How to Change Shocks on Ford Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The purpose of shock absorbers on your Ford car is to dampen the oscillation, or bounce, of the springs. Without shocks, your Ford car would bounce up and down and keep doing so when you hit a bump. Worn shocks fail to properly dampen this and you will notice that the Ford car bounces two or three times when going over a bump. Worn shocks affect handling and can result in unsafe driving conditions. If you have to swerve, Ford car instance, one side will dip and the other side will lift, causing a dangerous weight shift. With the Ford car parked, if you push down firmly on one corner over a wheel, it should go down and come back up to the level position. If it goes down again by itself and comes back up, your shocks are worn.

Under The Hood:

 How to Change Shocks on a Sport Trac

Remove the lug nut front the tire with the tire tool. Raise the front end of the Sport Trac with the jack and rest it on jack stands. Remove the tire from the frame and set the tire aside.

Locate the lower control area on the Sport Trac. You'll find the shock connected to the axle. The shock is the metal piece that is in the middle of the big spring going from the axle to the upper frame.

Slide the jack under the axle and raise the jack to support the weight of the axle. You'll need this support as you disconnect the shock from the axle.

Locate the bolt and nut that is connecting the shock to the axle. Grab the nut with the pliers while using the ratchet set to unscrew the bolt. Remove the bolt from the shock.

Remove the bolt securing the upper shock to the frame by grabbing the nut with the pliers and using the ratchet set to unscrew the bolt. Remove the bolt from the shock. Slide the shock out from the spring.

Slide the new shock in the upper and lower fitting, then replace the bolt and nut. Tighten the bolt and nut using the pliers and ratchet set. Replace the tire to the frame. Use the jack to remove the jack stands and lower the Sport Trac back to the ground and replace the lug nut. Tighten the lug nuts.

Items you will need

  • Tire tool

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Pliers

  • Ratchet set

  • New shock

 How to Change the Shocks on a 2003 Ford F-150

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.

Items you will need

  • Lug wrench

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Open-end wrench set

  • Vise grips

  • 1/2-inch drive ratchet

  • 1/2-inch drive socket set

  • New shocks

 How to Change the Shocks on a Ford F-150

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.

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • 18-millimeter socket and ratchet wrench

  • 18-millimeter wrench

  • Large punch

  • Hammer

  • 14-millimeter wrench

  • Large arc-joint pliers

  • Nut breaking tool

 How to Replace Shocks on a 1998 Ford Expedition

Front Shocks

Park the Expedition level, paved surface and set the parking brake.

Loosen the lug nuts on both front wheels. Races are the Explorer with the Jack, and support with Jack stands. Finish removing the lug nuts and remove the front wheels.

Locate where the upper in the front shock attaches to the frame bracket. You will see two nuts. One on top of the bracket, and one below the bracket. Use a wrench to hold the lower nut, while using another wrench to remove the top nut. Remove the top washer and rubber insulator.

Move underneath the Explorer and locate where the shock absorber mounts to the lower control arm. Use a ratchet socket to remove the two nuts that hold the shock to the lower control arm. Remove the shock was over by drawing it down through the lower control arm. Repeat this procedure for the other shock absorber.

Install new washer and rubber insulator on the top of the shock absorber rod. Slide the shock absorber up through the lower control arm and into the upper frame bracket. Reinstall the nuts that hold the lower end of the shock to the lower control arm. Use a torque wrench to tighten the nuts to 25 foot-pounds. Install a new rubber insulator and washer over the shock rod, on top of the frame bracket and install the nut. You will have to hold the bottom night with a wrench in an order to tighten the top nut. Tighten the top nut to 40 foot-pounds.

Reinstall the wheels lug nuts. Raise the Expedition, remove the jack stands, and lower the Expedition to the ground. Finish tightening the lug nuts.

Rear Shocks

Loosen the lug nuts on the rear wheels. Raise the rear of the Expedition with a jack and support with jack stands. Finish removing lug nuts and rear wheels.

Use a wrench and ratchet and socket to remove the upper shock absorber nut and bolt. Make note of which side of the shock absorber mount the bolt goes in through.

Remove the lower shock absorber mount nut and bolt. Note which direction the ball goes into the shock absorber mount. Pull the shock absorber out of its mounts and remove from the vehicle. Repeat this process for the other shock absorber.

Insert the upper end of the shock absorber into the upper mount. Install the net and bolt, but do not tighten yet. Insert the lower end of the shock absorber into the lower amount. Install the nut and bolt. Use a torque wrench to tighten the upper not to 25 foot-pounds, the lower nut to 50 foot-pounds.

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Wrench set

  • Torque wrench

  • Wheel chocks

  • New shock absorbers

 How to Replace Shocks on an Expedition

Front Shock Replacement

Loosen the lug nuts on the front tire with a tire iron. Place a jack under the axle near the tire and lift the vehicle. Remove the lug nuts and pull the tire from the vehicle. Place the axle down onto a jack stand for safety.

Remove the upper nut that holds the shock into position using a 18-mm socket connected to a ratchet. If the shock spins, place a 18-mm wrench on the nut just below the mounting bracket on the bottom side.

Remove the lower bolt by placing a 15-mm socket onto the bolt head. Place a 18-mm wrench onto the backside of the bolt on the nut. Remove the nut and pull the shock from the vehicle.

Place the new shock into position. Place the top shock mounting stud through the hole in the bracket. Install the shock bushing that came with the shock onto the mounting stud. Thread the nut onto the mounting stud and tighten the bolt with a ratchet and socket.

Align the bottom hole of the shock with the bracket. Slide the bolt through the hole and thread the retaining nut onto the bolt. Tighten the bolt and nut with a ratchet, socket and wrench.

Reinstall the tire onto the axle. Thread the lug nuts onto the wheel studs and tighten them. Lower the vehicle to the ground. Repeat these steps to the opposite side to replace the remaining front shock.

Rear Shock Replacement

Remove the two mounting bolts using a ratchet and a 18-mm socket. Place a 18-mm wrench onto the nut and remove the bolts.

Pull the shock from the mounting brackets.

Place the new shock into position. Align the mounting holes and thread the bolts into the brackets. Attach the retaining nut and tighten them.

Repeat theses steps to the opposite side of the vehicle to replace the remaining rear shock.

Items you will need

  • Tire iron

  • Hydraulic jack

  • Jack stand

  • Ratchet

  • Socket set

  • Wrench set

 How to Replace Shocks on a Ford Ranger

Front Shocks

Set the parking brake. Loosen the lug nuts on both front wheels one turn. Raise the front of the Ranger with the jack and support with jack stands on each side of the frame. Remove the lug nuts and wheels. If you don't want to remove the wheels, you can probably get enough room by turning the steering wheel to the right to access the driver's-side shock and to the left to access the passenger's-side shock.

Remove the upper shock retaining nut. It is on top of the shock mounting bracket. You will need two wrenches, one to turn the nut and one to hold the flat tip of the shock rod; otherwise, when you turn the nut, the rod will spin. Remove the large washer and rubber insulator. Note how the washer fits over the insulator. The cupped (concave) side goes over the insulator. Note how the upper insulator sits on the shock. It has two different sides. One is flat -- this side faces up. The other has a small step -- it goes down.

Remove the lower shock mount. For early Rangers with a coil spring next to the shock, remove the retaining nut and washer at the bottom of the shock with a ratchet and socket. Note how the washer fits with the cupped (concave) side facing the shock. For later Rangers with torsion bar suspension, remove the two nuts and washers that attach the bottom of the shock to the lower control arm.

Pull the bottom of the shock (on coil spring model) off the mounting stud and remove the shock. Compress the shock (on torsion bar models) so that the top of the shock rod comes down through the mounting hole. Slide out the shock. The top of the shock (both types) will also have a rubber insulator on it. Note how it sits on the shock. The flat side goes down onto the shock. The stepped side will go up against the mounting hole when you replace the shock. New shocks come with new insulators, washer and nut.

Place a rubber insulator on the top of the shock rod. The flat side goes down against the shock. Compress the shock slightly and insert the top of the shock into the mounting hole. Push the bottom of the shock onto the lower mounting stud (coil spring). Continue to compress the shock and position the studs on the bottom of the shock into their holes (torsion bar).

Install the washer and nut (coil spring) on the lower end of the shock and tighten down. Install the two washers and nuts on the bottom of the shock (torsion bar) and tighten down. Install the rubber insulator over the top of the shock rod (both types) with the flat side up. Install the washer. Install and tighten down the upper retaining nut. Tighten the nut until the rubber insulator is pressed out to the same size as the washer.

Replace the wheels and install the lug nuts (if you removed them). Snug down the lug nuts. Raise the Ranger, remove the jack stands and lower the Ranger to the ground. Tighten the lug nuts.

Rear Shocks

Place wheel chocks in front of each front tire. Raise the rear of the Ranger and support with jack stands on each side of the axle at about the middle of each axle tube. It is not necessary to remove the wheels.

Remove the upper shock mount nut and washer. Note the position of the washer. The cupped (concave) side of the washer faces the shock. Remove the lower shock mount nut and washer.

Remove the lower shock mounting bolt. Pull the shock out of the lower mounting bracket. Remove the top of the shock from the mounting stud.

Push the upper end of the shock onto the mounting stud. Install the washer and nut but do not tighten down yet. Push the bottom of the shock up and into the lower mounting bracket. Install the bolt, washer and nut. Tighten the lower nut. Tighten the upper nut.

Raise the rear of the Ranger, remove the jack stands and lower the Ranger.

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Wheel chocks

  • Wrench set

  • Ratchet and socket set

  • New shocks

 How to Replace Shocks on a Ford F150

Front Shocks

Raise the front end of the truck on jack stands and remove the wheels, loosening the lug nuts before raising the truck for easier removal.

Remove the three nuts mounting the shock's upper end to the frame - not the damper rod nut in the center. Separate the tie-rod end from the steering knuckle by loosening the lock nuts and marking the end's position on the rod

Unbolt the fasteners connecting the shock's lower end to the control arm. Remove the shock and coil assembly from the vehicle.

Install the replacement shocks on place, tighten the lower end fasteners, reconnect the tire-rod end and tighten the upper end's nuts. Replace the wheels after replacing the shocks and lower the truck.

Rear Shocks

Raise the truck's rear end on jack stands and block the front wheels. Place the stock floor jack under the axle near the shock absorber you are removing and raise it enough to balance the axle and take the load off the shock absorber.

Remove the nuts and bolts securing the shock absorber to the vehicle, starting with the lower bolt for the rear axle and then the upper bolt for the upper mounting bracket, and remove the shock absorber.

Install the replacement shock absorber in place and tighten the bolts in reverse order of removal. Lower the floor jack and jack stands after installation.

Items you will need

  • Jack stands

  • Floor jack

  • Blocks

  • Tire iron

  • Wrench

  • Replacement shock absorbers

About the Author

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