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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-15-2011, 12:04 AM Thread Starter
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Front suspension questions

For starters, when I got my '95 Cougar it came with maintenance records showing that the "radius arm bushing" needed to be changed on the right front. I've been going on the assumption that the mechanic who wrote that was referring to one of the tension strut bushings. The symptom is a clunking/rattling sound from the front end when driving on anything but perfectly smooth road. I've also just become aware that the right front wheel has about a half inch of fore-and-aft movement if I kick the tire.

I'm still waiting for a good day and a helper to try and figure out where the movement is coming from, but does it sound like this could be the tension strut? If so, I've got some questions about the bushings. I see that the topic has been done to death here on the TCCoA forums, but I'm having trouble making sense of everything. As far as I can tell, the genuine Ford bushings are no longer an option, so from my local parts store I'm left with Moog, which I hear is terrible, Master Pro Chassis, and Rare Parts. Are any of these any good? Part numbers:

Moog:
K8659, K8680.

Master Pro:
K8659, K8680

Rare Parts:
17247, 17475

And just how much of a job is this going to be? I've got a bigass breaker bar around here somewhere, but I'm probably going to have to buy a new socket for the nuts on the strut rods. It's also becoming increasingly likely I'll be doing this in the cold and snow. Any tips from the people who've done this before?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-15-2011, 05:41 AM
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The BUSHINGS are still available, or were a month ago.

The KITS were not.

You'll have to either reuse your ferrules, or buy a set of DLF's stainless steel "lifetime" ones, or find some from a wrecking yard.

The non-Ford ones just Do Not Last.

And yes, the strut rod bushings are where I'd look first.

There's actually a sticky on the part numbers and how they look.

As to "how big a job" - I suggest the big can of Kroil. Or PBlaster. Or whatever your favorite "get them threads loose!" juice you like. Hose the nuts down every day for a week or so.

Once you break them free, they should be easy enough to work off.

It's a 30MM nut - but I don't think you'll find a socket for them. I use a Cresent brand adjustable wrench to get mine off and on.

RwP
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-15-2011, 09:59 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks. I looked up the part numbers from the thread with pictures, and it looks like I can still order the bushings from fordparts.com.

I've got:
F7SZ3A225AA, Pack Qty 2, $12.82
E9SZ3B271A, Pack Qty 1, $12.82
E9SZ3A140A, Pack Qty 2, $24.77
E9SZ3A140B, Pack Qty 2, $25.00

So it looks like that gets me parts to do both sides, except for the B271A, which I would need to order two of, yeah?

So I guess I'll try to order up the parts, grab a can of PB blaster or something and start soaking down the threads while I wait.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-15-2011, 10:48 AM
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Yes, you'll need 2 of each. I have a 30mm deep axle nut socket that I use. If you have trouble removing the nuts, some heat will help.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-15-2011, 01:20 PM
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There's so much stuff that could be shot on the front end, it's not even funny. Most times I start with the sway bar endlinks since they "rattle" going over so much as a tar joint when they're shot.

But yes, if you can move the tire forward/backward (easy to see if someone watches you as you roll past then hit the brakes) then it's the strut rod bushings. To do the lower control arm side (the only side I've had to replace on any of my cars yet, fortunately) you have to remove the control arm, in which case I'd recommend replacing them as well since lower ball joints are also a common failure point.

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-15-2011, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
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The book (or at least ALLDATAdiy.com) says the LCA can just be pried rearward a bit to get the strut rod out. But I have found that AllData is wrong a lot. I'd sure like to replace as much as I can while I've got it all apart anyway, but I don't know if I'm going to be able to afford a new LCA. Any recommendations on brand for the control arm? Looks like I can get Moog for about 80 bucks.

Hmm, my maintenance records say both upper control arms have been replaced in the last 50,000 miles, but the lowers are original. I suppose I better scrape the cash from somewhere to get 'er done.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-15-2011, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcsteve View Post
The book (or at least ALLDATAdiy.com) says the LCA can just be pried rearward a bit to get the strut rod out. But I have found that AllData is wrong a lot. I'd sure like to replace as much as I can while I've got it all apart anyway, but I don't know if I'm going to be able to afford a new LCA. Any recommendations on brand for the control arm? Looks like I can get Moog for about 80 bucks.

Hmm, my maintenance records say both upper control arms have been replaced in the last 50,000 miles, but the lowers are original. I suppose I better scrape the cash from somewhere to get 'er done.
check rock auto.......I scored some lowers for 26 a piece, when my local store had the same part for 108 a piece.

I just checked rockauto....they have the moogs between 52 and 54 a piece.
or they have dormans for 31.

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Last edited by _95badbird; 11-15-2011 at 02:47 PM.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-15-2011, 02:48 PM
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The fore-aft movement of the tire is a classic sign of strut rod bushings gone bad. The horrible rattling in the front end is likely sway bar links gone bad. Might as well get both sway bar links, and new strut rod bushings, and do it all at once.

As far as prying the LCA back, I don't see how that would be possible unless the inner bushing was completely beat. For the 2 minutes it takes to mark and remove the inner LCA bolt, I find that easier than cursing and fighting with trying to pry the arm away for 15 minutes.

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-15-2011, 03:39 PM
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I would recommend Moog for the LCA if only because they use a castle-nut design on the ball joint nut which is a LOT easier to tighten down than then crush-nut design of the TRW LCAs. Both are equal in terms of longevity and performance.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-15-2011, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by theterminator93 View Post
I would recommend Moog for the LCA if only because they use a castle-nut design on the ball joint nut which is a LOT easier to tighten down than then crush-nut design of the TRW LCAs. Both are equal in terms of longevity and performance.
Be forwarned - some "Moog" LCAs are TRWs as shipped.

This isn't TOO surprising, since both are owned by Federal Mogul.

It's much the same as when my stepson opens a Ford packaged box for his 1997 Escort and out drops a ... Mazda part.

It's just a bit of an irritant.

*sez the guy with the Moog left LCA, and the "Moog" TRW right LCA, both out of Moog boxes*

RwP
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-16-2011, 02:56 PM
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AS far front suspension goes you should just replace, upper CA's, Lower CA's, endlinks, fore and aft strut rod bushings. THese are all likely thrashed if original. The steering could be old but you didnt mention anything failing there. Sometimes youll need to replace the sway bar bushings too if the end links where really bad for a while the mid bushing could be all cracked up by now. Its worth it to put poly there on the stock bar.

Lots of good advice so far here.

Spinning pies like wheels.

DD driving my 20 year old project

Now with new ball joints...again
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-09-2011, 09:59 AM Thread Starter
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Just thought I'd follow up on this.

A mechanic buddy ended up taking care of this for me, and the verdict was that the strut-to-LCA bushing had totally pulled through the LCA, and the resulting movement trashed the LCA-to-frame bushing. So it's all patched up for now with what I assume are the cheap Moog parts. Looks like all the sway bar bushings are shot too, so it's still got a bit of a rattle, but meh.

I'm still planning to rebuild the whole front suspension with all new bushings in the spring, but at least it's rolling right again for now. Much nicer to drive now that I'm not worried about breaking a ball joint on the freeway.

Last edited by mcsteve; 12-09-2011 at 10:42 AM.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-09-2011, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RalphP View Post
It's a 30MM nut - but I don't think you'll find a socket for them. I use a Cresent brand adjustable wrench to get mine off and on.

RwP
Just bought a 30mm deep well socket last week at ACE hardware for $11 and change to use on the lower shock / strut nuts on my F-150. Just tried it, it fits.

A fine pair ... ... and whatever you do, Have a Safe Trip!
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