How To: Replace lift support shocks. | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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How To: Replace lift support shocks.


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Elite Explorer
November 11, 2005
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City, State
Brooklyn, NY
Year, Model & Trim Level
88 89 93 95 96 Aerostars
As a vehicle ages, things start to go such as lift support shocks. They are easy to replace, and don't require special tools. All you need for this task is a Vice Grip, and a flat screwdriver. They sell several types of shocks for the same vehicle, so make sure that you have the correct ones before you start. The Aerostar has several options because some of them don't have a rear wiper or glass in the rear hatch. I have both options, so the correct shocks for this application have the highest lifting support. This is the set:


Always attach a Vice Grip on the opposite shock before you disconnect the shock that you are working on:

Start with the rear:

Lift the release tab with a flat screwdriver, and pull on the shock:

You will see this on the inside:

Do the same thing on the opposite side. The new shock snaps into place if you apply a little pressure. Never use a hammer or pry on the clips. The whole job shouldn't take more than a few minutes to complete.

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I put new lift support shocks on my 92 Aerostar the other day. It has a window and wiper so the NAPA guy apparently gave me the same rating cylinders as you used. However, it takes a lot of force to lower the hatch and I am afraid I will break something. Any thoughts?

They feel very stiff when they are new. Don't worry about breaking anything. You will need new shocks before the winter since the cold weather will make them softer, and less efficient. Some shocks that are old but still work will not hold the hatch when it gets to the freezing point outside.

BB, do you know if the Explorer hatch shocks are the same as an Aero? Just thinking ahead to my next salvage yard run. Always more explorers than Aeros in the yard, thought I'd grab a set.

I'm not sure. Even the Aerostars use two different types of shocks. The regular one is light duty, and is made for the cargo version without a rear window or rear wiper. The one with the rear window & wiper is a heavy duty version since there is more weight. In cold weather like we're having now, my rear hatch doesn't always stay open even though the shocks are pretty new.

I inadvertently got several months' extra life out of my existing shocks, when I removed the interior panel! Really, I wish it had panel doors. I've only seen ONE extended Aero with panel doors though!