How to Install Front Struts on a 2002 Ford Focus

by Stephen Martinez

    The Ford Focus is a compact car introduced in 1999 as a replacement for the Ford Escort. The Focus came as a three-door hatchback, four-door sedan, five-door station wagon, and five-door hatchback. The Focus is currently in its third generation, with the 2001 model year being in the first generation. You can definitely replace the front struts on your 2001 Ford Focus at home, although you will need a strut spring compressor, which you can generally borrow from your local auto parts store as part of their tool-loan program. If you don’t have access to a spring compressor, you can purchase a complete strut assembly, which will make the repair that much easier. You will also need to have the front alignment checked when you are done, so find a shop nearby that will do an alignment.

    Items you will need

    • New struts
    • Socket Set
    • Wrench set
    • Jack
    • 2 jack stands
    • Strut spring compressors
    • Pry bar
    • Torque wrench
    Step 1

    Remove the wheel cover, if equipped. Loosen the front wheel lug nuts ½ turn. Jack up the front of the vehicle and place a jack stand under the body seam on both sides of the vehicle. Lower the vehicle on to the jack stands. Never allow the jack to support the weight of the vehicle while working underneath. Always use jack stands to support the weight of the vehicle.

    Step 2

    Remove the lug nuts and remove the front wheels. Detach the brake hose from the support bracket on the front strut -- don't detach it from the caliper. Remove the nut from the front stabilizer link by holding the large nut on the link side of the strut with a wrench while using a socket to turn the outer nut.

    Step 3

    Remove the pinch bolt from the steering knuckle that clamps the struts into the knuckle. Use a floor jack to support the steering knuckle so the CV joint does not separate, then pry downward on the knuckle until it is free from the strut. You may need to lower the jack as you are prying down to allow enough clearance for the strut to clear the knuckle.

    Step 4

    Remove the three nuts from the top of the strut and remove the strut from the vehicle. On a bench, use a spring compressor to compress the spring enough so the upper mount spins freely. Remove the nut from the top of the strut and remove the strut mount, jounce bumper, spring, bellows, and spring insulator.

    Step 1

    Place the spring insulator on the spring perch of your new strut. Place the bellows and jounce bumper on the strut rod and place the spring over the assembly, lining up the bottom of the spring with the step in the spring perch. Place the strut mount on the top of the assembly with the arrow facing the front of the vehicle. Place the nut on the strut rod and torque to 35 foot-pounds.

    Step 2

    Install the strut through the opening in the strut tower with the arrow facing the front of the vehicle. Install the nuts and torque them to 18 foot-pounds.

    Step 3

    Line the strut up with the opening in the knuckle and use the jack to raise the knuckle up until the bolt hole in the knuckle lines up with the hole in the strut bracket. Install the pinch bolt and tighten to 66 foot-pounds.

    Step 4

    Insert the stabilizer link through the hole in the strut and install the nut. Torque the nut to 37 foot-pounds while holding the nut on the back side with a wrench.

    Step 5

    Install the wheel and lug nuts and snug up the lug nuts. Raise the front of the vehicle with a jack and remove the jack stands. Lower the vehicle to the ground and torque the lug nuts to 95 foot-pounds. Have a front-end alignment performed by a qualified shop immediately, to prevent any steering or tire wear issues.