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Discussion Starter #1
Front Strut Replacement (Plenty of pics)

It was time to replace the front struts after 140,000 miles. The isolators were completely gone.

This project involved replacing the following components:

Struts
Upper & Lower Isolators
Front Brake Pads
Bearing Seat
Lower Control Arms
Strut Rod Bushings
Sway Bar Bushings
Inner Tie Rod Bushings
Tranny Fluid & Filter
Differential Fluid

The parts used are listed below (same order as above)
Monroe 71668 / 71667
Monroe 905988 - 905989
Advance Auto Everwear Gold
Moog K7337
Moog RK7211 – RK7213
Moog K8516
OEM for 300M Special Front Sway Bar
Moog K7349
Driveworks DW-FK253
Castrol 70W90 (?) Back gear oil.

I reused the upper mounts and jounce bumpers. One jounce bumper was worn but without a replacement on hand, it went back in. To anyone changing front struts at this mileage, get the jounce bumpers.

After 3 weeks and roughly a couple of hundred of miles, all is fine with no noise and a SMOOTH ride.

I truly wish those Quick-Struts were done properly, as the upper mounts ARE two different parts for each side. If those Quick-Struts had no issues, this job would have been easy. The rusted nut and compressing the spring made for slow times.

I will say I ran into a few issues of the rusted strut nut, compressing the spring, and losing a drive shaft to my own fault. These issues are mentioned in the pictures below.

Onto the pictures.

Starting out


All torn apart




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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
The rusted Strut Nut. I have to put a strap wrench on the main shaft and use the impact to get this nut off. I used a 21mm deep well impact socket.





Shot lower ball joint, the wind would blow and the shaft would easily move. The new ball joint was nice and tight.


Some of the tools



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Discussion Starter #3
Car up in the air



Preddie Engine



Both struts out:


Knuckle back together


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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
The strut rod bushings just fell off, the bore was slightly egg shape but in decent condition overall. The new ones had to be tapped on with a dead blow hammer.


The worn out top strut nuts. BTW, those top caps never came off, I was truly surprised by this condition.




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Discussion Starter #5
Here’s the driver’s side put back together.


I used 12ga speaker wire to hold the knuckle up. I was putting the passenger side back together when I heard a BAM! I look over on the driver’s side and the speaker wire broke. I noticed the boot by the tranny was really stretched out. I grabbed the axle and popped it back in. Then I rotated the axle and it moved outward in an axial direction and then popped back in. I knew something was wrong. I remove the boot clamp and find this…



One spider bearing cup came off and needle bearings were everywhere. Off to buy a new half shaft.

Here it is all put back together.


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OK, here’s a concern I had. The lower control arm came with new bolts and nuts. I’ve never seen nuts with this much amount of crimping to lock the nut to the thread. I started to tighten these nuts onto the new bolt and within two turns the pieces were binding together. I took it apart and saw the threads were trashed. Out with the new bolts / nuts and in with the original hardware.





All in all, not a bad job, full afternoon and well worth it.

Here’s the tranny filter.
 

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Very nice write up! I'm glad you posted this when you did because I'm just in the middle of doing my front struts. It's nice to see a rust-free car compared to what I have to deal with. The strut arm on your car looks like the day it came out of the factory compared to the one I need to replace. The bushing surfaces on the arms are so badly corroded from the salt and water that the new bushings have a lot of slop in them.

Just a few questions though. You used Monroe struts(not the quick ones) with factory mounts and Monroe bearing seats? IRC Tom R. mentioned that the aftermarket bearings weren't the same size as the factory ones thus not being compatible with the factory mount? Also, you re-used the factory mounts without any issues? I'm looking at going with Moog quick-struts but replacing the mount and bearing.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Very nice write up! I'm glad you posted this when you did because I'm just in the middle of doing my front struts. It's nice to see a rust-free car compared to what I have to deal with. The strut arm on your car looks like the day it came out of the factory compared to the one I need to replace. The bushing surfaces on the arms are so badly corroded from the salt and water that the new bushings have a lot of slop in them.

Just a few questions though. You used Monroe struts(not the quick ones) with factory mounts and Monroe bearing seats? IRC Tom R. mentioned that the aftermarket bearings weren't the same size as the factory ones thus not being compatible with the factory mount? Also, you re-used the factory mounts without any issues? I'm looking at going with Moog quick-struts but replacing the mount and bearing.
Yes, I used the factory mount and a MOOG bearings seat. I remember both Tom and Ronbo discussing the fit between these two pieces. I compared the fit between removed factory items and factory mount and Moog item, they were the same.



You can go your route with factory mount and bearing to CYA. Still have to bust apart the strut. Ensure you understand from the FSM how they are aligned and assembled. I had to read through a few times to fully understand it.

The flat on the bearing is 180 degrees from the front side. the hole is at 10 o'clock and the two inner rubber tabs are angled correctly for each side.
 

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The fit issue I saw was between a Monroe bearing and an OEM strut mount. The Moog bearing had too much slop when placed on an OEM strut mount IMO. When I put the same Monroe bearing on a Monroe strut mount it was a good fit. So my concern in posting that info was that a Monroe bearing on an OEM strut mount would not work and I wouldn't use that combination at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
So you have a Monroe and a Moog bearing and tested fitted both? or that was a typo?

I will say both the factory and Moog bearing had a less than 0.010" diametrical clearance between these two mating parts.

I'll drive 360+ miles tomorrow to get home, the trip up was trouble free. I'll report back if something in the front suspension changes.
 

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No...my case was exactly what I described above. I had an OEM strut mount, a Monroe strut mount and a Monroe bearing. The Monroe bearing had way too much clearance on the OEM strut mount IMO. I don't own any Moog bearings or Moog strut mounts.

You mentioned my name earlier regarding bearing/strut mount clearance and I wanted to clarify my findings and the parts that were involved.

It was Tom who was going to use a Moog bearing on an OEM strut mount and the dealer informed him there was too much clearance for those parts. He ordered and installed OEM bearings on OEM strut mounts.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well, it's been approximately one month and a 1,000 miles later since this work was done along with a front end alignment. All is well, no noises, smooth ass ride. Steering is nice and tight.

Late!
 
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