How to Change Struts on a Ford Escape

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The Ford Escape shares a platform with the Mazda Tribute and Mercury Mariner. The Escape is equipped with a MacPherson strut-type front suspension. This type of suspension incorporates the shock absorber, or strut, and coil spring into one assembly. In order to replace the strut, the entire assembly must be removed from the vehicle.

Things You'll Need

  • Jack
  • Jack stands
  • Ratchet and socket set
  • Hammer
  • Punch
  • Wrench set
  • Wire
  • White-out
  • Strut spring compressor
  • Allen key set
  • Torque wrench
  • Park the Escape on a level, paved surface. Set the parking brake. Loosen the lug nuts on the front wheels. Raise the front of the Escape with a jack and support it with jack stands. Finish removing the lug nuts and remove the wheels.

  • Use a ratchet and socket to remove the bolts from the bracket that attaches the brake line to the strut and the bracket that attaches the ABS wire to the strut. Remove the bolt that attaches the stabilizer bar link rod to the strut. Use a wrench and ratchet socket to remove the nuts from the two bolts at the bottom of the strut that attach it to the steering knuckle. Use a hammer and punch to tap out the two bolts.

  • Push the bottom of the strut away from the steering knuckle. Run a piece of wire through one of the bolt holes on the steering knuckle and tie it to the lower control arm to prevent the steering knuckle, which has the rotor and brake caliper on it, from falling outwards.

  • Move to the engine compartment. Paint the top of one of the four studs that hold the top of the strut onto the body with some correction fluid, and paint a mark on the metal mounting plate and the body next to the stud. When you put the new strut back in, you will want to line these marks up. Use a ratchet and socket to remove the nuts from the four studs that mount the strut to the body. Remove the strut out through the fender well.

  • Mount the spring compressor on the coil spring, making sure the hooks on the compressor have a good grip on the coils. The compressor is actually two parts, consisting of two threaded rods with hooks at each end that fit over the coils. One rod goes on each side of the coil. Then with a hook at the top and bottom of the coil, turn the threaded rod to draw the two books together, compressing the coil. Turn each rod little bit at a time to evenly compress the coil. Compress the coil until it is no longer touching the spring seats.

  • Place a wrench on the nut on top of the strut rod. Place an Allen key in the center of the strut rod. Use the Allen key to hold the strut rod while you remove the nut. Lift off the bearing plate and the upper spring seat.

  • Slide the compressed spring off of the strut and set it aside. Be careful with the spring; don't drop or toss it because there's a lot of energy stored in the compressed spring. Note that the upper spring seat and the spring seat on the strut curve with the shape of the spring and have a stop that the end of the spring fits against.

  • Pull the rubber boot off of the strut. Slide the rubber bump stop off of the strut rod.

  • Slide the rubber bump stop onto the strut rod. Slide the boot onto the strut. Slide the coil spring onto the strut. Slide the upper spring seat onto the strut. Mount the bearing plate onto the strut rod and tighten the nut using the Allen key and wrench.

  • Release the pressure on the spring compressor. Make sure the ends of the coil spring are seated against the stops on the spring seats.

  • Slide the strut up through the fender well and guide the studs on the upper bearing plate through the holes in the body. Make sure the stud you painted with white-out is in the same position as before. If not, lower the strut and turn the bearing plate.

  • Remove the wire from the steering knuckle. Pull the bottom of the strut onto the steering knuckle. Install the bolts and nuts. Use a torque wrench and socket to torque the nuts to 85 foot-pounds.

  • Move to the engine compartment and install the nuts on the mounting studs. Torque the nuts to 60 foot-pounds for 2003 models and earlier, 40 foot-pounds for 2004, and 30 foot-pounds for 2005 and later model Escapes.

  • Mount the stabilizer link rod onto the strut, install the bolt and torque it to 35 foot-pounds. Mount the brake line bracket onto the strut, install and tighten the bolt. Install the ABS wire bracket onto the strut, install and tighten the bolt.

  • Mount the wheels and install the lug nuts. Raise the front of the Escape, remove the jack stands and lower the Escape to the ground. Tighten the lug nuts.

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References

  • "Haynes Ford Escape 2001 through 2007"; Mike Stubblefield and John H. Haynes; 2008
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