They're called coil over shocks. Remove / replace is very similar to a strut. You need a spring compressor (a pretty heavy duty one at that) and the shock is removed out of the top of the coil assembly. I installed these Bilstein's on my 2004 F150...BE5-A761-H0 from eShocks.com. Not sure if your Expy is the same.
I was able to get the full set of Bilstein's delivered.
The rear's went in this afternoon without too much trouble. I found that i needed the following:
21 mm socket
15mm closed end ratchet wrench
17mm closed end offset wrench
6mm open end wrench
Spring compressors (needed a 15/16ths socket)
I found it helpful to remove the rear "tie rods" from the center of the rear of the vehicle to allow the A arms to articulate enough to remove the entire coil/shock assembly for easier replacement.
I'll be working on the fronts later this weekend, if anyone has advice please let me know, but it looks to be easier then the rear.
The only other item needed for the front was an allen key to hold the shock cylinder in place think it was a 5mm. Removed the front tie rods from the hub to allow removal of the assembly. Overall, easy to do, great improvement in handling and noticeable decrease in cabin noise.
I found the ride to be springy (especially on offset turns like going in/out of a driveway) before the replacement.
I also tested on a washboard dirt round for about a mile. Before the replacement the truck was skittering across the road, with lots of noise and my 5 year old thought it was "bumpy fun".
After the ride was controlled and the truck stayed planted on the driving line without skittering at all - even with full, abs induced braking.
The reduction in road noise I can easily attribute to the shocks doing their job and absorbing the shocks, eliminating the road noise being transmitted straight into the cabin.
One of my other vehicles was updated to solid motor mounts and the cabin noise immediately went up. All vibration anywhere in a vehicle will get transmitted thru the chassis either motor or suspension. Since that vehicle spends more time in a performance role i did not care about the noise and for that application it was appropriate since the mounts needed replacing anyway - would never do that on the Expedition.
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