How to Change the Shocks on a Ford F-150by K.K. Lowell
Your once perfect truck now bounces down the road like a super ball. Even the slightest bump sets off a rocking and rolling that doesn't want to stop. Your passengers ask if you have any Dramamine. All of these are serious signs that you need new shocks. You now have a decision to make: Send it out, or do it yourself. You can save a lot of money doing it yourself, and it doesn't require special tools or a lot of time, so the choice should be easy.
Front shock replacement
Jack the front of the truck up and support it on jack stands. Removing the front tires will increase the room you have to work.
Using a 14-millimeter wrench, remove the nut on the top of the shock. It may be necessary to hold the body of the shock with a large pair of arc-joint pliers. Should the nut be so rusted that removal seems impossible, use the nut breaker and crack the nut off the shock.
Using the 18-millimeter wrench and socket, remove the bolt in the bottom of the front shock. Drive the bolt from the shock using the punch and hammer.
Install one of the metal washers supplied with the shock on the top bolt of the new shock. It will install curved side up. Next, install one of the included rubber cushions on the bolt.
Compress the shock and install in the mounts. Install another rubber cushion, a washer and a new nut on the top bolt. Tighten the nut until the rubber cushions are about one-third compressed.
Install the cross bolt through the bottom mount and shock. Tighten securely.
Rear shock replacement
Remove the top nut in the same manner as the front shock. The nut is on top of the mounting bracket so you will need to reach in to get it with your wrench.
Remove the bottom bolt and drive it out of the shock and mount.
Install the steel washer and cushion on the top bolt and install the shock in the brackets. Add the second cushion, washer and nut and tighten until the cushions are compressed by about one third of their thickness.
Push the shock into the bottom bracket and replace the bolt. Tighten securely and the job is complete.
Things You'll Need
- Jack stands
- 18-millimeter socket and ratchet wrench
- 18-millimeter wrench
- Large punch
- 14-millimeter wrench
- Large arc-joint pliers
- Nut breaking tool
- Always support a jacked up vehicle on jack stands or other secure support.
K.K. Lowell is a freelance writer who has been writing professionally since June 2008, with articles appearing on various websites. A mechanic and truck driver for more than 40 years, Lowell is able to write knowledgeably on many automotive and mechanical subjects. He is currently pursuing a degree in English.