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06-08 1500 4x4 Bilstein Install (no pics, just story and info)


This is a discussion on 06-08 1500 4x4 Bilstein Install (no pics, just story and info) within the Lifted forums, part of the 3rd Gen : 2002 - 2008 category!
tl;dr (too long didnt read) short version. -Cut lower strut bolts, press out bushing from metal sleeve, air hammer metal ...


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Old 01-19-2014, 05:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default 06-08 1500 4x4 Bilstein Install (no pics, just story and info)
tl;dr (too long didnt read) short version.
-Cut lower strut bolts, press out bushing from metal sleeve, air hammer metal sleeve out of control arm. Press new bushing in. Install strut assembly onto spring compressor, if upper bolt doesn't come off, find a way to cut shock stem without damaging spring. Buy new strut mount kit or air hammer old nut of cut stem to remove and reuse. Assemble. Part numbers below.

Long story version


So as we all know by now, 06-08 4x4s have the infamous seized front strut bolt problem. There are dozens of threads on here about it but I figured my thread will have a few more ideas thrown in. Here goes...

Yesterday 3 of my friends/coworkers went to a DIY shop in my hometown. Keep in mind, all four of us wrench for a living. Racked up my truck, had the tires off and rear shocks swapped in about 10 minutes. Mounted and balanced my 35" trail grapplers in about 30 minutes between two of us. Now the fun stuff.

I soaked the front end with two cans of PB blaster for a week prior to yesterday morning. Two of us working on either side of the truck. I was on the driver side, we unbolted the infamous lower strut bolt and nut with no problem(PB Blaster worked its magic I imagine), we unbolted the upper control arm, unbolted the 3 top strut assembly bolts, unbolted the tie rod end, took off the brake caliper assembly and rotor for clearance. The left strut assembly came out with no problem. Took all of ten minutes.

The right side was where we ran into the lower strut problem. But we were prepared. We cut the strut bolt on both ends to at least move the strut out of the way. I unpacked a bushing remover/installer tool kit that I brought from work. Set it up, managed to tear the bushing itself out of the metal sleeve. Now for the metal sleeve stuck in the control arm. We used a Snap On air hammer with a flat tip to strike the edges of the sleeve. Took some time as to not damage the control arm. The sleeve popped out with minimal damage to LCA. Pushed the new bushing in using the tool kit. (Bushing part number will be listed below)

Fastforward to the strut inside the spring compressor stand at the shop(not the cheap portable ones from auto parts stores). We begin to undue the top strut bolt, hitting it hard with a half inch air impact, zapping it, lubing it, zapping it, lubing it. NOTHING. The top strut bolt holding the assembly is completely rusted tight. We ended up using a circular saw to cut through the shock stem without damaging the spring think the two halves would just come off the spring. Well the shock dropped, but the upper nut/stem is held by a ridge on one side of the top strut mount and the nut on the other side. So back at square one.

We mounted the strut mount on a vice and ended up using the trusty air hammer again to get the rusted nut off. If you end up having to go this route, careful not to demolish the nut while is still on the threads. You need to have solid contact points to turn the nut with the hammer impacts. Eventually the nut came off with some damage to the strut mount but nothing major at all. Although the left strut assembly came out the vehicle with no problem, we ran into the same issue of getting the strut out of the spring. We went the same route as with the right strut. After that, putting everything back together was cake. Total front struts labor time was 5 hours, with experienced mechanics. What a nightmare.

So here are the parts I used and some I'd suggest you have ready. I have an 07, but parts should work for 06-08 4x4, maybe just 07-08 4x4s. Check for yourself to be sure.

MONROE Part # 907971 Strut-Mate Suspension Control Arm Bushing Kit (Rockauto)- lower LCA bushing, strut bolt and nut kit.

MONROE Part # 905914 Strut-Mate Strut Mounting Kit (Rockauto)- Strut mount kit in case you cannot get the top bolt off with air impact or don't feel like fighting with it.

Bilstein 24-185783- Rear 5100 Shocks

Bilstein 24-186988- Front Adjustable 5100 Shocks

Air Hammer with flat chisel adapter

Bushing remover/installer kit with size adapters
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Old 01-20-2014, 10:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Bump for Sinnyz. Hope you have a better time than i did bud lol

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Old 01-22-2014, 09:58 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Bluesmoke91 View Post
tl;dr (too long didnt read) short version.
-Cut lower strut bolts, press out bushing from metal sleeve, air hammer metal sleeve out of control arm. Press new bushing in. Install strut assembly onto spring compressor, if upper bolt doesn't come off, find a way to cut shock stem without damaging spring. Buy new strut mount kit or air hammer old nut of cut stem to remove and reuse. Assemble. Part numbers below.

Long story version


So as we all know by now, 06-08 4x4s have the infamous seized front strut bolt problem. There are dozens of threads on here about it but I figured my thread will have a few more ideas thrown in. Here goes...

Yesterday 3 of my friends/coworkers went to a DIY shop in my hometown. Keep in mind, all four of us wrench for a living. Racked up my truck, had the tires off and rear shocks swapped in about 10 minutes. Mounted and balanced my 35" trail grapplers in about 30 minutes between two of us. Now the fun stuff.

I soaked the front end with two cans of PB blaster for a week prior to yesterday morning. Two of us working on either side of the truck. I was on the driver side, we unbolted the infamous lower strut bolt and nut with no problem(PB Blaster worked its magic I imagine), we unbolted the upper control arm, unbolted the 3 top strut assembly bolts, unbolted the tie rod end, took off the brake caliper assembly and rotor for clearance. The left strut assembly came out with no problem. Took all of ten minutes.

The right side was where we ran into the lower strut problem. But we were prepared. I unpacked a bushing remover/installer tool kit that I brought from work. Set it up, managed to tear the bushing itself out of the metal sleeve. Now for the metal sleeve stuck in the control arm. We used a Snap On air hammer with a flat tip to strike the edges of the sleeve. Took some time as to not damage the control arm. The sleeve popped out with minimal damage to LCA. Pushed the new bushing in using the tool kit. (Bushing part number will be listed below)

Fastforward to the strut inside the spring compressor stand at the shop(not the cheap portable ones from auto parts stores). We begin to undue the top strut bolt, hitting it hard with a half inch air impact, zapping it, lubing it, zapping it, lubing it. NOTHING. The top strut bolt holding the assembly is completely rusted tight. We ended up using a circular saw to cut through the shock stem without damaging the spring think the two halves would just come off the spring. Well the shock dropped, but the upper nut/stem is held by a ridge on one side of the top strut mount and the nut on the other side. So back at square one.

We mounted the strut mount on a vice and ended up using the trusty air hammer again to get the rusted nut off. If you end up having to go this route, careful not to demolish the nut while is still on the threads. You need to have solid contact points to turn the nut with the hammer impacts. Eventually the nut came off with some damage to the strut mount but nothing major at all. Although the left strut assembly came out the vehicle with no problem, we ran into the same issue of getting the strut out of the spring. We went the same route as with the right strut. After that, putting everything back together was cake. Total front struts labor time was 5 hours, with experienced mechanics. What a nightmare.

So here are the parts I used and some I'd suggest you have ready. I have an 07, but parts should work for 06-08 4x4, maybe just 07-08 4x4s. Check for yourself to be sure.

MONROE Part # 907971 Strut-Mate Suspension Control Arm Bushing Kit (Rockauto)- lower LCA bushing, strut bolt and nut kit.

MONROE Part # 905914 Strut-Mate Strut Mounting Kit (Rockauto)- Strut mount kit in case you cannot get the top bolt off with air impact or don't feel like fighting with it.

Bilstein 24-185783- Rear 5100 Shocks

Bilstein 24-186988- Front Adjustable 5100 Shocks

Air Hammer with flat chisel adapter

Bushing remover/installer kit with size adapters
Wow, that really sounds like a pain! I want to do this myself but this is my daily driver and don't want to start and then not get it finished and be screwed. Also, I don't trust a shop around here to do it. Especially cause they'd probably want to replace the control arms and all just to make it easier. What part of the country do you live in? Was that bolt pretty rusted? I'm in Iowa and we have some hellacious winters so I'm sure mine is rusted/stuck on there. If I bought the control arms myself and did it, that would probably make it easier right? Not having to deal with getting the old bolts and bushings out?
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Old 01-22-2014, 03:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by sinnyz79 View Post
Wow, that really sounds like a pain! I want to do this myself but this is my daily driver and don't want to start and then not get it finished and be screwed. Also, I don't trust a shop around here to do it. Especially cause they'd probably want to replace the control arms and all just to make it easier. What part of the country do you live in? Was that bolt pretty rusted? I'm in Iowa and we have some hellacious winters so I'm sure mine is rusted/stuck on there. If I bought the control arms myself and did it, that would probably make it easier right? Not having to deal with getting the old bolts and bushings out?
I live in Southern California, but I believe my truck spent some time on the east coast before i bought it. I would think so, but then again, there are bolts to remove to get the control arms off and they can be rusted too. Unlikely but definitely a possibility. You might be lucky and be able to get the bottom strut bolts out like the left side on my truck but its a hard call unless you get down there.

If you're not afraid of pressing out and pressing in new bushings, I believe Rough Country or Rancho sells a leveled strut assembly you can buy already put together. All you have to do is remove old shock assembly and throw in the Rough Country/Rancho one. That way you wont have to deal with getting the old spring and shock apart and run into the issues i did. Or, buy the bilstiens, buy the spring and shock mounts and bottom spring seat and put that together to swap your old one out.

Either way, you will have to deal with the lower strut bushing and bolt if you don't buy the whole lower control arm. Those are 100 to 200 dollars each on Rockauto. Not necessary to go with dealer ($320+) Here are some part numbers I found. I do most of my buying from rockauto.com. Lowest prices and fast shipping.

RANCHO Part # RS999943 quickLIFT Loaded - Adjustable- leveled left strut
RANCHO Part # RS999929 quickLIFT Loaded - Adjustable- leveled right strut
MOOG Part # 81188 {#55366477AA} Constant Rate Springs; Sold In Pairs
MONROE Part # 905914 Strut-Mate Strut Mounting Kit (still need lower spring seat I believe, cant find a part number for it)
RAYBESTOS Part # 5071612 Front Left Lower; 4WD; 5 Lug Wheels
RAYBESTOS Part # 5071611 Front Right Lower; 4WD; 5 Lug Wheels


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Old 01-22-2014, 10:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Man thanks for providing links with all the parts, that's going to help me out a ton. So I went to a local ship today to have them actually check out what's going on up front. I told them I knew the front struts were bad cause they were leaking. Anyway, they checked it out and had a whole list of stuff that needs to be replaced. Upper and lower ball joints, struts, tie rods, alignment and a bunch of labor added up to over $1700. No way I'm going to have them do this. After reading on here and watching plenty of videos I think I can tackle this one myself. He also said I can't get replacement bolts, I'd have to likely replace the whole control arm. Which I know is a lie cause they are on rock auto like you pointed out. I'm going with the Monroe quick strut that's already compressed with the coil so that should save some time. Not sure when I'll do it all but going to replace all the brake pads and rotors this weekend first thing first. You're lucky that you are in Cali and have nice weather to work outside in. It's going to be -35 here tonight with the windchill. Luckily I do have a heated garage to work in which is the only option here in the winter time. I'll let you know how it goes when I start to tackle this job.
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Old 01-22-2014, 10:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by sinnyz79 View Post
Man thanks for providing links with all the parts, that's going to help me out a ton. So I went to a local ship today to have them actually check out what's going on up front. I told them I knew the front struts were bad cause they were leaking. Anyway, they checked it out and had a whole list of stuff that needs to be replaced. Upper and lower ball joints, struts, tie rods, alignment and a bunch of labor added up to over $1700. No way I'm going to have them do this. After reading on here and watching plenty of videos I think I can tackle this one myself. He also said I can't get replacement bolts, I'd have to likely replace the whole control arm. Which I know is a lie cause they are on rock auto like you pointed out. I'm going with the Monroe quick strut that's already compressed with the coil so that should save some time. Not sure when I'll do it all but going to replace all the brake pads and rotors this weekend first thing first. You're lucky that you are in Cali and have nice weather to work outside in. It's going to be -35 here tonight with the windchill. Luckily I do have a heated garage to work in which is the only option here in the winter time. I'll let you know how it goes when I start to tackle this job.
Techs will usually upsell parts to make more money, but after seeing my suspension components, i too, need ball joints and tie rod ends. Will probably tackle that on my own as well. Good luck with the work, let me know if you have any questions.

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Old 01-27-2014, 02:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Bluesmoke91 View Post
Techs will usually upsell parts to make more money, but after seeing my suspension components, i too, need ball joints and tie rod ends. Will probably tackle that on my own as well. Good luck with the work, let me know if you have any questions.

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Hey where'd you get the replacement bolts for the lower control arms? I called RockAuto and they said they don't have the replacement bolts. I found someone on ebay selling single bolts for $34 each saying Dodge is the only provider of these bolts. I find that hard to believe. If you can point me in the right direction I'd really appreciate it.
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Old 01-27-2014, 03:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by sinnyz79 View Post
Hey where'd you get the replacement bolts for the lower control arms? I called RockAuto and they said they don't have the replacement bolts. I found someone on ebay selling single bolts for $34 each saying Dodge is the only provider of these bolts. I find that hard to believe. If you can point me in the right direction I'd really appreciate it.
I bought this kit that comes with the nut, bolt, and new bushing. It's posted above as well.
MONROE Part # 907971 Strut-Mate Suspension Control Arm Bushing Kit (Rockauto)- lower LCA bushing, strut bolt and nut kit.

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Old 01-28-2014, 03:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Bluesmoke91 View Post
I bought this kit that comes with the nut, bolt, and new bushing. It's posted above as well.
MONROE Part # 907971 Strut-Mate Suspension Control Arm Bushing Kit (Rockauto)- lower LCA bushing, strut bolt and nut kit.

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I actually just need the bolts since I'm replacing the control arms. Looks like a trip to the dodge dealer
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Old 01-28-2014, 03:29 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by sinnyz79 View Post
I actually just need the bolts since I'm replacing the control arms. Looks like a trip to the dodge dealer
You're replacing the entire arm? Hopefully the bolts holding the arm to the frame aren't too bad either. I never thought to look at those bolts.


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