Installed ouiter tie rod ends and fron tshocks today
The outer tie rod ends on my 2003 ranger 4WD were shot and the shocks front and rear were completely rusted. Had some squirrely front end wobble and clunks when turning. Installed Moog brand outer tie rod ends that have grease fittings for maintenance. Installed KYB monotube gas-charged shocks. The old tie rod ends were installed unevenly (22 rotations on one side and 20.5 rotations on another.) Steering wheel is straighter now tht both tie rod ends are installed evenly.
A couple hints on removing the thoroughly rusted old front shocks. soaked the rusty upper threads and the lower shock mounting nuts in PB blaster overnight before beginning the job. Used a wire brush to remove as much surface rust as possible on the upper mount threads. Used a 15 millimeter box wrench, turned upside down, on the top nut, and a pair of vice grips to hold the shaft in place. while turning the nut. Slid a piece of radiator hose over the end of the box wrench to use for padding, as it took extreme pressure to budge the nut. Once the nut was backed off enough, I moved the vice grips to the main body of the shock, directly below the upper mounting point, and locked onto a smaller diameter portion just above the main tube. Rotated the shock tube until the vice grips were pinned against the shock mount area. Used the 15 mm box wrench until the rusty upper threaded shank eventually snapped in half. It is weird but it seems that there are a mixture of standard and metric nuts and bolts used by the factory on the Ranger.
While doing the job (which took about 7 hours) noticed that the passenger side front sway bar end link had snapped at the top and thus was not securing the end of the sway bar. Probably why that tie rod end was majorly bad. Harbor Freight sells a 1/2 inch breaker bar that is about30- inches long. Works great for removing lug nuts. Also found that a very long and wide bladed screwdriver can be used to rotate the rear spare tire assembly cable release so as to lower the spare. A prior owner lost the jack and lug nut wrench that is otherwise used to lower the spare tire.
I hope to locate some plastic covers, or use short lengths of rubber hose, to keep the upper shock threads from rusting in the future. That was an extremely demanding job to replace the old rusty shocks. Tomorrow I do the rear shocks and install new sway bar end links. Hopefully, the cluncks and squeaks will be gone afterwards.