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The steering/handling is very loose and I'm looking for advice, so I avoid the "shotgun" method of just replacing parts. I'm pretty sure all of the suspension (excluding shocks) and steering parts (FYI, it has power steering) are original to the car or at least predate 1990 when I acquired the car. The car does ride "low" in the back with a slight list to the left, so I'm guessing that the leaf springs and bushings have seen better days and should be replaced.

Any suggestions on how to go about firming up the handling/steering without simply throwing parts at it? Should I start without I believe to be the obvious worn out rear leaf springs and bushings? If a wholesale suspension "refresh" is in order (bushings, tie rods, etc.). Any recommendations on a kit to go with that balances, budget, quality and performance? Anything to avoid?

Thanks for your assistance.


AB
 

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If you don't want to throw parts at it then check all parts for wear and replace what is bad then do an alignment.
 

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Grab the Ford Service Manual (FSM) for your car. About $20 on CD, and up to $80 in book form as a 5-volume set. Follow the directions to test each of the parts. Then, replace those that fail testing, and those that may need replacement soon. While you may have bad rear leaf springs, I have done full and correct front-end alignments that have pulled a 3" sag out of one side in the rear. The front directly affects the rear and the stance of the car, so don't assume until you get more done in the front, and you can go from there.
:tup:
David
 

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The steering/handling is very loose and I'm looking for advice, so I avoid the "shotgun" method of just replacing parts. I'm pretty sure all of the suspension (excluding shocks) and steering parts (FYI, it has power steering) are original to the car or at least predate 1990 when I acquired the car.


Nope, a complete overhaul is definitely not needed in these cases...

Maybe grease the components with a HD chassis grease? I am sure a few hundred thousand miles of use will not result in component wear...
 

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Grease all your suspension parts then jack up the front end and start checking for slopy tierod ends, center link, ball joints, wheel bearings, A-arm bushing, end link slop and sway bar bushings. Don't forget to check the steering box itself for wear by play in the steering wheel. Rear leafs check the shackle bushing for wear.
 
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