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NOOB - Struts - Safe Removal

Old 01-23-2017, 06:47 PM
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Default NOOB - Struts - Safe Removal


I have a 2008 F150 2WD with 165k miles. I have been told I need new upper ball joints. Watching youtube, this seems pretty straight forward. I am reasonably skilled mechanically.

However, the one thing my Dad always warned me of was front end spring tension. So much so, that I have always just avoided. I figured it was time to stop avoiding and just do it.

With that in mind, can someone here help with how to safely remove the strut. My current plan is:
  1. Jack up car and place jack stands under frame (not lower control arm)
  2. let lower control arm "hang"
  3. Remove all brake components (hang out of way)
  4. Remove tie rod, upper ball joint, lower ball joint nuts. Beat the hell out of them till they break loose.
  5. Get hub out of the way
  6. Remove monster bolt from strut at connection to lower control arm.
  7. Remove 3 nuts (not center) from upper portion of strut
  8. Replace upper control arm (with included ball joint)
  9. Re-assemble in reverse order

Then from the "should-I do-it-while-there" department. It would seem sensible to replace at least the lower ball joint while you have it apart. The tie-rod end I will check, but it looks easy to get to so no harm in waiting.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-23-2017, 07:44 PM
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You will have to remove the swaybar end-links as well. Definitely replace them as they really take away sway and wobble. I did my trucks front end last summer at 145K. New struts (I removed the OEM springs and put them on Monroe Reflex struts), new upper control arm, new lower ball joints, swaybar end-links, sway-bar bushings and outer tie-rods. Smooth as silk. I recommend Motorcraft for the swaybar end-links, the rest I used Moog except the strut.
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Old 01-23-2017, 10:23 PM
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I just did this to my truck. I used a tie rod separator "pickle fork" to put some force on the joints first before taping the side and they came apart pretty easy. I did not take off my sway bar links because they were still tight. I did replace my lower ball joints as on mine they were the issue and not the top. I used the loan a tool press from autozone to press them out of the aframe after removing the clip retainer ring. The large bolt on the bottom of the strut is very tight and has a very high torque spec when going back together I used an electric impact wrench.

The only other thing I can think of off hand is you need to be sure to set your "preload" on the upper aframe arm and the lower bolt on the strut. These rubber bushings need to be in the proximate position of normal load before you tighten them back down not the fully extended position. I just used a jack under the aframe and got it back to normal ride height before I tightened it back down.

I used Monroe quick struts but if you reuse your springs be sure to follow the instructions of your spring compressor tool before you loosen the center of nut on the strut once you get it off the truck.
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Old 01-23-2017, 11:03 PM
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When I replaced my upper control arm/ball joint I loosened the ball joint nut but did not remove it all the way. Then took a hammer and whacked the arm till the ball joint popped out then took the nut off. Did the same thing with the tie rod joints.
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Old 01-24-2017, 07:29 AM
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Default Thanks and Follow Up

First thanks for all the advice. Sway bar end and setting to ride height prior to tightening.

Second, I wanted to do a little follow up. Specifically regarding the strut spring. It sounds like my plan to just let the suspension hang as much as possible is correct. Since I am not replacing any of the strut (spring or shock) there is no need to use any kind spring compression tool. Can y'all confirm that?

Last edited by mattstoc; 01-24-2017 at 07:31 AM.
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Old 01-24-2017, 07:44 AM
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The strut assembly consists of both the spring and the coil. It comes out as one compressed piece. For your job there is no need for spring compressors and really there is no danger of the spring coming off because you leave that assembly together.

This is what it will look like when you unbolt it, just take it out and put it to the side.

The issues you are talking about is if you replace just the shock; you need to remove the spring and then you need spring compressors and so forth.

I did this job last year (replaced both front shocks).

Last edited by ReaperHWK; 01-24-2017 at 07:46 AM.
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Old 01-24-2017, 07:58 AM
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Thanks a lot.

If I can remember in the heat of battle, I will take pictures and post. May help some future person.
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Old 01-24-2017, 11:01 AM
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It's all pretty easy and straightforward. If you're replacing lower ball joints or inner tierods, you can rent the tools for free from the parts store.

At your mileage, I'd replace the coilovers since you'll be in there anyway. I used the Monroe quickstucks which are fully assembled units and do not need a spring compressor.

If you're only doing the upper balljoint, you only need to remove the coilovers. Large bolt on the bottom and 3 at the top. The spring won't pop out under pressure. You only need to worry about that if your removing the coil to replace the shock on the inside.

You don't need to remove the tierods, lower balljoint or brake components. That's just adding more work. You really only need to remove the tierod ends on 4x4's to give yourself more room.
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Old 01-24-2017, 11:09 AM
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Thanks for the further info. The struts were replaced about 3 years ago. Long story but had it done at a ford dealer in Houston while I was visiting from Dallas. I wish they had recommended replacing the upper and lower ball joints - they probably would have charged full price, but it seems that it would be pretty cheap to do it while the thing is apart.

I am excited (which indicates how exciting my life is) about getting ball joints with grease fittings. I've never trusted the ones you can't pump and flush grease through.
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Old 01-24-2017, 12:57 PM
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Default I used the monroe quick struts

I did not have much trouble but the factory good ride was not restored . I did get an alignment after adding some moog parts.I often wonder if the two very different boxes they came in were a sign of being old stock from advance auto .

I still rented a spring compressor from auto zone to discharge the old ones . I could not leave that trap for some one . The spring compressor did not fit well on these large truck springs and was very difficult even off the truck . I would class this as dangerous . I barely got it done but I would pay a shop the next time to compress them .
I kept the factory springs for future . I have changed the front end parts out to moog ,I wonder how their self contained struts are .
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