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Discussion Starter #1
I am planning to change the FRONT struts on my gen 3 (96 GL, 3.0 vulcan) if I can get a good quote on labour.(131k Miles, dont know if struts have been changed before.. they are still motorcraft.).

I need info on:

- What all do I need struts, mounts, bearing? what else is needed.... right down the to nuts bolts and washers..


- What brand. Gabriel VST (a ton of these on ebay), Monroe Sena tracks??,
I am looking for a good handling and new like ride and longer life.. Nothing fancy.. no lowering etc.. all stock



- What about mounts, will any brand mounts work with any brand strut.. or is there a matching pair. ?

How is the idea of getting the struts from ebay.? any opinions.

What should be a reasonable labour for getting all this changed.

thanks,
 

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I cant really answer your question, I'm looking to do the same thing. Seeing that the motorcrafts hold up until about 131k...another set of Motorcrafts or an OEM equiv. would bring you too 262k. If the rest of your car is in good shape...step up a model from the OEM's. If you dont plan on having the car much longer I'd just put basic old shocks on. I would replace everything while your down there...screws, bolts, plates, bearing. That way it is all new and there no chance of sumthing stupid happening when its put all back together. It should not cost much more sense all the parts have to come off anyways when replacing the strut.
 

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I bought my struts (monroe sensatraks all around) off ebay and I saved probably $70 or so ($50 for the front, $70 for the rear, all shipping included). Just know what you're getting, match up the Part no's, and remember to factor in the shipping into how much you want to bid and you'll be fine. Gabriel VST's and Sensatraks are really OEM valved struts and they offer the same qualities in terms of life and ride quality so either will be a good choice. You will definitely feel the difference when compared to worn out struts (of course).

The fronts need strut, strut mounts, bearings, and probably a new strut boot as well. If you want, you can replace other things while you're down there, like the bushings and endlinks, to stiffer aftermarket stuff (TPR bushings, metal endlinks...do they make those for Gen3's?).

I was quoted about $55-65 labor per side for my car; the laber shouldn't vary that much depending on what parts you're replacing, as basically the whole assembly has to be taken out of the car, and spring compressed on the compressor, before anything can be replaced.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hmmm. I am loioking at doing the fornts only for a start.

OK, One question unanswered is:

I get struts from ebay, mostly Gabriel VST (as they are very prominent in ebay.. wonder whats the catch..
). Can I get strut mounts, bearing etc from some other auto parts store and will everything be compatible...??

and can some one give a proper list of what all I need to buy.
 

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Ordinarily, the strut mounts and bearings are only replaced on an as-needed basis. However, there is a considerable amount of labor involved, so I can see why you might want to go with new struts, mounts, and bearings all at once. I am faced with the same dilemma right now, and I'll probably replace everything at once just for simplicity and peace of mind.

I would go with the KYB GR-2 struts. While I have heard some good reviews of Monroes and Gabriels, I have heard some negative reviews as well. Not so with the KYBs. Everyone seems to be satisfied with them. And they seem to be a step above the regular Motorcrafts. Even some SHO owners with SARC suspension have switched to KYBs and are happy with the results.

If the strut you purchase is the correct part number for your application, you should be able to get the regular Ford mounts and bearings and everything will mate up just fine. AutoZone seems to be one of the cheaper sources for those parts.

Where are you located, Sundar? Labor is about $100 per strut in my area, but I know of a guy in Massachusetts who works for about half that.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
thx. I am in NC, near raliegh. And appraently no TCCA folks around here I guess.
Ome more qes: Do I need to find a really skilled mechanic or will an avg back yard mechanic do?

Every thing should be pretty much plug in like charm right? I mean it wont need any expert adjustment I guess. ??

I have an exploded view of the strut assembly (available at the repair guides in autozone)
 

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Most full-service shops can to the struts. It does involve using a lift and also using a spring compressor, so it's not something you want to delve into with an amateur, unless you are very confident in their abilities. It's not that it's extremely difficult, but rather that it has a tendency to eat up an entire day for most shade-tree mechanics. When the struts are replaced, the car will need to be aligned as well.
 
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