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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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suspension rant

Now working on the 95, the struts are leaking. It was priorly owned by a relative, and it was serviced at a big local ford dealership (read on why you should take pride in doing your repairs). The tech destroyed the strut bushings - he used heat (I kinda knew this from before) and left out the dust boots on the struts. We all know (and I have done work on other birds) that this is a terrible way to remove the bolt.

I have a feeling that destroyed the struts. I know back when he did it he had to replace one of the mounts cause he overtighented and snapped one of the 3 bolts, so one at least has a new mount.

You can wiggle the bottom of the strut in the bushing. I will most likely get credit for the struts cause they are monroes, but the crap grade, they are about 50ish each. I found out they have a LLT. I told my relative to get monroe since they have a warranty at least, they didn't want anything fancy. The springs were replaced back then and are still good.

I wanted a place to swap my struts on the springs...Forget it..I called one place he said sure, 1 hr labor + your parts I add 50%. He charges 95/hr. So I'm looking at >150 with tax, another said $130, another wont do it. Tried a few others similar results, these are independents, midas, etc. Seems I'm gonna need boots and maybe a mount too, getting expensive. I'm almost thinking quickstrut, like for my 91, but the springs were replaced a few years ago. I'm considering the tokico set for like $200 ish on ebay. Heard good things...I don't think I'm gonna lower this thing, the rust looks like s#$%$. The rear struts were motorcraft, replaced a few years ago, but they are a bit noisy (but seem to function).

So I'm going to use madmikeys method to compress the spring, but I have the tierod off, the stab bar link off, and there is still tension on the lower bolt. I guess I have to take off the uca pinchbolt. can anyone confirm if that is enough to get the spring off?

Now on to the LCA- there is no way I can justify a new strut with no bushing, seems like a leaker waiting to happen. Has anyone here ever pressed in a new bushing? It looks like I would need a 20 ton press, then the shops are gonna charge easy $100 bucks in labor + about 50 for both parts(my price locally). Also, the LCA frame bushing is pretty squashed because of bad strut rod bushings, but those strut rod bushings were replaced, even if I had the press those two bushings cost close to a name brand LCA, and as a bonus you get a new ball joint (shame, because mine are perfect though, but I think I know my options).

So I was looking at Rockauto for LCAs, have a 5% discount, they have moog for 60 and mevotech for 50. I would buy the moogs but they are not greaseable. The mevotech is greasable. I have a feeling the moogs are the Ford replacements. Anyone try that other brand? Looks like a decent brand, but I'm worried its a china special. They have a nice website.

Also, are there any issues with the LCA frame bolt? Do they come out easy? I'm thinking of removing it before I order from rockauto. I know it has to be marked for alignment.

Hate to say it, but with all these issues the ride isn't bad! It rides more like an lincoln though, nice and soft. The struts were leaking for a while. Then I wonder why I'm bothering with a car with 220K or so miles! Maybe I should just put it back together...lol.. as is..there are no safety issues, the car will stop bouncing in less than a cycle.

Just to get an idea, for fun I asked for prices, shops wanted $250-$300 installed per lower control arm(part and labor). Fixing the bushings may have been more or less in some cases! Many did not want to replace the control arm, one shop told me they are $400 bucks!! HOLY S#$%! The front shocks installed were $350 - $400, plus any missing parts with crazy markup. 90 day warranty if they install is pretty much standard. Its crazy how this job could cost over $1000, probably 1/2 the value of the car. This site is so valuable.



ok end rant.

Last edited by tbirdguy; 04-07-2012 at 10:40 AM.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-21-2009, 12:20 PM
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-21-2009, 01:02 PM
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I bought a pair of complete monroe strut assemblies. they are a tiny bit stiffer than stock which most find too soft. I can see why they think that way they are cushy shocks but I definitely didn't want to drive a backbreaker its a DD not a race car.

Spinning pies like wheels.

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Now with new ball joints...again
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-21-2009, 03:00 PM
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Doing the shocks/springs/ and lower control arms isn't that hard of a job. Just takes some time. Though I'm sure you have some rust to contend with in NY.
I installed my own springs with a pair of strut spring compressors. The lower control arm bolt you can tap out with a hammer easily once the nut is removed. Again the biggest issue I'd expect you to have is any rust or scale on the bolts that would make them tough to get off. I'd definitely spray PB blaster or some type of penetrating spray on them before starting.


I just did the suspension in my 97. I bought the Spicer Pro line upper control arms, I bought the lowers from Super Coupe Performance. I used The Tokico lowering Springs and shocks. They work nicely.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-21-2009, 03:21 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by supergordo View Post
Doing the shocks/springs/ and lower control arms isn't that hard of a job. Just takes some time. Though I'm sure you have some rust to contend with in NY.
I installed my own springs with a pair of strut spring compressors. The lower control arm bolt you can tap out with a hammer easily once the nut is removed. Again the biggest issue I'd expect you to have is any rust or scale on the bolts that would make them tough to get off. I'd definitely spray PB blaster or some type of penetrating spray on them before starting.


I just did the suspension in my 97. I bought the Spicer Pro line upper control arms, I bought the lowers from Super Coupe Performance. I used The Tokico lowering Springs and shocks. They work nicely.
Thanks guys for the suggestions, I got carried away a bit there!

I have a service manual for the car, and I installed quickstruts, stab links, and UCAs on a 91, fought with terrible rusted bolts. They are ok but not that much of an improvement over the leakers I have now. Would like a bit stiffer, thinking tokico... However I have good springs on this car(95) so quickstrut isnt the best choice, and i wanted to avoid going to a shop to compress the springs.

I was under the impression that the hand strut spring compressors are dangerous to use on these units, and I confirmed this with a pro tech. I wanted to use the LCA to compress/decompress the spring. I heard it can be done, but I wanted to know if anyone did it and exactly what they took off to get the spring out. I'm still fighting some rust. I got one lower bolt out.

I have every penetrating spray known to man, and the bolts still give a very hard time. The lower bolt that came out had a thick corrosion coating.

I was also ranting about the bad bushings that another tech screwed up, and now I probably have to replace the arm. Its probably a good idea because the frame bushing looks pretty bad too.

Also can tokico work with stock height, or is better as a lowering strut? Thanks

Last edited by tbirdguy; 04-07-2012 at 10:40 AM.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-23-2009, 03:57 PM
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I can't confirm if the Tokicos are good with the stock height springs. I would think it would be ok. Have you tried heating the rusted bolts with a torch?
Using the LCA to compress/decompress springs seems like a bad idea to me. Like I stated I used a pair of strut spring compressors. You can buy them fairly inexpensively or rent them. you put one on each side of the coil and slowly compress the spring a little on each side until you can install the spring mount on top. I'm not saying this is superior to having a shop use the wall mount unit, But I got the job done nicely just the same.

If your frame bushing looks bad you won't regret replacing the lower control arm. The car will drive nicer in the end.

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Last edited by supergordo; 02-24-2009 at 09:39 AM.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 07:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbirdguy View Post

I was under the impression that the hand strut spring compressors are dangerous to use on these units, and I confirmed this with a pro tech.
He's wrong. He wants to sell you the service of using his expensive compressor.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 09:24 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, I don't feel comfortable compressing these springs ALL the way with the hand tools. Springs work using F=KX where Force is proportional to the spring constant X the distance, so if you compress less there is less force. Each inch is like 400lbs on these things...These springs are huge next to mcpherson springs. I'm sure it could be done I'm just not comfortable. But there is a compromise...

I will remove the springs with a compressor but I let the uca drop the spring in a controlled manner with a jack. You can safely unbolt the strut if the LCA is supported by a jack, I did it a few times. It has no where to go anyway if everything is connected, but the spring needs a bit more slack to come out. I guess lowering springs would come right out. I don't know what kind of stock springs madmikey had for this work without a compressor.

Then you let the jack sink. I have the tierod off and the stab link off and the uca bolt off. This took maybe 5 minutes with my ball joint duckbill tool.

I have both springs hanging now like this. Now the compression tool will have to compress maybe an inch or two to get the spring out. I looked at the tool and honestly I don't have the balls to tighten that thing up to the size it has to be on the strut off the car. You dont need much force to compress an inch or two. Also, it will make alignment of the strut much easier too if on the vehicle, and it will save a ton of work because you need much less turns on the compressor tool.

Last edited by tbirdguy; 04-07-2012 at 10:40 AM.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 10:13 PM
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I did sport springs last winter with hand spring compressors; that was fun...

I figure keeping the center of the spring aligned with the center of my body gave the best chance of living thru a tool failure.

Also, you can unbolt the strut bolt on a car in the junkyard, as long as you stand on top of the car while you do it... (I saw this done; Don't do this; you might kill someone!)

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 11:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grog6 View Post

Also, you can unbolt the strut bolt on a car in the junkyard, as long as you stand on top of the car while you do it... (I saw this done; Don't do this; you might kill someone!)

Well if you left the control arms attached and got the bolt off it couldnt be all that bad...

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 11:23 PM
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When I did my lowering kit I bought new spring mounts too, all I needed off the shock assembly was the darn washer that goes under the nut( it was the one thing I forgot to buy). My strut spring compressors got the job done, it just took a long time by hand(lots of wrench turning). The tool is plenty strong to compress the springs.

Now when it came to getting those stupid washers off I was much more lazy. I didn't want to compress those original springs so I faced the Nut side of the whole assembly up against the foundation of the garage. Then I slowly loosened the shock nut with an open end wrench. I steadied the spring with my feet. When the nut let loose the shock took a nice little ride across the parking lot. It actually didn't go that far but it was a white knuckle moment for a bit The second one wasn't that scary

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-04-2009, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supergordo View Post
When I did my lowering kit I bought new spring mounts too, all I needed off the shock assembly was the darn washer that goes under the nut( it was the one thing I forgot to buy). My strut spring compressors got the job done, it just took a long time by hand(lots of wrench turning). The tool is plenty strong to compress the springs.

Now when it came to getting those stupid washers off I was much more lazy. I didn't want to compress those original springs so I faced the Nut side of the whole assembly up against the foundation of the garage. Then I slowly loosened the shock nut with an open end wrench. I steadied the spring with my feet. When the nut let loose the shock took a nice little ride across the parking lot. It actually didn't go that far but it was a white knuckle moment for a bit The second one wasn't that scary
What? No video? lol

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-04-2009, 07:07 PM
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What? No video? lol
Haha! I wish...Though I bet that if I was videoing the darn event something bad would have happened and I'd have lost a toe or something.

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