Lincoln Navigator Review – Rick Bartz
Strutmasters Product Review
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Install, Ride & Kit Quality
This is a nicely designed, high quality kit with Eibach springs – one of best made US brands. Installation was straight forward in terms of procedure, but I have some lessons learned as noted below. I have a 2004 Navigator in excellent condition. By all means, watch the Strutmaster YouTube install video.
I’m very satisfied with the ride height after install; if the springs settle a bit after time, will not be an issue. Ride character after install is pretty much same as with air springs – most drivers will feel no difference. Only the most discriminating will note a bit of harshness “at the margin”, ie, abrupt road surface roughness. I count myself as discriminating and am very satisfied with ride. Air springs are softer overall, but this set up is great.
Tools/materials I found useful are a 3/8” or preferably ½” ratcheting wrench with metric socket heads and a hollow tube handle extender bar, penetrating oil, an 18”-24” crow bar to lever the attachment point for the bottom end of the struts during install, a hammer, and of course jack stands for safety.
I found a 30mm socket head necessary for removal and install of the large bolt securing the bottom end of the strut, as well the hammer to pound this pin out and back in during removal and install. I found the 15mm socket head most useful for other bolt heads in the assembly. Most people don’t have the 30mm size head; despite have a great tool set, I did not have this large size and had to purchase it.
I recommend spraying the strut bottom end bolt head and nut with penetrating oil once removing the tires – let that sit for 15-30 min before unbolting, while doing other disassembly work. One of those bolts was particularly difficult to loosen and I struggled with it for some time. An impact wrench would have been useful; I banged on it with a hammer for a bit, which didn’t seem to help. In the end it was just brute force, and using a hollow tube handle extender. (An 18”-24” hollow tube to slip over the ratchet wrench handle, extending it and giving more leverage. Heavy gauge aluminum, steel or even a lead plumbing pipe will do.) My Navigator is a California car with mild weather elements; elsewhere that bolt assembly might have been more difficult.
The strut top end nuts have nylon locking rings, so are not hand turnable to a great extent. For the front shocks, I was able to reach down through the engine bay with about 12” of socket wrench extenders to make removal and install easier. For the rears, with very small working spaced, I had a swivel-head type ratchet wrench which made install easier – either way, securing those nuts took some time and patience.
I did the install as a two-person team and recommend it. Install was 3-1/2 hours start to finish for all 4 corners, including time to run out and purchase the 30mm socket head. We worked both left and right sides of the install in parallel, and helped each other with 4 hands when necessary – particularly when aligning the strut bottom end for install.
The above experience would have been useful for me in preparing for the work. I’m not a mechanic but have good mechanical aptitude. Luckily I have access to an extensive tool set – without that, the above notes would have been essential. Hope this helps future buyers.
Very happy with the Strutmaster kit. High quality components and fit. Great ride as replacement for air suspension. Will last a lifetime with no maintenance. Highly recommend it. And kudos to Strutmaster staff being knowledgeable, friendly and polite.
~ Review by Rick Bartz, Santa Clarita, CA
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