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How To: Install Your Own Shocks


Joined
June 10, 2007
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City, State
Sherman, Texas
Year, Model & Trim Level
1995 XLT
suggestions?

any suggestions for the optimal shocks to buy on a working mans budget?
 

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Joined
June 10, 2007
Messages
83
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0
City, State
Sherman, Texas
Year, Model & Trim Level
1995 XLT
i have shocks now!!!

did my own shocks and saved about $300 versus the mech shop. i chose the gabriel ultra all around. no problems on removal or install very simple and quick only about 2.5hrs, $145 for parts, and a 24oz natty light. no more dipping or bouncing yay!!
 


Curtisb

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October 22, 2009
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City, State
Vancouver, British Columbia
Year, Model & Trim Level
1998 XLT 5.0
Great thread, now what shocks do I get?

I want to replace my shocks next week, this will be a huge help. I have a 98 XLT, 5.0 AWD, and I have a hitch platform for my MX bike, I also tow a small travel trailer in the summer, and a snowmobile trailer in the winter (neither of which are more than 2000 lbs fully loaded). I plan on getting an 18-20' ski boat next year that I'll be towing as well, probably about 4000 lbs. But 99% of the time I'm driving around town taking my kids to and from all their activities, so my question is:
What would be the best shocks for a smooth ride in town, but can handle towing a variety of loads on both paved and dirt roads? Can I get an adjustable shock that I can stiffen or soften (without too much work) to meet my towing demands?

I want to do this right, if I'm gonna invest my time changing shocks I'd rather spend more money to get the best shock, do it once and be happy than getting an average shock and wishing that I had spent a bit more.
 


Dr.FailSafe

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March 16, 2010
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City, State
Glen Burnie MD
Year, Model & Trim Level
'98 XLT,'04 XLT
Thanks for the pics and how-to tips. Just put Gabriels on all 4 corners of my '98 XLT and it really helped me out.
 


tmcnicho

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May 15, 2010
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City, State
Beaumont, Texas
Year, Model & Trim Level
98 XLT
great instructions!

Just did this job yesterday and saved a boatload of cash. Thanks! Only issues I encountered: new monroe shocks have a 17mm nut on them, top nut on rear shocks accessed from below and required a 10mm wrench to hold the bolt in order to put back on.
 


Curtisb

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October 22, 2009
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City, State
Vancouver, British Columbia
Year, Model & Trim Level
1998 XLT 5.0
Getting that 5th stabilizer shock installed

I did replaced my shocks this weekend with Bilsteins all around. Everything went great until it was time to do the 5th stabilizer shock. To get it in, this shock has to be compressed almost all the way in. This takes about 150 lbs of pressure (I'm 200lbs and it took nearly my whole body weight to compress it), so it ain't so easy to do while you're laying on your back under your truck. It's even harder when you are holding the nuts in one hand. I finally figured out that I could use heavy duty zap straps linked together to hold it in place once compressed (you can just tighten them as you compress the shock). This way you can compress the shock, keep it in place, then crawl under the truck and get it in at your leisure. Once I figured this out, I had it installed in 5 minutes. Just cut the zap straps and remove once the shock is installed.

Maybe with other shocks there are easier ways, but this was the simplest solution I could think of.
 


ghosted

Elite Explorer
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December 10, 2009
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Location
Vancouver
City, State
Vancouver, B.C.
Year, Model & Trim Level
97 XLT, 2018 XLT
I just did all 4 of my shocks with monroe. It cost me less then $130 for all 4 shocks. After 2 hours I had them installed...

Not too bad for something a shop would charge $400+ for
 


crunchie_frog

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June 19, 2010
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City, State
Johnson City, TN
Year, Model & Trim Level
Multiple 99-00 5.0 AWD
2000 all 4 shocks

Vehicle - 2000 Explorer, AWD, 5.0 100 K miles

Parts - Front Shocks, Monroe Sensa-Trac, part# 37122
Rear Shocks, Monroe Sensa-Trac load adjusting, part #58617

Tools - 13mm (front shock bottom nuts, rear shock top nuts)
19mm (front shock nut on top of shock below mount)
15 mm (original front shock, top nut above mount)
14 mm (Monroe front shock, top nut above mount)
10 mm (Monroe front shock, bottom nut above mount, black box nuts)
PB spray (rusted bolts)
Hammer and punch to knock out the rear shock bottom bolt
Jack, jack stands
2 x 4s (for wedging in with jack the rear Monroe spring shocks)

Job - Front
Did one at a time, jack up and remove front wheel and mud guard.
PB nuts on top and bottom.
Remove nuts, (twisted top nut off on one, frozen)
Reinstall
Not too bad, no busted knuckles, top nuts were worst part.

Rear
Removed spare tire
Removed black box, disconnected electrical connnection
PB nuts top and bottom
Bottom bolts were rusted and had hammer wrench to break loose
Installation of the Monroe spring shocks was a most troublesome part,
had to use 2x4s and jacks to push shock up into position.


Ride is much better, glad I did it. I really like the rear Monroe spring shocks, ride is much tighter now and it gave some extra lift to rear.
:)
 


klau121

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April 28, 2010
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City, State
Brooklyn, NY
Year, Model & Trim Level
'98 Limited
My mechanic is recommending that I switch out my air ride suspension to an after market regular suspension. He told me that his supplier only carries the shocks but not the springs. The only way to get the springs is through the dealer which is way too expensive. I found the Sensa-Trac shocks that are being referenced in the forum but what are the springs my mechanic is referring to?
 


crunchie_frog

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City, State
Johnson City, TN
Year, Model & Trim Level
Multiple 99-00 5.0 AWD
Not 100% sure, but it sounds like you have no leaf springs and your exp is modified from original with air suspension. Crawl underneath the back and look and see if you see 3 or 4 curved, 3 or 4 foot, metal bars on top of each other with max bow point at the axle. If not, then you do not have the leaf springs. I say the dealer or a junk yard is the only place to get these, again not 100% sure but that is what your mechanic said as well. I have not done a leaf spring replacement, but you will need something to compress them into place. Probably not a job for the occassional weekend mechanic, but I would think it could be done.
 


klau121

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City, State
Brooklyn, NY
Year, Model & Trim Level
'98 Limited
He was referring to the Coil Springs.

I also came across the 1995-2001 Ford Explorer 4-Wheel Air Suspension Conversion Kit from Strutmasters. I spoke to a rep from Strutmasters and they said this is the best way to replace my air suspension and that I would not need the Coil Springs for the front. Has anyone had any experience with this kit?
 


Algar

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January 31, 2010
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City, State
Auburn, AL
Year, Model & Trim Level
00' Eddie Bauer
Great Post, thanks for the time and pictures.

I'll tack this on to my weekend list, upper control arms, lower ball joints, radiator replacement and new shocks. May aswell get it all done in one go.

Alex
 


erald01

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May 2, 2009
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City, State
canton, mi
Year, Model & Trim Level
1998 Explorer 5.0
do you need to change the rear stabilizer shock??is it a must, because i changed all my 4 shocks with the blue color KYBs but everytime i hit a dirt road/bumpy the rear bounces sooo much that it will go sideways, how can i fix this whole bouncing thing?? would changing the rear stabilizer shock help cause it has neer been changed and i have 155000 on the truck. thanx
 


4x4 Ranger

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Without Jacking up truck?

I happen to be auto tool challenged. I was wondering if this job is doable without jacking up the truck? Just want to replace all 4 shocks( Regular shocks)
Thanks
 


X6StringerX

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2011 Lincoln MKS EcoBoost
The rear shocks are easily doable without jacking up the vehicle. The spare tire will still, of course, need to be lowered in order to gain access to the top bolts. The front shocks may prevent somewhat of a problem. I've never tried to remove them with the front wheels still in place. I can't imagine it would be an easy task.
 


v897xlt

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July 16, 2010
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Year, Model & Trim Level
97 XLT AWD v8 5.o
5th shock? where would i get it ? i know how to replace shock and have done it before, but nvr heard of a 5th shock!!! gotta replace the shocks on my x, im thinking rancho 5000, but has anyone used rough country nitro 9000? and wht do i use to replace the 5th shock? just get a 5th rancho or rough country shock? has anyone used these shocks?
 


Burkey

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March 29, 2010
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Year, Model & Trim Level
2000 XLT
These pages have saved me over $1000.00 in repair costs! I'm pretty handy but you get all kinds of tips and short cuts.
Thanks to all!
 


Joe Dirt

Explorer Addict
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October 4, 2007
Messages
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Year, Model & Trim Level
07 Camry
Yes, you can change the fronts on the ground as well...

You can get the 5th shock anywhere you get your other 4- it is this one:

CLICK ME

It won't stop your truck from driving, but Ford put it there for a reason. Ride performance is compromised without it, I drove without mine, then replaced it and it was a definite difference... :)

Glad the site is helping... Keep in mind that the peeps that run it have to pay for it- toss $20 and go elite to support! $20 <<<<<<< $1,000 :D
 


bb56

New Member
Joined
October 17, 2008
Messages
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City, State
Grafton, MA
Year, Model & Trim Level
1996 Explorer Limited 4wd
rusty frame parts

Great write up, Thanks.
I would like to add a little something. The rear shocks gave me a bit of trouble. In particular the one on the driver’s side. There is just no room to get a box wrench on the top 13mm nuts. What I did was remove three bolts from the metal plate that supports the carbon canister (I think that's what it's called) and carefully placed it on a box for support. You DO NOT want to damage any lines connected to it or the electrical connection. Once I did that it was very easy to get the top two nuts… my 2 cents.
:)



The picture is great! My tray for the canister is so rusty, I'm afraid to take it down for fear it will never go back in one piece. Does anyone know how to find the part number for this tray?

Also, how convenient would it have been if the Ford designers put a rubber plug in the floor right over the top shock bolts? I would sit in the car and remove them much easier -- and probably take 1/4 of the time to change the shocks!
Thanks.
bb
 

Join the Elite Explorers for $20. Gets rid of the ads!

Explorer Forum has probably saved you that much already, and will continue to save you money as you learn how to diagnose fix problems yourself and learn which modifications work without having to experiment on your own. Elite Explorer members see practically no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links, can add their own profile photo, upload photo attachments in all forums, and Media Gallery, create and save more private Conversations, and more. Join Today. Your support is greatly appreciated.



Clemsonu88

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Joined
November 2, 2010
Messages
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City, State
Raleigh, NC
Year, Model & Trim Level
'96 Mazda B3000
Front shocks

Thanks for the post & pictures; the job was as simple (in principle) as you said...it did require some elbow grease & patience though. :) Putting a lubricant on the bolts was extremely helpful...I did this after I replaced the first one. :) If I had it to do again, I'd take my multitool and simply cut off the top bolt.

I inadvertently figured out how to do the front shocks without taking the wheel off. Simply turn the wheel all the way to one side, and that exposes the shock nicely. At least it did on my '96 Mazda B3000 (aka Ford Ranger).

Thanks again, and good luck to everyone who does this.
 


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