Front struts for full size truck TV's

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Front struts for full size truck TV's

Postby lrrowe » Wed Sep 27, 2017 8:44 am

I have a full size TV, a 2012 F150. At 75k miles, I need new rotors and brake pads. I just put on new Michelins and my tire guy says I should replace the shocks and as a side benefit, the truck would even tow better. I just ordered new brake rotors and pads. From all my web searches and Youtube, it should be a relative easy replacement and I save hundreds of dollars over having my favorite shop do it. While at it, I will be replacing the front struts and rear shocks. Again, the fantastic help from Youtube shows that I should be able to replace the shocks myself, again saving hundreds.

I also used the savings to buy top quality parts and still wil save hundreds.

But here is my delimema. And I hope others here can help me make up my mind based on their knowledge and experience.

Many, if not most late model full size trucks (at least Fords) use springs around the shocks, known as "struts". To replace only the shocks requires the old springs to be removed and added to the new shocks. This can be a very dangerous process for the DIY'r and also requires special tools. This also builds up the labor cost. So many are going to a full, spring mounted strut assembly and replace everything, including the hardware. The benefits of the average person being able to do the repacement himself are many fold.

While doing my research, I found only two brands (excluding the very high end systems) that offer the complete strut assemblies for my TV. Monroe and Rancho. To me and backed up by my research, the Monroes are ok, but give a similar ride compared to OEM parts. But I want more then that. The Ranchos only come in a front lift configuration as opposed to original high configuration. This gives the truck a level "rake".

I like the idea of making the truck appear level versus the factory set front angle downward. The minimum unit I can get would move my front end up 2 inches. This is an issue for me because when I hook the CT up, the tonque weight lowers my back end and then gives me a level ride. So if I run the Ranchos with a 2 inch lift, I would theoretically raise the front 2 inches higher again when towing. I do not think I want that.

So here is my question. Have any of you changed out your front strut assemblies and if so, what are your thoughts afterwards? Oh, and I also read many Ford forums and did not walk away with a suitable answer.
Bob

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Re: Front struts for full size truck TV's

Postby lrrowe » Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:50 pm

I have basically answered my own question today. After talking again with my tire dealer, I have decided to stay with the more standard setup using Monroe's. I do not need nor want the raised height and firmer ride of the Rancho's. I am cutting my order now.
Bob

First Post on Purchase of Trailer: http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=60722
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Re: Front struts for full size truck TV's

Postby Padilen » Wed Sep 27, 2017 5:47 pm

You can get adjustables, not sure if the ranchos are but I thought they had a stock replacement also. Air bags help rear reduce sag.
As for special tools most shops will swap springs for you for a small fee, and many parts stores rent tools. But a wall mounted unit is safest.


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Re: Front struts for full size truck TV's

Postby lrrowe » Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:54 am

Thanks Padalen,

I thought about the shops replacing the springs for me, but I decided I wanted all new parts. I cannot back it up with facts, but I am of the belief that getting all new will only help stiffen things up.
The Rancho's with springs (struts) were adjustable for street and off road. But they leveled the truck which means they raised the front end up. There were no options for strut kits w/o the leveling. Since I did not want to rebuild the struts, I did not even research the front shocks alone.

I could, as you say, go with air bags in the back, but again, did not want to have the added costs and I wanted to keep things somewhat simple as I have the tendency to make things complicated. But for the future, I will not rule them out. I have been fortunate so far with my truck and trailer riding level with my current setup. WD hitches are also a consideration for later. Anti-Sway bars will be a must for me.

I am ordering the Monroe struts for the front and shocks for the rear today. I do expect much better towing experiences.
Bob

First Post on Purchase of Trailer: http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=60722
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Re: Front struts for full size truck TV's

Postby Camp4Life » Thu Sep 28, 2017 10:59 am

Bilstein 5100's are the best according to most people on the f-150 forums without going to extreme prices for Fox or Icon struts. I've had the bilsteins and they are great. I've also had the adjustable Rancho struts and they were fantastic. I especially like the adjustability to reduce bounce.

Doing it yourself isn't that hard, just make sure you have the coil compression tool to do it. Lots of places let you borrow tools for free as long as you put a deposit down (Canadian Tire does this).

Lift the truck tires off the ground, disconnect upper and lower ends from the control arms and remove the entire coil assembly to work on it on a table. From there it's much easier. Just make sure the coils are compressed enough that they're not pushing on the top end of the assembly so that you can safely remove the caps without having it pop out. There's lots of tension there, but as long as the compressors are holding well and are at opposite sides of the tower, and equally applying tension, you'll be fine. :thumbsup:
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Re: Front struts for full size truck TV's

Postby lrrowe » Thu Sep 28, 2017 4:40 pm

Thanks,
I wanted the Bilstein 5100's, but I wanted new springs also. They do not make the strut assembly. That is the rub for me.
Yes, the Youtube and other Google stories (forums, etc) support how relativly easy it is for we DIY'rs to do the work.
Bob

First Post on Purchase of Trailer: http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=60722
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Re: Front struts for full size truck TV's

Postby dancam » Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:33 pm

I have replaced a lot of struts with the spring compressers like you would rent for free at an auto parts store. Nothing ever went wrong and its super simple. The coil springs dont really wear out at all, no need to replace them especially with that few miles. At 300k miles they should be the same hight and have the same spring as new ones. I personally would stick with oem springs over aftermarket but thats just me.

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Re: Front struts for full size truck TV's

Postby gudmund » Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:28 am

07 Chev Colorado - also did my own in my backyard a few years ago using low $$$ed (cheap) H-F spring compressors which worked fine. They did take 'just a bit' of elbow grease with all of the wrenching/cranking with the racket but it all came out good. When it comes to changing shocks, the old way is easier - shocks mounted separately on their own, but I have to say, if changing springs, this 'coil over shock' setup is nice compared to the 'old' spring and a-frame setup (so much easier being able to pull the shock/coil out as a unit and work on it on the bench!! PS-yes I also installed new coils with these new shocks to lower the vehicle 2 inches and "I love it!" 8) ) As far as how the H-F compressors held up? They maybe ok for another job or two - but - they did show some wear and tear and I would probably just buy another set of them for another job being they were so cheap - about $15 for the set of them. take care :)
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Re: Front struts for full size truck TV's

Postby lrrowe » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:46 pm

I went with the assemblies and they should arrive tomorrow.
Bob

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Re: Front struts for full size truck TV's

Postby lrrowe » Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:30 pm

Job is done. 2 1/2 hours to do first rear one...45 minutes for the second. Quite a learning curve.
At 76K miles, shocks were totally shot. Brakes and rotors were good for say another 25K. But went ahead and replaced them anyway.
Rear Before:
Image

Rear After:
Image

Now the front was different. Had to totally unbolt all ball joints. Had to build a breaker bar to loosen a 350 ft lb bolt. And ball joints were tough to remove. First one took 4 1/2 hrs to complete. Second 2 hrs. Another learning curve.
Brakes and rotors shot, and could not tell on the condition on struts as the spring was still loaded on the shock. Went ahead and replaced struts anyway.

Front Before:
Image

Front after:
Image

My tire guy told me that the OEM lug nuts had a chrome sleeve and after repeated uses, they would expand and either stick in the socket set or not fit at all. I verified this when I removed and reinstalled them. I have order a new set of solid steel ones which I will give to the garage when I have the tires rotated. And I learned that you have to be careful with what you get as many aftermarket rims require smaller lug nuts. So you have to research which set of rims you have. Do the homework.

Image

Since the rear rotors and brakes have some decent life left and since the front struts could be in good shape, I am going to try and list them on Craigslist to recoup a few dollars. I feel they might be attractive for those truck owners on a very tight budget. They sell used tires, so why not these parts?

And I saved over $500 in labor....not bad for 15 hours of work.
Bob

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Re: Front struts for full size truck TV's

Postby Camp4Life » Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:51 pm

Nice :thumbsup:

Always satisfying when you finish a job like that yourself. Since you were removing the calipers, you could have also given them a quick new coat of paint while they were off 8)
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Re: Front struts for full size truck TV's

Postby dancam » Tue Oct 17, 2017 1:03 pm

Nice work! Its always good to learn more about your vehicle and how to do things like this. I enjoy it anyway. The only thing i was taking my vehicles to shops for was wheel alignments and now i do those myself as well after poor alignments and having them damage my car and not say anything.

That was a lot of work on your part but worth it, if you ever have to do it again on any other vehicle it will go quicker, but i have to say im glad my car is easier to work on and parts are way cheaper.

And go ahead and sell those parts, i once put a used clutch for a honda civic on kijiji for $50 and someone actually bought it! To me thats nuts, but whatever, i got $50.

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Re: Front struts for full size truck TV's

Postby lrrowe » Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:10 pm

:thumbsup:
dancam wrote:Nice work! Its always good to learn more about your vehicle and how to do things like this. I enjoy it anyway. The only thing i was taking my vehicles to shops for was wheel alignments and now i do those myself as well after poor alignments and having them damage my car and not say anything.

That was a lot of work on your part but worth it, if you ever have to do it again on any other vehicle it will go quicker, but i have to say im glad my car is easier to work on and parts are way cheaper.

And go ahead and sell those parts, i once put a used clutch for a honda civic on kijiji for $50 and someone actually bought it! To me thats nuts, but whatever, i got $50.

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First Post on Purchase of Trailer: http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=60722
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Re: Front struts for full size truck TV's

Postby lrrowe » Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:12 pm

Camp4Life wrote:Nice :thumbsup:

Always satisfying when you finish a job like that yourself. Since you were removing the calipers, you could have also given them a quick new coat of paint while they were off 8)


Thanks and Never thought of that. Would look nice, but the way I do not clean things, it would only get and stay dirty.
Bob

First Post on Purchase of Trailer: http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=60722
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Re: Front struts for full size truck TV's

Postby Padilen » Tue Oct 17, 2017 5:53 pm

2 piece acorn nuts how I despise them. But my uncle saw I had switched lug nuts on my Jeep and gave me a lecture. So I know have a supply of 2 piece nuts. I no longer have my Jeep or my Uncle. But I have this memory to share.


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