Replacing the front coil springs on a 1996 Ford Ranger is a relatively simple process. Interestingly, there are many different aftermarket springs for different applications should you decide to change the appearance in height or handling. Many different heights and spring rates are available. This procedure is common to two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive Rangers.
Things You'll Need
- Floor jack
- Jack stands
- Pry bar
- Lug wrench
- Torque wrench
- Set of wrenches
- Set of sockets
- Brake fluid
- C clamp
- 1/2-inch drift
- New caliper retaining pins
Raise the front of the truck using the floor jack and place a jack stand under the frame on both sides. Lower the truck to rest on the stands. Remove the front tire/wheel assemblies using the lug wrench. Place the floor jack under the axle on one side and raise it enough to compress the spring slightly.
Open the bleeder screw on the brake caliper using a wrench. Install the C-clamp and compress the caliper to force the caliper piston into its bore. Close the bleeder screw.
Remove the two caliper pins. The Ranger uses three different types of caliper pins: the split pin is the most common, the pin with a hex or Torx head bolt used to spread the head of the pin, and the type with a bolt that has a nut on the outward side of the caliper.
For the split type of pin, you can use a hammer and a 1/2-inch drift. Tap the outside tangs down slightly at an angle so it pushes the pin through toward the rear of the caliper. Always start by removing the top pin first. Drive the pin out of the engine side of the caliper.
Remove the hex or Torx head pin by hacksawing off the head of the bolt. Use the drift and tap the pin through toward the back of the caliper.
Remove the nut-type pin by removing the nut with a wrench. Tap the bolt and pin through toward the rear of the caliper.
Lift the caliper off the rotor and support it with a piece of suitable wire so it does not hang by its hose. Using a wrench and a socket, remove the shock-retaining bolt located in the radius arm. Use a wrench to remove the coil spring retaining nut on the axle by going through the coils. Lift the retainer off.
Lower the axle until it is unsupported. Lift the bottom of the coil spring up and over the stud in the axle and radius arm that the retainer was bolted to. If necessary, use the pry bar to assist in lifting the spring over the stud. Rotate the spring out of the upper spring seat.
Look at the upper spring seat and you can see where the end of the spring was situated. Install the spring with the end in this position in the upper seat. It will be necessary to twist the spring somewhat to get the seat in the center of the spring. Lift the lower end of the spring up and over the stud in the axle with the lower spring seat on it. If necessary, push down slightly on the axle to gain enough clearance to get the spring over the stud. If that is ineffective because of the length of the stud, use the pry bar to assist in moving the spring into place.
Rotate the spring if necessary to assure a good fit in the upper and lower seats. Install the retainer on top of the lower stud and torque the nut to 70 to 100 foot-pounds. Install the shock and torque the retaining nut to 41 to 63 foot-pounds.
Install the brake caliper and retaining pins, bottom first. With the caliper in place, angle the lower pin in the slot to get it started and gently tap the pin into the slot until the outside tangs are flush with the caliper. If the retaining pins have a nut or hex head, torque them to 26 foot-pounds once they are in position. Install the tire/wheel assembly and torque the lug nuts to 30 foot-pounds.