Econoline E350 1 Ton V8-5.4L Prop SOHC VIN Z (1998)
Remove the front wheel assembly on the side to be repaired.
Loosen the front shock absorber at upper attachment, or disconnect the front shock at the lower attachment, to permit the axle to move down so the
spring can be removed. Remove the front spring upper retainer and the front spring. Refer to the E-Series Workshop Manual. If required for
inspection or repair access, also remove the shock from vehicle.
Cover the wheel end, brake rotor and brake hoses with a welding blanket to protect from grinding debris and weld spatter.
Clean or de-grease spring tower and ensure that all cracks have been identified. Prepare suitably sized reinforcement plates for the repair.
LH only, if necessary for access, remove the rear most steering gear bolt and apply tape over the hole to protect it from weld spatter.
Remove frame wax or E-coat from the spring tower in the areas to be welded, with a straight or right angle die grinder with a Scotch-Brite(TM)
(or similar pad) and wax and grease remover. Include areas of the flange where the reinforcement plate will be welded to the spring tower. Also,
clean up the back or inboard side of the flange in the area to be repaired.
Use a small burr tool to grind along the crack and form a U-groove for weld metal deposit. The U-groove should extend from the trimmed flange
to approximately 3/8" (10 mm) beyond the visible end of the crack. No more than 1 mm of the original metal thickness should remain in the
ground area at the "bottom" of the U-groove.
Use a 36 grit 3" grinding disk and chamfer any sharp edges along the U-groove, and grind the spring tower flange edge smooth 1" (25 mm) on
either side of the crack location.
Using a MIG welder, fill the crack from its termination back toward the initiation point at the trim edge of the spring tower flange.
Cool the repair weld with an air blast and inspect.
Grind the weld flush with the original outboard surface of the spring tower. The recommended grinding direction for this operation is
perpendicular to the direction of crack.
Check the reinforcement plate for proper fit-up to the repaired area.
If access to the flange edge is good, position and clamp the reinforcement plate on the spring tower flange so that the plate's edge is flush with the
flange edge (butt joint edge).
IF ACCESS TO THE FLANGE EDGE IS POOR, POSITION AND CLAMP THE REINFORCEMENT PLATE ON THE SPRING TOWER
FLANGE SO THAT THE PLATE'S EDGE IS SLIGHTLY INSIDE THE FLANGE EDGE (LAP JOINT EDGE).
Begin by tack welding the reinforcement plate in place starting at the plate's edges farthest from the crack. Check MIG welder torch access for the
weld pass, then make a weld along the inside edge of the reinforcement plate. Vertical down weld direction is preferred when possible.
Recheck for proper fit-up, adjust as required, and then make another weld pass along the outside edge of the reinforcement plate. A vertical down
weld direction is preferred when possible.
Cool the welded area with an air blast and inspect. If required, grind smooth to remove excess weld material and/or stress concentrations.
Apply corrosion inhibiting paint, Motorcraft Low Temperature Anti-Corrosion Coating (PM-12-A), to the repair area.
Reassemble the vehicle and secure fasteners to the proper torques, as specified in the Workshop Manual.
VERIFY THE "T" SHAPED END OF THE UPPER SPRING RETAINER IS PROPERLY ENGAGED AND SEATED IN THE SLOT AT THE
TOP OF THE SPRING TOWER BEFORE THE FASTENER IS SECURED.
LH SIDE ONLY - IF STEERING GEAR BOLT WAS REMOVED, REAPPLY THREAD ADHESIVE TO THE BOLT BEFORE IT IS
INSTALLED AND TORQUED.
SPRING TOWER REPLACEMENT
Spring Towers can be replaced if the above conditions for Spring Tower Repair are not met. These parts are for installation by a skilled welder at an
appropriate vehicle repair facility according to the general frame welding guidelines in Section 502 of the E-Series Workshop Manual.
Refer to TSB 97-4-7 for replacement of the Spring Tower to #1 cross member rivet with a bolt.