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Replacing the Frame/Body mount bushings - how?

Discussion in '2001-2005 Explorer Sport Trac' started by CMOS, March 7, 2009.

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    1. CMOS

      CMOS New Member

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      Hey All,

      My 2001 ST has been giving me some very interesting creaking and moaning noises ever since I bought it used. The noise is location specific. I found that some of the frame/body mounting bushings are rotted so bad that they're almost non-existent.

      Need to replace the pair under the front floorboards, about where the feet of the driver and passenger are, and the next rearward pair sort of under the back seat areas.

      How do I replace these? It looks like I'll need to pull up the flooring to access the bolt heads?

      Thanks for your help.

      CMOS
       
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    3. DirtBagPhil

      DirtBagPhil New Member

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      you will need to remove all of them,

      there are two at the core support, two at the firewall, two at the center of the cab and two at the rear under the seats.

      core support; you will need a long extension and a 13 or 15mm socket I cant remember. there are two holes in the rad support above the mounts you will be able to get to theme from there.

      fire wall; remove bothe kick panels pull back flooring and you will see a rubber gromet remove it, now you can remove the bolts that hold your mounts in place.

      center of cab; you will have you remove the seats for these ones, and the pillar covers. pull back the flooring, now will see a gromet remove it. now you can remove the bolts.

      rear; fold the rear seats forward remove the plastic access panel you will see a gromet remove it now you can remove the bolt.

      Jack the body up one side at a time slide the old mounts out and the new ones in. Put NEW bolts in but dont tighten.

      Repeat for the other side, once you have the new mounts and bolts in check alingment. Tighten the bolts then tourqe to around 60ft-lbs.


      Hope this helps
       
      Last edited: March 7, 2009
    4. DirtBagPhil

      DirtBagPhil New Member

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      One more thing, do not spray them with WD-40 or any thing like that,
      the mounts have a hex in side that keep them from spinning if you lube them they will spin in place and not come out.

      Its ok to apply a little bit of heat in the end of the bolt that sticks out of the lower mounts just dont heat the mount its self. Im the past Ive had to weld nuts onto the lower mounts so I could get a wrench on them.
       
    5. CMOS

      CMOS New Member

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      Dirt,

      Why do I have to remove ALL of them to replace the two center sets?


      CMOS
       
    6. ncranchero

      ncranchero Co-moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      You don't have to REMOVE all of them but you may have to loosen them as necessary to get the center ones out. It's kind of hard to figure why just the centers would be bad ......... or why ANY of them would be bad on an '01 model.

      Here are the locations of the mount bolts.

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]
       
    7. CMOS

      CMOS New Member

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      ranchero,

      Thanks for the great pics.

      I'm also very puzzled as to why only those 4 are so dry rotted that they fall apart when I touch them. I mean - they are essentially GONE. This vehicle has been in Texas all its life (no salt) so its a mystery indeed.

      I ordered the new buffers today and will have them in a few days. I'll be doing the replacement probably next weekend.

      I did some looking at my vehicle (confirmed by your pics) that I'll have to remove the 2 front seats to get to the one pair, then remove the kick panels and peel back the flooring to get to the other set.

      Looks fairly simple, but you know it NEVER works out that way. Might be tough to get some of those bolts to break loose after all this time.

      Thanks for the help.

      CMOS
       
    8. John_Rock

      John_Rock Elite In Memoriam

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      CMOS, your truck is stock? It doesn't have a body lift?

      I was beginning to think installing a body lift is what caused the body mounts to deteriorate. I have the same problem and so does my friend Txplates. But, I thought it might be do to the twisting that the body mounts endured during the install of the 3" body lift.

      If your truck is still stock then its an issue that all of us may have.
       
    9. CMOS

      CMOS New Member

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      All Stock.

      I'm guessing that the center pair of buffers are of a different material (and manufacturer) than the front and rear pair - They look fine, but these center pairs - daaaaamn.


      CMOS
       
    10. CMOS

      CMOS New Member

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      Hey Guys,

      A very capable friend of mine and I TRIED to do this job today, and we got our a$$es kicked. We couldn't do it.

      It took us a looooong time just to break the bolts loose on the driver's side - Ford uses a NASA approved thread-locker on the bolts. Once the 2 bolts were removed we could not get the frame and body separated enough to remove the old buffer's metal skeleton (the rubber part was literally rotted and gone). We jacked up the body from the frame and got some more space, but not enough.

      Next, we removed the driver's side front bushing bolt in hopes that we could jack up the body enough to clear the old bushings from the center pairs. No go there also. Still could not jack up the body enough to clear the old bushings.

      The only thing that we didn't/couldn't try was to remove the rear bushing bolt to again give us some more vertical movement of the body. We were unable to break the bolt free due to the bottom bushing (with the female threads) spinning. It's in a position that we could not find a way to lock the lower bushing like we were able to do on the 2 center pairs. Hours in a drizzling rain in 48 degree weather has taken it's toll. I'm cold to the bone!

      What a bummer. Now I hang my head in defeat and will have to put everything back together and take to to a shop. There's a good Mom and Pop shop that my family has used for years that I'll give a shot. I'll already have the passenger seat, kick panels, and pillar covers removed so I hope they will work with me on the labor.

      Well, the wife has a hot pot of freshly made beef stew and a glass of good red wine poured so I'm off to partake.

      Thanks to all for the suggestions. This just didn't work out as I had hoped.

      CMOS :)
       
    11. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Elite Explorer

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      There are ten body mounts, and the front pair are unique. The front pair are far more likely to seize, always begin with those. Ford should still sell them all, I only replaced my front two bolts when I rebuilt my 99. You will likely have to loosen all of them to replace any of them. Use a small amount of anti-seize on the threads when installing them, or a pipe thread sealant to keep corrosion down. I hope to replace those of my 98 some day, I gather that there are aftermarket mounts which are thinner than stock. Good luck,
       

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    12. John_Rock

      John_Rock Elite In Memoriam

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      I think I will just sawzall off all of mine and get new bolts and nuts and use 2x4s for body bushings! :D
       
    13. CMOS

      CMOS New Member

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      Don't think I didn't think about that this afternoon!!!!

      BTW, the beef stew and wine were excellent. :thumbsup:


      CDW,

      The front bushing bolts were the easiest to break free as this setup uses a bolt and nut, whereas the others use a bolt and a threaded lower bushing (which likes to spin!!!) We just couldn't break the rear body bushing bolt because we were unable to come up with a method to keep that lower bushing from spinning, therefore the darn bolt would not come out.

      Heck of a day!

      CMOS :p:
      CMOS
       
    14. John_Rock

      John_Rock Elite In Memoriam

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      Well, I think I recently read of someone with a good suggestion. Welding on a big nut onto the bottom metal piece. They should have come from the factory that way.

      Are you the original owner? I'm really shocked your bushing deteriorated. I got to look under a 2002 Sport Trac(made 9/01) today. And it's bushings looked fine.

      If you are not the first owner, that makes me think maybe the previous owner might have put on a 3" body lift.
       
    15. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Elite Explorer

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      That's a thought, a past owner might have placed the mounts back in, and a couple of them were bad. My rear mounts, and the fronts, were the worst on my 93. The Ford parts are great unless any kind of corrosion works on the internal threads. Building the threads into the bushing part wasn't a good idea.
       
    16. John_Rock

      John_Rock Elite In Memoriam

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      Travel back in time. Feb. 2002.

      Just imagine my little 4'11" wife underneath my truck with channel locks trying to hold on to the damn piece of metal and trying to keep it from moving while I'm up in the cab trying to loosen the bolts. OMG, she was a trooper for helping. It was just me and her in a very tight apt garage. Spent all weekend on it. I hated those bolts.
       
    17. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Elite Explorer

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      Wow, I know how tight some of those can be. I couldn't remove the bolts from my 86 Crown Vic. They were a little sloppy and I tried to tighten them. That made it worse, so I tried to remove them. I only worked on two of them and gave up, it had 320,000 miles on it or so. I sold it not long after with 335k on it.
       
    18. CMOS

      CMOS New Member

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      None of the bolts had any wrench marks on the so I'm sure these were the originals.

      CMOS
       
    19. DirtBagPhil

      DirtBagPhil New Member

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      do you have a torch availiable to you, Just a little heat on the bolt that sticks out of the lower mount and an impact gun If you got it......And they will come out 100% on that one.

      The threads that have been exposed to dirt and water have gone for shit. Once I heated mine I didnt need any sort of backer they came out just with the gun.
       
    20. DirtBagPhil

      DirtBagPhil New Member

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      And If you do end up with a sawzall in you hand, remember that the steel plate on the bottom of your mount is your nut and i goes up pretty far, Its tapered so if you dont cut all of it off you may still have the same problem but now with nothing to grab on too......


      Just something to think about....................You need heat
       
    21. John_Rock

      John_Rock Elite In Memoriam

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      Here's a picture of a 1st Gen body mount.

      [​IMG]

      I don't know why they changed from that style. I doubt the 1st Gen owners have so much trouble with theirs as we do.
       
    22. CMOS

      CMOS New Member

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      The problem was getting that rear bolt loose (under the subwoofer in a ST). I had not way to attach my vice grips to keep the bottom lip of the lower bushing from spinning. Even with the front 3 bolts out, I still could not jack the body up high enough to get the old bushing "skeleton" out, which also means that I darn sure couldn't get the new bushing IN.

      Off to the local shop tomorrow morning. I'm curious as to what they'll charge me. I already have the passenger seat out, and have removed both kick panels and both pillar covers. Hopefully they will work with me a little on the labor.

      I'll report when done.

      CMOS
       
    23. DirtBagPhil

      DirtBagPhil New Member

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      whats with the light?......are they wheelie lights........j/k
       
    24. KillerCrawdad

      KillerCrawdad New Member

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      I've got the same exact problem. I cannot believe these bushings are made from some lame foam like material. They are disintegrated. And its not like I'm in the great white north for craps sake...I live in Austin TX. Hum, maybe its the heat. :) I take good care of my ST Exploder. (already had to replace the tranny at 80k) Pathetic Ford.

      The frame mount bushings in the front and rear of the cab are a rubber substance and they appear to be in much better shape. I'll read on in this thread for sure.
       
    25. CMOS

      CMOS New Member

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      Even dumber - the new bushings look to be made of the same material as the old ones. Go figure.

      I would think there would be a TSB on these rotting bushings that would have provoked a change in materials.

      Good luck.

      BTW, the local shop charged me about $250 bucks to replace these 4 bushings = money very well spent. I have no complaints about what they charged me considering what went through trying to get them out.

      CMOS
       
    26. silverlady

      silverlady New Member

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      Do you have any knowlege of replaceing the body mounts on your 02 sport trac?
       

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