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How do I replace front struts in a 2004 F150 four wheel drive?

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1) Jack up the front end of the truck and support it with jack stands on the frame. Take off the wheel.

2)Remove the three nuts on the top of the strut mount. You can get at them from inside the wheel well. They are 15mm. DO NOT TAKE OFF THE CENTER NUT ON THE TOP OF THE ASSEMBLY WHERE THE SHOCK ATTACHES. That's the nut that keeps the spring under tension and from flying appart. Some say to loosten that nut just a little so that it's easier to take apart later when you have the spring compressor on the spring.

3)Remove the the nut on the tie rod end. (I think it's 13/16) and gently tap the tie rod end stud out. You probably have to put a jack under the lower control arm and jack it up some so that the tie rod is not at too big of an angle to get it out. When you jack up on the lower control arm, the frame may rise up off the jack stand, so be careful! Leave the jack (I used a floor jack) under the control arm so that you can raise and lower it as necessary and for stability. Make sure that when you jack up the lower control arm that if the frame comes up off the jack stand that you are clear and that the vehicle is stable. Take your time and think about each thing you do before you do it.

4)Remove the sway bar link nut (15mm I think) so that you will be able to lower the control arm enough to get the strut assembly out.

5)Take off the upper ball joint nut and tap out the stud without damaging the threads. I used an air chisel with a hammer head type bit. Be careful when you take the upper ball joint appart because steering knuckle with the rotor and calliper will be free and you can stretch the brake hoseand break it. Might have to use wire or rope to tie it up to hold it.

6)Take out the bolt and nut on the lower strut mount. I'm not sure on the size of the nut. It's was probably a 29 or 30 mm deep socket. I know it's slightly bigger than 1 1/8". A 1 1/16 socket or wrench works on the bolt side of it. Be very carefull that the lower control arm is lowered far enough to take the tension off the spring before you take that lower bolt out so that you don't get hurt.

7) you should now be able to pull the strut assembly down and out.
*CAUTION- DO NOT TAKE THE CENTER NUT OFF THE TOP OF THE ASSEMBLEY WHERE THE SHOCK ATTACHES- THE SPRING IS UNDER TENSION AND YOU COULD GET KILLED OR BADLY INJURED IF YOU DO.

8)You will need a spring compresser tool to take the tension off the spring before you can take the top center nut off. If you don't feel comfortable doing this- let a shop or experienced person do this. You can also buy the shock/spring assembly as a pre assembled unit so you wouldn't have to take the old spring off. Just put the new shock spring uniit back in reverse of taking the old one out.

Do not do this project if you are not comfortable with working with springs and front end suspension. If you are not familiar with ball joints and tie rod ends, you can be killed if you don't put them back together properly and apply the correct tork on the nuts etc.

The preceeding is a method of how I replaced my struts on my 2005 F150 FX4 by reading how others did it and using some of my own experience. I did not get hurt using this method, but that's not to say that you won't and I'm not responsible for anyone who does get hurt trying this. I have years experience working with cars. Be very careful anytime you jack up a vehicle and work with it on jack stands etc. Never put yourself in a position where the vehicle can fall on you because it's not supported correctly on jack stands and stable.
E-mail me at 4sale@windstream.net if you have questions or comments.

Posted on Aug 05, 2011

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