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1997 Ford Thunderbird LX
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69 Posts
Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Depending on your location (you mentioned rust) it may be quite a pain to get the lower shock mount out of the LCA when it comes time to replace it - the bolt is thicker at both ends than it is through the sleeve and if it rusted in, it's virtually impossible to get out. In the past I've replaced both the shock/spring and LCA all at once to avoid touching that bolt, and planned ahead by ordering new hardware with the other suspension parts.

Overall I'd say suspension work is not difficult to do but you will need 1/2" sockets and breaker bars; having a good impact will help tremendously. Especially for a beginner, don't do more than one side at a time and be sure you've got a way to get to a parts place if you run into trouble while the car is in pieces. Aside from the shock to LCA bolt I mentioned before, the LCA to spindle bolt is the one that gives most folks difficulty; do a couple searches and you'll see the common pitfalls and how people got around them.

Take pictures of the LCA-K member bolt/cam positions before you loosen anything up so you can get the alignment close when you tighten everything up. You'll need to get a proper alignment after you do LCAs anyway, but having it close helps make sure you can make it to the shop safely. :)
So this weekend I was planning to to the upper and lower control arms as well as shocks in order to avoid dealing with the bolt you mentioned that is a hassle to get off. Now I'm looking for the replacement bolts since I'll be leaving the old ones on. I'm having a hard time finding the replacements. Everything I google I get selections and it takes me to an auto parts store and the bolt they showed was for a different vehicle and says it dosent fit the 97 Thunderbird. Could you hook me up with the part number or a link where I could purchase the LCA to shock bolt? Thx.
 

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Super Moderator
97 Thunderbird 4.6, 98 Mark VIII LSC
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11,400 Posts
I used the Monroe AK68, but it looks like you might be hard pressed to find it. I'm on my way to the airport for a flight today so I don't have much time to look up alternative SKUs for you to search for, but who knows, someone else might beat me to it by the time I'm back this evening. :)
 

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97 Thunderbird 4.6, 98 Mark VIII LSC
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11,400 Posts
Sure looks like it. Ironic, they were like $6 back in the day lol.
 

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1997 Ford Thunderbird LX
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69 Posts
Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Whew thanks for your help. Once you gave me that ak69 number it opened a couple things up and I was able to get a set ordered. Still hard to find and all of the quantities are pretty limited. I'm getting used to paying crazy prices. The other day I changed my fuel filter and my bone head lost one of the clips. $10 for that little peice of plastic that cost 10 cents to manufacture. It is what it is though. Thank you again for the info. Hope your trip went good btw.
 

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1997 Ford Thunderbird LX
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69 Posts
Discussion Starter · #28 · (Edited)
Well the Terminator was right about the stabilizer endlinks and thank you for the heads up since I ordered them based just on your knowledge. Just went and took a look at everything and check this out. And yeah a good pic of upper control arm ball joints. I think there may be an issue lol
 

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1997 Ford Thunderbird LX
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69 Posts
Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Quick update. Started work on the suspension and man power tools would have came in handy. I broke a nail getting a bolt off of the lower control arm. No not like "I broke a nail" nail break. I split it right down the middle along with splitting the tip of my finger. Let's just say it didn't tickle lol. Anyway I got rained out so luckily I have off tomorrow off so it's back at it. It's going smooth with no real damage other than the welded ring on the frame that goes around this metal plate that is sits on the bolt broke away so the metal peice spins freely. I don't know how to explain it better than that but idk if that welded peice is detemremental or not. Any info would be appreciated. I'd take a picture but my car is not with me. I'll see if I can find a picture someplace. But yeah the hard part of removing the rusted bolts and nuts is about over so it should be easy from here on.
 

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I have a Craftsman cordless impact tool; it will remove just about anything my air impact will.
I would recommend something like that.
 
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Registered
1997 Ford Thunderbird LX
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69 Posts
Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Quick update. Started work on the suspension and man power tools would have came in handy. I broke a nail getting a bolt off of the lower control arm. No not like "I broke a nail" nail break. I split it right down the middle along with splitting the tip of my finger. Let's just say it didn't tickle lol. Anyway I got rained out so luckily I have off tomorrow off so it's back at it. It's going smooth with no real damage other than the welded ring on the frame that goes around this metal plate that is sits on the bolt broke away so the metal peice spins freely. I don't know how to explain it better than that but idk if that welded peice is detemremental or not. Any info would be appreciated. I'd take a picture but my car is not with me. I'll see if I can find a picture someplace. But yeah the hard part of removing the rusted bolts and nuts is about over so it should be easy from here on.
 

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1997 Ford Thunderbird LX
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69 Posts
Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Well after doing a bit of research I found that this is actually a very important peice however it is a common issue with older cars. So hopefully the shop won't charge me crazy prices to weld a new bracket back on. The camber plate adjustment bracket is what I was so poorly trying to describe earlier. Unfortunately due to rain and my buddy who is helping me, not marking where the camber plate sat on his side of the vehicle I have no markings where those plates were befor so an alignment will certainly be needed after this job is done anyway. Buying new camber plates and bolts but that bracket has be a bit concerned now.
 

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SuperNewbie
1995 Thunderbird LX Missing 4.6 MIssing Trans Red
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4,059 Posts
Well after doing a bit of research I found that this is actually a very important peice however it is a common issue with older cars. So hopefully the shop won't charge me crazy prices to weld a new bracket back on. The camber plate adjustment bracket is what I was so poorly trying to describe earlier. Unfortunately due to rain and my buddy who is helping me, not marking where the camber plate sat on his side of the vehicle I have no markings where those plates were befor so an alignment will certainly be needed after this job is done anyway. Buying new camber plates and bolts but that bracket has be a bit concerned now.
Well if the whole bracket broke off it can be welded back on.
 

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1997 Ford Thunderbird LX
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69 Posts
Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Well I have to admit defeat. The unserbird is headed to the shop via tow truck. Got all of the old off however trying to install the new while being on a time crunch proved harder than expected. I had a buddy working with me and he had things all mixed up and not tightening things to spec. That's just not how I do things so...also the stabalizer bar threads were getting cross threaded. No matter what I did I couldn't get the ball joints to stop spinning on the lower and sway links. I have to work 12 hr shifts all week starting at 4am. It was just too much. So I hate to admit defeat but I want things done right especially with stearing. I'd rather have underbird in a scrap yard then have it on the road endangering the safety of others. So the shop is gonna go over everything and get it all tightened to spec and finish the job. Improvising with tools because didnt that the proper ones. It was a mess. Embarrassed? Yup, but it is what it is. I still save around $300 from pulling the old and having most of it put together though and that's including the tow so I feel just a little better about that.
 

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1994 Cougar XR7 DOHC/5-Speed
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21,978 Posts
I had a real bear of a time getting front endlinks into my friends SC this summer, they always fight me but the way these ones went I came very close to telling my buddy "you're on your own" 😆

There are endlinks that have hexes in the studs you can hold them from spinning with but I don't know which brand it is that has those.
 

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1997 Ford Thunderbird LX
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69 Posts
Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Ohh I understand completely. I was getting so frustrated I wanted to take a wrench to those pretty little headlights lol. The ones I have are Moog problem solvers I got for real cheap at Rockauto. I know some ppl have tips and tricks how to get em not to spin but without someone there I just have no confidence in myself and worry I'm gonna wreck something not only delaying the fix as I order em but costing me more cash in the process. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one on Herr that struggles. Youtube makes everything look so damn easy. Well when you have a 97 with rusted suspension it isn't all that easy lol.
 
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