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How to Replace Front Struts 11-12 Ford Explorer

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How to Replace Front Struts 11-12 Ford Explorer

Created on: 2018-10-12

How to repair, install , fix, change or replace your front struts with their loaded struts on 11, 12 Ford Explorer

Tools needed for replacement

  • General Tools


    Jack Stands

    Floor Jack

  • Materials, Fluids, and Supplies

    Rust Penetrant

  • Ratchets & Related

    Socket Extensions

    Torque Wrench


  • Sockets - Metric

    24mm Socket

    15mm Socket

    19mm Socket

  • Wrenches - Metric

    21mm wrench

Installation Video
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Mike: Hi, I'm Mike from 1A Auto. We've been selling auto parts for over 30 years.

What's up, guys? I'm Andy, from 1A Auto. Today I'm gonna be installing this strut in this 2011 Ford Explorer. If you need these parts or other parts for your vehicle, click the link in the description and head over to

Whenever you do any kind of suspension work or front end work on a vehicle, you're gonna wanna go to a local shop and have the alignment performed. 'Cause you don't want any premature tire wear. I'm gonna loosen the lug nuts up, I'm just gonna use a 19-millimeter socket and a breaker bar. I'm just gonna crack them free. Now, we're gonna raise and support the vehicle, we're using a two-post lift. If you're doing this at your house, you can use a jack and jack-stands. We're gonna remove the lug nuts. Once those lug nuts are off, take the tire off. I'm gonna spray some rust penetrant on here, that'll help us get the nut off. I'm also gonna spray rust penetrant on these two bolts for the strut. All right, now we're gonna use a 21-millimeter wrench, I'm gonna loosen this nut. Once it loosens a little bit, the stud is gonna spin as well.

So, we're gonna need to hold the stud, I'm gonna use a 10-millimeter socket and a ratchet. That'll hold the stud. You're gonna put the ratchet on tighten, that'll keep it from spinning while we're loosening the nut. And once it gets pretty loose, it won't spin back and forth anymore. And I should be able to take it off by hand. There we go. Now I can take it off by hand and pull it out. So, slide this out of the strut bracket. You may have to turn the wheel a little bit. Slide that out, and out of your way. All right, now we're gonna take these bolts out for the front strut. I'm gonna use a 21-millimeter wrench and a 24-millimeter socket and a breaker bar, loosen the nut up. All right, before I take that off, I'm gonna loosen up the bottom one. Now, I'll switch to a ratchet, take this nut off. Take that nut off.

Then I'll take the top nut off. Before I take those bolts out, I'm just gonna remove this ABS wire. Just pull this out, the little rubber grommet, slide it off. Now, I'm gonna take a hammer and tap these bolts out. Tap the bottom one out. Should be able to just wiggle them out. And we can separate the knuckle from the strut. We're gonna have to take these four nuts off, up top here. There's a 15-millimeter socket and a ratchet. And it'd be better if I had a semi-deep 15, but just a regular 15 will work. I'm just loosening these up. Before I take the last nut off, I am gonna have to support the strut assembly. You wanna make sure you do not take this middle bolt out. This middle nut. Just take the outer ones off. Now, with the last one on there, I'll grab the spring and strut assembly, and then take this last nut off.

Then I can grab it from underneath, get the ABS wire out of my way. Slide it down. And pull it out. One thing you wanna make sure about this knuckle, is the brake hose, make sure you don't have too much tension on the brake hose, right here, that's good. But, if it was sagging any more, you wanna put something underneath here to support it. Just keep that in mind. Here's our old strut assembly. Here's our new strut assembly from As you can see, the shape is the same. Same bracketry, same brackets here. The holes are in the same position. Has a nice spring that it comes with. Flip it around, the strut mount is the same. Comes with new nuts. Get yours at and you'll be ready to rock and roll.

We're gonna take the nuts off this strut mount before we install it into the vehicle. And we'll line it up underneath. And then once that's lined up, install the nut. Then I can let go of the strut. You could also use a helper if someone wants to hold the strut while you're trying to put the nut on--that would be a lot easier. So, I'm gonna take a 15-millimeter socket and a torque wrench. I'm gonna tighten these nuts up to 41-foot-pounds. Now, I'm gonna take the knuckle and line it up with the strut assembly. Gonna take a little bit of effort to force it in there. There we go. Pull this up a little bit. You're supposed to replace these nuts and bolts when you're doing this job. At least Ford recommends to replace them. But, we're gonna reuse these. Take a hammer and just hammer them in. And take the nut, put that on, and put that one on.

Now, I'm gonna take my 24-millimeter socket and a ratchet and 21-millimeter wrench, hold the bolt with the wrench and tighten down the nut. Same with down here. Now, I'm gonna torque these with a torque wrench. I'm gonna torque them to 180-foot-pounds. Now we're gonna take this ABS harness and slide it into the bracket right there, where the rubber grommet is. Now we're gonna line this top of the sway-bar link up. Right through there. Take the new sway-bar link nut, slide that on. I'm gonna tighten that down and then we're gonna torque it. I'm gonna torque this nut to 111-foot-pounds. Reinstall the tire. Put the lug nuts on. And lower the vehicle. Now, we're gonna torque these lug nuts to 100-foot-pounds. We're gonna use a torque wrench, and we're gonna torque them in a star pattern. The reason you do it in a star pattern is so that the wheel gets tightened down properly against the rotor, and evenly. You can go around again just to double check, make sure you got them all. You're good to go.

Thanks for watching. Visit us at for quality auto parts, fast and free shipping, and the best customer service in the industry.

Tools needed for replacement:

    General Tools

  • Hammer
  • Jack Stands
  • Floor Jack

  • Materials, Fluids, and Supplies

  • Rust Penetrant

  • Ratchets & Related

  • Socket Extensions
  • Torque Wrench
  • Ratchet

  • Sockets - Metric

  • 24mm Socket
  • 15mm Socket
  • 19mm Socket

  • Wrenches - Metric

  • 21mm wrench

2011 - 2012  Ford  Explorer
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