Another Suspension Question

Robert Crain

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Greetings All, So the next thing on my repair list is new struts and rear lower control arms.

I've learned here not to reuse suspension hardware. Are the nuts and bolts used to secure the control arms and lower shock mount special or can I use something more generic? Where do I purchase the hardware if it is special? I assume it's no longer available from Ford.

The top of the shock absorber shaft has a square tip above the 18mm hold-down nut so the rod won't twist when removing the nut. Are Vise-grips the best tool to use to hold the shock absorber shaft in place while removing that 18mm nut? An open-end wrench small enough to fit seems inadequate to me.

As you know, the rear lower control arms are quite expensive. With two kids in college, I'm on a tight budget and am wrestling with the decision to replace just the bushings or the complete control arm. What are your thoughts on this?

Thanks for your help! Rob
 

04_Sport_LS

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I assume it's no longer available from Ford.

Don't assume. Call and ask.

Most suspension parts use nylok nuts... (and if you notice they are "flanged" nuts)... with a few pieces requiring thread locking compound instead. Buy the industrial version thread locker. NOT what is sold at the LPS. 3 main colors... blue, green, and red , (listed in order of strength from weakest to strongest). You shouldn't need red though.

The LS actually uses shocks... even though they look similar to struts.

If you have never disassembled struts or coil over shocks before... you may want to have a shop do them for you. There is several hundred pounds of force on the coil spring. One wrong move... and you could lose a hand, jaw... or worse. Some of the tools out there used to compress the spring are pretty crappy... and others are complicated to use.

An 8-12" adjustable crescent wrench works best on the oval stud at the top of the shock. The bottom has to be secured somehow too. Usually in a solidly mounted vice.

As far as the control arms... many of the factory bushings can't be sourced separately. There is the option of urethane... but these present there own problems/issues depending on the ride quality and amount of noise you want or expect.

Either way... replacing the control arm bushings is not as easy as it was years ago when all control arms were made of steel. No more just using an air chisel to knock them out... and air hammer to drive them in. If you wedge a bushing slightly sideways putting it in the hole... it could crack the arm.
 

Robert Crain

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Thanks 04_Sport_LS for your input. I'll give the local Lincoln dealer a call and see what they say. Do I need to replace the bolt s or just the nuts? I'm not afraid of working with coil springs as I have done so many times on older vehicles just never with newer coil-over shocks or struts. I have a good setup for compressing/ decompressing springs and fully understand the safety aspects of the work. The trick is to just take your time and work methodically. People get hurt when they cut corners. The Crescent wrench makes good sense for that oval stud at the top of the shock in lieu of the vise-grips as it would provide adequate grip and better leverage. Thanks. If I can find a set, what do you think about installing some low-mileage bone-yard control arms? Not a long term solution but maybe enough to get by for a while. Still weighing all the options. I'd like to give those bushings a try though. Appreciate the input. Rob
 

04_Sport_LS

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Age is as much a contributor to bushing wear... as much as milage. You might get lucky though. Just look for any tears in the rubber.

The main culprit in the rear lower arms is the bushing closest to the differential. It is 2 pieces of metal with a piece of plastic sandwiched in between... and is permanently greased, (until the boots tear). I have not been able to find a source for this bushing. The others are sourceable through at least one OEM part manufacturer last time I checked... but that was a couple years ago.

The bushings only push out one way due to a "step" in the hole... so they only push back in one way.
 

04_Sport_LS

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Here's another one. The guy is lucky to have his hand.


If it would have ricocheted and caught him in the face... there might have been funeral services.

I'm posting this for ANYONE reading this... that is considering changing out their shocks/struts!
 

04_Sport_LS

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They should fit... but just like ebay ignition coils for the LS... I would be very suspect of their quality.

Same with a British from "across the pond". Their bushings are from china, and do not hold up very long. It's alot of labor to have something fail in a years time.

I dug around for a couple months trying to find quality replacements... only to end up buying new arms. I could have gone with poly bushings but decided not to.

You haven't said what year and engine your LS is. That can make a difference on the parts.
 

04_Sport_LS

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Also... if you're gonna change the lower arms, you should change the upper arms too... since everything works as a system. And there are no replacement parts for the upper arms... especially the ball joint.
 

Robert Crain

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My LS is a 2003 with just about 160k miles. I've owned it for about 100k of those miles and so far, it's been a reasonably good daily driver. Love that V8. It's starting to show a little age now mainly with suspension parts and those garbage alloy wheels. I'll run it until the transmission gives up.
 

rgorke

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Thanks 04_Sport_LS for your input. I'll give the local Lincoln dealer a call and see what they say. Do I need to replace the bolt s or just the nuts? I'm not afraid of working with coil springs as I have done so many times on older vehicles just never with newer coil-over shocks or struts. I have a good setup for compressing/ decompressing springs and fully understand the safety aspects of the work. The trick is to just take your time and work methodically. People get hurt when they cut corners. The Crescent wrench makes good sense for that oval stud at the top of the shock in lieu of the vise-grips as it would provide adequate grip and better leverage. Thanks. If I can find a set, what do you think about installing some low-mileage bone-yard control arms? Not a long term solution but maybe enough to get by for a while. Still weighing all the options. I'd like to give those bushings a try though. Appreciate the input. Rob

About a year ago, I was able to source a set of Gen 2 LS sport shocks and coils with only about 50k miles on them. It was a day and night difference once I replaced those. That is when my LS had about 220k miles.

I used a small 8mm(?) box end wrench on mine.

And the manual says "discard nut"...
 

AmsterDutch

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20190707_085249.jpg
About a year ago, I was able to source a set of Gen 2 LS sport shocks and coils with only about 50k miles on them. It was a day and night difference once I replaced those. That is when my LS had about 220k miles.

I used a small 8mm(?) box end wrench on mine.

And the manual says "discard nut"...
What color are the sport shocks? I have a brand new set of front and rear but not sure what I have? Thanks in advance rgorke
 

FDR

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I don't remember if Gen 1 had different colors, but here's what I pulled some time ago for gen 2. I do know there's a p/n change between gens on at least some because Gen 2 went to gas-charged. They're all obsolete now so I can't readily pull numbers any more

Whether it's a sticker or a paint dab, I don't know. I see your bump stop set has a blue sticker and yellow dabs, which points to it being the paint dab

Green: V8 sport front
White: V6 sport front:
Lavender: Sport rear (very pale purple)

Blue: V8 base front
Red: V6 base front
Yellow: Base rear
 

AmsterDutch

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I don't remember if Gen 1 had different colors, but here's what I pulled some time ago for gen 2. I do know there's a p/n change between gens on at least some because Gen 2 went to gas-charged. They're all obsolete now so I can't readily pull numbers any more

Whether it's a sticker or a paint dab, I don't know. I see your bump stop set has a blue sticker and yellow dabs, which points to it being the paint dab

Green: V8 sport front
White: V6 sport front:
Lavender: Sport rear (very pale purple)

Blue: V8 base front
Red: V6 base front
Yellow: Base rear
Wow....now I'm really confused ...mine have yellow, blue, and white paint ...
 

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