How to Replace a Front Lincoln Mark VIII Airbag
I WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND DRENCHING DOWN THE LOWER BOLT ON BOTH SIDES WITH PB BLASTER OR SOME TYPE OF RUST PENETRANT BEFORE DOING THIS JOB!
(especially with a car from up north)
This bolt can become rusted to the point where it corrodes & bonds to the bushing inside sleeve, requiring lower control arm replacement.
Depending on the environment the car has been subjected too in its life, you may find the lower mounting bolts are rusted "inside the sleeve of the bushing". Keep in mind that the bushing is pressed in the lower control arm and the "sleeve" is embedded in the rubber bushing. In other words, if you try to heat the bolt to aid in removal, you could easily damage the bushing......which would require replacing the lower control arm.
You may want to order your parts, then while your waiting for your parts to be delivered, soak down the lower mounting bolts really good at least twice a day.
1) Turn off suspension switch!
2) Raise vehicle and put jackstands under the FRAME....NOT UNDER THE SUSPENSION. Remove both front wheels.....even if your only replacing 1 strut. (If you have one side raised and the other on the ground, the sway bar will hold tension and make things difficult)
3) Leave the steering wheel unlocked. With the steering unlocked, you can easily move the wheel back & forth outside, under the car, to make it easier to remove the lower bolt.
Remove the 2 pin connector on the solenoid. See red arrow below.
4) Remove the air line from the solenoid.
The air lines are connected by way of a brass collet. To disconnect air line, push in on the orange collar with one hand while pulling on the air line with the other hand. Because the collet has been "dugg-in" for many years, you may need to try this several times before it comes loose.
5) With a small flat blade screwdriver, remove the half moon, thin metal safety retaining ring around solenoid. Twist solenoid counter-clockwise until it stops or until you hear a sudden burst of air. After air has stopped venting, twist solenoid again until it stops, then remove.
If you have one of the few solenoids that don't pop down (it happens) after you twist it, you'll need to pry it down with a screwdriver to break the air seal. Although it won't hurt anything, it WILL scare the crap out of you when it does pop out! ;)
6) Remove the 21mm nut on the lower bolt, then tap the bolt to see if it is loose enough to come out. Keep in mind that sometimes when the factory assembles the original strut on the vehicle, they hammer it on so fast that is smashes the lower "fork" that straddles the lower control arm. Both sides that straddle the lower arm can be deformed, which can sometimes alter the size of the bolt hole. When this happens, both metal plates can act like a nut.......which will require the bolt to be removed counter clockwise....like a bolt being removed from a nut.
To decrease assembly time at the factory, the factory stamped a thin metal piece on the head of the bottom bolt. The reason for this piece of metal, is to catch the lower control arm when tightening the bolt and acts as a combination nut & wrench. Be CAREFULL when removing the nut using power tools, as it can come loose, spin quickly and slice a finger off before you know what happened!
Anyway, I recommend popping the "flag" (small bent piece of metal that keeps the bolt from turning on assembly) of the head off the bolt so that you have a normal bolt head. This will allow you to put a 6 point socket on the bolt and "hopefully" remove the bolt by unscewing it.
7) Remove the 2 x 5/16 bolts attaching module. Remove the 3-13mm nuts on top of the strut tower.
8) Push down and compress strut, then pull out strut.
9) Reseal the Solenoid(s)
If you have purchased a New Ford OEM Air Strut from us, the solenoid DOES NOT NEED TO BE RESEALED!!!
The OEM strut includes a new solenoid already installed from the factory!
Pull off the old bigger o-rings and replace them with the new ones THAT HAVE BEEN LUBRICATED WITH PREFERABLY DIELECTRIC GREASE. Install 2 new o-rings while keeping the nylon washer in between(see pic below)the o-rings.(That's right, the same stuff Ford uses on spark plug wires) The dielectric grease doesn't seem to attack the rubber like vaseline. If you don't lubricate them with something, they will twist and probably won't seal as good as the old ones, which means you did all this for nothing.
To replace the o-ring that seals the airline, first remove the orange collar. Then carefully remove the brass collet(it's easily crushed) and remove the little nylon washer, then the old o-ring. See picture below
Install the new smaller o-ring in the hole of the solenoid, making sure it's flat and seated, then the little nylon washer. Make sure both are flat and seated. Install brass collet and then orange collar.
After these o-rings are replaced, install solenoids, plug in airline and 2 pin connector and remove from jack stands.
We DO NOT recommend using ANY type of lubricant when installing the airlines into the dryer for 2 reasons:
#1) The lines are held in by way of a collet. The small jaws of the collet hold the airline into place. If you put a lubricant on the line, the line could pop out and would result in a major leak, which would allow the front and/or rear of the vehicle to lower all the way down to the bump-stops and most likely do serious damage to the compressor.
#2) The heavy duty o-rings we use on our dryers are made to last 3 times longer than a stock factory o-ring but are NOT designed to be in contact with ANY foreign substance! In other words, using a lubricant on the lines on installation will almost certainly cause reduce the life of the sealing o-rings, thus causing a leak.
10) Reverse to install.
The struts I got from American Air look different than my originals. will they work?