How to Replace the Shocks and Struts in a Mercury Cougarby Contributor
After you've driven your Cougar for 60,000 miles, the struts are usually worn to the point that you need to replace them. Doing it yourself saves you some of the hassle and expense of going to a repair shop. In the late models of the Cougar, there are only struts on the front end, so this process only covers strut replacement since Mercury doesn't equip the Cougar with shocks.
Pop the hood and use a wrench to disconnect the negative battery cable. It's either black, blue or marked with a negative sign. Raise the front end of the Cougar with a floor jack and support it under the frame with jack stands. Use a tire iron to loosen and remove the nuts on the wheel.
Locate the upper strut mount nut over the wheel well and remove it. Under the car, find the struts, which have coiled springs with hardware on both ends. Remove the stabilizer bar link nut part way down the strut, and disconnect the brake hose bracket. Remove the bolt from the lower ball joint from right behind the wheel hub.
Remove the wheel speed sensor from the strut and the brake caliper, which grips the wheel hub. Remove the rotor from the front of the wheel hub, and disconnect the pinch bolt holding the strut to the steering knuckle, which turns the wheel right and left.
Scoot the strut off the steering knuckle and out of the strut tower. Compress the spring with a compressor, and remove the nut holding down the upper strut mount. Slide the spring off the mount. Repeat Steps 2 through 4 on the other side of the Cougar.
Slide the spring onto the new strut, and connect the upper strut mount with the nut. Set the dial on the torque wrench to 44 ft-lb. Scoot the strut into the strut tower and attach the bottom of the strut to the steering knuckle. Torque the upper mounting nut to 34 ft-lb and the lower pinch bolt to 40 ft-lb.
Attach the brake rotor to the wheel hub, and connect the caliper and torque the bolts to 88 ft-lb. Reconnect the wheel speed sensor to the strut, and mount the lower ball joint. Torque that bolt to 61 ft-lb. Reattach the brake hose bracket to the strut, connect the stabilizer bar link nut and torque it to 35 ft-lb. Repeat Steps 5 and 6 on the other side of the Cougar.
Mount the front wheels, and lower the front of the Cougar. Reattach the negative battery cable to the negative battery terminal.