Pay for suspension install or buy tools and do it myself?

Discussion in 'Suspension, Brakes & Chassis' started by Dano, Jan 4, 2019.

  1. BmacIL

    BmacIL Enginerd

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    You just need to completely loosen the main bolts of the side you're working on, and loosen the other side enough to get an air gap to the body. That allows flexing the subframe bushings enough to get the springs out.

    Or you can loosen (just back off a few turns) the forward control arm bolt to the subframe, which loosens the death grip that the enormous bushing (its indexing teeth) has on free arm movement, and then the arm will rotate down without much issue.

    Vorshlag blog example shown. 0220191950.jpg
     
  2. ctandc72

    ctandc72 Well-Known Member

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    The Ford service manual will be a great help - if not essential. Sometimes you'll think that a certain component comes apart / goes together a certain way and it might - but many times there is another way that actually makes more sense and makes it less work. FSM will help with this.

    Buy a set of prybars. You're going to use them.
    Don't cheap out on the ratchet and the main sockets you will use a lot.
    Get a dead blow hammer. Trust me on this one.
    Get a breaker bar.
    Get a piece of metal pipe (home depot etc or from a friend / family member) a few feet long, wide enough to go over your ratchet handle / wrench.
    Get a 3/8" and 1/2" ratchet set with extensions. Trying to bust suspension bolts loose with a 3/8" ratchet will make you hate life.
    Decent floor jack - and (4) jack stands.

    Look around for a good alignment shop beforehand. A shop that does suspension work / works with performance cars is your best bet. A lifetime alignment at most generic auto shops is worth less than what you'll pay for it. There are some good techs at generic shops - finding which techs these are is the trick.

    If you get frustrated, walk away and do something else. After 30 years of wrenching, I can tell you that if you get mad and try to force things, 9 times out of 10, it'll only make it worse. Of course that 10th time? That's where a BFH comes into play.

    Good luck.
     
  3. OP
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    Dano

    Dano Well-Known Member

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    I'm an engineer. I like things planned out, but I always expect things will not go exactly as planned.
    I also have a cordless 1/2 drive impact wrench. If that doesn't cut it, it will be time for the breaker bar.

    Thanks all for the insight and advice.
     
    Roadway 5.0 likes this.
  4. david buick

    david buick Active Member

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    What about almost all the suspension bolts Ford want you to discard ? Do you reuse them or do you buy some new one ?
     
  5. OP
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    Dano

    Dano Well-Known Member

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    I'm assuming I use the replacement bolts provided by Steeda, and discard the old. If no replacement is provided. Use the old one

    Yesterday I competed the first step, I installed the Steeda low profile full length jacking rails. The job when smoothly. The only somewhat tricky part was scraping off the frame sealant foam. This needs to be scraped off in order to make the jacking rails sit flush. In order to get easier access to do this, I did jack up the car one side at a time and put it on jack stands. The whole job gave me a chance to check out a bunch of new tools (low profile floor jack, jack stands, torque wrench, cordless impact wrench), and gave me a lot more confidence going into the next steps. It will probably be a month or two before I get to the suspension and IRS braces. I want it to be warmer when I do that.
     
  6. Norm Peterson

    Norm Peterson corner barstool sitter

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    Torque to yield fasteners will have a torque spec plus a "degrees of turn of the nut" spec as well. No turn of the nut spec, it's not a TTY.

    However, a non-TTY fastener may use a deformed-thread approach to retention, which won't be as secure on re-use if you were to simply re-install them. But you might be able to re-use these once or twice, provided that you use threadlock.


    Norm
     
  7. strike-eagle

    strike-eagle Well-Known Member

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  8. racingandfishing

    racingandfishing Well-Known Member

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    I used this kit when I installed those springs:

    https://www.cjponyparts.com/ford-strut-shock-hardware-kit-one-time-use-2015-2019/p/HW3336/

    They include red loc-tite now for the bolts they used to say to dispose of and replace from when they first wrote the manual. I just felt better using new ones. Especially the splined strut bolts as I had to beat the hell out of them to get them out!

    And I used this Autozone spring compressor and would never go that route again.

    https://www.autozone.com/loan-a-too...oil-spring-compressor-conventional/555573_0_0

    It kept slipping and made the install take way longer. I would have gone to a shop at that point and had them do it, but it was the weekend and I couldn't find anyone open. I would use the style shown in the CJPonyparts videos (which are very helpful) for the spring install or have them done at a shop.
     
  9. strike-eagle

    strike-eagle Well-Known Member

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    I think that's the wrong compressor. I used this exact one and didn't have a problem: https://www.autozone.com/loan-a-tools/loaner-strut-spring-compressor

    I'm with you on the bolts though. I'm going to get some new hardware when I do struts/shocks since I had to beat the crap out of one of the bolts when I did my springs.
     
  10. racingandfishing

    racingandfishing Well-Known Member

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    #40 racingandfishing, Mar 19, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019
    Ah, now my memory is coming back. That is actually the one I used and not the other one. Getting the old springs off was no problem. The new shorter springs is where I had an issue. I had trouble getting the compressor bolts to clear the spring seats once I had the spring compressed enough to install. That's when they would slip to one side or the other as I was trying to maneuver them. If I were to do it again, I would get the single action type that use only one tightening bolt instead of the two piece type.

    Either way, I'm glad it went well for you!
     
  11. OP
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    Dano

    Dano Well-Known Member

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    So yesterday I installed the Steeda stop the hop kit (IRS alignment kit, bushing support system, IRS braces). It took 4 and 1/2 hours doing the job by myself. By far the biggest pain in the butt was the bushing support system. Specifically, the piece that comes in two pieces that is connect by the 5/32 allen bolts. I lubed it as recommended, but it is still very difficult to maneuver the small piece into place. On one side I had difficulty getting the allen bolt to thread. It's very tight in there and you have to pry with a flat head screw driver and thread the bold at the same time. Those two bushings alone probably took an hour. At the same time as I did the bushings I slid in the alignment pieces. Thankfully those went in without any problem, which give me confidence that I don't immediately need to go in for an alignment. I plan on doing that after I install the new springs and shocks/struts. The IRS braces were last, and not too bad except for a couple of issues. The rear bolt requires a nut to be held in place to secure the brace. It's a very tight space and it is difficult too thread the nut. After it's threaded you need something to hold it in place while tightening. Finally, the brace itself had trouble fitting on the right side. It was difficult to thread all the bolts loosely and get them all into position without a little prying, a little disconcerting while lying under the rear of the car up on jack stands.

    I realize that I'll have to redo the braces when I do the rear springs, but that wasn't so bad. Thankfully I have those darned bushings behind me.

    Haven't driven much since I put the kit on, but I did drive it enough to know that I didn't add any new NVH. It feels solid!

    For anyone thinking about doing this, I'm really glad I did this on my own. Yes, there were really frustrating moments. But, now I know more about what is going on underneath my car, and I know that I took the time and care to install things right. The whole thing gave me a lot of confidence to move on to the the next phase in a month or so.
     
  12. Cardude99

    Cardude99 Well-Known Member

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    Hey thanks for posting this. I keep going back and forth on the same decision. Mine arrive this week. The braces don't scare me but the bushing supports just intimidate the hell out of me. I really want to give it a shot but am afraid of messing up royally. Your post gives me hope that it can tackle this too. Thx man
     
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    Dano

    Dano Well-Known Member

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    Update! I finally got around to completing the installation of my steeda suspension.

    General thoughts:
    • I'm glad I did it myself
    • It was helpful to watch many youtube videos over and over again to make myself completely familiar with the steps. However, no single video showed everything I needed to know. The big thing missing was the details on putting the top nuts on the pro action shocks and struts.
    • You really need another person to help
      • My son in law helped, but is not a gear head, but he is smart and enthusiastic.
      • Having a second person helps you catch things that you might forget or overlook, like torquing everything to spec
      • Having a second person helps with a little relief. I felt beat up when the day was over. The total install took nine hours.
    • The Steeda instructions that were printed and came with the hardware, weren't always up to date. You should check online and print the most recent version of instructions.
    • Even the most up to date Steeda instructions had errors, or were not complete. There were a couple of instances where I had to make an educated guess on the proper way to put some of the parts together. An example of this was connecting the rear pro action shocks to the steeda rear shock mount. There were extra nuts that are used when connecting to the old mustang mounts, but no instructions when connecting to the steeda rear mounts.
    • The pro-action struts require a special tool that I didn't have in order to properly install them. You can't torque the top nut, unless you also hold a smaller 10mm nut on the same shaft
    • I will say that I called the Steeda support line, and they answered quickly and helped my find a solution.
    • I didn't like the spring compressor I rented from autozone. Pain in the butt to use. https://www.autozone.com/loan-a-tools/loaner-strut-spring-compressor
    • The rear springs were very difficult to remove. I should have used Bmacil's recommendation above to loosen the subframe bolts on the opposite side, but I had forgotten he suggested that.
    • Doing everything on jack stands in my garage worked just fine. Glad I had jacking rails.
    I've only taken the car out on a quick 5 minute test run, but so far it feels great! No new unwanted sounds. Feels solid. Hopefully more driving today.

    I actually almost chickened out on doing this, but couldn't find a shop I trusted that would install parts that I purchased and provided to them, for a reasonable cost. In the end I saved about $1000 dollars doing this myself, and I'm pretty confident I did it right, and with care that only a proud owner would typically take. And I now understand how my suspension is put together and works in a much more intimate way than I would have otherwise known.

    Everyone have a merry Christmas and happy new year!
     
  14. Norm Peterson

    Norm Peterson corner barstool sitter

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    Congratulations, Dan.

    Yeah, there is a lot of satisfaction when you tackle a job that's a bit outside your comfort zone and it comes out all good. Good on you for stopping to solve difficulties encountered along the way, instead of mindlessly brute-forcing your way through it.

    That universal-style of spring compressor can be a PITA. I have access to a professional-level version (S-I-L used to be an auto tech) and even that one is fussy to use.

    Merry Christmas back at ya!


    Norm
     
  15. 1stBluesCup

    1stBluesCup Active Member

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    I'm thinking about changing out the springs/dampers w/ the Steeda adj "comfort" system myself also. I've got all the tools. My only fear is loosening the rear end so much that it knocks it way out of alignment or screws it up so much a shop has to go in there and reset the sub-frame so it can get aligned properly. Or am I just overthinking this?!
     
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