'94 4x4 front shock experience - stud broke | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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'94 4x4 front shock experience - stud broke

Sir Robin

Active Member
Joined
November 3, 1999
Messages
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City, State
NY
Year, Model & Trim Level
'94 XLT
It was a spur of the moment thing: "I have a couple of hours. I think I'll finally replace those shocks."
The rear was cake. I got to the front driver's side and BAM! I suddenly have a broken lower shock mount stud in my hand. The threaded end broke off of the stud. (I even started soaking it with Liquid Wrench as soon as I got home from the parts store, and gave it a couple of extra sprays while working on the rear.)
After a few moments of panic (envisioning wimpering to my local garage), I consulted this message board (searched for "broke stud") and found my answer to be the universal replacement shock studs. (Why replace the entire radius arm when it will just break again next time?) They are available at AutoZone and Advance Auto Parts. There is a line of products by Motormite (www.rbinc.com) on the shelves/racks aptly named "Help!" The Shock Bolt Kit is no. 31001 and costs $5.99 each. I bought two 'cause I knew the other side would also break. (Another product in their Help! line is a Push Nut Assortment (no. 13441; $1.99) which contains the 1/2 inch size used to hold the hubs on.)
I went to Home Depot and bought a 4" angle grinder for $59 and a 4" metal cut-off wheel (it's thin - cuts on the edge not on the face) for it for $1.97. I also needed a 1/2 inch drill bit with a 3/8 inch shank for $6.47. If you already have a 4 1/2 inch or larger angle grinder, i would still use a 4 inch cut off wheel on it.
I did not put the guard or extra handle on the grinder; or the backing plate behind the cut off wheel. ( I put a couple of washers behind it.) This will let you cut deeper and give you more clearance to get in there and work. But you MUST wear safety glasses (if not a full face shield), ear plugs (big help), gloves and long sleeves. The sparks burn.

Procedure:
1 - I cut the stud off flush to the 1 or 1 1/2 inch dia. "pad" which is welded to the radius arm, and ground that face smooth. I lined up a washer on it to help find the center, and then center-punched it.
2 - I drilled 3 increasingly larger pilot holes before finally drilling the 1/2 inch hole. Use oil on your bits, and don't drill at max speed. Slower will let the drill bit bite better.
3 - Next I scored an X through the pad just about deep enough to what would be flush with the surface of the radius arm.
4 - Finally, I cut the pad off. Scoring it through first lets pieces fall off and out of your way as you make your way behind it with your cut-off wheel. Make as many scores as you want, actually; it'll just make it easier.
5 - Then I just cleaned up the surface of the radius arm, and filed down the back edge of the 1/2 inch hole.

Also, I thought that the backing washer that came with the kit was a little wimpy, so I doubled it up with a thicker, larger diameter one. This is the one that is behind the radius arm.

The worst part about this whole story is that my new shocks are not much better than the factory ones that came off (after 135k miles.)! I didn't consult with this board ahead of time. I'm on a budget, so i figured anything would be better than the old worn-out ones. I just got $30 Monroe Gasmatics. They are too soft. There is still some wheel oscillation/bounce, though the side-to-side rocking is not as bad. Its just a highway driver.

In the end, I'm glad I got myself out of this predicament. Thank you Rick, all moderators and all posters for this wonderfully excellent community and its "knowledge base" of information and help.
 






Same thing happened to me... wish I knew the stud alone could be replaced. :mad: I ended up buying a whole new radius arm and paying to have it installed along with new bushings. grrrr...
 






and I thought I was the only, one drivers side for me too. used a replacement bolt and nut
 






Follow-up

Suggestion:
The kit did not come with lockwashers for mounting the stud to the radius arm. Even though I tightened it down pretty good, I heard rattling on the passenger side four days later. Sure enough, that side had lost the nut and flat washer. (The stud did not slip out of the hole, though.) I replaced the flat washer, added a lock washer and applied some blue threadlock to the nut and stud. (Blue is the kind which can be removed.) I went back to the other side and did the same.
 






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