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Discussion Starter #1
Ok...I'm hoping someone can clarify which parts that I need. I am looking to replace my set of shocks with Tokico Illuminas (part #EU3689 front; part #EE3690 rear) to keep the electronic ride control intact. I have read that it is recommended to change the spring insulators when changing the shocks. However, I am unclear as to which insulators I need.

So far I have gathered the following:

1. There are 2 insulators on the rear springs (top/bottom). I called Ford parts and they said the part is #E9SZ5K617A (same part number for top/bottom). The part retails for about $25/each. They look like a big rubber doughnut that caps the ends of the springs.

2. The front insulators are more like a strut mount. The only info I can find on these is a KYB Strut Mount on TireRack.

http://www.tirerack.com/suspension/suspension.jsp?autoMake=Ford&autoModel=Thunderbird+SC&autoYear=1994&autoModClar=&make=KYB&model=Strut+&+Shock+Mount&group=Strut+&+Shock+Mount&partNum=SM5187

Is this the correct "insulator" for the front? The person at Ford said the fronts have some sort of "bracket assembly" that retails for around $50...I am assuming this refers to this strut mount.

I'm pretty sure I have the rear insulator parts set, but I need some help with the fronts. Any one can can list the part number or description of what I need would help me out a lot. I am not planning on doing this install myself and will be taking my 94 SC to a professional shop. However, it will be my responsibility to bring in all the parts needed. Some extra info...my car is lowered using H&R springs.

Thanks for your help!
 

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Am 99% sure there is no rubber spring mount on the front - they are almost like a strut, bolts directly to the car body, and the lower control arm.

As for new rear spring isolators, you probably won't even need them. I just changed my springs over, and the 150k mile original rubber mounts were just fine, Ford used good material for the part. Save $100.

BTW, didn't realize this was your first post. Welcome to the club, hope you like it here :).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hey Kevin! Thanks for your response. My car currently has 80K miles on it so maybe my insulators are fine...I guess there's no way for me to check unless I take apart my suspension. The Ford dealership out here has a sale on parts, so if I can get a discount, I may just replace the rears anyways just to have a fresh set.

Any idea on what that KYB Strut Mount on TireRack is? The parts person at Ford could only tell me that the front insulator is different from the rears and looks like a strut mount.
 

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Call dan newman and get the rear isolators, and the front strut mounts.

I think I paid 11 dollars each for the isolators, and he should have the strut mounts for cheaper than tirerack.

If not then rockauto.com stocks the strut mounts.

JH
 

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Ford does refer to any shock mounts as "brackets" in the parts listings (Ford number will be F1SZ 18183 AA), but those are the upper shock mounts for the front.

And I would strongly recommend that you not buy the Illumina II shocks for your SC. Many people including myself have experienced premature failure of those shocks. They're great for about 30 - 40,000 miles, then they lose their stiffness. I thought it would be great to keep the auto-ride feature, but ended up leaving them on the firm setting 95% of the time anyway. My car now rides on Koni Sports. A bit more money than the Tokico Illumina II shocks, but worth it. I would have put these in the car to begin with if I had known what was going to happen with the Tokicos.

cheers,
Ed Nicholson
SCCoO
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hey Fast Ed! Thanks for your response. All this info has been a great help! Regarding the shocks, I was under the impression that the stock shocks for the SC were made by Tokico. My main goal is to keep the car as much "stock" as possible. The only mods that I have made to the car is lowering it with H&R springs.

I purchased the car used with about 18K miles on it and lowered the car at around 23K. I have never replaced the shocks so I am still running on the originals. The ride is still pretty decent at 80K, however, a mechanic friend of mine (he works on Hondas and won't touch my TBird) recommended that I look to change the shocks since they really only last 60K and thats on a non-lowered car.

Are there any other manufacturers that make replacement shocks that will keep the electronic ride control? Who makes the OEM Ford shocks? I am not looking for anything fancy, just something that will keep my SC riding smoothly for a while.
 

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my shocks are goin on 95k... never had any of them replaced. They are getting to the point of replacement soon, although... =) Doesn't ford use MacPherson type on LX's?
 

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AnthraxBird said:
my shocks are goin on 95k... never had any of them replaced. They are getting to the point of replacement soon, although... =) Doesn't ford use MacPherson type on LX's?
The MN-12 suspension has no struts in it. Both halves of the car use shocks.
 

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The factory SC shocks were supplied by Tokico. They seem to stand up very well. I know that lots of the Ontario SC owners have 100,000+ miles on their original shocks, and are just now needing replacements. I was quite disappointed with the Tokico Illumina 2 shocks. We installed them at the same time with a set of Eibach springs, and I loved the ride and handling initially. But after about 3 years and 50,000 miles, the shocks were pretty much dead, especially the rears. At that point we installed Konis in the rear to get me through the rest of that season, and then Konis in the front last spring just before the Carlisle show.

As for other shocks that retain the factory ride control system, someone had mentioned Gabriel listed fronts in their catalogue, but I don't know anyone who has used them. And if they don't have rears to match, it's kind of pointless anyway. Consider a set of the OE replacement Tokicos from Ford. They seem to have a good lifespan, and lots of people are using them with lowering springs and have no problems.

AnthraxBird, the suspension design on the SC and LX Birds was the same. Just differences in bushing material, spring rates, shock valving, and stabilizer bar sizes. The front suspension is a short / long arm design. MacPherson strut refers to a design where the upper mounting of the shock also serves as the upper suspension locating point, eliminating the upper control arm. The 89 - 97 T-Birds & Cougars have upper and lower control arms, the confusion arises from the spring being mounted over the shock. This makes it a coil-over shock ... not a strut, since there is still a control arm to act as the upper mounting and pivot point for the suspension. Generally regarded as a superior design for handling compared to a MacPherson strut front end.

cheers,
Ed N.
 

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Gosh Ed, never seen the whole strut/shock thing broken down that way. Never really paid much attention to it either, but good info, thanks.

Not to steal or sidetrack this thread, maybe borrow for a moment, but with lowering springs, don't the end links need replaced with shorter/modified ones?
 

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Best of my knowledge Macpherson is a "system" and struts for that are referred to as Macpherson struts but made by Gabriel, Monroe, etc. I don't know about shocks ever being related to Macpherson setups. Could be wrong, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hey everyone, thanks for all the responses! Looks like we have a pretty good conversation going. I'm starting to think that I will look into OEM replacement shocks instead of the Tokico Illuminas. A lot of you seem to have more miles on the originals than I have and if they're still working, the OEs must be good!

My car currently has 80K miles and the ride is still fine, however, I just got a new set of Firehawk SZ50s and will be getting an alignment anyways...just seems like a good time to get a new set of shocks and do everything at once. This is the first time I've had any major suspension work done since I had my car lowered...anyone have an idea on what I am looking at in terms of installation/parts cost? The shop I was thinking of taking my car in for the Tokico Illuminas wanted about $500 for the shocks ($125 each) and about $450 for labor. I figured at the end of the day its going to cost me a grand to get this done.

Anyone have any cost/part # info on the OEM shocks?
 

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Ok, so I just called around for prices on the OEM shocks and they are EXPENSIVE! Here's the price quote that I got:

Fronts: $196/each (part #F4SZ18124B)
Rears: $195/each (part #F4SZ18125BA)

The OEM shocks are Motorcraft parts. Are these shocks actually Tokicos with Motorcraft labelling? If so, what's the difference between the OEMs and the Illuminas?

Anyone know or a place to get Motorcraft parts cheaper than from a dealership?
 

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94tbirdscdriver said:
Ok, so I just called around for prices on the OEM shocks and they are EXPENSIVE! Here's the price quote that I got:

Fronts: $196/each (part #F4SZ18124B)
Rears: $195/each (part #F4SZ18125BA)

The OEM shocks are Motorcraft parts. Are these shocks actually Tokicos with Motorcraft labelling? If so, what's the difference between the OEMs and the Illuminas?

Anyone know or a place to get Motorcraft parts cheaper than from a dealership?
Am I correct in assuming those are prices for the shocks with the ARC? Because plain sport front shocks are about $55 each.
 

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94tbirdscdriver said:
Ok, so I just called around for prices on the OEM shocks and they are EXPENSIVE! Here's the price quote that I got:

Fronts: $196/each (part #F4SZ18124B)
Rears: $195/each (part #F4SZ18125BA)

The OEM shocks are Motorcraft parts. Are these shocks actually Tokicos with Motorcraft labelling? If so, what's the difference between the OEMs and the Illuminas?

Anyone know or a place to get Motorcraft parts cheaper than from a dealership?
have you tried Dan Newman yet? Remember, you are getting electronically adjustable shocks.....

joseph
 

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Discussion Starter #18
How do I contact Dan Newman? I think I came across his website once, but I cannot find it now.

Its looking like I will go with a replacement set of the OEM shocks. I want to keep the automatic ride control and it seems as though the OEM shocks are getting good reviews regarding longevity. Rockauto.com has a decent price on a set of Motorcraft OEM ($125.79 fronts, $124.79 rears). That's a lot better than the price I was quoted from Ford.

Are there any other parts that I should be looking to get while I'm changing my shocks? I will probably replace the spring insulators just to have a new set on the car, but are there any othere bushings, etc that should be changed as well? Again, my car is lowered with H&R springs and I am running 245/50/16 Firehawk SZ50s on the stock rims.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Hey Ed, thanks for your response. You seem to know quite a bit regarding replacing shocks. Is there anything else you recommend that I have changed when I replace my shocks? Any bushings that should be replaced?

I'm hoping that by changing the shocks now I'll be able to ride smoothly for the next 60K and not have to worry about my suspension going out.
 
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