By Joel Haywood
If you have one, you know about this frustrating problem!
When I was installing my 4″ lift, I broke the one on the passenger side. The most common break is at the transition of the threads to the shoulder. On any bolt, this is the smallest diameter portion and the weakest point. In most cases, this breaks when removing the shocks.
After removing the shock and assessing the situation, in a fit of rage about breaking the nut off. (Part Irish in me, plus Sunday afternoon, and daily driver, makes for a bad combo). I grabbed my 2.5 lb hammer and smacked the stud. To my dismay, I thought I had made the situation worse when the whole stud popped off. From what I could gather, the weld they used was a projection weld. In my experiences with spot welding studs at work, I knew this is not the best method for attaching them. I have seen some people talk about drilling and taping the remaining stud and installing a bolt. YIKES! Not good when the stud came off that easy. Guys that live in cold climates will know what the ride is like on stone cold shocks. Disaster is around the corner.
Another method I have seen is that guys cut the stud off and drill and tap the remaining button. YIKES again! Same applies as above.
The second best method is what I have done. This is that I did:
I looked around for a bolt that was sufficient in diameter to fit into the shock bushing. I found a 5/8 grade 8 bolt fits snug. Now the thing is to find one the right length. I was not able to find one with sufficient shoulder on it, the one I did find was just a bit longer. I think it was around a 4″ long bolt. I slid it into the shock bushing, found a couple of washers to take up the difference. Slid the bolt into the hole of the old stud which is a good fit. I found the bolt threads to be a bit too long, so what I did was found a lock nut. I was able to get a crimped flanged grade 8 nut (type of lock nut, threads are oblonged a bit). Measured the height of the nut and cut the threaded end off that I didn’t need at around 2.75″. Just enough to get the whole nut on the bolt. Also, it will make it easier to get the nut on. The guys who know how hard it is to get a 5/8 bolt tight with these types of nuts will know where I am coming from.
Bolt it up and get the bushing on the shock good and snug up to the washers and bolt head. This will be good and solid.
The best method of fixing this would be to do the above mentioned with the bolt and weld the nut to the back of the arm. That way it won’t move around. I don’t believe it will though. I have wheeled my truck without welding the nut and the shocks are still just as snug as when I installed the bolt.
This would have been good for that side but let me warn you, some are not that easy to pop off. After getting the passenger side one done, I figured I would just go over to the other side and do the same. Well, let’s just say I spent 3 hours trying to get the bent stud off. I started by hitting it with the hammer and that just bent it. Apparently this side was welded a lot better. I was able to get it off by coaxing it with the cold chisel.
There is another method of fixing this. Apparently Ford knew of this problem and there is a kit you can get at the Dealer to fix it. Don’t hold me to this, I am not sure. This is just talk I may have heard.