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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When a coil spring broke in the front of my 2000 Taurus wagon I did some research and found a pair of quick struts (spring/strut assembly) for $164./w free shipping on Ebay. They are Monroe knock offs from China but according to what I see they are Monroe twins and have all the features of Monroe struts so I ordered them and they arrived quickly. While I was waiting for the struts I did some research on the internet to determine if I could/should install them myself. I came across one video on You Tube that clearly illustrated just how easy it is to change them; I think A1 Auto is the place. Wow, that's simple I thought, after watching the video, so I got started yesterday and ran into a couple of problems. First, the pinch bolt which is, supposedly, easily hammered out moved only 1/2" then it got stuck solid and would not budge. I could get it to turn with my 3 foot long 1/2" drive Johnson bar a socket but there was little room to spin the tool to make enough headway so I got out my 1/2" impact gun and let the bolt spin and spin as I applied penetrating oil, still no movement outward. So I used my 3 foot long angled pry bar and got the edge of the pry bar under the bolt head while I spun the bolt with the impact gun. Finally the bolt began to move outward a bit a time as I kept having to reset the pry bar under the bolt head as the spinning pushed it out but with enough playing around like this the bolt finally sprang free and I could see what the problem was. Someone had loaded the bolt with Loctite and the Loctite was jamming the bolt inside the steering knuckle, no rust on the bolt at all. I cleaned off the blue Loctite and the bolt now moved in and out of its hole freely. Problem one solved. Yea!

Problem two, no where in the video I watched did it say that I would run into clearance problems when trying to remove the strut from the steering knuckle. I had everything freed up, loosened and out of the way and the strut just would not release from the top inch of the steering knuckle opening. I pried down on the lower control arm and that didn't help. Research in the Ford factory service manual, as well as several sites online, stated that the tie rod end (need a special puller), axle nut (need a special puller), and lower ball joint(need a special puller), must be removed to get the strut out. That seemed like a massive amount of work to me especially if the ball joint happened to be seized in place so I did some more research online and found the answer here at this wonderful Ford Taurus Forum site that we belong to. The solution I found here was to lower the sub frame, on the side you are working on ONLY by undoing the 2 bolts, front and rear, and letting the sub frame drop while being supported with a jack. Surprisingly the sub frame did not drop very far, maybe an inch with the bolts out all the way but it gave me enough clearance the get the old strut out and the new one in. Eureka, it worked, problem two solved.

Next awkward job is to get the strut to drop down into the steering knuckle far enough and to do this I placed a jack under the lower ball joint and raised the lower control arm to put some pressure on the strut to have it slide into the steering knuckle. The strut still didn't drop fully into place so I used my pry bar to open the gap on the split in the steering knuckle and the strut immediately fell into place although a bit too far so I backed off the jack and hammered the knuckle down until the strut aligned with the bolt hole in the knuckle and then I was able to easily slide the pinch bolt into place with a light tap of a hammer.

Some say they can change the struts on their Taurus in 20 minutes and maybe they can but I work on the floor of my garage, no hoist, and I don't work fast since I'm retired and can afford to move slowly so I'm figuring that it's about a full Saturday's work to change the struts on your Taurus but you'll most likely finish up much sooner if you don't run into problems like seized bolts and lack of good knowledge of how to do the job.

All other aspects of this job are straightforward and I did not have to use heat on any of the suspension/steering parts to free anything up on my 200,000 Km car. Use a torque wrench to tighten everything up when done and I used Loctite 243 (blue) on all fasteners just in case. This is not a hard job nor does it require a lot of skill but it does require precision and attention to detail to make the job come out right. After I get the other side done and take the car for a good ride I’ll let you know how those cheap made in China quick struts (Monroe twins) work out and then I’m off for a front end alignment because that is very important after changing front end steering/suspension components.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
UPDATE:

My car rides nice with the new quick struts from Ebay. Very solid feel and no more rattling over bumps, although I did replace the stabilizer links with new ones from Rock Auto which cost $5.82 each. Front end is up about 2" higher than with the old, broken sagging Motorcraft struts/springs and the car no longer has that wallowing feeling anymore, actually it has a more sporty feeling which is nice. I'm almost tempted to order a set of rear struts but other than the slight sagging in back the rears are working just fine at this time. I think I made a wise investment in these quick struts but only time will prove out how they will hold up over the long run. I'm loving my "new" old Taurus wagon more and more every day because it's a great car.
 

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Congrats! Maybe should have used never-seize vs. loc-tite, lol! Your stuck pinch bolt is why many on here apply mapp or propane heat to soften and/or melt the loctite. Another good tip ive gleaned from here is to replace the pinch bolt with a 7/16 in. grade#8 bolt 2-3 in. long with a matching nyloc (plastic insert) lock nut.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I definitely thought about using heat but the thought of using heat against a gas charged strut had me concerned about the "BOOM" factor so I used the impact gun/pry bar method instead. It would be just my luck to have one of those struts blow up in my face even though the possibility of that happening is quite remote. Good tip about the pinch bolt, thanks. I re-used the ones on the car since they appeared to be in good condition even after the beating I gave the one with a hammer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
According to what I learned in my science class, when I was a young man, is that any gas that is heated can and will expand but the thing I don't know is how much nitrogen will expand when heated and what will fail on the struts to let the excess pressure escape after the heating. If I knew those answers I would have no fear of heating those stuts. I just don't want one of those, "OH ****" deals happening in front of my face nor do I choose to be the first Taurus guy to witness a strut explosion right before his very eyes when I least expect it.
 

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Missing the Point

According to what I learned in my science class, when I was a young man, is that any gas that is heated can and will expand but the thing I don't know is how much nitrogen will expand when heated and what will fail on the struts to let the excess pressure escape after the heating. If I knew those answers I would have no fear of heating those stuts. I just don't want one of those, "OH ****" deals happening in front of my face nor do I choose to be the first Taurus guy to witness a strut explosion right before his very eyes when I least expect it.
Point is, you heat the bolt, not the strut. B)

And of course, if you heat the bolt, toss it when you get it out. Bolts are cheap. The rears are 12mm by 1.75 mm pitch, a standard you can get at Lowes. I am not sure about the front bolt and nut size.

-chart-
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I don't know about your car but on mine the bolt is situated directly adjacent to the strut and the steering knuckle is aluminum which spreads heat rapidly directly to the strut. I'm not saying that heat can't work here I'm just saying that you never know the outcome, with any degree of certainty, in regards to applying heat to a gas pressurized container (the strut,) especially one that contains oil. It's kind of like messing with onboard airbags, if you don't take the correct precautions then someone might get hurt. I've done crazier things in my life at times but these days I'd rather play it on the safe side because it takes me a lot longer to recover from a stupid move.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That's a great idea, drilling a hole, never thought of that.

Regarding the pressure; it's not so much the inert nitrogen gas pressure I'm concerned about because I believe that's only about 20 psi but it's when the oil reaches its flash point inside a pressurized container. We all know what a few drops of diesel oil can do inside a pressurized combustion chamber on a truck. I have personally witnessed oil, in an open container, reach it's flash point before my eyes and all I can say is WOW, talk about power, fortunately all I lost were my eyebrows, eyelashes and a little bit of skin on my face but perhaps this is why I'm reluctant to see it happen again, especially in the close confines of a Taurus wheel well.
 

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Exactly! Drilling the holes like recomended by manufacturers will eventually splash you with oil if you don't have a rug there, but that's all...
 

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Well, finally a solution to replacing front strut ! My wife's 2000 Taurus has two broken front springs. The spring broke at the bottom turn of the coil and posed no threat to the tires. I'm sure I bought the car like this.It ran fine but did have some clunking noises in the front. I bought 2 easy-struts online for a good price ($175). When I tried to remove the old strut I also ran into a clearance problem. I couldn't quite get the old strut out. I tried tyo figure out a way to get about 1" more clearance. I even thought about using a spring compressor in place but figured it might be too unsafe. I made an appointment at a local shop to have them replace them. They quoted 2 hours labour. I suspect they'll drop the subframe to get clearance. I've replaced Taurus subframe bushings on a SHO I used to own.At this point I can;t be bothered. I'll trade money for time. It's really a poor design.

My 1990 Taurus never had a problem with broken springs, either did my 1995 Taurus or even my 1989 SHO but this freakin 2000 runs junk for springs.All of the other cars had 250K to 300K on them ,The 2000 only has 120K.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Not absolutely sure but I don't think the broken spring problem has anything to do with the year, it has to do with the amount of rust on the spring which weakens it. Apparently Ford sells wraps for the springs that ward off stone chips which break the powder coat away and start the rusting process. If you drive in a high road salt area I imagine the rust problem would be much more severe causing the springs to die sooner.
 

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I did some research on broken Taurus front springs and it seems the 1999,2000,2001 had a very high failure rate.Transport Canada has a notice on their website Road Safety Recalls Database

Buying a used car is problematic in that the buyer really doesn't know the history same as the seller may not know. I'm sure this problem in my car was going on for a while and never found out. Or possibly the sweet lady selling it was a LSOS. In the end I accept responibility for not doing more research on it. I can't sell it knowing this safety issue exists.I also can't leave it as is as long as we own it so I'll do the repair. It's been years since I've had a shop do any work on a car I own.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
I wonder if those numbers could be attributed to higher sales figures in 1999,2000,2001.

It would seem that replacing the springs/struts with aftermarket units should override the "years" factor because the aftermarket suppliers did much to cover the rust problem and perhaps used a better quality steel in the spring construction. I'd like to see a survey on this.
 

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Struts

Well, finally a solution to replacing front strut ! My wife's 2000 Taurus has two broken front springs. The spring broke at the bottom turn of the coil and posed no threat to the tires. I'm sure I bought the car like this.It ran fine but did have some clunking noises in the front. I bought 2 easy-struts online for a good price ($175). When I tried to remove the old strut I also ran into a clearance problem. I couldn't quite get the old strut out. I tried tyo figure out a way to get about 1" more clearance. I even thought about using a spring compressor in place but figured it might be too unsafe. I made an appointment at a local shop to have them replace them. They quoted 2 hours labour. I suspect they'll drop the subframe to get clearance. I've replaced Taurus subframe bushings on a SHO I used to own.At this point I can;t be bothered. I'll trade money for time. It's really a poor design.

My 1990 Taurus never had a problem with broken springs, either did my 1995 Taurus or even my 1989 SHO but this freakin 2000 runs junk for springs.All of the other cars had 250K to 300K on them ,The 2000 only has 120K.
I have taken them out by putting a pipe between the frame and over the a-frame. Then using a hydraulic jack to push up on the bottom of the strut and rolling it out . I broke springs on '95 and '01. Replaced them both myself. I would never attempt to do a spring again. Only ready struts. I used 3 spring compressors and used an impact wrench to run them down. Takes a lot of work that way.

I got my springs from a specialty spring shop. Guy said Ford plastic coating got cracked and let water get between the plastic coating and spring, thus corroding it. His springs are only basic black paint to keep them from rusting on the shelf. He said rusty springs with no coating will last the life of the car. Rust all over is OK. The spring part in my picture had local rust damage eating maybe a third of the way through the spring diameter. The plastic coating was blistered where the water was under it.

I heard the spring break otherwise I would have not known.

I know a guy with a '93 that was only a few years old and his broke and went through the tire. Ford paid tow, tire, and spring replaced. So, this is an old problem Ford has not chosen to fix.

-chart-
 

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Chartmaker!! Perfect timing .I took my Taurus to the shop this AM. I mentioned to the mechanic that he'd probably have to lower the subframe. He said Nah..I'll just put a big bar on it and lever it down. I replied ya well the problem is the control arm is hitting the frame and won't move any more. I suggest he try lowering the SF if he has a problem. A short time later he calls saying the new struts are junk , some of the fittings aren't lining up...(HUH?). So I head go there ( 5 mins away) and he has 1 strut out. I notice he;s had to cut the old spring(DOH!) .OH, he did say he had to LOWER THE SUBFRAME. Anyway he shows me 2 pressed metal parts as SHOWN IN YOUR PERFECT PICTURE. He says the holes don't line up and he can't put them on. I ask if he needs to use those parts to do the instal and he says no but the parts are a safety feature so the springs don't pop a tire if they break!! Anyway he's doing the work and after seeing the picture I feel so much better. Thank you so much for posting !! I'll update this when I get my car back. If I would've done it myself I wouldn't know any better and just left those pieces on and put the new ones on as is.Oh well
:mellow:
I got the car back. He was a bit pissed because the struts had to be "adjusted" whatever that means but he didn't charge me more than his estimate of 2 hours. All the clunks and bumps are gone and the front end is up a bit and now looks normal. Only 1 strut was broken. So all is well in Taurusland. I inspected the old struts. The springs are coated in plastic.You can see where the coating was damaged and let water in and that's where the spring broke.
 
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