Is replacing a front air strut difficult ?

Lincoln Mark VIII

  1. Denna

    Denna Well-Known LVC Member

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    Regarding a 1997 Lincoln Mark VIII base model, would replacing either of the front air struts be difficult for someone who is NOT a mechanic ?

    I've read that dealerships and repair shops charge a lot for what many consider to be an "easy" task.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
  2. slowmkviii

    slowmkviii Dedicated LVC Member

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    No
    If its rust free
     
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    • Denna

      Denna Well-Known LVC Member

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      A while ago, the suspension was "repaired" by a non-dealership. The mechanic said he replaced both of the rear air bags, one of the front air bags and some other parts.

      Now, the rear does not drop, but the front does.

      When looking under the car from the rear, you can clearly see the front driver side is slammed while the front passenger side isn't as low.

      Is the front driver air strut the one that needs to be replaced ?
       
    • NoLimit95

      NoLimit95 Dedicated LVC Member

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      • dnehthend

        dnehthend Dedicated LVC Member

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        most likely, and do it quick or it will take out the passengers side with the extra strain your putting on it.

        Be sure to use the sway bar to your advantage.

        also, I always use a belt to keep the new one compressed during installation, makes it a lot easier
         
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        • dnsherrill

          dnsherrill Dedicated LVC Member

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          Dealers make mistakes also, I don't take my cars to dealers...unless it's trade in maybe? :rolleyes:
          ---
          eh? :confused:
           
        • soduka

          soduka Dedicated LVC Member

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          Hard to replace something that doesn't exist!


          ...zing?
           
        • kaha

          kaha Dedicated LVC Member

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          Thaywood sees this thread and explodes in 5...4...3...
           
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          • achesonm8

            achesonm8 Active LVC Member

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            To Denna, you may want to take a look at a thread I started recently about rebuilding the front SLA suspension. I met up with another member on this forum because he had the tools and experience. It's doable but if you are using the car as your daily driver then that might be problematic depending on your skill and knowledge and experience with the car and the suspension system...Give it a shot if you are confident about it... At any rate this is off topic, sort of, but I think I am going to have T-shirt made for Thaywood and myself that says "Mark VIII owners like to STRUT their stuff". I'll send it to Thaywood with a bottle of Jack also, if he's a drinkin man! West End must be like in them thar heels, eh?;):D :)
             
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            • thaywood

              thaywood Dedicated LVC Member

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              I'm trying to hold back...:p:D
               
            • Roadboss

              Roadboss Dedicated LVC Member

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              Access to air tools won't hurt! I like using a air hammer equipped with a punch point to help drive out the pesky rusted bolt to the control arm. Even after soaking it with a good rust buster.
               
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              • sprocket

                sprocket Well-Known LVC Member

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                I couldn't even get the lower bolt out with an air hammer. We had to burn out all the rubber in the bushing and even then it was hard to get out. Then we pressed in a new bushing. The strut was junk anyway; I wish we would have just cut it off and replaced the control arm. I think it could use new control arms anyway. That side might be OK now, but I like to replace things in pairs.
                 
              • dnsherrill

                dnsherrill Dedicated LVC Member

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                rust? the lower bolt at the bottom of the AIR SHOCK? or the bolt at the outside (LCA) end of the STRUT? at the 'A-frame'(to replace SRB's)?
                without a doubt! re; suspension
                 
              • Denna

                Denna Well-Known LVC Member

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                NoLimit95,

                I don't have the invoice at hand, but the repair shop bought the parts from the local Ford dealership.

                Given that, I don't think a Ford dealership would be selling anything other than Motorcraft.
                 
              • Denna

                Denna Well-Known LVC Member

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                achesonm8,

                It's not a daily driver as I haven't driven it for quite a while.

                Given the savings with fixing it myself (grin), my only concern is getting command and control of the driveway to work on it at my leisure (read taking it extremely slow and easy).
                 
              • Denna

                Denna Well-Known LVC Member

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                After reading what everyone has said in this thread, it might be better for a repair shop to do it as I:

                1) Don't appear to have the necessary tools to make the job easier or possible

                2) Don't have anything near the required experience since I'm not familiar with most of what everyone is talking about

                3) Am not sure if I can identify all the parts necessary to affect the appropriate repair. I can't afford to replace a part that isn't part of the problem.
                 
              • todd2fst4u

                todd2fst4u Well-Known LVC Member

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                • miatatomark

                  miatatomark Active LVC Member

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                  • Denna

                    Denna Well-Known LVC Member

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                    todd2fst4u and miatatomark,

                    Thanks for the quick replies.

                    I had searched on Google and found this article, but didn't know if the Gen2 (1997) would follow the same process.

                    Should it be the same ?

                    Other than the obvious appearance of the driver front side of the suspension being slammed and the passenger side slightly lower, how can I tell if it's only the strut that needs replacing ?
                     
                  • todd2fst4u

                    todd2fst4u Well-Known LVC Member

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                    Same process for gen 2.

                    You have a leaking airbag if the front is slammed. Start with replacing the shocks, you can't go wrong there. While replacing the shocks, visually inspect the upper and lower control arms, strut rod bushings, tie rod ends, and sway bar end links. If you plan on keeping the car long, you'll most likely want to replace all those parts.
                     
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                    • soduka

                      soduka Dedicated LVC Member

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                      On this, if you have the money and are unaware of how old the control arms are, just drop the whole front suspension while you're at it and replace everything at once. If you're dropping money on new front air shocks the rest of the parts, comparatively, won't add much to your bill.

                      With what you'll have to do to get the shock out, well that's usually the hardest part of replacing the lower control arm anyway!
                       
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                      • dnsherrill

                        dnsherrill Dedicated LVC Member

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                        Denna, I'm doing it for the first time currently. I'm confident you can as well. Just be sure to support the car safely and have an extra jack/jack stands
                         
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                        • miatatomark

                          miatatomark Active LVC Member

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                          Denna, does it inflate at all? I'd do the leak check (soapy spray) to make sure the bags not holding air at all before replacing it. That would be to make sure the solenoid is not the problem. Also, in the instructions on the LOD websight, you don't need to be stabbing the bags to deflate them. Just do a search for the solenoid and you'll find out how to remove a clip and twist to deflate the bag. Having had most of it apart yesterday, replacement actually looks much simpler than a regular spring/shock/strut assembly. Biggest problem is the cost of the hardware being 3 times as much.
                           
                        • NoLimit95

                          NoLimit95 Dedicated LVC Member

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                          You should have ordered it yourself and then took it in for replacement. I bet Ford charged an outrageous $ amount for that thing. I bet you could have bought two.

                          If you were close by, I would change both out for you for free and be done within an hour 1/2 or less. Nothing to the swap if you have an impact and a few other tools. I would order both sides yourself though and then you'll know you're good for years to come.
                           
                        • Denna

                          Denna Well-Known LVC Member

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                          Soduka,

                          Fortunately, a repair shop had replaced three of the struts at one time (1 front, 2 rear). They didn't replace the fourth because it appeared good enough at the time.

                          Other parts, hopefully the ones you're referring to, were replaced as well. The whole repair job was about $1,500.
                           

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