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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Let me be sure I get this right and feel free to chime in if I miss anything please.

Front
UCA x2
LCA x2
Tie Rod Ends x2
Sway Bar Ends x2
Strut Rod Bushing x2*

*I have heard of the Front strut rod bushings and that they need to be replaced but I dont know what these look like or what purpose the serve.

Is there anything in the rear that needs to be replaced?

I will also be ordering Struts/Shocks and maybe finding some SC or Sport springs for the car as well so would this possibly change what parts I need to look for and do the struts and shocks require any other extra parts to be replaced. I have never done any suspension work on this car which is sad because I have had the motor and everything else out :rofl:
 

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I’m getting ready to do similar front end work and have been searching the forums with these questions in mind as well. There are inner and outer tie rods (don’t know if you meant that in the list or not). I’ve also come up with:

Upper shock mounting bracket
Sway bar bushings
Strut tower bushings
- and maybe outer tie rod boots?

Its also my understanding that the TRW lower control arms from Advance auto come with the required control arm bushings regardless if you get the super coupe or regular ones (someone correct me if I am wrong).

The front strut rod bushings look like this. You find them where the strut rod connects to the “front frame”.




My question is, do all bushings need to be greased first? And if so, what kind of grease?
I also know its important to use only the Motorcraft strut rod bushings, but what about the other bushings? Any better brands? Poly vs rubber? Motorcraft part numbers for any of the above would also be helpful.

Also, any words of advice or special tricks to be aware of from those that have done front end rebuilds before?
 

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here are some tips in no particular order. be sure to read other older threads on this topic...there should be a lot.

it will be useful to have an 18mm closed end racheting wrench (sears) for the UCA nuts. they are tricky but not impossible to remove.

you'll need a large open end wrench for the inner front strut rod nut in pic above. i think its 30 mm but i dont remember for sure.

you need to hold the strut rod in place with a wrench when you reinstall it...only at the bend though. check the shop manual for the exact spot.

also check shop manual for the proper torque specs for reassembly.

count the threads on the strut rod before removal so you can get it back close to original on reassembly. you'll need an alignment regardless. use only motorcraft replacement bushings for strut rod.

you should take the spring/strut assembly to a local shop to use the wall mounted spring compressor to remove the strut. if you are replacing that.

i used spray on white lithium grease liberally on all the bushings.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
So, I went to O'Reily Auto Parts today and priced most if not all of this stuff. Using most of there in store brand stuff which have the limited lifetime warranties the cost came out to be be about 425.00 for everything except new shocks/struts, rotors, and pads. I was gonna do the brakes anyway because my rotors are warped.

I asked the salesperson to bring one of the LCA out and it had TRW on the casting. The abbreviation for the brand was MCA but I cant remember what the long name version is anymore.

I will take a closer look at everything tomorrow morning just to verify what needs to be done. I would much rather replace it all now than later though. Why only Motorcraft on the strut rod bushings by the way?

The 425 was for

UCA x2
LCA x2
Inner and Outer tie rod ends x2
sway bar end x2 front and back
strut rod bushing x2
 

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So, I went to O'Reily Auto Parts today and priced most if not all of this stuff. Using most of there in store brand stuff which have the limited lifetime warranties the cost came out to be be about 425.00 for everything except new shocks/struts, rotors, and pads. I was gonna do the brakes anyway because my rotors are warped.

I asked the salesperson to bring one of the LCA out and it had TRW on the casting. The abbreviation for the brand was MCA but I cant remember what the long name version is anymore.

I will take a closer look at everything tomorrow morning just to verify what needs to be done. I would much rather replace it all now than later though. Why only Motorcraft on the strut rod bushings by the way?

The 425 was for

UCA x2
LCA x2
Inner and Outer tie rod ends x2
sway bar end x2 front and back
strut rod bushing x2
You may want to run those parts in Rockauto.com, and look for a 5% discount code by searching the web. You may end up paying less. You can get the UCAs from Jon (parts counter forum)here (Motorcraft parts) for about $44 each. I have them installed on mine and they are good so far.

Ford (not motorcraft) has the best bushings. They are a bit pricey but hold up very well vs the aftermarket bushings. Again Jon may be able to help with that. The aftermarket ones don't last as long.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ok, Well I have made a list at rockauto. It has the option to email the cart... would someone mind taking a look at it for me?
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I'll just take a screenshot of the cart itself. I checked my suspension out real good and it appears that the strut rod bushings and rear sway bar links and still in good shape. The rest of the parts have bushings that look like crap.

Anyway, here is a screenshot of the parts I have picked out and Rockauto.

 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well, I ordered the parts anyway.

Mevotech Control Arms (upper and lower, both sides)
Mevotech Inner and Outer Tie Rods
Mevotech Sway Bar Ends

Monroe Sensa Trak Shocks and struts (front and back)

Fram Fuel filter
dorman hinge pin and bushing kits

435.03 shipped

Went with the mevotech brand. I have never heard of them but I figure as long as there are no fitment issues and I keep everything greased well that I shouldnt havent to replace any of this again(except for the fuel filter and hinge pins of course) for as long as I own the car.

I will be changing my water pump, rotors and pads, and spark plugs while its down.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I got all the pars. Everything appears to have grease fittings. That will be fine I just will have to be sure its done. I know it varies on driving and the parts involved but what would be a good average to look to grease these things?

The cheapest i could find someone to compress the springs so far is $75.
 

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You can get all TRW parts at advance auto. When I did mine I checked everywhere to get the cheapest price for better parts and advance beat all the rest.
 

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Its also my understanding that the TRW lower control arms from Advance auto come with the required control arm bushings regardless if you get the super coupe or regular ones (someone correct me if I am wrong).
The 1996/1997 Thunderbird LX with the Sport option use the same lower control arms that the 1994/1995 Thunderbird SuperCoupe used (it has a stiffer pivot bushing than non-Sport models). If you go to Advance Auto Parts website (www.advanceauto.com/, I believe) and look-up lower control arms for a 1997 T-Bird, it'll list only 1 left LCA made by TRW and 1 right LCA made by TRW (along with LCA's by Moog and others). Both the TRW LCA's say with SuperCoupe, even though there was no SuperCoupe after 1995 (and, even though you're searching for parts for a 1997 T-Bird!) - apparently someone at Advance knows there's a difference between Sport and non-Sport T-Birds!

Dennis
 
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