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Old 04-07-2011, 02:31 AM   #1
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Default do these trucks have front struts or shocks inside of springs? how to disassemble

hey.

i have a 2004 f150.

i have 150,000 miles and i think it must be time for new shocks! no pops yet..but the ride is getting kind of rough.

what shocks should i use? my truck is 4x4. should i buy just cheap house brand shocks? or would i benefit from a top end shock?
what price should i pay? where is the best place to purchase?

is the front shock system a strut design? does it come apart?
one parts store told me i had to spend over 200 bucks a piece for the front struts! they said they are made in one piece.

another store said that they strut comes apart and i just put the shock inside it? they quoted like 90 bucks each side.

so whats the deal?

what tools do i need?

any help would be appreciated!!!

oh, and while i am at it..i want to put a mild leveling kit in the front.
what brand? price? place to buy?

thanks for your help guys!
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Old 04-07-2011, 02:48 AM   #2
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RockAuto has the entire assembly for $132 and change.

They're monroe, not anything fancy, but they work, and the springs are beasts to separate from the struts.
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Old 04-07-2011, 07:24 AM   #3
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Wow again! Your first purchase needs to be a good factory type shop manual. It explains the proceedures for repair, and includes the tools requred (if specialty tools are required) to do the job.

This site will help you as much as it can, but if you're serious in doing your own work, you'll want (and need) a good shop manual.

At 150K, your shocks and front struts are overdue for replacement. You must have some decent roads in Georgia, as those front struts should have shown signs of leaking long ago. Mine blew last year at 70K; the roads here in Dallas helped that!

As to how much to spend? Do you plan to keep the truck for a long time? You get what you pay for: buy cheap, get cheap. If you plan to part with the truck soon, buy cheap. If you plan to hold onto it, buy better quality. The fronts are indeed struts: shocks inside the coil spring. At the very least, you'll need a coil spring compressor (can be rented out (or sometimes free) at the parts store you buy the cartridge shocks from. You can buy complete coil/shock assemblies (easier to install; does not require disassembly to replace the shock cartridge), or just the shock cartridge and install in your existing strut assemblies.

Tools? What do you have? Again, a good factory shop manual will help you here.
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Old 04-07-2011, 08:19 AM   #4
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I'm at that point also and am thinking about getting the beltech coilover spring set which is about $1400 but am planning on keeping the Beast around for a long time. Also don't forget once you have replace the struts/springs; you'll need to have the alignment done. Hopefully this info will help but like Bucko mentioned above, if you're planning on doing the work yourself then get the maintenance bible. The main tool that you might need to rent is the spring compressor but be careful with those, every other tools are common; sockets, wrenches and torque wrench.
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Old 04-07-2011, 09:29 AM   #5
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I just got my struts and rear shocks re-done, and I used Bilstein 5100's. 134 a piece for the front, and the ride change is unbelievable compared to my shot stockers. ha ha. As Bucko mentioned, the strut is located inside of the spring assembly and a spring compressor would be required to remove it. However, if you can get your hands on one I don't think getting the strut out and putting a new one in would be hard. The only reason I had a shop do my struts was because I couldn't find a compressor (didn't look very hard either).
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Old 04-07-2011, 12:15 PM   #6
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PepBoys told me that my front struts are leaking and that I need to get them replaced...probably a stupid question, but does strut=shock in this situation. I guess I just don't quite understand the difference. I'm trying to shop around for parts and am not sure what to look for. Also I have a 4" body lift, do I get parts for a stock ride height? Thanks for your help.

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Old 04-07-2011, 12:26 PM   #7
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BTW I have a 2004 F150 FX4
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Old 04-07-2011, 01:39 PM   #8
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A strut, in the case of our F150's is the spring and shock combined. The shock cartridge is "within" the spring. If you look inside your front tires wheel well, you will see the spring, with a black shock (cartridge) in it's middle. Only the front wheels in our Ford F150's have these (struts). The rear wheels have only shocks (easy to replace), as they use "leaf springs" in the back.

The spring itself in a strut rarely, if ever, goes bad, but the shock (cartridge) will. They are usually easy to identify when they're bad; you' will see the shock fluid (light oil) on the outer shell of the shock (cartridge).

The easiest way to replace front struts is to buy a complete strut, meaning spring and shock assembly. This would then bolt right in after removing the old one. This is more expensive though, as the $200.00 per unit one person qouted here found out.

Most experienced folks (and shops) will remove the assembly from the truck, use a spring compressor tool (two special clamps on each side of the spring to compress it), remove the old cartridge (shock), then reinstall the new cartridge, then reinstall the assembly (cheaper, but requires spring compression tools that can be rented from a good parts store. This would be an example of a $90.00 per side price quote that was mentioned. You'd do the same on the other front wheel. You will then need to immediatley take the truck and have it aligned.

Based on the questions asked, I'd suggest that some folks leave this up to a qualified shop/mechanic.
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Last edited by Bucko; 04-07-2011 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 04-07-2011, 08:18 PM   #9
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Thank you very much for your help. Just to be sure, is this the correct product to replace the cartridge portion of the strut? http://cart.bilsteinus.com/product/24-122986/1422751
Thank you.
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Old 12-15-2011, 01:13 PM   #10
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Thumbs up Good Strut Site

Just a heads up to everyone... before you buy I would check www.completestruts.com since they seem to have the best prices (from what I can find online anyways). You don't have to disassemble or rebuild anything. Easy as cake.
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Old 12-15-2011, 01:13 PM
 
 
 
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