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Replacing Shocks & Sway Bars on a 1999 Explorer (lots of pics!)

chris_

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1999 Ford Explorer XL
Hey everyone. I have a 1999 Ford Explorer XL. My suspension has been driving me nuts this winter. It finally got warm enough outside for me to do something about the crappy suspension (I had cheap shocks in the rear - twin-tubes.. :( )

Anyway, here goes. Here are all of the parts that I got for my Explorer:
*NOTE* I have a 19 mm Rear Sway bar. I measured it by using an adjustable wrench, clamping it tight around the bar, then measuring the distance between the jaws.

Moog K80082 Front Sway Bar Bushing
MOOG K7275 Front Sway Bar Link Kit (x2)
KYB 561001 Front Monomax High Performance Mono-Tube Shocks (x2)

Ford Parts F57Z-5493-BD REAR Sway Bar Bushings for a 19 mm sway bar (x2)
Moog K80139 Sway Bar Link (x2)
KYB 565003 Rear Monomax High Performance Mono-Tube Shocks (x2)

11_zps153ae695.jpg


You might notice the Energy Suspension parts... I'll get to those in a bit.. :mad:

So I dropped my spare tire, jacked up the rear and started getting ready to take things apart. Sprayed some PB Blaster on all the bolts and waited a few minutes. Then I pulled out the breaker bar.

Nuts & Bolt sizes:
front shocks top nut - 15 mm
front shocks bottom bolts - 13 mm

34 mm front sway bar bushings bracket - 13 mm

front sway links top bolt - 16 mm
front sway links bottom bolt - 15 mm deep socket

rear shocks top bolts - 13 mm
rear shocks bottom bolt - 18 mm (this may not be a stock bolt)

19 mm rear sway bar bushings bracket - 13 mm

rear sway bar links - top & bottom bolts - 18 mm
 



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chris_

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Part 1 - Rear

So here is the back end prior to taking anything apart:

2_zpsb2cd4fd2.jpg


3_zps374ebb4f.jpg


Theres not really any good place to put a jack stand in the way back.. I ended up putting mine under the front bolt of the leaf springs.

So as I mentioned, the bolt sizes for the shocks are 13 mm on top, those are probably the hardest bolts to get to on this job. I loosened the bottom bolt, took it off before starting on the tops. I probably should have left the bottom one in just so the shock didn't fall down and hit me in the face.. but i had a little helper! :)

4-morehelp_zps2b3986cc.jpg


4-finallyremoved_zpsd1ea90f1.jpg
 






chris_

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Part 2 - Rear Sway Bar (19 mm

Taking the rear sway bar out was really simple - just 4 bolts holding the bushing brackets in place & the top bolts on the sway links.

The whole rear sway bar came out in about 10 minutes. :)

61_zps3cfe341a.jpg



of course, then the links didn't want to come off... but I had a solution to that one.. ;)


7_zps92813b11.jpg


one of the end links was completely shot, I'm glad I decided to replace them.

Unfortunately for me, I had tried to get a set of aftermarket rear bushings, because I was having problems finding a set for the 1999 explorer (19 mm rear sway bar). So I got an Energy Suspension 9.5106G - a Universal 19 mm bushing & bracket. THIS PART DOES NOT FIT AN EXPLORER!!!!!!! The "universal" design is not as long as the original bracket, so the bolts do not fit. The bushing also does NOT fit into the original bracket.. :mad::mad: !!!!!
I called every place in town - NO ONE carries a 19 mm bushing for a Ford Explorer. I finally called the Ford dealer in town, ordered 2 rear bushings. Price tag - $15 total.

This is the part you want!!!

Fordreplacementbushings_zps3a308c3f.jpg


bushings-oldvsnew_zps23d01f74.jpg


They even came pre-lubed! Not that hard to install on a sway bar! I had em on in 5 minutes.

So I ended up installing my shocks & driving with no rear sway bar for 2 days. I didn't even uninstall the shocks when the parts came in, I just maneuvered the sway bar into position, used a wrench instead of a socket to tighten them back on. Don't forget to put the links back on! I just made sure the bottom bolt was through the sway bar & then tightened the top bolt on good n tight.


91_zps2353e5bb.jpg

Shocks, but no sway bar..

IMAG0478_zpsd48ff33c.jpg

Small gap between the sway bar & shocks.. no need to take anything off!

IMAG0474_zpse30e2325.jpg

Rear sway end links
 






SoNic67

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How's the ride? I wanted to get those MonoMax too, but I was scared they will be to harsh pizza I got Gas-A-Just (still KYB monotubes, but less heavy duty).
 






chris_

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Front - sway bar..

I had SOOO much success on the front that I was SUPER excited about the front sway bar. Plus, its a huge sway bar, and its solid. :(

Step 1 - Remove both front wheels (ok, maybe you should jack it up first ;) )

Basically, I just took off the front sway link bottom nuts, loosened the sway bar bushing bracket bolts and then LEFT THE BAR IN PLACE. Then I slowly took off the sway bar bushing bracket bolts on one side then the other, but because the link bolts are still through the lower control arms, the bar shouldn't go very far! Worst case scenario - you drop the bar on your foot..

OH YEAH, THIS IS IMPORTANT - MAKE SURE YOU MARK THE BAR SOMEHOW SO YOU KNOW WHICH WAY IT GOES BACK ON!!!!!! You do NOT want to have to drop the bar just to flip it around.

101_zps1dea58dc.jpg

See the yellow mark on the sway bar? I was SO GLAD I took this pic a little later on - it gave me something to compare with so I knew the bar was reinstalled the right way.


12_zps27f616fc.jpg

now the bar is out, but you still have to figure out how to take off the end links.. hmmmm. The hammer does NOT work. :(


But a Dremel with a metal-cutting blade does the trick!!! :D


15_zpse6bacf3a.jpg

DREMEL FOR THE WIN!!


Just to show you the difference - New vs Old bushings:

142_zps81efc3fe.jpg


Lube the inside of the bushings just a bit. I used high temp wheel bearing grease (mostly cuz that's what I had lying around).

I put the bushings on the sway bar, then partly assembled the sway links (cap it with the bolt so it doesn't fall apart during installation!)

17_zpsf2410354.jpg



In order to get this beast of a sway bar back into place, you have to get a bit creative. 2 people could team up to get it back into position. I just used a strap to hold one side up while I bolted on the other. :thumbsup:

16_zps288096c0.jpg

This is what you call a good idea - completely unplanned, worked great

Once you get one side bolted on, the other side isn't hard at all.

But you're not done yet - you have to get the Sway Bar LINKS bolted back together.. I think this was the biggest pain in the butt of this whole process.
I will give everyone some advice on front sway bar links:
YOU CAN'T BREAK EM, DON'T BE AFRAID ABOUT BEING TOO ROUGH ON THEM!!
In the end, I used a 2x4 as a prybar, and levered down on the top of the link until I could get the bottom nut threaded on. It worked. I think I still need to tighten them up a bit, but at least I got them put together. :D
 






chris_

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Front shocks

As of right now, I have not gotten to the front shocks, but I am planning on replacing them this coming weekend as long as the weather cooperates!

Here is the old front shock:

11_zpsb7542c03.jpg

Aww... so sad and rusty... :(


Coming soon - Picture of NEW SHOCKS! ;)


::EDIT:: Front Shocks Install pics

First of all, soak the top nut with some PB Blaster.. otherwise you will be hating life in about 10 minutes..

So take off the top nut. You might need to use 2 wrenches.

front_1_zps92f33d85.jpg


front_2_zps92ce2591.jpg


Take off the 2 bottom nuts and you can lift the whole shock up and off the lower arm. You can maneuver the shock out towards the rear.

front_3_zps84a62ab5.jpg


front_4_zpsba3837df.jpg


front_5_zps1f97295e.jpg


Putting the new shock is just the reverse of taking the old one out.

front_6_zps05077c08.jpg


front_7_zpsfc21bbc8.jpg


Tighten down the bottom bolts.

front_8_zpscc80cf05.jpg


Then you just have to put the top bushing on and tighten the top nut.

new_shocks_swaylinks_installed_LFront_zps22aec559.jpg


And the front shocks are done! :D
 






chris_

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Monotubes are SO much better than twin-tubes

How's the ride? I wanted to get those MonoMax too, but I was scared they will be to harsh pizza I got Gas-A-Just (still KYB monotubes, but less heavy duty).

LoL, I thought the Gas-A-Just shocks would be too soft! :)

I think the MonoMax are good - they are stiff, but the ride isn't too rough.

Its a vast improvement over the crap twin-tubes I had! I just did not want a repeat of the last shocks, so I may have chosen the High Performance MonoMax over the Gas-A-Just because I wanted to make sure I was putting on decent shocks. I imagine I would have been just as happy with the Gas-A-Just. I just wanted good monotubes that were less expensive than Bilsteins! ;)
 












2000StreetRod

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oversteering?

I assume that the front aftermarket sway bar bushings and end link grommets are poly (firm) while the rear OEM sway bar bushings are rubber (soft). Have you detected any tendency for your vehicle to oversteer?

I haven't yet measured the diameter of the rear sway bar on my 2000 Sport but I've seen one listing that its 5/8 inch and another that its 19 mm like yours. Either one is considerably smaller than the 34 mm that's in the front. The rear bars that Explorer Express sells 1 1/8 inch with poly bushings. I believe understeering is a safer design than oversteering. That may be achieved with the 1 1/8 inch configuration but their kit is pretty expensive and the shipping cost is significant. I would at least like to install all poly cushions in the rear to match those in the front.
 












chris_

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Moog

I assume that the front aftermarket sway bar bushings and end link grommets are poly (firm) while the rear OEM sway bar bushings are rubber (soft). Have you detected any tendency for your vehicle to oversteer?

Not that I have noticed, but I am so used to the ride & steering that I am comfortable with the way it handles. I mean, the way that it handles now that I have replaced all the worn-out parts.

I replaced all the stock bushings/sway links with Moog parts (front bushing, front sway links & rear sway links). Unfortunately they don't have anything for my Explorer's 19 mm rear sway bar.
 






chris_

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The only thing that I would worry about with the aftermarket sway bar is if the new brackets would work with the bolt spacing. Thats exactly the problem that I ran into with the Energy Suspension parts - the new bracket wasn't designed to accommodate the wide bolt spacing, I would have had to drill to make it fit.
 






swshawaii

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swshawaii

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Runnin'OnEmpty

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Yes, the EE sway bars are expensive, but they're
worth every penny. Mine puts a smile on my face
every time I go around a curve...
 






2000StreetRod

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added to my list

Yes, the EE sway bars are expensive, but they're
worth every penny. Mine puts a smile on my face
every time I go around a curve...

That was the encouragement I needed! I'm adding an Explorer Express rear sway bar to my list of future modifications. Many years ago I purchased and modified a Volvo 142. I installed front and rear sway bars from ipd Volvo and they made a huge improvement in handling. Almost neutral steering for normal driving and a slight understeer (for safety) for performance driving. I'm a little surprised that Explorer Express uses the same rear sway bar for either the 4.0 or the 5.0 engines and 2WD and 4WD. I suspect the 5.0 is significantly heavier than the 4.0 and there is less front end weight on the 2WD models. However, with all the remote filters and coolers I've added in front of the front wheel axis my oversteer/understeer should be comparable to at least a 2WD V8 model and possibly a 4WD V8 model.
 






Runnin'OnEmpty

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You won't be disappointed with the EE bar. It gives
neutral handling, at least on the Sport, and makes
the vehicle much more stable. The front bar on our
2000s is solid (and big), and gives enough stability on the
front especially when poly bushings are added.
 






Clutchless1995

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When I replaced my front shocks the top nuts were so rusted I had to take a hacksaw to cut the shaft to remove the shocks!
 






AP9

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When I replaced my front shocks the top nuts were so rusted I had to take a hacksaw to cut the shaft to remove the shocks!

I had to do the same when I replaced mine for the first time about a year ago.



Chris, those look like Monroe Gas-matics you had on the rear. Did you really think they were that bad? The Monomax are working much better for you I assume? I ask because I had replaced mine with Monroe Gas-matics (wasn't about to drop $300 for Bilsteins). The fronts are noticeably better than the 12-year-old factory ones, the rears not really.
 



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chris_

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Chris, those look like Monroe Gas-matics you had on the rear. Did you really think they were that bad? The Monomax are working much better for you I assume? I ask because I had replaced mine with Monroe Gas-matics (wasn't about to drop $300 for Bilsteins). The fronts are noticeably better than the 12-year-old factory ones, the rears not really.

I think they were Monroe Gas-Matic shocks. I'll be honest, the only reason I got the Gas-matics at the time was they were cheap. I wasn't really impressed with the performance, but that may have been my fault because the rear shocks were the only suspension part I replaced at the time.

This time around I spent a little extra money on the KYBs - front and rear. I think they are stiffer than the Gas-matics. Of course, I also replaced sway bushings and sway links which may have helped to stiffen up the suspension as well.
 






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