How to Change the Shocks on a 2003 Ford F-150by Grace Mclain
The shocks on the 2003 Ford F-150 are responsible for giving the truck a smoother ride. The shocks absorb the pressure from potholes and rough spots in the road. The shocks are also encased inside of the front springs, which acts as a dual defense against rough driving. Once the shock absorbers can no longer absorb the pressure from bumps in the road they need to be replaced.
Park the 2003 Ford F-150 in a safe area with level ground. Apply the emergency brake.
Loosen the lug nuts on both front wheels with the lug wrench.
Jack up the front of the 2003 Ford F-150 and position the jack stands under the designated jack points on both sides of the truck. Lower the truck onto the stands and remove the jack.
Remove the nuts from both front wheels with the lug wrench. Pull the wheels off and set them down flat.
Move back to the driver's side front wheel location and remove the brake line clip. The brake line is clipped to the plastic cover on the wheel well. Slide a flathead screwdriver under the clip and pry it off. Then pull the brake line out of the way of the shock absorber.
Remove the top nut from the shock absorber with an open-end wrench. Use the vise grips to hold the piston bolt on the shock absorber while you turn the top nut. Once the top nut is off, set it to the side.
Remove the two nuts on the bottom of the shock absorber with the 1/2-inch drive ratchet and a socket. Once you remove the second bottom nut, the shock absorber will fall out of the spring.
Position the jack under the lower control arm near the wheel. The control arm is the component that the back of the wheel is connected to. Jack the control arm high enough to remove the shock from the bottom of the spring. Pull the shock out and discard.
Insert the new shock into the spring. Slide the shock back to the upper shock mount at the top of the spring. Then, screw on the new top nut and washer. Tighten the nut with the open-end wrench until the rubber bushing below the shock bracket is flattened tight to the shock bracket.
Release the jack and slide it out from under the control arm. Then, put the jack under the new shock and jack the shock up until it is level with the lower control arm mounting bracket. Then, screw the two bottom nuts on and tighten the bolts down tight with the ratchet and socket.
Apply the same steps for replacing the shock absorber on the passenger side. Replace the brake line clips and the wheels. Tighten the lug nuts. Jack up the truck and remove the jack stands. Lower the truck to the ground and slide out the jack.
- Check and re-check the tightness of the nuts before putting the wheels back on.
- Once you jack the control arm up high enough, the shock will pull out of the spring at an angle.
Things You'll Need
- Lug wrench
- Jack stands
- Open-end wrench set
- Vise grips
- 1/2-inch drive ratchet
- 1/2-inch drive socket set
- New shocks
- Use caution when working around a truck on jack stands.
Grace Mclain has been writing professionally since 1998. Her articles have appeared on eHow.com, Answerbag.com and LIVESTRONG.COM, and she specializes in automotive and business topics. McIain has a professional writing certificate from JB Hunt in Little Rock, Ark.