How to Replace the Shocks and Struts in Ford Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

Driving creates enormous amounts of wear and tear on your car. New struts and shocks make the ride more comfortable, and they help keep the people riding in your car safe.

Under The Hood:

 How to Replace the Shocks and Struts in a Ford Focus

Replace the Front Shocks and Struts in a Focus

Raise the car with a floor jack and support the frame on jack stands. Use a tire iron to remove the bolts holding on the front wheel. Set the wheel aside.

Locate the strut under the front end of your Focus. It looks like a tube that slides in and out of another tube surrounded by a coil spring. There's hardware on either end that connects it to the steering knuckle on the bottom and the frame on the top. Use a wrench to remove the nuts holding down the brake hose bracket, which holds the brake hose and the link connecting the stabilizer bar to a point partway down the strut.

Remove the brake caliper gripping the top of the wheel hub and rotor, which surrounds the wheel hub. Don't let the brake hang from the hose. With a ratchet, unbolt the outer tie rod end and the lower ball joint right behind the wheel hub. Disconnect the pinch bolt connecting the steering knuckle and the strut assembly, and push the knuckle away from the strut. Take the upper mounting nuts off and pull out the strut assembly.

Repeat Steps 2 and 3 on the other side of the front of the car.

Compress the spring with a compressor, and use an Allen wrench to loosen and remove the thrust bearing nut from the top of the assembly. Pull out the top mount, the thrust bearing and the strut. Separate the boot and the bump stop from the bottom of the shock absorber.

Slide the bump stop with the flat surface upward and the boot on the new shock. Add the new strut, the thrust bearing and the top mount. The end of the strut is color-coded to make sure it sits on the seat properly. Set the dial on your torque wrench to 35 ft-lb, and tighten the thrust bearing nut until you feel the wrench give slightly. Disconnect the compressor.

Repeat Steps 5 and 6 with the other front strut assembly.

Install the strut assembly with the upper mounting nuts. Torque them to 18 ft-lb. Reconnect the pinch bolt, and torque the nut to 66 ft-lb. Torque the bolt holding the ball joint to 37 ft-lb. Reconnect the outer tie rod end, and torque the nut to 25 ft-lb. Repeat on the other side of the car.

Reinstall the caliper and rotor as well as the nut holding the stabilizer bar to the strut. Torque the nut to 37 ft-lb. Mount the brake hose bracket and the wheel on both sides of the front end. Lower the car and have a professional realign the front end.

Replace the Rear Shocks in a Focus

Remove the interior trim panel from the trunk.

Use a wrench to remove the upper mounting nut, and unbolt the lower mounting bolt through the hole under the trim panel. Pull out the shock absorber.

Position the new shock absorber, and bolt the lower mounting bolt. Torque it to 85 ft-lb. Torque the upper mounting nut to 13 ft-lb.

Repeat Steps 2 and 3 on the other side of the rear of the car.

Replace the interior trim panel in the trunk.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Tire iron

  • Adjustable wrench

  • Ratchet set

  • Coil spring compressor

  • Allen wrench set

  • Torque wrench

 How to Replace the Shocks and Struts in a Ford Explorer

Replace the Front Shocks in an Explorer

Raise the Explorer with a floor jack, and support it by the frame with jack stands. Use a tire iron to remove the nuts holding on the front wheels, and set the wheels aside.

Locate the shocks under the front end of the Explorer. They're slender tubes that slide in and out of slightly larger tubes, and they have a coil spring surrounding them. Use a ratchet to remove the three upper mounting nuts connecting the shock to the frame, and throw the nuts away. Disconnect the stabilizer bar link from the nut midway up the shock absorber, and throw the nut away.

Remove the bolt and flag nut securing the bottom of the shock to the lower control arm, connecting to the back of the wheel hub, and throw the flag nut away. Compress the spring until the tension from the Explorer is gone. Take the shock absorber out, and remove the nut from the top holding on the washer, bushing and upper mount. Throw the upper nut away. Pull out the upper insulator and the dust shield. There shouldn't be any more removable parts on the shock absorber. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 on the other side of the SUV.

Position the dust shield, insulator and the upper mount on the new shock. Place the bushing and washer on top, and tighten the new upper nut. Set the dial on your torque wrench to 37 ft-lb, and tighten the nut until the wrench gives slightly.

Compress the spring on the new shock, and position the new shock on the lower control arm. Bolt the lower mounting bolt, and torque it to 258 ft-lb. Release the compressor, connect the stabilizer bar link and torque it to 18 ft-lb. Install the upper shock nuts, and torque them to 20 ft-lb. Repeat Steps 4 and 5 up until this point on the other side of the front end of the SUV before you proceed. Put the wheels back on the SUV, and lower the Explorer.

Replace the Rear Shocks in an Explorer

Lift the rear end of the Explorer with a floor jack, and support it by the frame with jack stands. Remove the rear wheels with the tire iron, and set them aside.

Remove the upper mounting nuts connecting the shock to the frame of the SUV, and throw them away. Disconnect the sway bar link nut just below the spring on the shock, and throw it out. Unbolt the pinch bolt on the ball joint right behind the wheel hub on the lower control arm, and unbolt the shock from the lower control arm. Throw away the flag nut. Repeat on the other side of the rear of the Explorer.

Compress the spring, and remove the nut from the top of the shock. Throw the nut away. Pull out the washer, bushing and upper mount. Remove the insulator and the dust shield. On the new shock, replace the dust shield and insulator. Position the upper mount, bushing and washer, and hand-tighten a new nut on top. Torque it to 37 ft-lb.

Position the shock in the suspension system, and bolt the bottom of the shock to the lower control arm with a new flag nut. Torque it to 184 ft-lb. Reconnect the pinch bolt to the ball joint, and torque it to 111 ft-lb. Reattach the sway bar link with a new nut, and torque it to 18 ft-lb.

Mount the upper side of the shock to the frame with the new upper mounting nuts, and torque them to 22 ft-lb. Repeat Steps 3 through 5 up to this point on the other side of the rear of the SUV. Put the wheels back on the rear end of the Explorer, and lower it with the jack.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Tire iron

  • Ratchet

  • Compressor

  • Torque wrench

  • New nuts for the shocks, stabilizer link bars, upper mounts and wing nuts

 How to Replace the Shocks and Struts in a Ford F-Series

Replace the Front Shocks in an F-Series

Lift the front end of the truck with a floor jack, and support the frame with jack stands. Locate the shock under the truck, which looks like a tube that slides in and out of another tube and fits into the bottom of a coil spring. Open the hood and use a ratchet to remove the upper nut on the shock, along with the washer and the bushing. Go back under the truck, and remove the lower retaining nuts connecting the shock to the lower control arm, which is the part that connects to the bottom of the wheel hub. Repeat on the other side of the front of the truck.

Slide the washer and bushing onto the new shock, and slide it up through the spring coil into the frame. Attach the lower retaining nuts to the shock and the lower control arm. Set the dial on your torque wrench to 19 ft-lb on the 2-wheel-drive model and 57 ft-lb on the 4-wheel-drive model. Tighten the nuts until you feel the wrench slip. Repeat on the other side of the front of the truck.

Lower the front end of the F-series, and install the upper mounting nut through the open hood. Torque it to 34 ft-lb in a 2-wheel-drive truck and 22 ft-lb in a 4-wheel-drive model. Repeat on the other side of the front end of the truck. Close the hood.

Replace the Rear Shocks in an F-Series

Lift the rear end of the F-series with a floor jack, and support the frame with jack stands. Locate the shocks, and use a ratchet to remove the nut holding the shock absorber to the bracket in the frame. Slide the washer and the rubber bushings off the shock, and use the ratchet to remove the lower mounting bolt at the bottom of the shock.

Support the rear axle with a jack stand, and pull out the shock. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 on the other side of the rear of the F-series.

Slide new rubber bushings onto the new shock, and position it in the brackets under the rear of the truck where you removed the old shock. Bolt the shock absorber to the lower stud, and torque it to 66 ft-lb. Install the nut at the top over the mounting stud, and torque it to 26 ft-lb. Repeat on the other side of the rear of the F-series.

Lower the rear end of the truck.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Ratchet set

  • Torque wrench

 How to Replace the Shocks and Struts in a Ford Taurus

Replace the Front Struts in a Taurus

Turn the car's ignition to the off position, but be careful not to move the steering wheel so the column stays unlocked. Pry the hubcap off, and remove the wheel hub retaining nut from the center of the outside of the wheel with a wrench. Open the hood, and loosen the three nuts directly on top of the wheel well, surrounding the hole where you can see the top of the shock tower. Don't remove the nuts.

Lift the front end of the car with a floor jack, and slide jack stands under the frame to support it. Find flat spaces under the front of the cab, behind the engine parts and under the car, for the jack stands. Use a tire iron to loosen and remove the nuts securing the wheel to the hub.

Use a ratchet to remove the nuts holding on the brake caliper, which grips the top of the wheel hub, and unbolt the rotor, which is the part that spins through the caliper. Don't let the caliper dangle from the brake hose. Support it with some wire. Disconnect the anti-lock brake sensor wiring harness from the bracket holding the brake hose to the strut. Recognize the strut as the assembly with a slim tube that slides in and out of a tube with a slightly larger girth, surrounded by a coil spring with hardware on either end.

Disconnect the cotter pin holding the tie rod end to the steering knuckle. The steering knuckle is the part behind the wheel hub that turns it when the steering wheel turns, and the tie rod end connects the steering knuckle to the wheel hub. Use a separator to pry them apart. Remove the nut connecting the stabilizer bar link to the strut. Remove the nut connecting the ball joint to the lower control arm, and separate them with a ball joint puller. At this point, you've removed almost the entire wheel assembly.

Compress the strut spring with a spring compressor until the ball joint has enough clearance to move away from the control arm. Disconnect the pinch nut and bolt on the bottom of the steering knuckle from the strut. Separate the wheel hub from the half-shaft, the axle on the front of a front-wheel-drive car, with the specialized separator and any required adapters. Support the half-shaft with wire so it doesn't hang from the upper joint. Remove the nuts you loosened earlier holding the strut assembly to the body of the car.

Pull the strut assembly out from the bottom of the car. Install the strut assembly with the new spring compressed with the compressor. Hand-tighten the nuts securing it to the wheel well, and add a new pinch bolt and nut as you attach the steering knuckle to the strut. Adjust the valve on the bottom of your torque wrench to 37 ft-lb, and tighten the nut until you feel the wrench give.

Reconnect the half-shaft to the wheel hub and the stabilizer bar to the strut assembly, using a new link stabilizer nut that you torque to 55 ft-lb. Use a new nut to connect the tie rod end to the steering knuckle, and torque it to 35 ft-lb. Torque the nut beyond that until the slot is in line with the stud on the tie rod end, and insert a new cotter pin. Reconnect the anti-lock brake sensor to the bracket holding the brake hose.

Attach the brake rotor and caliper, and torque the bolts to 65 ft-lb. Mount the wheel, and torque the nuts that you hand-tightened earlier to 22 ft-lb. Lower the car, and install a new wheel hub retainer nut that you torque to 170 ft-lb. Pump the brakes several times before you move the car. Have a qualified technician align the front end of your suspension system.

Replace the Rear Shocks in a Taurus

Lift the rear end of the car, and support it by the lower control arms with jack stands. Remove the nuts holding on the rear wheels, and set the wheels aside. Pull out the access panel inside the hatch.

Disconnect the upper mounting nuts and the lower mounting bolts. They're found at either end of the shocks, which look like a smaller tube that slides in and out of a larger one.

Replace the old shocks with the new ones, and torque the lower bolts to 58 ft-lb and the upper nuts to 19 ft-lb. Put the access panel back in the hatch and mount the rear wheels. Lower the car.

Items you will need

  • Adjustable wrench

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Tire iron

  • Ratchet set

  • Separator tool and adapters

  • Ball joint puller

  • Spring compressor

  • Torque wrench

  • Pinch bolts and nuts

  • Link stabilizer nut

  • Cotter pin

About the Author

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