Shock and Spring Options

Lincoln LS

  1. rgorke

    rgorke Well-Known LVC Member

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    Basics: 04 LS V8 Premium Sport 227k miles

    Car is starting to get a little bouncy, not horrible but noticeable.

    I have gone through these threads and a few others:

    04_Sport_LS's Suspension thread
    My kingdom for sport rear shocks

    The rear Bilstein B4 shocks will work with the LS rear springs but the fronts need the Jag front springs.

    Ideally, one would replace all four shocks and all four springs. I can't pull the trigger on $800-900 for new springs and shocks all around. Do springs usually wear at the same rate as the shocks? Would replacing just the rear shocks and reusing the existing sport springs be feasible? For the fronts, an option would be getting used Jag springs (PYP) to match the Bilstein front shocks.

    Or just replacing rear shocks at this time...

    Again, I understand that this isn't ideal just looking for a little input on options in light of limited funds for this project.
     
  2. 04_Sport_LS

    04_Sport_LS Dedicated LVC Member

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    You could do one end of the car at a time. I did the rears first... then sourced parts for the front. Probably 3-4 months before I did the fronts. It'll make the car a little nose heavy on handling doing it this way,,, but if you behave yourself you'll survive.

    There really are limited resources for shocks and springs for this vehicle... both lowered and non-lowered. Strutmasters seems to be junk by limited reports on this forum. Same for Monroe. Koni and Sachs might be viable options,,, but there aren't many reports on here for them either,,, if they're still being made for the LS. I have no feedback for either.

    Your best bet for shocks would be the Bilsteins... but then there's the issue of needing Jag springs... or whether or not to go the almost obsolete route of factory springs,,, or aftermarket lowering springs... and then the factory shocks are almost unobtanium. Anything factory for a "sport" suspension has pretty much vaporized.

    Since you have 227K on the vehicle... both the shocks and springs are probably shot. Especially if they are all original parts. You could put only shocks on,,, but if the springs are tired... the shocks will wear out faster. Replacing the springs but not the shocks would be pointless.

    The tails on the rear springs tend to break from wear and tear and corrosion. Especially the left rear, (along with the LCA bushings on that side failing). When I needed to source some used parts from a boneyard for the rear setup on my LS,,, I purchased both shock assemblies... and the LR spring had a bent tail that was ready to break,,, but I wasn't after the spring so it didn't matter.

    This is one of those "in for a penny, in for a pound" situations... and if you try to go the cheap route it will come back to bite you... you know where.

    I'll go back to my original suggestion to do one end of the vehicle at a time if funds are tight. That will set you back about $520 for the jag springs and Bilstein B4's. Add about $60 if you go for the B6's. If you shop around you might be able to do it for less,,, but some parts are "dealer only".

    But the first thing you should do... is a full suspension inspection,,, making sure all of the contol arm bushings are solid... along with ball joints, tie rod ends, sway bar links, rear toe links... etc, etc. It wouldn't do any good to put new shocks and spring on,,, if other suspension parts are shot.

    As one last suggestion,,, you could go to the LS "performance" thread and see what others are running... and if/what mods they had to make. Anything I said above was strictly for an OEM type setup.

    Hope this helps.
     
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    • SteveOwens

      SteveOwens New LVC Member

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      Hi fellow LS owner, I have the same car with about the same miles when these issues came up. Below is a list is steps to make long term:

      1. Replace all rear arm and front top arms with OEM. $950
      2. Cover all rubber boots with Energy Suspension tie rod end boots. Install with cone devise for adequate road debris protection. Cover ball joint boots with large heat shrink and cut to length. .$100
      3. Lubricant with needle grease attachment with Nanolub ep#2 grease from Nanotech Industrial Solutions (NIS Corp). $50
      4. Send a front and rear spring to Swift Springs to get made( 3 to 4 months ). OEM springs are hard to find. Far better response and handling. There are others that do this. $800.
      5. Replace all links and rear toe rods with OEM. $400.
      6. May have to shim the rear springs to get in alignent. 3/8 to 1/2". Rear suspension is non adjustable through cam additions the arm mounts.
      7. SACH shocks have proved to me as a good shock all round. Enclose the rod movement area with a off road shock boot attached to body to seal bottom. Place a foam shock absorber on to top and attached boot to it with strong tie wraps. Place lubrication oil inside.
      Hope this helps
       
    • L_King

      L_King Well-Known LVC Member

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      I have a set of bilsteins and H&R lowering sprigs I got from another member with 8k miles on them. I haven’t installed them on my car yet and have been playing with the idea of pulling the trigger in coil overs. Might be willing to sell my setup..
       
    • Broseph

      Broseph Well-Known LVC Member

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      I’m interested to know what a “cone device” is and who sells it.

      Appears to me that this is an expensive overhaul suggestion, when certain items could be cut back and save several hundred $s. Like passing on energy suspensions universal ball joint cover that probably won’t fit as well and just use the heat shrink tube method you suggested (which is a good idea).

      Or were you suggesting energy suspension covers on top of the current covers? I just don’t see the benefit in that vs just heat shrink for some added protection against road debris.

      I also think uppers can be had cheaper than $950. I did my fronts at diff times but cost ~120$ a side and just bought rear motor craft upper for $175. That’s all in under $600. Maybe $950 was with install or dealer price.
       
    • rgorke

      rgorke Well-Known LVC Member

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      UPDATE:

      I was extremely fortunate to connect with a member of one of the Facebook LS groups who, unfortunately, had someone crash into his 2003 V8 Sport that had less than 60k miles on it. He told me it was at a used parts yard about 5 miles from where my parents live. I confirmed the car was still there (the guys actually took me to it and let me examine it to make sure it was the one I needed the parts off of) and was able to get the Sport shocks for $50 each.

      Holy Smokes!!! What a difference in handling and ride these "new" shocks and coils make!!! Even with only putting the rears on at first...ran out of daylight and put the fronts on the next day... the handling was significantly improved.

      Doing the replacement at my parents house also helped in that my dad had a huge air compressor and using his impact wrench made the project go much more smoothly.

      Of course I had issues with putting them in backwards meaning the angle of the upper mount, and also figuring out how to get the upper mount bolts to line up with the holes.

      Anyway, another successful project under our collective belts!!!
       
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      • 04_Sport_LS

        04_Sport_LS Dedicated LVC Member

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        You're probably mostly noticing the difference between worn out parts and newer parts. My '04 had the sport suspension... and I can honestly say that Jag/Bilstein combo is even better. Glad you found a good deal and that it worked out for you.
         
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        • GreyWisent

          GreyWisent Active LVC Member

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          EDIT: I read this as "Replacing the shocks but not the springs would be pointless.", so this whole post is talking about that.

          I agree with everything else, but I think the wording here is a bit strong, and actually not necessarily true. EDIT: I agree with everything said before; it is foolish to replace a worn spring, while keeping the worn shock. :) (Although, I think if you're really stuck for money, you should at least replace broken springs no matter what.)

          Here's why there's a point to replacing your shocks even if you don't replace the springs:

          If the springs are broken, of course you have to replace them (no argument there).
          And of course, ideally, if money and component availability are not a factor, you should replace them, but this does not mean that it's pointless to just replace your shocks and not springs.

          What wears out springs the most is the metal fatigue caused by the number of compression/expansion cycles, but shocks in good mechanical condition prevent exactly that. Ideally, the strut assembly compresses once and then returns to the original ride height. A spring with no shock will contract + expand many times until it eventually comes to rest. As the strut wears out, the tendency is to go from the former to the latter. Maintaining your shocks in good condition (i.e. changing them) will actually prolong the life of the spring, so it may not be necessary to change it at the same time, but it depends on what you've done with the car.

          A good indicator for worn out springs is ride height. If it's close to the original, you're probably safe to keep your springs.
          How so? The strut assembly (spring + shock) can be modelled as a damped harmonic oscillator differential equation. The first part of that equation is the only place where the spring plays a part of, and it's the same as Hooke's law , F=-kx, where x is the amount of compression and k is the spring characteristic factor, which changes as a the spring ages. An older spring would compress more under the same weight (of the car at rest) and thus the change in x would be larger, and thus the ride height would be lower. So comparing 2 identical cars of the same weight, both with new shocks, one with new springs and one with old ones, if the ride height is the same, then the handling characteristics will be the same.

          There are also a number of other factors that come into play:
          - OEM shocks are designed to be used with a certain spring with a certain weight car; even when comparing brand new cars, switching out springs or shocks to a different brand will yield unfavourable handling characteristics. The above description of a damped harmonic oscillator explains this - different characteristic constants for components means they're no longer tuned to be an specific suspension.
          - however, once you deviate from the standard and go with aftermarket shocks - we can't find OEM shocks anymore - or change from sport to non-sports or vice versa, all of that goes out the window. No one has any quantitative information to substantiate that a Bilstein shock may not be better suited with a used Lincoln spring than with a new one for our given application OR that new Bilstein shocks+springs will yield better results, when they're made for a different car with a different weight. And this is even more of a factor when dealing with the other garbage suspension brands out there.

          Of course, intuition tells us that new springs will be better, but we don't really have the evidence to say how much better, so I don't think it's fair to call it pointless, especially if you don't have the money to spare or can't source the right part.
           
          Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
        • joegr

          joegr Dedicated LVC Member

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          Okay, I'm confused here.

          04_Sport said: "Replacing the springs but not the shocks would be pointless."

          GreyWisent said: "does not mean that it's pointless to just replace your shocks and not springs."

          These are two different statements that are not opposed. Where's the argument? 04_Sport did not say what you are disagreeing with. While "pointless" is too strong a word, I agree that it would be silly to replace the springs and not the shocks, as the shocks are more likely to be worn out than the springs. I also agree that it is reasonable (and very common) to replace the shocks and not the springs.

          "Spring but not shock" does not equal "shock but not spring."

          In a similar way, it is okay to replace a worn spark plug but not the coil (if all is well), but foolish to replace a marginal/failed coil and not the spark plug.
           
        • GreyWisent

          GreyWisent Active LVC Member

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          Man... I have to stop skimming through these forums on my work breaks.

          I missread 04_Sport's statement as "Replacing the shocks but not the springs would be pointless." The statements before it were talking about replacing shocks and not springs and I rushed through it. So, I'm arguing something that was never stated. Thanks for pointing this out.

          Waste of typing I guess... I should delete the post entirely, but it still makes an argument on its own.
           
        • joegr

          joegr Dedicated LVC Member

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          Yep. I've done that a few times too...
           
        • rgorke

          rgorke Well-Known LVC Member

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          For the record, in case there is any confusion, I replaced all four shocks and all four springs.
           
        • 04_Sport_LS

          04_Sport_LS Dedicated LVC Member

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          We got that rgorke. You did good.

          DITTO!!!!
           
        • rgorke

          rgorke Well-Known LVC Member

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          Ok, just wanted to make sure. Now on to other "upgrades". Here is my list for next projects for the suspension:

          Rear LCAs: Plan is to get a used set at a yard and put in new bushings, understanding the sensitivity of the Al arms. Ideally I would use the Powerflex bushings for Jags but also considering other non poly type.
          Rear Sway Bar Bushings and End links: I used the Energy Suspension bushings and Moog end links on the front. I don't think that ES makes rear bushings, but I could be wrong.

          Then Front LCAs...



           
        • GreyWisent

          GreyWisent Active LVC Member

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          "Omg, samesies! "
          Please tag me in any updates if you remember. I need to find some bushings that make sense cost-wise. Full set of bushings on ebay are pretty steep and I will not follow this plan just to save $100 (would rather buy a new LCA).
          Moog makes REAR sway bar bushings! (Same for both gens)
          2003 LINCOLN LS 3.9L V8 Stabilizer Bar Bushing | RockAuto ($6-7 a set)
          The sway bar is thicker for Sports than it is for standard. Not as thick as the front, but there's still a difference.
          Moog K201453 for standard suspension.
          Moog K201454 for Sport suspension.
           
        • rgorke

          rgorke Well-Known LVC Member

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          Right!!! I have the sport suspension. I don't think that changing the rears requires the same level of effort in terms of having to cut the brackets off, right? Just follow the instructions and they are held on by a "normal" bracket.

          For the LCAs, looks like they are $25 at LKQ (unless one goes during their 40% off holiday sales), so $50-60 for both.

          The bushings below are $130 (unless they are junk) for all six. Total w/o any labor is just under $200. The Motorcraft and Lemforder rear LCAs go for in excess of $300.
           
        • GreyWisent

          GreyWisent Active LVC Member

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          Used Parts | LKQ Online
          LKQ is a used parts retailer, right? What I'm seeing here is $40 and up each. The plan would be to buy a set from there and replace the bushings, correct?

          To me, that's almost not worth it. There's risk involved in removing and installing the new bushings (there are some horror stories around here). There's also risk involved in the quality of bushings and fit as well as warranty. And the labour (and tools if you don't have them). Rear LCAs are $500 for a set right now (Lower Control Arm - Ford (6W4Z-5A649-A) | Tasca Auto Parts and Lower Control Arm - Ford (6W4Z-5A649-B) | Tasca Auto Parts). I've been burned too many times by my money saving strategies, but I guess it depends on the exact sum and from person to person and it's good to know all the options. Personally, I'm mostly worried about the risk of nothing coming out of this investment (i.e. rather put $500 in a sure thing than $250 in roll the dice).

          On that note, do you have any links for quality LCA bushings? All I've found is seriously overpriced no names of suspect origin and quality on eBay.
          (I think your last message was cut off - seems like you had something to show us).
           
        • GreyWisent

          GreyWisent Active LVC Member

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          Haven't done it myself, but I spent a lot of time looking at them (and also injecting silicone grease to see if it will stop the squeaking). Much simpler than the front 2nd gens - there's a tab on one side and a bolt on the other. Can't speak as to how much they're fused to the bar though.
           
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          • rgorke

            rgorke Well-Known LVC Member

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            In terms of the LKQ, it's a "Pick a Part" company with yards across the country. I see the control arms at $25 with $2-3 core ($15 on a holiday weekend getting 40% off). An attraction of using old control arms is the ability to use the Powerflex Poly bushings. Granted, there IS a risk and labor involved. And...

            I meant to include this link in my last post:

            Jaguar S-Type Rear Lower Control Arm Hydrabushes Bushings 2000-2002 complete set | eBay
             
          • GreyWisent

            GreyWisent Active LVC Member

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            Cool; thank you.

            The brand for that is listed as "euromarque", which seems to be the house brand of the seller. I think these guys are out of Houston - they also make the "upper" manifold gaskets. Are they quality? Also, do the materials perform according to specs?
            I'm seeing a lot of other sellers selling the same exact thing as different brands, which makes me wonder if they're just generic Chinese parts, which I wouldn't waste time with. Most worrisome is deutscheparts has the same thing, and, as far as I know, they're notorious for selling suspect quality generic parts.

            Does Energy Suspension makes poly bushings for the rear LCA?
             

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