How to: - Install Your Own Shocks | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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How to: Install Your Own Shocks


Explorer Addict
June 19, 2006
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Year, Model & Trim Level
2011 Lincoln MKS EcoBoost
With a few common tools, anyone can do this and you'll be saving yourself some cash. Hopefully this write-up will pursuade those of you that are still on the fence about doing your own maintenance into giving it a try. Not only can you save a lot of money by taking care of the simple things on your vehicle, but you will know exactly what work was done and furthermore how it was done.

In this write-up, I'll cover both the front and rear shocks as well as the 5th shock on the rear axle that some of you may have. This install pertains to a 2nd Gen Explorer/Mountaineer without air ride.


Step 1 - Jack one side of the vehicle up... I don't have the luxury of a garage, so I used my front lawn! Also, I had a small floor jack as well as my Explorer's bottle jack just for safety. If you have jackstands, I encourage the use of those as well.

Step 2 - Remove the front wheel of the same side you jacked up... duh, lol.

Step 3 - Remove the inner fender mud guard. It's held in by 5 or 6 plastic push pins. Lay it to the side for now.

Step 4 (PICTURE) - The top nut on the front shock is usually stubborn... my Explorer was no exception. After spraying it with PB Blaster, it still ended up sheering off after about 6 or 7 complete turns. (this occurred on both front shocks) This is good though... the shock will be discarded anyway and it saved me the time of having to remove the nut the rest of the way. Make sure you remove the old rubber bushings. Your new shocks will have new bushings. Notice that in the picture, I'm using a 19mm wrench to foul the shock and keep it from turning when I turn the nut on the top. The nut on the top is a 15mm.


Step 5 (PICTURE) - As seen below, the bottom shock is held in by two fixed bolts and 2 nuts. The nuts are accessed from the bottom. Mine were 13mm. (PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SOME EXTRA SUPPORT UNDER YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE THE JACKS GIVE WAY! YOU CAN PLACE THE WHEEL/TIRE UNDER THE FRAME.)



STEP 6 - You should have new hardware with your new shocks. I'm sure some of the sizes vary from each brand/model so make sure you have the correct tools on hand for the reinstall. The reinstall is the reverse procedure of the above.

*NOTE: You shouldn't overtighten the top of the front shock so much that the new rubber bushings are completely squished. Snug the bolt down and then give it an extra turn or two. Stop just as the bushing starts to squish out even with the sides of the metal plates. I plan to go back and apply Loctite. I didn't have any on hand.*

STEP 7 - Reinstall the mud guards.

STEP 8 - Reinstall the wheel.


*NOTE: You do not need to jack the rear of the vehicle*

Step 1 (PICTURE) - Locate the bolt pictured below. It's best if you use a 15MM wrench to foul the bolt so it doesn't turn. The nut is an 18mm. I used a 1/2" drive wratchet for removal. You may need to knock the bolt loose with a hammer... just be careful not to mess up the threads. The old hardware is used again for the bottom mounts on the rear shocks.


Step 2 (PICTURE) - Follow the shock to the top mount. The nuts are accessed from the top. They are 13mm.


Step 3 - Reinstall in the reverse order. Your new shocks should have new nuts and bolts included for the top mount. The side pictured above is the driver side and imo, it is slightly harder to access the nuts on that side.


*Note: I'm a big guy, so I found it easiest to pull the back wheels up onto a wood block for additional room. This shock, imo, is easiest accessed from in front of the rear passenger side tire. Also, my replacement did not include hardware, so the old stuff was used again. There didn't appear to be anything wrong with it, but inspect your hardware to make sure.

Step 1 (PICTURE) - Remove the lower bolt. The nut is facing the rear and in my case it was welded to the mount so it held itself in the place. The bolt size is 15mm.


Step 2 - Remove the upper bolt. Note in the above picture that the upper bolt is facing the opposite direction as the lower bolt. The nut for the upper mount is not welded in place but it does have a flap that hits the frame to prevent it from rotating with the bolt. The bolt is also a 15mm.

Step 3 - Reinstall your new shock in the reverse order.

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The original post has been updated with additional information.

This was a great writeup, thanks! I plan on taking on this project the coming weekend.

Thank you! I'm glad you found it useful.

thanks for the write up. with this post, &others on this forum (and the AdAuto how to video) I tackled this repair for the first time ( 4xRS5000). Hard to believe some shops charge $100 per axle in labor for this.
I was surprised that shocks came self compressed, but I just extended them by hand.

When I finally make up my mind on whether to use Monroe Gas-A-Matics or sensa-tracs, I will take on this project lol. :D

Thanks for acknowledging the thread everyone, it earned me 3 months of Elite Explorer status, woot!

ew at monros. if you do use a monro shock use the gas magnum or reflex

Do the bolts on the shocks need to be torqued?


Hi, will these instructions basically be the same for a 93 ford explorer xlt?

Im not familiar when the generations are :eek:

Thanks for taking the time to write this thread. It's now a sticky in the shocks, suspension, and lift kits section.

Great instructions

Thanks for posting these instructions. I used them last weekend now I'm riding high on my new bilsteins..


Right off hand, I'm afraid I can't say if there is a recommended torque specification or not. Hopefully someone can chime in with more info.


You have a 1st generation Explorer. I'm not really familiar with the 1st gens, but as I understand it, you have a different front suspension than the 2nd gens. Your process might very slightly, but installing shocks is pretty straight forward. If you're even mildly mechanically inclined, I would encourage you to give it a shot. Once you pull the front wheel off, you'll probably immediately be able to get an idea of the process you'll need to go through. As for the back shocks, it's pretty much the same for any vehicle that has leaf spring suspension. The mounting points may vary slightly, but it should be a nearly identical procedure.

Thanks alot, my buddy who is a bit more of a cartech head then me*im working on it ;)* is going to help me out with it in the next few weeks.

And what shocks would you recommend I purchase I always figure if im going to do something I may as well do it correctly, dont need to buy anything cheap and ****ty.

Would this process applyh to the switch from air ride to conventional shocks? I havent started this project yet but I forsee it pretty soon. I also know there is a fuse I need to remove in order to disable the check air ride warning does anyone know where the air ride fuse is loacated? I thought it was behind and to right of the stereo but not quite sure. Thanks,

this was an excellent write up and i just preformed this task tonight but to my dismay i was missing the new hardware that replaced the steal plate and 2 fixed bolts that connected the lower part of the front 2 shocks to the frame and the upper part of the reae 2 shocks to the frame. i bought RS9000X Rancho off road shocks off ebay. If anyone knows where i can get these couple pieces of hardware please just let me know
Thank You.

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.



Wow this is a great writeup. This site has already taught me how to do two fairly big jobs on my 98 XLT (first was plugs and wires) which would have cost me quite a bit of coin to get a shop to do.

I plan on doing this as soon as I decide what shocks to go with. And I like the idea of dropping the carbon box or whatever as shown above.

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Hey guys,

Tackled the shocks on my 2000 Ford Explorer Sport today. I'm too old for this crap.

Anyway, got Sensatracs on the front and put Monroe gas charged in the rear. Fronts took me a while thanks to the rusted top shaft. Moved to the rear, got the drivers side done...moved to the passenger side, got down to the bottom mounting bolt and despite the penetrating snapped off.

Does anyone have a Ford Part number for this before I hit the hardware store tomorrow?

I really appreciate any help guys...thanks