believe both King and Fox offer an option for a 0-2" lift, (this is what I have) which should work on stock ride height. Again, good luck and I'll be watching for how it goes.
 

nbutze

Member
Thank you so much for the write up. I am about to tackle this project as well except... JackWagon talked me into a set of Fox Shocks. I guess he wasn't confident in my Fabricating Skills :p :p but he was up front and said that I would have to cut into my 2014 G63 if I went with Kings. As I understand, I was talking to him they day that you were having troubles. So, I went with the Fox option and ORC Springs.

Did you go with extended brake lines? I bought them, but going to have my local shop do that. I have never had luck bleeding brakes...

Any advice on putting in the ORC Springs?

Best Regards,

NB
 

RBA

Adventurer
Have you noticed any noise from the front end with the new springs? On my previous G500 with Thor springs and fox shocks, I had this odd noise over small imperfections on the road. I couldn't tell if it was from the springs or the steering assembly but it drove me nuts. It was as if something was loose.
 

MitsyMonty

Member
Thanks for the write up and photos, your G63 looks great!

I've had good experiences with JackWagon customer service as well, will definitely buy from again :)
 

coastal435

New member
Thank you so much for the write up. I am about to tackle this project as well except... JackWagon talked me into a set of Fox Shocks. I guess he wasn't confident in my Fabricating Skills :p :p but he was up front and said that I would have to cut into my 2014 G63 if I went with Kings. As I understand, I was talking to him they day that you were having troubles. So, I went with the Fox option and ORC Springs.

Did you go with extended brake lines? I bought them, but going to have my local shop do that. I have never had luck bleeding brakes...

Any advice on putting in the ORC Springs?

Best Regards,

NB
Sorry for the delay, I've been busy at work. Jack did say he was talking to someone else that was planning a similar install. I'm glad you got the information before being surprised like I was.

I'm not surprised Jack is letting guys know this up front, he was very honest and helpful with my install. At the time of my purchase, we thought a 2013 was good to go, but now know that the front driver's side requires modification.

Hopefully I'm not too late on the ORC spring question. The instal was not bad, but not easy either. When I lowered the front axle from the frame to install I kept an eye on all connections (brake lines, etc) On the front there is a small linkage (driver's side) that I believe is associated with the traction control system. The linkage arm snaps loose from the bracket or you can take out two bolts. I undid this linkage because it appeared to not have enough give when lowering the axle. For spring compression tool, I did the free rental from my local parts store. The tool was barely long enough. I set it as close to the bottom as possible at perpendicular offset. This gave enough compression to get the spring out while also helping keep the tool from getting stuck on the upper shroud around the spring. Not saying it's right or wrong, but worked for me.

I also did the extended steel brake lines. You could probably get by without, but why risk failure of such a critical part was my opinion.

Hope this helps,
 

coastal435

New member
Thanks for the write up and photos, your G63 looks great!

I've had good experiences with JackWagon customer service as well, will definitely buy from again :)

Thank you. I'm really happy with it. My wife thought I had lost my mind when she saw me cutting the side pipes away at the beginning. But she really likes the new look and more comfortable ride as well. We went over some rocks on a trail recently and for the first time I wasn't sweating those side pipes.

I concur on Jack Wagon. He will get more of my business in the future.
 

coastal435

New member
I have been meaning to update. A friend and I re-attached my front driver's side secondary shock bracket. The job was easier than expected. I know it is not 100% as strong as the original, but I believe it is strong enough for off roading and washboard roads and much better than not having a secondary bracket at all. Pictures are below, but in short, I created a 3/8 inch offset in the original bracket and re-attached to the original location. I used a hardened washer on each side of the shock bushing to account for the offset. When installing, I initially just tack welded all parts until I knew all parts were aligned and could bolt in place. The cross bolt is still removable and everything seems to be working well. I disconnected the battery before welding and as you can see from the pictures, the electrode placement helped reduce the electric current spread. I did remove one small sensor (part of the stability control system) that was close to where I welded. I did not want to risk frying it. I also had to use a longer cross bolt. I could have tried adding additional re-enforcement around the weld, but, In all, I'm happy with the bracket re-install. No strange sounds or any other issues with the install. Like OEM, but better.
 

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Rfmattei

New member
I have a 2018 G 63 and had the same issue with King shocks. Not knowing beforehand that cutting was required I returned the shocks to the good folks at G Wagon Accessories.
I purchased a set of Ohlin shocks which fit perfectly. OEM shocks on the G63 have heat shields that attach. The Ohlin shocks have attachment slots to accommodate these shields on the front. All in all no cutting and direct replacement has made me a happy person. Springs are Eibach/ORC.
 
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