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Replacing shocks on 1998 Town Car

Well, I must need new glasses or am getting too old to repair my own cars…

Very simple question. I have a 1998 Town Car Cartier and am about to replace the rear suspension air bags with coil springs, and am going to replace the rear shocks at the same time. The Haynes manual shows a nice photo of the top shock mounting nut, but after about 45 minutes of searching, I cannot find where it is. I’ve also glanced under part of the trunk lining.

So my question is do I need to pull out (or lift) a different area of trunk lining to get at them? I haven’t gone under the car to visualize where it would come up but I’m assuming it would be in the trunk. The springs look pretty straight forward.

Thanks. Terry

It might be accessible by pulling down the back of the rear seat.

Perhaps the easiest way is to stop by the Lincoln dealer’s parts department and ask for an “exploded view” drawing of the installation. My local dealers have always been happy to print such drawings for me.

I just replaced the rear air suspension on a 99 Lincoln.

Remove the rear tires and look in the area between the frame and the bottom of the trunk and you’ll see the nuts for the top of the shocks. These aren’t easy to get to so the best way to remove them is to cut the shafts of the shocks from under the vehicle with an oxy/acetylene torch.

To install the bushing. washer, and nut onto the new shock, take a metal rod with a sharp point and poke it into the bushing. Reach in and place the bushing onto the shock shaft. With a telescoping magnet place the washer on top of the bushing. With the magnet place the nut on the shock shaft. Reach in and spin the nut down by fingers. Using a ratcheting box wrench tighten the nut.


As Tester said, with the wheels off, you can see the shock nuts peaking up between the frame and the body. With a suitable pry bar like an old fashioned tire iron, you can create a little more room between the frame and the body and get in there with a wrench…With luck, by holding the nut stationary, you can spin the
"dust cover" on the shock to disconnect it from the nut you are holding with the wrench. Disconnect the lower shock mount first so the shock is not under tension…Position the new springs before you connect the lower shock mounts. You may need to jack the rear-end up into position before the shocks can be connected…

Thanks for the info. Looking under the car it seems like on this model the shocks and air bags would come up through the frame a couple inches away from each other and you’re talking about working with a wrench very close to where I need to remove the air bag clips. This would explain why I don’t see anything in the trunk!

So I’ll be sure I have a long ratcheting wrench. If I can fit a vice grips in there it seems like I could also lock the nut in place and like you say, turn the “dust cover” to undo it (or at least loosen it.)

Thanks again for the info.


I always did them the way Tester describes. By the way, there is no access to the shocks from inside the trunk. The only way to get to the top nut is through the wheel well by reaching in there where you have a couple inches of room between the body and the frame. It’s really tight and a huge pain in the butt. I can’t imagine removing them without a cutting torch. If you’re lucky, they’ll break as soon as you put pressure on them with a wrench.

What can happen, the body mounting rubber cushions (body-frame isolators) slowly crush with age, so the space between body and frame gets less and less…But with a serious pry-bar, this space can be increased enough to provide working room…

The air lines to the bags are attached in a rather serious manner and it will take some work to get those connectors loose and secured. The air compressor located up near the steering box can be converted into a nice tire pump using the switch in the trunk!