How to Change Struts on a 2001 Ford Taurus

by Joe on September 29, 2011

If you’re finding it hard to control your Taurus when going over bumps or through potholes, you most likely need front struts. This is a fairly easy, straightforward, remove and replace type of maintenance.

Tools you will need:

–         Jack and jack stands

–         10 to 18 mm wrenches

–         10 to 21 mm sockets and ratchet, with extensions

–         Large and small hammers

–         Torque wrench

–         Penetrating oil

After removing each wheel, find the 3 mounting nuts under the hood on the top of the strut towers, and the stabilizer bolts and steering knuckle bolt on the strut, and spray with penetrating oil (these have been exposed to the elements for years, and will need the oil); there is also a small 10mm bolt holding a bracket with the brake line onto the steering knuckle at the bottom of the strut, and the socket at the bottom where the strut fits; spray these also. Remove the brake line bracket bolt first, then slide the clip with the ABS sensor up and off the strut – carefully, the spring clip is very strong.

For the upper stabilizer bolt, you will need the 18mm and the 10mm wrenches; one to hold the bolt from turning as you remove the nut. Replace the nut/bolt through the stabilizer bar so it doesn’t get misplaced. Note how the bolt passes through the bracket on the back side of the strut.

Now remove the large bolt holding the bottom of the strut in the steering knuckle, using a 21mm socket and 18mm wrench. Once nut is removed, use a small hammer to tap the bolt through. This bolt holds the strut in the steering knuckle, a socket which usually becomes stuck by corrosion; the penetrating oil may ease this. Take the large hammer and strike on each side of the knuckle back and forth evenly, to slide it off the bottom of the strut. Note how the bracket welded to the back of the strut fits into the slot at the back of the steering knuckle.

Under the hood, remove the three 13mm nuts from the top of the strut, holding it to the strut tower. The strut is now disconnected completely from the car; in the wheel well, pull the strut down and out from the car, being careful not to snag any of the lines hanging there.

Installing the new Strut: at the top of the new strut, the flat side between two studs should face towards the outside of the fender. First feed the bottom of the strut back through the steering knuckle, then lean the strut top into the strut tower. Holding the strut through the wheel well with one hand, lift the strut up and guide the three studs into place on the strut tower by grasping the top nut of the strut with the other hand; tighten the nuts onto the studs, making sure the top of the strut is flat against the underside of the strut tower. Tighten these to 35 pounds of torque each. Double check the alignment of the strut by making sure the mounting brackets are in the same position as the one you took off – they should be pointing towards the inside/back of the wheel well.

At the bottom of the strut, while pushing down on the wheel/steering knuckle, pull the bottom of the strut into the hole in the knuckle, making sure all lines are out of the way and the bracket on the back of the strut is lined up with the slot in the knuckle. While holding the knuckle and strut properly aligned, using the jack underneath the knuckle/wheel/rotor assembly, slowly lift it up and push it in until the holes line up for the large bolt; slide the bolt in and finger tighten, then tighten with the torque wrench to 100 lbs.. Keeping the jack in place, replace the stabilizer arm using the bolt and nut we left on there earlier; tighten (there is no torque requirement for this bolt; tighten well). Clip the ABS Sensor back on the strut, then slide down and reattach the brake line to the steering knuckle. Always double check that all lines are in their proper place, not pinched or kinked in any way. Remove the jack under the hub, replace your tire using the “star” pattern of tightening the lug nuts (always tightening the lug across from one other, rather than next to each other); tighten lug nuts to 75 to 100 pounds of torque each.

Set your Taurus/Sable on the ground, and take a test drive in your now smoothly riding, well handling vehicle !

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