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Old 10-30-2012, 09:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Quick Strut Replacement Advice

Hi there,

I've lurked for a long time and picked up some great info that has helped me make sure that I've done the right maintenance on my 2004 Duratec SES. It's really running great, especially after I cleaned out the throttle body and used a couple of bottles of PEA fuel system cleaner, but that's another story.

I'm now about to have Monroe Quickstruts installed. I got a great deal with the rebate so have all 4 Quickstruts arriving in a few days. I also ordered the rear bolts but not the front.

I'm in CA. Car is garaged. I understand that the struts and springs are perhaps better quality than in the past and not prone to rust.

Having said that, the front 2 definitely need replacement. The rears do not.

But since I have the rear 2 Quickstruts, I am wondering whether to pay my mechanic about $240 to install them.

A bit of background. The Taurus is an ex rental. Now at 70k. It hasn't been used much for carrying adult passengers in the back and / or having a lot of luggage in the trunk.

I think this helps explain why the rears don't need changing right now. I'm a little surprised the fronts need changing since this is a 2004 and most suspension issues were from earlier years. I see people mentioning they need rears changed but not fronts at over the 100k mark.

Anyhow, because I'll get a discount for installing all 4, I'm wondering whether to do all 4, or save about $200 by doing just the fronts.

Any Thoughts?

Thanks!

Last edited by rjacket; 10-30-2012 at 09:25 PM.
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Old 10-30-2012, 09:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Some additional thoughts:

1) It is easy to push the rear down, but it doesn't bounce after returning.

2) The rear is not sagging. There is a good amount of space between the wheel well and tire

3) However, in the rear strut, there are thin rubber prongs hanging from the spring shield and these are just a half inch away from the tire. Do these eventually rub against the tire, creating noise for diagnosis purposes? The prongs on the rear spring shield seems closer to the tire than those at the front, but not much difference. I think this suggests my springs are ok all round, but my front shocks are not.

4) I found it interesting that the vehicle spring code (as well as brake code) does not appear in the official Ford spec document. I'm guessing that as a car designed for rental, they may have down spec'd brakes and front suspension, and put in a more robust rear suspension.

Last edited by rjacket; 10-30-2012 at 09:27 PM.
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Old 10-30-2012, 09:34 PM   #3 (permalink)
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How much do you save by doing half the job now and paying more later for the back?? Worst case you have two decent back ups off the rear. It will handle better and get an alignment if the rest of the front end is good. Changing shock can have an effect on the way car sits with new ones~!!
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Old 10-30-2012, 09:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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What are your spring codes? Ford never had special setups for rentals. Same stuff you could get a retail customer is what the rental version received except for the 04-07 models that had the traction control system with the button deleted on the dash.

I would do all 4 at once and be done. Otherwise car may ride like a pogo stick. The factory stuff didn't have a long life expectancy. I see plenty of 4th Gens especially riding the bump stops in the rear.
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Old 10-30-2012, 11:23 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Spring code is HHN. The spec pdf says it should be 2 letters, first letter for the front and the second letter for back. And neither of these letters exist for 2004 for any Ford model!

I don't save much by doing the job together now vs separately later. It's more that I'm about to spend $240 extra for labor for the rear struts and I was wondering how much difference it was going to make.

It's good to get the feedback that I should do it. I was wondering about it because it seemed that the rear struts were improved in 2003 and 2004 model years (different part numbers for 2003 motorcraft struts and then again for 2004) and also because I haven't strained the rear of the car, and also because I have seen many examples of people going way past 70k on the original struts.

Btw my brake code is D. Again, this doesn't exist in the spec pdf. The VIN position 5, 6 & 7 is P55 - "Special Value Group" which does exist in the spec pdf.

Another question: I got the optional rear mount bolts (Monroe AK50), but should I pay $25 for 2 x front mount bolts (Monroe AK68)
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Old 10-31-2012, 05:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Just did some more digging on spring codes by looking at the labels on the springs and refering to the 2006 Ford spec guide (for a 2004 Taurus?!)

Front Code: HH Part: 4F13–5310–CA
Rear Code: NN Part: 4F13–5560–DA

Does this give me any indication of reliability / specs? Can't find anything on specs.
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:51 PM   #7 (permalink)
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So I'm most likely to get all four installed.

I measured my ride height and the left rear is slightly below spec (68cm vs a spec of 69.3cm +- 1cm).

Right front and right rear seem to be exactly to spec. Left front lower than right front but within tolerance.

My questions:

1) Since fronts went at 70k approx, and this is a 2004 which it seems have less problems than prior years, should I think about getting other front suspension components replaced at the same time?

2) Is it usual for the left side to ride a little lower than the right?
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Old 11-05-2012, 06:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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So I'm scheduled on Saturday to have all 4 replaced.

Didn't really get too many answers to my questions. Made me think about this scene.

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Old 11-07-2012, 09:13 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjacket View Post
Hi there,

I've lurked for a long time and picked up some great info that has helped me make sure that I've done the right maintenance on my 2004 Duratec SES. It's really running great, especially after I cleaned out the throttle body and used a couple of bottles of PEA fuel system cleaner, but that's another story.

I'm now about to have Monroe Quickstruts installed. I got a great deal with the rebate so have all 4 Quickstruts arriving in a few days. I also ordered the rear bolts but not the front.

I'm in CA. Car is garaged. I understand that the struts and springs are perhaps better quality than in the past and not prone to rust.

Having said that, the front 2 definitely need replacement. The rears do not.

But since I have the rear 2 Quickstruts, I am wondering whether to pay my mechanic about $240 to install them.

A bit of background. The Taurus is an ex rental. Now at 70k. It hasn't been used much for carrying adult passengers in the back and / or having a lot of luggage in the trunk.

I think this helps explain why the rears don't need changing right now. I'm a little surprised the fronts need changing since this is a 2004 and most suspension issues were from earlier years. I see people mentioning they need rears changed but not fronts at over the 100k mark.

Anyhow, because I'll get a discount for installing all 4, I'm wondering whether to do all 4, or save about $200 by doing just the fronts.

Any Thoughts?

Thanks!
If you got them, change them all. Eventually, the springs will break off
piece at a time and you will have a low rider. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but it will happen. No sense in doing alignment twice either.
Why buy the parts and NOT put them on? Have you sway bar links
checked as well as long as your down there....
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:15 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I just finished overhauling my front suspension. In retrospect, if paying only $240 for labor to have the struts changed, that's a good deal. You definitely want to have a new spring coil installed at the same time as they get weaker with time and probably hasten the demise of replacement struts. It's not a hard job, but doing it for the first time will always results in many many issues, questions, etc. I think I made 2-3 trips to parts or tool stores just to get a little tool or socket that my (already big) collection of tools lacks. Getting the damn ball joints studs on an off the control arm was the hardest part.

I would recommend to try to change as many problem parts as you can identify. For example, ball joints, inner and outer tie rod ends, control arm bushings, sway bar end links, etc may start going bad at this millage. Specially ball joints and control arms are a big pain to do, but if struts will come off, then you might as well replace them if there are signs of wear.

Last edited by fct; 11-11-2012 at 03:21 AM.
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