I wish you had come here sooner because I think I could have saved you a lot of sweat. I don't remember working on your car model specifically, but it has two bolts at the lower strut attaching point. That is a big improvement over the Ford-built Escorts of the '80s. A lot of GM front-wheel-drive cars used the same design but the bolts frustrated many people. To make matters worse, some of them only had two flats to fit an open end wrench instead of the six sides on a regular hex bolt. Those bolts can not be turned. They have serrations under the head that bite into the strut and hold it while you turn the nut. That style bolt is removed by pounding on the threaded end. If you plan on reusing them, turn the nut around, install it backward just two or three threads and pound on it. That will prevent damaging the threads. Most mechanics install new bolts and one of them is skinnier and is called a "cam bolt". It has no serrations under the head and is meant to be loosened and rotated when the car is being aligned. Turning it tips the wheel in or out on top to adjust "camber" to a very precise setting for best tire wear and handling.
I don't remember if I ever found those bolts with serrations on a Ford so if yours don't have them the bolts might just be rusted tight. That doesn't happen real often but when it does you just have to pound on them until they give up and move. If pounding doesn't work it means you need a bigger hammer. There were times I had to resort to an air hammer. Another approach is to soak the threads with a rust penetrant. "PB Blaster" is a popular product, and there are others out there. I use "Rust Penetrant" from the Chrysler dealer because I am very familiar with it. I was the suspension and alignment expert at a very nice Chrysler dealership for ten years. That stuff will sizzle and will do in ten minutes what WD-40 will do in a weekend.
The next thing I was afraid you were going to say was something to the effect of "I GUESS I HAVE TO PUT TIRE BACK ON AND LET JACK DOWN TO GET THE THING LOOSE". There are two things to be aware of. First of all, stick a large screwdriver, punch, or small wrench into one of the slots in the brake rotor. That will bang up against the mount for the brake caliper and hold the rotor and axle from turning when you turn the axle nut. The second and most important thing is you must never allow the vehicle's weight to be supported by the wheel bearing when that nut is not fully tightened. If you set it down on the tire to hold the axle from turning, then loosen the nut, you will have instantly damaged the bearing. That will make it noisy and it will sound like an airplane engine when you're driving.
You'll need a click-type torque wrench to tighten that nut to the specified setting. The range of specs is around 180 to 240 foot pounds. 200 foot pounds is a common spec. That nut is on the end of the short shaft that is part of the outer CV joint. Together they hold the wheel bearing together.
Monday, July 16th, 2012 AT 7:55 PM