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Discussion Starter #1
and what a job it was. It isn't actually hard, but complicated. While I was down there I happened to notice other problems, such as my rotors which had been almost totally destroyed on the inside (this explains my grinding) as well as my UCA being loose.

I had to tighten the bolt on the passenger side close to the big wiring harness thats in the way. How the hell do you reach this and what size is it? cause best I could do was a 19mm wrench and patience.

anyway, I have to say what a difference it makes. Now I've still got knocking on the drivers side so that will need to be replaced as well.

the hardest part had to be after getting the new LCA put in lpace, tightening the bolt that holds the ball joint to the spindle. Once it went on the joint itself would start turning so the bolt wouldn't actually tighten.
an impact gun and a universal joint helped me here, enough to get it on, once it was tight I finished it off when the torque wrench.

the other problem bolt was the one connecting the lower arm steering strut to the LCA (I think thats what the book called it) trying to turn it results in the whole thing moving a bit because of the rubber bushings..... again, had to use the impact gun to get this SOB off....and it wasn't easy getting it tight with the rubber wanting to move when it got tight.

Heres what gets me, my service manual make it sound like an easy job, but it apparently leaves stuff out.

It tells you when to remove the strut/shock bolt/nut, but it never actually tells you to re-tighten it. It just mentions installing it loosely, not to tighten at this time, but by the end of the "installation" section, it hasn't mentioned to re-tighten it, or it's torque specs.


anyway, just thought I would share the experience with others, and what other things I found wrong.

btw don't grease your wheel bearings, I did my old ones, and had to clean grease off of everything, including my brake pads which were caked with slung on grease.

lastly how do you deal with that UCA nut?? there is so much stuff in the way you can BARELY get a wrench in there, and I don't happen to have a 6 point socket to fit the bolt on the inside of the wheel well....how do you get this on there tight without ruining it? I don't need mine coming loose again.
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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I believe it's an 18mm; I hear a ratcheting wrench is your friend there. With me I was working on my a/c system when I replaced mine so the accumulator was not in place which made it much easier to get at.
 

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Ratcheting box end is the best way to go, I just broke off the flag off the bolt and held the nut in place and removed the bolt, I did it on both my cars, and the first one I fought and it really wasn't all that bad, second one I wizened up. I didn't have ratcheting wrenches, and the ny-lock nut I used to replace the old one was 16 mm not 18 like what I removed, and I had a better wrench in 16mm that made it easier to reinstall.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I cant get a box end wrench on that thing because of the accumulator, there is JUST not enough room to squeeze a wrench in there.

and how the hell do you break those flags off?? they are some solid metal
 

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You don't want to break the tabs off, they are what prevent you from needing to have a wrench on the head of the bolt while you tighten/loosen the nuts on the other side of the shock tower.
 

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You don't want to break the tabs off, they are what prevent you from needing to have a wrench on the head of the bolt while you tighten/loosen the nuts on the other side of the shock tower.
Exactly.

And an 18mm ratcheting box end will exactly fit in that opening. I've done it twice... :)

You may have to grab the tabs on the inside with a pair of vicegrips, to keep it from moving around too much while you're working the nylock under the hood.

You get like two teeth at a time and it takes awhile, but it will come out. And go back in the same way; put the nut in the wrench, and slide it in there. It's hard to put the bolt in from the wheelwell and get the nut started by yourself, btw. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Exactly.

And an 18mm ratcheting box end will exactly fit in that opening. I've done it twice... :)

You may have to grab the tabs on the inside with a pair of vicegrips, to keep it from moving around too much while you're working the nylock under the hood.

You get like two teeth at a time and it takes awhile, but it will come out. And go back in the same way; put the nut in the wrench, and slide it in there. It's hard to put the bolt in from the wheelwell and get the nut started by yourself, btw. :)
the only reason I mention breaking the tabs off is because t he service manual says to break them off, remove the bolt and replace with a new one...do not reuse.

anyway yeah, I have experienced all that your saying here lol.

I can't argue with the ratcheting box end fitting, I haven't tried it, but I know a normal box end doesn't fit in there, and I'm not about to force the accumulator out of the way and risk breaking something.

I guess I'm gonna see if I can find an 18mm ratcheting box end... I'll need it later on i'm sure.
 

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and what a job it was. It isn't actually hard, but complicated. While I was down there I happened to notice other problems, such as my rotors which had been almost totally destroyed on the inside (this explains my grinding) as well as my UCA being loose.

I had to tighten the bolt on the passenger side close to the big wiring harness thats in the way. How the hell do you reach this and what size is it? cause best I could do was a 19mm wrench and patience.

anyway, I have to say what a difference it makes. Now I've still got knocking on the drivers side so that will need to be replaced as well.

the hardest part had to be after getting the new LCA put in lpace, tightening the bolt that holds the ball joint to the spindle. Once it went on the joint itself would start turning so the bolt wouldn't actually tighten.
an impact gun and a universal joint helped me here, enough to get it on, once it was tight I finished it off when the torque wrench.

the other problem bolt was the one connecting the lower arm steering strut to the LCA (I think thats what the book called it) trying to turn it results in the whole thing moving a bit because of the rubber bushings..... again, had to use the impact gun to get this SOB off....and it wasn't easy getting it tight with the rubber wanting to move when it got tight.

Heres what gets me, my service manual make it sound like an easy job, but it apparently leaves stuff out.

It tells you when to remove the strut/shock bolt/nut, but it never actually tells you to re-tighten it. It just mentions installing it loosely, not to tighten at this time, but by the end of the "installation" section, it hasn't mentioned to re-tighten it, or it's torque specs.


anyway, just thought I would share the experience with others, and what other things I found wrong.

btw don't grease your wheel bearings, I did my old ones, and had to clean grease off of everything, including my brake pads which were caked with slung on grease.

lastly how do you deal with that UCA nut?? there is so much stuff in the way you can BARELY get a wrench in there, and I don't happen to have a 6 point socket to fit the bolt on the inside of the wheel well....how do you get this on there tight without ruining it? I don't need mine coming loose again.
You DID re-tighten all of the suspension fasteners with the weight of the car on the suspension, right?!! In other words, you needed to jack the car up on whatever side you were working on BEFORE you tightened the LCA pivot bolt, shock-to-LCA mounting bolt and UCA mounting bolts so that the car raised ALL the way off of the jack-stands so that you didn't distort the bushings in all of those mounting points.

You did do that, right?!!

And, by the way, placing a floor-jack under the LCA (right under where the ball-joint is) and then raising the car off of the jack-stand will help prevent the ball-joint from spinning when you're trying to tighten the nut on the ball-joint.

Dennis
 

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the only reason I mention breaking the tabs off is because t he service manual says to break them off, remove the bolt and replace with a new one...do not reuse.

anyway yeah, I have experienced all that your saying here lol.

I can't argue with the ratcheting box end fitting, I haven't tried it, but I know a normal box end doesn't fit in there, and I'm not about to force the accumulator out of the way and risk breaking something.

I guess I'm gonna see if I can find an 18mm ratcheting box end... I'll need it later on i'm sure.
Yes, it's best to get new mounting bolts/nuts (the bolts are still available from Ford, but the nuts are obsolete; you'd have to get nuts at an auto parts store), but you can re-use the original bolts/nuts if you put Loc-Tite on them. And do NOT break-off the flags/tabs from the bolt; they make the job much easier (you don't have to put a wrench on the bolt head to keep it from turning then)!

Take the nut out of the bracket that the A/C accumulator is mounted in to push it far enough away to work. There is also a big electrical connector there that's also in the way; you can remove the bolt from the center on top and seperate the two halves to get more room.

Dennis
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I did disconnect that harness your speaking of, i didn't even think to remove the bolt for the accumulator.

no an issue at this point, but I'm gonna keep that in mind when I get me a 18mm ratcheting wrench.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
You DID re-tighten all of the suspension fasteners with the weight of the car on the suspension, right?!! In other words, you needed to jack the car up on whatever side you were working on BEFORE you tightened the LCA pivot bolt, shock-to-LCA mounting bolt and UCA mounting bolts so that the car raised ALL the way off of the jack-stands so that you didn't distort the bushings in all of those mounting points.

You did do that, right?!!

And, by the way, placing a floor-jack under the LCA (right under where the ball-joint is) and then raising the car off of the jack-stand will help prevent the ball-joint from spinning when you're trying to tighten the nut on the ball-joint.

Dennis
I must have missed this. I had the car jacked up under the frame, not by the suspension. I put it all together that way, torqued the bolts, put my wheel back on and dropped'er down. thats when I tightened my loose UCA bolt.

did I do something wrong here?? I used thread locker (loctite 242) on my strut-to-LCA bolt, and on the camber cam nut.

as for putting the jack under the ball joint directly, I did that too. it helped a BIT, but eventually ran into the same problem. it took a universal joint and impact gun to get it to screw on. I didn't over-tighten it either, I put the torque wrench on it after and was able to tighten the bolt just a touch more before the torque wrench clicked.
 

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I must have missed this. I had the car jacked up under the frame, not by the suspension. I put it all together that way, torqued the bolts, put my wheel back on and dropped'er down. thats when I tightened my loose UCA bolt.

did I do something wrong here?? I used thread locker (loctite 242) on my strut-to-LCA bolt, and on the camber cam nut.

as for putting the jack under the ball joint directly, I did that too. it helped a BIT, but eventually ran into the same problem. it took a universal joint and impact gun to get it to screw on. I didn't over-tighten it either, I put the torque wrench on it after and was able to tighten the bolt just a touch more before the torque wrench clicked.
Well, yes, you have to have jack-stands supporting the car under the body instead of the suspension (how would you change the suspension arms if the car was jacked-up by them), but you should've placed a floor-jack under the LCA and jacked the car up off of the jack-stands before you torqued the shock-to-LCA mounting bolt (I'm not sure, without referring to my repair manuals, if it matters for the LCA pivot bolt or not); if you don't jack the car up off of the jack-stands so the cars weight is on the suspension, it can cause the bushings to distort (I'm not sure what problems will result from that - possibly poor ride quality and improper vehicle handling). You did the UCA mounting bolts properly, however, in that you tightened them with the wheels on the car and the car lowered to the ground.

Why did you put Loc-Tite on the LCA pivot bolt (the camber cam nut)? The shop needs to loosen that to adjust alignment.

You did get, or are getting, a front-end alignment, right? That's absolutely imperative with the work you've done!

Dennis
 

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The best way to avoid an immediate alignment is to use a marker of sorts to mark the LCA pivot bolt's original position to approximate the alignment prior to disassembly. Many users here have done that with great success.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I may have to readjust that strut bolt then, but there is a chance I actually did it right, I had a bottle jack holding the car up off the floor jack and 2 jack stands, I don't remember if i "forgot" to lower the bottle jack when I was working on that bolt.

I actually missed the part in the book that says to tighten the bolt, and I know I have it under torqued right now so next weekend I'll crank my wheel sideways, loosen the nut, reset the suspension by pushing down on the front as specified by the book, and tighten the bolt to the proper spec.

I did mark my camber cam, and it's back in the EXACT same spot it was when I took it off, and torqued properly. with my bad bearing I could see the wheel being off camber so slighty that I was the only person who thought the wheel wasn't straight. I showed others and they kept telling me the wheel looks straight....... I'm telling you this wheel is dead straight.
I can also tell by sound, when it's off camber it makes a humming noise when driving....shes dead silent now.

anyway to directly answer the question, I hadn't planned on having an alignment done right away, I've got a better eye than you would be willing to believe, and Ive also got other more financially pressing matters that need to be dealt with, but I do plan to have it aligned as soon as I possibly can.

It isn't permanent thread locker, it will come off.
 
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