2000 Ford Focus, front strut assemby replacement and sway bar links - Focus Fanatics
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:08 PM   #1
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2000 Ford Focus, front strut assemby replacement and sway bar links

Hello!

I had a major front end failure with my 2000 Focus on Monday. Praise God it happened as I was backing out of my garage and not at speed on the highway.

As I was backing out, I heard a bang and then a lot of metallic scraping and groaning. I was hoping it was just built up snow between the tire and inner fender, however the Right side strut spring apparently rusted and then snapped and was pressing on my one year old tires!

I got the car jacked up and cut the snapped off spring (which still had some tension on it, so that was a bit hairy so to speak!)

The sway bar link nuts/studs were rusted on the L side (I didn't do the R side yet) I had to cut the links with my torch and then when I had more movement hold the inside part with a vice grips and then the nuts came off. THis was after soaking with PB blaster!

I elected to purchase complete Strut assemblies from NAPA (their better grade ones) which included a new strut (figuring the old ones are 13 yrs old and need replaced anyway), new coil spring and new bearing plate.

The first side took me about 3 hours the majority of that was trying to get the nuts off the old sway bar links as I really didn't want to spend another $70 right now for new ones, but as I noted prior, I finally gave in and cut the one with the torch. I bought new MOOG units from Advance this morning which have greasable bearings!

At any rate, the purpose of this long post is I'm wondering just how out of wack my steering and alingment will be now? The struts seem pretty much idioit proof, you index a top stud on the bearing plate to match the old one, and the struts both have a "spline" on the back side that fits in a notch in the steering knuckle. I'm assuming due to spring wear and the like it may be a little bit difference, but if after I get it back together and drive it, if the steering is dead-nuts straight and it's not pulling or anything, should I bother spending another $100 for a wheel alingment?

Is there anything else I'm missing with this project I need to know about?

Thoughts?

Thanks,
Greg


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Old 01-29-2013, 04:06 PM   #2
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You should be ok for a couple of weeks but, no more. Then take it in. You shouldn't pay $100. It should be $70 or so. Shop around.

How many miles are on the car?

I'll get this one moved to a better section.
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:35 PM   #3
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Hi, thanks for the reply!

I didn't have time to work on the car last night, but with any luck if things go well for me tonight I should have both done tonight.

I'll go ahead and look for a shop to do the wheel alingment. My fuel mileage with the car has been consisently POOR and I have eliminated just about every other reason for that, EXCEPT alingnment.......

Well, the LR brake seems to hang a little at times and I know that kills mileage as well. Not sure why, I replace the Ebrake cable on that side already and it still seems to randomly do it, but even when it's not hanging the fuel mileage is poor around town.
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:36 PM   #4
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Also, Do you think I should wait a week or two (on purpose) and drive the car to ensure the new struts/springs are "settled in" before I take it for a wheel alingment? I hate to take it for an alingment and then have it settle in as the instructions for the struts says they will do and then have the alingment out of wack.

Or will that not occur?

Also, the car has just under 48K on it.
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:55 PM   #5
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The springs may settle some, but not enough to make putting off the alignment worth is. As for the alignment causing poor fuel economy, my alignment was out so bad when I first bought this car (cut springs, bent inner tie rod, bad wheel bearings, etc) I went through both front tires in less the 5k miles. Threads showing on the inner side of the tire. During this time, I got a consistent 30-33 mpg (mostly highway). New tires, fixed a long list of problems with it, and I'm still getting about the same MPG.
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:17 AM   #6
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Ok, thanks for the info!

I'll drive it for a week or so and then take it in.

I appreicate the help!

PS - finished the project last night, everything buttoned up and new MOOG sway bar end links installed. I like the MOOG stuff, it's beefy and solid, HUGE improvement over stock!

The steering wheel is still dead-straight and the car does not pull at all with my hands off the wheel. I'm still going to have it alinged, but it can't be that far out with the way it's driving. I would have the job 100% done, but I ran out of chassis grease so I still have to grease the R side end link tonight when I get home.

I will say this, the front end seem stiff as a board now.....LOL.......big improvement, eventhough it was FORCED on me! LOL

Thanks,
Greg
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