Front Suspension Binding Fix

For a while I had been noticing that something was binding in the front suspension.  It would typically show itself as a problem after the car had sat overnight.  After sitting, if I drove over a dip in the road I would hear a loud clunk in the front of the car.  After that it would not reoccur until the car sat overnight again.  In an attempt to locate the problem I let the car sit overnight and then used a jack to raise the front of the car one side at a time.  Sure enough, I found that the driver’s side wheel would raise off of the ground when I jacked the car up, and would then drop down with a loud clunk.  Further investigation revealed that my front shock was sticking after sitting overnight.  Once it broke loose it would stay free until it sat for a while.  So the front shocks were the cause of the binding.

The shocks I was using are Koni shocks that I purchased at a Ford dealer some time back in the 1980’s.  The reasons I selected Koni shocks are that they were used on the Shelby Mustangs and that they can be rebuilt.  A quick search on the Internet and I was able to contact several authorized rebuilders.  What I found out is that even though the shocks could be rebuilt, unless I needed them for a numbers matching restoration the cost was more than just replacing them.  So instead of rebuilding the Konis I purchased a set of Bilstein shocks from Street or Track.  I also contacted OpenTracker and purchased front coil springs, upper control arms, and lower coil spring seats with roller bearings.  I also purchased some alignment tools and a coil spring compressor.

My original plan was to replace the control arms and springs, lower the upper control arms, and then do a home alignment.  Unfortunately right at that time I developed bursitis in my left knee and it became infected.  My health issue caused me to re-think my plans.  I ended up just replacing the shocks and the coil spring seats.  The control arm lowering would have to wait for another time.  I chose to still replace the lower spring seats because the ones on the car were squeaking and not moving freely.

After I replaced the shocks and spring seats the front end moved much more freely with no binding.  A lot of the squeaking noise was gone now.  With the spring seats quieted down I could now hear some squeaking coming from the front sway bar bushings.  I removed the bushings, cleaned everything up, and applied some lube I purchased from Energy Suspensions designed for use on polyurethane bushings.  That cleared up the sway bar squeak.  I went ahead and replaced the rear shocks as well even though they didn’t appear to have any issues.

I’m writing this a month or two after completing the job.  My knee is feeling much better.  The weather has been fairly wet and rainy so I haven’t had a good opportunity to really test out the suspension changes.