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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello all, I am confused, and to the best of my searching have found very little that lets me understand what I need to do.

So far I know that we have shocks all around, but they are commonly called struts. Of course Rock Auto has both and many more options.

Coil Spring
Coil Spring Insulator
Coil Spring Seat
Rear Suspension Toe Link
Shock Absorber
Shock Mount
Shock Mount Insulator
Shock Mounting Kit
Stabilizer Bar Bushing
Stabilizer Bar Link
Strut Assembly
Strut Bellow
Strut Mount
Strut Rod Bushing

an autozone search and bilstein still comes up from them and they show the forked assembly as being front and the solid bottom being backs (looks like you can special order the rears, fronts are a no go). Rock auto says the solid bottoms are shocks and the forked bottoms are struts. However under shocks you have fronts and rears from rock auto for motorcraft however there is no sport option for fronts. On top of that I can not find motorcraft springs and the selection is limited, but monroe is all over the place and the easiest to replace appear to be monroe sensatracks for the front as they seem to be fully assembled.

At the same time if I am replacing these, I want to do the job once and maybe again in 50k. I am a bit scared that the rears are so cheap, even for motorcraft, compared to the fronts. Also if I have a lot of the front suspension off I am wondering if I should end up doing the tie rods as well, I kinda figured it would definately be a good time to do LCA's. If I can go with everything from rock auto, great, otherwise so far it looks like I am purchasing extra motorcraft strut bushings from

https://www.silverstatefordparts.com/oem-Ford-parts.html.

Would it be best to buy the sensa track as everything is together in one shot, or am I overlooking something and I will need to compress springs anyway and can save money by buying all the parts separately.

Anyone have recommendation on parts besides motorcraft? If the front sensa tracks are no easier to install I was really thinking of just doing Motorcraft all around, but was concerned by the sport option not being there. I would like something sport or better, and the best ones I know for sport are MC's w/sport option choices, however, there are no springs and the most expensive ones are from MOOG.

Also a lot of the parts say 'May Be Required To Replace Original Lower Mounting Bolt'. I was hoping to get some elaboration on that. I don't think it means I need to buy a strut mounting kit from rock auto, but I am not sure and I do not see anything for just the bolt.

I am going to be reading up on this a ton to work up the courage and probably purchase the strut install tool from harbor freight, but I have heard those can be unreliable and break, so if any one could recommend a quality tool it would be appreciated.

I know my threads are always long so as always thanks for reading and any help and opinions are always appreciated.

-thoroughly confused and starting to feel like my car is getting antiquated since parts are a bit hard to find..... well quality ones anyway lol.
 

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Yea it's better to do them all at once if you have the money but not much harder to do seperate if you wan't to replace just what is needed. Nothing is really that hard to install or remove if you have a few good tools. If you buy just the shocks without springs for the front it is probably better to have a shop compress them for you so you can just re-install. If you buy the shock/spring combo you dont have to compress anything, just install but a waste of money if your springs are still good. Rear shocks are seperate from the spring so really easy to do. The control arms etc. are not really that hard just get a pitman puller tool. Not sure on the bolt for the front shocks but it should say if it's included or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah I am thinking about money of course, but I also know the pain of buying a cheap part (even though I paid slightly less than a good one from Motorcraft if bought from RA) and having to do the job again a year later. This is why I was asking about brandings because otherwise I would end up with MC for everything and so far for suspension MOOG is acceptable and my preference due to being able to grease the joints. Of course I think any research shows the bushings for the Tension Strut to body NEED to me MC no matter what.... I am having trouble finding the part for Tension Strut, but the bushings are plentiful it seems.

All this talk got me looking at the rear because the shocks are supposed to be easier and a friend at work was able to replace both rears in 30 mins each with help and said it was easy. (grand am)

However I was noticing there are tons of bushing's if you really look at it and even a huge lower control arm and an upper according to some diagrams I have seen. I got that the rear shocks are easy, but it makes me think these parts could need replacing as well, however I see the cost for the entire assemblies is significantly more now since they do not seem to be available from rock auto, or they expect you to never replace those arms, just the bushings/joints. I am talking like 3-4 hundred dollars for a single rear LCA.....

I need more time to think I suppose, anyone have an opinion on the Monroe sensa track fully assembled struts that are about $120 a piece for the fronts? Like I said I want sport or better, the ride could feel bumpier, as long as it performs better I do not mind.

I do not think sports had different rear shocks than stock, but can anyone confirm this for me?
 

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As far as I can recall there is no need to replace the rear LCA's unless they are bent in some kind of accident like what had happened to me in my last cougar. Rear LCA's don't have ball joints like the fronts and that's pretty much the only reason why the fronts require replacing.
 

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my preference due to being able to grease the joints.
That's a mistake. Cheap ball joints have zerk fittings, the good, teflon lined OEM style ball joints, do not.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
That's a mistake. Cheap ball joints have zerk fittings, the good, teflon lined OEM style ball joints, do not.
Well shoot, looking back I must have skimmed over the post on my UCA thread http://forums.tccoa.com/showthread.php?t=125540 that said the newer MC's have the fittings to add grease, although I am positive I have had this notion in my mind that the MC's were not Equipped with that.... and I am guessing it's from a rock auto picture.

Anyway I will see how long they last, but I stand by my statement that I want fittings to re-grease these things and if it could be a MC that's even better, but if I am not sure if what I am getting has them it will tip me towards the MOOG unfortunately. In one year the healthy red grease I packed in has turned black. This grease is Synthetic and made to withstand -40 C to 150 C. Granted it could still be good, but to me 'could' is the same as taking a chance, and I guess I took the manuals 1 year 'grease suspension parts' to heart.

Even if the OEM used something 10 times better, it still rubs me the wrong way to use the same lubricant consistently and expect it to protect everything properly indefinitely. It just feels like using the same oil in your engine for a year, they make stuff for that specifically from FRAM and Mobile One, but why chance it?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
As far as I can recall there is no need to replace the rear LCA's unless they are bent in some kind of accident like what had happened to me in my last cougar. Rear LCA's don't have ball joints like the fronts and that's pretty much the only reason why the fronts require replacing.
Blah, I must be thinking bushings than. That's good to know because it's something I will look and make sure is not cracked or damaged and move on. I feel more confident to start there with some MC's shocks, I think rock auto has a bunch going wholesale and hopefully I will have time for that tomorrow, it's been a long day for me today. I am still trying to tell if the ones they have are for the front or rear. Some say rear at the end, others start with R than the part name.

Heck maybe if I order the wrong part it will just prompt me to try and reuse the springs and other parts (much cheaper this way). Although I noticed the passenger side had what looked like undercoating chip and peel off of it, and that made me think the spring should be replaced as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ok I am looking at some things and kinda realizing that even if I could find the part for the strut rod, I would than need to find, or re-use, old parts from the old setup, which would be pretty much taking it apart each section again anyway. It just feels like I will still taking it all apart anyway and salvaging necessary bolts that the only time saved would be raising up and removing a wheel.

I think I will kick the idea around some more, but from my previous experience of trying to find exact replacement bolts in Grade M8 it's hard unless you can actually bring the original in to match (UCA bolts). Right now it just seems best to replace one part at a time since it is still my daily driver.

If only there were exact bolts for everything you could get from rock auto, than I would realize my easy install of just replacing all as one lol.
 

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You are aware that you DON'T have to replace the UCA bolts every time, right?

I'd check at the Ford dealer for the bolts, so that you get them with the flags (makes it a LOT easier to assemble!)

Nuts - your choice, but with the bolts in hand, it's easier to find the nuts.

Me? I reused the old ones, torqued the fronts right, the back I felt the same as the fronts after torquing, and used LocTite(tm) Permanent on all four. THAT'LL larn it to work lose! :diablo:

RwP
 

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Discussion Starter #11
You are aware that you DON'T have to replace the UCA bolts every time, right?

RwP
Yeah I was informed to just reuse them since they are M8 and pretty much good forever. My comment was referring to if I actually took apart the LCA, entire shock, and strut rod. The easiest way to do all three at once and save time would be to preassemble all three new parts before starting the replacement job. If that was done the LCA could be removed, strut rod at bushing side, and shock at upper side only without being forced to fight stubborn bolts. However unless you have the bolts that are expected to be reused, your fighting stubborn bolts anyway and defeating the purpose of doing all three at once.

I was never able to torque the UCA frame bolts down, I just got them on, lowered the vehicle, tightened until I could not tighten anymore even with leverage help. For lock-tight brake/caliper/chassis grease on everything.

Before you buy any thing Give Bill a call at www.supercoupeperformance.com/ he will have all those parts bundled for you cheaper than you can get.elsewhere.
Thanks for that, but I have this feeling I am going to replace parts as they fail, but since the shocks are over 30k old with me, and probably older still, those are going first with the 50k recommendation.

I am still kicking around the idea though.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Before you buy any thing Give Bill a call at www.supercoupeperformance.com/ he will have all those parts bundled for you cheaper than you can get.elsewhere.
Really thanks for that link it's going in my favs now. I remember saying the OEM FORD bushings costing $70+ but we have $60 here

http://www.supercoupeperformance.com/partBrowser.aspx?PartID=583

Anyone want to comment if these are actually OEM good replacements? It is noted they say OEM quality, not that they are in fact OEM. Another one is how hard compared to UCA's would these be to replace, and any special tools?

This site has some cool little extras here. :cool:
 

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It doesn't look like those have the ferrels you'll need. You'll probably hack the old ones to get them out, I did a good job on mine! Stick with the Ford ones.

Joe
 

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those bushings are good the other kind is terrible and this is as close to the kind motorcraft sells.

I have the preassembled quik struts in the front and they work fine, if you want a significant bump in performance they are not the ones to get. I have them on my daily driver because I wanted to make the install easy and they certainly did. This is a good time to replace the flex joint with a modded solid steering joint since youll need it aligned after its put back together. Its not needed per say but does make throwing the wheel back and forth easier.

I used bolts from home depot to put my UCAs back on its been 2 years and no troubles. THey were grade 8 bolts.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I have the preassembled quik struts in the front and they work fine, if you want a significant bump in performance they are not the ones to get.

I used bolts from home depot to put my UCAs back on its been 2 years and no troubles. THey were grade 8 bolts.
I was hoping to get something equal or better than OEM SPORT for the shocks.

I tried that actually, I however ended up not bringing the new UCA in because there is nothing to thread too, and I also was wrong in assuming they were the exact same as the pinch bolt, which I do not think I am mistaken, 18mm. however the old nut would not thread onto the new bolt, and I could have used the nut I purchased as well, but I think they did not go through the control arms openings and were too big. So those parts went back, if anyone had a size on the bolt and what nut to use that would probably help people in the future but I could not find the information, than again it could be on silverstatefords site I guess.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Really thanks for that link it's going in my favs now. I remember saying the OEM FORD bushings costing $70+ but we have $60 here

http://www.supercoupeperformance.com/partBrowser.aspx?PartID=583[/url [/QUOTE] For myself and anyone who may read this thread for advice. I still have yet to choose any parts and winter is closing in on me, so this may have to wait for nicer weather next year as making sure the brakes are replaced and getting a coat of weather stripping is more important atm. (also gives me time to gather cash and I am going to need 4 new tires as well.) Anyway There was a comment about furrels being needed for the bushing for the strut rods. I think it is here with the other set of bushing equipment. http://www.supercoupeperformance.com/partBrowser.aspx?partId=606 However those are Poly, instead of rubber. Anyone have an opinion on this? This link is for the front of the strut rod bushings, and the previous link was for the rear bushings. Again thanks for any and all help/opinions.
 

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I used the tokico kit for shocks and springs on my thunderbird, the shocks alone or the shock/spring 1 1/4" drop kit is available from shox.com. As far as UCA's I've had moog greaseables for the last two years with no problems. I have Dana/trw front endlinks, energy suspension rear end links, energy suspension tie rod boots on dana/trw outer tie rod ends. I still have original lower control arms front and rear with new poly bushings from scp. I'm using prothane poly spring isolators in the rear. I used autozones brand for upper shock mounts with no issues and since I live in Vegas with no rust issues I've reused all of the original hardware except for the upper shock washer and nuts which I pulled from a local junkyard because I wanted my front shock/springs professionally assembled for ease of installation (by me in my local college autoshop with proper wall mounted spring press equipment). DO NOT under any circumstances try to use those cheap deadly hand spring compressors.
 

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I was hoping to get something equal or better than OEM SPORT for the shocks.

I tried that actually, I however ended up not bringing the new UCA in because there is nothing to thread too, and I also was wrong in assuming they were the exact same as the pinch bolt, which I do not think I am mistaken, 18mm. however the old nut would not thread onto the new bolt, and I could have used the nut I purchased as well, but I think they did not go through the control arms openings and were too big. So those parts went back, if anyone had a size on the bolt and what nut to use that would probably help people in the future but I could not find the information, than again it could be on silverstatefords site I guess.
Don't waste your money on anything but konis inserts with some cut/uncut sport springs. I know some others will actually agree or disagree to cut them. THe price and what you get makes the best sense to me at least. Its adjustable to whatever setting you need on some linear springs. And the sport springs/w shock housing come cheap from the jyard vs aftermarket. For a quick install just swap them in as you find them. THis is definitely an upgrade from stock. The handling can be had with big adcco sway bars btw. There is a SC version of the LCA with a bigger lower shock mount bushing too. Some people have bought that bigger shock mount kind of LCA after market, I dont remember the details but the price was a good deal. I know I wished I had read that story before I bought mine.

I am using home depot bolts and they are still holding up fine after 3+ years I used grade 8 bolts and nuts(very cheap)and don't have rusting issues with them either. I had 2 seized bolts and decided to cut them out of the way. And I figured I ruined the other 2 so now I have all home depot bolts/nuts/washers holding my UCAs together.

When I bought UCAs for my bird and my room also bought a pair for his mark 8 the pinch bolt from the uca to the spindle was a hex head and wrong so I reused the old bolt with new nuts. Its been fine for both of our cars for years.

Yes its 18mm in a gear wrench thats best. Most people have trouble getting the lower shock mount bolt off so be sure to soak that in something fierce that normally a tough one as is the strut rod nut in the front, the back nuts you don't need to touch.

Good luck with your car with whatever you are doing.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Good luck with your car with whatever you are doing.
Thanks for that and the opinions. I was thinking of going KYB though because the konis are 3 times more expensive. i like the adjustable idea, but in Chicago, high is better especially if next year sees the same flooding this year did.

Well I ended up going for new tires and I ended up doing a pep boys thing, yeah I know but it was more convenient and I was able to get them to knock more off the bundle price of road hazard, balance, mount, and alignment. Also I am going to fill out a rebate form to get the price of one tire free.

However they did mention that it was not necessary but there was minor play on my drivers side wheel bearing, which I suspected since I ad the pass replaced about 3-4 years ago. They aid they would just do the whole wheel hub as pressing out the old bearing and putting a new one in was not possible (I think they may not have known how) or something and gave me a quote for that. Well if it does not involve a press I think I can do it and a new hub will cost me the same as the one they showed me but mine would be MC.

So that is kinda the most pressing now as the rest was fine according to them (I don't believe it, but it's probably not as bad as the bearing). My future looks like front brakes, wheel hub, have them recheck the alignment, and wait until after winter for more projects.

Anyone have advice on wheel hub swap outs? I am going to refer to my Haynes now but as we know they are more of a guide lines rather than step by step. Also any special tools (that help) would be great to know as well as a difficulty rating compared to say UCA's.
 

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the bearing in fronts come as whole piece only backs can get seperate
 
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