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SuperFlea 05-06-2009 04:20 PM

How To - Extensive Suspension Overhaul (Front and Rear)
Well, it’s finally that time. I’ve been wanting to do this since March, and I finally did. [woot]

Decided to do some extensive suspension work, and make a thread for it to help out as many people as I can with this.
I’m sure most, if not all of you know how to do your own suspension install, but there are some that need this info.

So, here we go…

Tools / Materials needed (not all mentioned here, but I’ll mention them as I go) –
•Car Jack
•Jack Stands
•Breaker Bar
•¾ or 19mm socket (I used this to loosen the lug/wheel nuts)
•Torque Wrench
•15mm wrench
•18mm and/or 11/16 socket.
•I have a multi-piece Craftsman Tool Set
•Press - to press out the old wheel bearings (I don’t have one, so I took my knuckles to a local shop)
•Spring Compressor (You can barrow this from your local AutoZone)
•Thread Lock
Suspension Work To Be Done –

Front –
•Strut Tops
•Control Arms
•Control Arm Ball Joints
•Brake Pads
•Wheel Studs
•Wheel Nuts
•Misc Cleaning and Painting
Rear –
•SVT Lower Control Arms
•Brake Pads
•Wheel Studs
•Wheels Nuts
•Misc. Cleaning and Painting
Total Time – Just around 5½ hours. It’s less that this. It takes too much time to prep, paint, and clean stuff up. And take pictars!

1.I should mention that this is going to be done on my Focus wagon. All focus models (00-05) are just about the same in the front, so this should help with what ever focus, even the 06-09 models. I don't think there’s much difference with the newer ones.
2.As for the rear, the Focus wagon has a slightly diff set up. The shocks mount to the chassis at an angle, instead of straight up like on ZX3/4 and 5’s. The other difference is the springs; they’re longer on the wagon. Other than these 2 things, everything else is about the same. So, again, this should help basically any Focus owner.
3.I have the SVT brake upgrade, with no ABS.
4.You’ll need to get an alignment after this.
5. I didn't swap my front sway bar bushings beceause i didn't find the replacements for it. If you have an Eibach front sway, you know it has a groove where the bushing settles. It's a good idea to grease it, though.
Here’s are some very useful diagrams I have found on the intra-webz. Very helpful stuff.

Front -

Rear –

Now, let’s move on to the install –

We’ll begin with the front.

Start by loosening the front wheel nuts. Do not remove them. Just half a turn is fine.

Remember to Chalk your tires.

I’m lowered, so getting a jack under the car isn’t easy. Fortunately, I have some Lynx levelers. These are used for leveling R.V.’s. But work perfect for raising the car just enough to get the jack under there.

Place the Jack stands in place.

Now fully remove your wheel/tire, and place it under the car for safety.

Using a 15mm wrench and a 5mm allen wrench, loosen the end link nut.

Remove the end link from the strut assembly; place the nut on the end link so you won’t loose it. Place aside.

Having some one help you by pressing the brake pedal, use the breaker bar with a 32mm socket to loosen the axle retaining nut, and remove it. Here’s my helper!

Remove the dust cap to reveal the bolts holding the caliper in place.

Use a 7mm allen to loosen the caliper bolts. I used one of these

Just loosen them, do not remove yet

Use a 15mm wrench to remove bolts holding the caliper bracket in place

Remove the bolts and the caliper assembly.

Separate the caliper from the bracket, you’ll need to remove the pads and retainer spring

Using a bungee cord, support the caliper from the spring/strut. Let it hang, you’ll be removing it later.

Remove the rotor from the hub

Using the 5mm allen and the 15mm wrench, loosen the outer tie rod nut.

It might be stuck, so I used one of these to separate the tie rod from the knuckle

Remove and set aside

Remove the bolt that holds the strut to the knuckle using a 15mm wrench

Using a T50 Torx (I used a 47, worked ok) and the 15mm wrench, loosen and remove the lower bolt that holds the knuckle to the lower control arm.

Use the 15mm wrench to loosen and remove the brake line, you might want to loosen this while it’s still on the knuckle. Much easier.

Remove the caliper and set aside.

Separate the knuckle from the strut. I gave it a couple of kicks. You might have to give the axle a tap to help it slide/release from the hub. I used a hammer and a small piece of wood to prevent any damage from tapping it.

Completely remove the knuckle from the lower control arm. It might take a little force.

Now, open to hood to access the strut mount nuts.

Use a 13mm socket and remove the nuts.

Remove the strut assembly

Use a set of spring compressors to compress the spring, just a little. Enough to release the tension from the strut mount.

Use a ¾ closed end (curved) wrench and a 6mm allen to loosen the strut nut

Separate the spring and strut mount from the strut

Remove the dust cover

Remove the bump-stop and the plastic dust cover holder thingamajiggy-

Now lets assemble our new struts. I bought a set of KYB AGX’s.

Insert the plastic boot/dust cover holder thingy in place. The KYB shocks are a tad different from the Monroes I had, so the plastic piece doesn’t go all the way down, but does stay in place.

Now, insert the bump-stop

Then the boot/dust cover

With the spring compressed, insert it to the strut. Then, the coil and strut mounts. Tighten your bolt to 35 ft-lbs

I had a co-worker take the knuckles to a shop to have the bearings pressed out and the new one’s pressed in, with new hubs.

I also pressed out the studs, but didn’t take pictures. However, I did for the rear, so look below for this.

In the mean time, I cleaned up the parts and did some painting. Nothing too fancy, but looks way better than it was before.

Now, moving on to the control arms...

With an 18mm or 11/16 socket, and closed end wrench, loosen and remove the bolt holding the front part of the control arm.

You might have to raise the engine a bit with the jack, to get the bolt out all the way.

With a 15mm and a 18mm socket or wrench, loosen and remove the smaller bolt, on the rear of the control arm, closest to the outside (tire).

Ok, here comes the tougher bolt. I had to use the breaker bar for this one. Use the 18mm or 11/16 socket to loosen and remove the inner bolt, on the rear of the control arm. It’s on there pretty tight, so be careful. Use the 18mm closed en wrench to hold the nut on the top, like on the other bolts.

Once all bolts are off, wiggle the arm out

And, now out

Fortunately for me, I had picked up a set of used lcas from a good friend. So, I just refurbished those. I ground off the rivets holding the ball joint in place. And used a hammer to pound them out. I didn’t get any pics of this process, though. Sorry. It’s fairly easy.

Here’s a pic with the old ball joints off

I cleaned up the lcas with a wire wheel

Then, sanded them a bit with 600 grit metal sand paper

And washed them up.

After they were all dry, I sprayed them with etching primer

Coat one

Coat two

Then I sprayed them with silver Duplicolor wheel paint

I let them dry for 2 days (more than enough).

I bought a set of Moog Ball Joints, part number K80067 for the 00-04 Focus. These are pretty great, they’re greasable, ulike the OEM joints.

They come with everything you need for installation, except washers. So, I bought some.

Install the greaser nipple to the ball joint assembly

Now, install the new ball joints in place

Bolt them up, I used two washer per bolt.

Huge difference comparing them

Control arm installation –

Insert the control arm in place and install the front bolt. (Torque Specs below)

Then install the other two bolts

Torque specs -
•Step 1 (inner rear bolt/nut) 74 ft-lbs
•Step 2 (inner rear bolt/nut) Tighten an additional 60*

•Step 3 (outer rear bolt/nut) 89 ft-lbs

•Step 4 (front bolt/nut) 89 ft-lbs
•Step 5 (front bolt/nut) Tighten an additional 90*
•Step 6 (front bolt/nut) Check Front bolt torque is between 125 and 170 ft-lbs.
And, now installed

Take your strut assembly and put it in place

Use your nuts to hold in strut in place, then tighten them to 18ft-lbs

Next, take your knuckle and put the ball joint heat shield in place

Insert the axle into the hub and then, on to the ball joint on the lca

Then, attach the knuckle to the strut. This might take some wiggling to get the strut to fully set into the knuckle. I used my jack to raise the arm/knuckle into place

After it’s fully inserted settled, insert your pinch bolt

Tighten in with a 15mm socket and torque to 66 ft-lbs

Afterwards, insert the ball joint pinch bolt and torque to 37 ft-lbs

Insert the tie rod into the knuckle, torque to 35 ft-lbs

And now, things should look like this

Next, insert the end link into the sway bar and strut, torque the buts to 37 ft-lbs

I replaced my old studs with ARP studs. Part number 100-7708. Here’s a good thread on ARP studs that fit the Focus ARP Stud Info

Set it into place and tap the rear of the stud a little with a hammer

Using an old nut and a closed-end wrench ( I used a loop hole from an adjusting wrench) tight the nut so it pulls the stud into place

After they’re all in place, place your new (or old) rotor in place

Put the axle nut in place as well, you’ll need to torque this to 214 ft-lbs, but not until you have installed your brakes. That way, you can have some one help you by pressing on the brake pedal while you torque the nut. Remember, you can only use this nut a maximum of three times.

Next, we’ll install the brakes! Take the caliper guide bolts and clean them up

After they’re all clean, you need to grease them up. It’s best to add the grease in the guide (where they’re inserted in the caliper) Be sure to use high-temp grease only. And be sure to use enough. The guide bolts need to move freely and not seize.

Then, install your brake pads. I’m using the same as my last sets, Hawk pads.

Place the rear pad into the caliper

Then, the front pad and the caliper bracket. Do not bolt the bracket just yet. Leaving it unbolted makes it very simple for you to place the retainer spring into place. If you’ve done SVT brakes before, you know what I mean.

Now, on to the retainer spring

I used a set of vise-grip pliers to hold the retainer and set it into place. As much as I tried, it’s tough to set it in place with out scratching the painted caliper. It's best to place one side of the spring into the holding hole, then the other, and then place it on the bracket.

Install the brake line to the caliper and use a 15mm wrench to tighten it.

Next, mount the brake assembly to the knuckle. Remember to use thread lock on the bolts prier to tightening them. Torque to 74 ft-lbs (could be wrong on this, so look it up to be sure)

Torque your caliper guide bolts to 21 ft-lbs

Now, things should look like this

At this point, you’ll need to bleed your brakes to get the air out. I suggest getting some speed bleeders.

Remember to torque your axle nut to 214 ft-lbs

Install your wheel, and torque your new (or used) nuts to 94 ft-lbs

Front should be all done!

Lets go to the rear!

Again, I raised the Focus a little with the lynx levelers

Loosen your wheel nuts

Place your jack right under your rear cross member and raise

Remove your wheel/tire and place under the car

Unhook the e-brake cable

Loosen the brake fluid line with a 15mm wrench

Use a 15mm and a 13mm wrench to loosen the remove the caliper bolts

Remove the caliper from the bracket/rotor and remove the brake line

Use a 15mm wrench or socket to remove the caliper bracket

Remove the rotor

In these next steps, I’ll be removing the spindle and hub just to clean them up. I’ll be replacing the wheel studs as well, so removing this make things easier. You don’t have to do so, unless you want to clean things up as well or you’re replacing the bearing. If So, go here Rear Wheel Bearing Replacement

Use a 13mm socket to loosen and remove the bolts holding the spindle, behind the trailing arm

Afterwards, remove the spindle and dust cover from the trailing arm

Set aside for future cleaning

Use a 14mm socket and wrench to remove the sway bar end link

Remove the bolts holding the sway using a 13mm socket or wrench

Remember to save your bolts

Place your jack under the control arm, and raise it a bit to put some tension on it.

Then use a 15mm socket or wrench to loosen and remove the control arm bolt on the trailing arm

While you’re there, loosen and remove the bolt holding the shock to the trailing arm.

After removing the control arm bolt, slowly lower the jack. Once all tension is released from the spring, remove it

Use an 18mm and 19mm socket to remove the control arm bolt

You might have to wiggle the arm a bit to remove it

The results of using a large diameter sway with non-reinforced control arms

This is my drivers side, looks like I replaced it just in time!

I actually had one snap on me, that’s why it’s welded together

Locate the bolt that holds the top part of the shock to the chassis, use a 15mm socket to remove. I had to use 3 extensions to get to it

On the drivers side, you have to remove (or move to the side) the heat shield to access the top bolt

After some cleaning

Back to the spindles/hubs

I used a couple of old cheapo sockets I had and a table vice to press out the studs

After some major cleaning with the wheel grinder.

And some painting

I used some primer, and silver duplicolor wheel paint, then clear coated them.

Let’s begin with the install by placing the rear lca into place. You might have to wiggle it a bit to get it in there. After it’s in place, put the bolt through the hole to hold it in place. Do not tighten the bolt, you’ll need to wait till the car’s weight is on them (ride height). It should be torqued to 111 ft-lbs

Place the coil spring on the lca perch

Place your jack under your lca, then raise it slowly until you’re able to screw the bolt in place.

Use your 15mm socket / wrench to bolt it up. Remember not to tighten them until the car’s weight is on them.

Put your shock in place and torque bolt to 85 ft-lbs (13 ft-lbs for ZX3/4/5’s). I used KYB GR-2s for my rear. Not vary many options for wagons.

And screw in your lower shock bolt. Remember not to tighten it yet. This should be torqued to 66 ft-lbs

Take the spindle assembly and put in place, remember to use thread lock on your bolts.

Press in your new studs using an old lug/wheel nut and a open end wrench, like so

And all 4

Now, put your new (or old) rotor in place

Next, we’ll be installing the caliper bracket, but the guide pins will need to be cleaned up and greased. Use high-temp grease only

Separate the rubber boot from the pin and clean separately

After they’re all clean, put the boot back in place, and lube the pin. As you place the pin back into the hole on the bracket, you have to make use to get all the air our. If there’s air in the hole, it’ll push the pin out.

And bolt the bracket in place. Torque the bolts to 41 ft-lbs

Before installing the caliper, you’ll need to push the piston in, and for those of you that have done rear disc brake jobs, know it can be a B[:)][:)][:)][:)][:)][:)]

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Now pushing in the piston is as simple as turning a lever!

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When pushing in the piston, remember to leave it in this position

It’s for the guide bump on the brake pad

I used Hawk Pas as well for the rear

Place your pads on the rotor/bracket

Connect the brake fluid line to the caliper. It’s best to do this before mounting the caliper to the bracket.

Mount the caliper to the bracket and tighten the bolts to 26 ft-lbs

Re-engage the e-brake cable

Here’s yours truly workin’ [limp]

Your set-up should look something line this now

Next, we’ll install the rear sway. I picked up a set of Energy Suspension bushings and end links. The sway bar I have is an Eibach 25mm.

Pic for reference and part numbers

Separate the bushings from the bracket and grease the inside. Not too much, just a small amount is fine

Put things together and mount the sway to the sub-frame. Torque the bushing brackets to 35 ft-lbs

And remember to grease the bushing

Install the end links, but do not tighten them. You might not be able to get the nut on the bolt anyways, till the car is lowered

Don’t forget to bleed your brakes.

Put your wheels/tires back on and torque the wheel nuts to 94 ft-lbs

Lower the car, and now you can tighten/torque the control arm and shock bolts.

Fallow these brake-bedding instructions and youre good to go!

I know I didn’t take all the pics necessary and I missed something. So, ple'ase let me know so I can update the information.

Enjoy! [:)]

dsmuts 05-06-2009 04:54 PM

Very complete write up but you have your tires rotating in the wrong direction the arrow should be at the top of the tire facing the front of the car and also on the front struts you shouldn't tighten up the top nuts until the car has weight on the front. Good job on this though it would take a lot more time than i have to take pics of everything.

SuperFlea 05-06-2009 05:09 PM

Yes, i know about the tire. I put it on to take the pic, since i need to get the alignmwnt done first. And as for the strut, i actually researched that, and read both arguments. So, either on or off will work.

Blackcatn2o 05-06-2009 05:17 PM

Is that an advancetrac brake system?

SuperFlea 05-06-2009 05:20 PM

Yup, i just don't use the sensors.

illinipo 05-06-2009 05:56 PM

One question, how did you not exceed the post character limit!?!?

[thumb] nice job

oh also, is it SVT brakes upgrade or is it advancetrac? they are not the same!

Mr.Bergner 05-06-2009 05:58 PM

Damn playa, you make that look easy!

Great write-up, I'll be doing some bushings soon so this will help.

Oh, sorry those bump stops weren't go-fast red. Now I feel bad giving you black ones to install on all that prettyness!

SuperFlea 05-06-2009 06:51 PM


Originally Posted by illinipo (Post 2733081)
One question, how did you not exceed the post character limit!?!?

[thumb] nice job

oh also, is it SVT brakes upgrade or is it advancetrac? they are not the same!

haha! I dunno! I was checking for that prior to posting. [8]

And i thought the SVT and advance trac was the same, they both have ABS, right? [dunno]


Originally Posted by Mr.Bergner (Post 2733085)
Damn playa, you make that look easy!

Great write-up, I'll be doing some bushings soon so this will help.

Oh, sorry those bump stops weren't go-fast red. Now I feel bad giving you black ones to install on all that prettyness!

[hihi] That's cool! These black ones have boost! [grinking]

Thanks again bro! [:)]

illinipo 05-06-2009 07:03 PM

the SVT rears are bigger than the 00-04 (including advancetrac) fronts! and the advancetrac/ST rears are just tiny.

SuperFlea 05-06-2009 07:34 PM

Yeah, the SVT rear rotos are bigger (by a small amount) than the stock fronts. So, mine are SVT's

But, on the CFM and NewEdgePerformance, they list all the rear discs the same. Same part number for all rear rotors.

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