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post #1 of (permalink) Old 08-25-2003, 10:45 PM
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Bushings and assorted replacement parts

'87 F-150 XL,302 auto, 4x4, 178,000 mi. Truck runs great on rebuilt trans about two years ago - not the quickest, but get's me there.. Rides ok, squeaks a bit.

I'm thinking that after all the years and miles, many of the bushings in front need replacing along with the coils and rear leaf springs. I'd like to add about 2" in order to mount 33" tires, so leveling coils in front and perhaps add a leaf in back - Will my ride really get that much better? It's not horrible now, and off-road it's adequate.

To boot, the steering has a bit of play where I'm thinking I will have to address that while everything is apart. How difficult does all this seem, or is it just bolt-on? I'm ok handy and although I wanted to go to a shop for the work, I'm tight on cash right now. Eventually I will go for a re-gear, that I know I will take to a shop based on my mechanical limitations. Thanks for the help.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 08-25-2003, 11:18 PM
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Re: Bushings and assorted replacement parts

You're asking a bunch of subjective questions that only you can answer: "...that much better? It's not horrible now, and off-road it's adequate." Your opinion of "much better", "horrible", and "adequate" may be VASTLY different from mine or anyone else's. My interpretation of those words is that you haven't driven Ford trucks long, and Broncos even less, and you're describing the normal characteristics of the TTB under a SWB truck with almost 200K on it.

You certainly won't hurt anything other than your alignment by changing all the steering links, ball joints, and suspension bushings, but it probably needs an alignment anyway, so go for it. You'll need to buy a wheel bearing nut spanner wrench and rent/borrow a ball joint press, but the rest can be done with no special tools. You'll need wrenches/sockets up to 7/8", a ball-peen hammer, and some long bolts to pull the pivot bushings out. Do you have a Haynes manual yet?
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 08-25-2003, 11:31 PM
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Re: Bushings and assorted replacement parts

Thanks for the insights. You are right - new to older ford trucks - the ex got the Suburban which was lifted and I towed a lifted travel camper when I lived in Colorado.

I was approaching the situation from that of the miles and years on the truck and trying to be pro-active in replacing stuff that will eventually need replacing. Can I live with it in the current condition - absolutely - it's not that bad. I've got 31" BFGs currently and my limitation off-road is the length of the truck more than anything else where I go.

Since the truck is used for occasional off-road, occasional hauling of stuff, and soon to be the 17 year old daughters borrow vehicle, I wanted to make it a bit more civilized for her. New shocks are in the works and I want to keep the air springs in the back for when I haul the boat.

I have the Haynes and Chilton repair manuals.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 09-01-2003, 03:06 AM
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Re: Bushings and assorted replacement parts

Any other thoughts?
post #5 of (permalink) Old 09-01-2003, 11:37 PM
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Re: Bushings and assorted replacement parts

with that many miles most of the wearing parts in the front end have probably been replaced at least once already, so it's hard to say what you need to replace. springs are a smart choice though as they are often overlooked... expect to run into some $ when replacing the rears. a set of front 2" lift coils should be less than $150. radius arm bushings and axle pivot bushings can make a big difference, along with leaf spring bushings in the rear. if any of those are worn out, rough gravel roads will be no fun. those are all pretty cheap to replace but also require a little elbow grease. As far as shocks.. the $20 Monroe ones at Sears are probably as good as anything. I spent $40 apiece to get Rancho's and they do nothing more than what my old stock Monroe units did.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 09-02-2003, 11:11 PM
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Re: Bushings and assorted replacement parts

Thanks for the thoughts - can I just use add-a-leafs in the rear? Also, what about higher end shocks like Bilstein's? Are they worth it or just hype?
post #7 of (permalink) Old 09-03-2003, 11:26 AM
 
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Re: Bushings and assorted replacement parts

Bilsteins work very well. If you're going to beat on the suspension, they're the way to go. If you're mostly street/mild trails, go with a less expensive Monroe/Gabriel/Carquest gas shock. I like gas shocks over the the others for their improved control of body roll without anti-sway bars (on the Bronco anyway).
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