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Discussion in 'Offroad Drivelines' started by menace-man, October 2, 2003.

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    1. menace-man

      menace-man New Member

      September 17, 2003
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      City, State:
      Albuquerque, NM
      Year and Model:
      97 EXT 2WD
      With your help, i was able to do the lower front balljoints on my explorer myself, without a press at that. I got a little ingenious towards the end and figured what the hell. I'll share the secret in a moment.

      By the way; my Exploder is a 2wd. FYI...

      This is how you do it, especially if you have the right tools (but ironically not the joint press, which is probably the best tool). Jack up the car and set on jackstands.

      -4-pound sledge (i figured 3 lbs wasn't enough)
      -3 ton floor jack (works best I think; Sears for $130)
      -Assorted socket/wrench set
      -WD-40 (or that super nut/rust breaker stuff; $3 a can)
      -Assorted cotter pin selection (check hardware store)
      -needle nose pliers
      -punch set
      -Impact socket set (the BIG, LONG ones)
      -2 wire coathangers (1-piece! not the ones with the cardboard tube).
      -milk crate (trust me)
      -ratchet strap (trust me!)
      -snap ring pliers
      -grease gun with adequate amount of grease
      -$45 for an alignment afterwards.

      Here we go!

      -Remove caliper and mounting bracket.
      -Remove cotter pin, crown, and locknut to spindle.
      -Remove rotor.
      -Remove cotter pin from castle nut from lower ball joint.
      -Remove upper balljoint mount nut (perpendicular to spindle, faces forward to vehicle).
      -use sledge and tap downward against top of spindle. This will lower the spindle from the upper balljoint mount
      -BEFORE NEXT STEP, disconnect bolts to ABS wheel sensor!!! Also keep the milk crate forward of the spindle so you can rest the spindle on the crate without disconnecting the steering linkage (LESS WORK!)
      -when the upper balljoint is separated from the spindle, you should be able to lower the spindle with your hands (assuming you took the castle nut off the bottom joint). If it's tough, use the sledge and tap on the top of the spindle.
      -set spindle on milk crate. This is where the fun begins.
      -remove the snap ring from the lower ball joint. Use the WD40 and spray a little bit on the upper portion of the joint so you can get the oil between the lower control arm and the balljoint (FOR EASIER REMOVAL).
      -take an impact socket of appropriate size and set on top of the ball joint. Pound the sh*t out of the socket in a downward fashion until the balljoint falls out.
      -Here's for the people who don't have access to a press!!! Take yer floor jack and set under the new hole on the control arm.
      -get an assorted long impact socket big enough to stick the bolt-end of the balljoint into and where the socket is wide enough to have the balljoint set on it without damaging the inner ball of the joint.
      -Set the socket on the lift point of the floor jack. Jack up slowly until you can get the balljoint in as far as you can before hammering.
      -Jack up the jack until you see the lower control arm lift about an inch or two. With this applied pressure from underneath the control arm, take your sledge and pound a little on the outside of the control arm (don't hit the balljoint as it presses thru the hole!!). You'll notice the balljoint slips in slowly, but surely.
      -make sure the snap ring groove clears the top of the control arm. Reach under the arm and check the gap between the bottom of the arm and the ridge of the balljoint. It will shrink as you pound on the arm. Spray a LITTLE WD40 on the top of the balljoint as you pound the arm down. Every little bit the joint moves into the hole, jack up the jack a little more to keep pressure underneath the control arm.
      -reinstall the snapring (usually new balljoints are supplied with a new castle nut and snapring).
      - THIS TOOK ME 3 HOURS FOR THE DRIVER SIDE, THEN 45 MINUTES ON THE PASSENGER SIDE BECAUSE AFTER THE DRIVER SIDE, IT WAS CAKE! If I had to do it again, I could do it in under 2 hours. I like to work on cars and i thought it was 'theraputic'........ much fun.
      -Putting it all back together is not hard except the reinstallation of the upper balljoint to the spindle.
      -This is where the ratchet strap comes in handy! Cut the strap short (about 18 inches), hook up the strap from the upper control arm above the balljoint to the lower portion of the spindle. Take up the slack a little and start cranking!
      -keep the spindle lined up as you raise the spindle into the upper joint. One you get as far as the ratchet strap will go (the balljoint won't go in all the way), use the sledge and tap on the upper control arm until the balljoint is fully in the spindle. Bolt her back up!
      -And that's that. Put her back together reverse of the LONG DETAILED AND DRAWN OUT removal process. Make sure to grease the balljoints and GET AN ALIGNMENT afterwards. I saved myself $300 from the shop by doing this job myself. VERY WELL WORTH IT, especially when the balljoints were $77 for the pair (CarQuest MOOG regreasable joints).

      THANKS TO ALL OF YOU AND THE HELPFUL THREADS. I read them ALL to get a multiple perspective of the job at hand.
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    3. 410Fortune

      410Fortune ELITE BRONCO2ERER Moderator Emeritus

      August 3, 2000
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      B2 Mod
      Next time use the press, its about 500 times easier.

      the upper ball joint mounts with a shim and a pinch bolt (just FYI thats the correct terminology)

      If you are going to replace a lower ball joint, you mine as well do the upper at the same time.

      Good job, way to innovate........

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