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How To: Upper Control Arm / Ball Joint Replacement (Lots of Pictures)

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by MountaineerGreen, September 3, 2007.

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    1. MountaineerGreen

      MountaineerGreen Towing Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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      This is really simple, the only complication would be excessive rust or stuck parts. My truck being from the south, I am blessed with no rust.

      To start, jack up the truck, remove the tire and wheel on the afflicted side. It should look like this:

      [​IMG]

      Remove the rubber flap held to the fender liner by push retainers. You'll see the front and rear camber adjusters on the top side of the frame.

      This is the back:

      [​IMG]

      The front:

      [​IMG]

      Note the position of the camber adjusters-

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      Remove the large nuts on the end of the camber adjuster bolts.

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      Remove the camber adjuster, bolt and cams on both sides.

      [​IMG]

      See the flat side on the bolt?

      [​IMG]

      Remove the pinch bolt from the knuckle

      [​IMG]

      Knock the UCA upward, the arm should come out.

      The new one and the old one:

      [​IMG]

      The empty spot:

      [​IMG]

      The new one replaced.

      [​IMG]

      Its just the opposite of the removal procedure, I put the camber adjusters in the same spots as they were. I recommend getting an alignment after replacing the UCA.

      Hope this helps.
       
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    3. Lloyd10977

      Lloyd10977 Elite Explorer

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      Great series, although a bit late for me. I did mine about 4 months ago and basically followed the precedure you outlined. Piece O' cake.
       
    4. bob lawrence

      bob lawrence Member

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      trouble fitting the b/j stem into the knuckle

      I'm putting new UCAs on my son's 98 Ranger (2wd, 4cyl). I bought them from Autozone (part #FA4054 for LH side; #FA5055 for RH side). I can't install the LH UCA, because the ball joint stem is larger than the slot on the knuckle. I compared it to the stem on the original UCA, and the new one appears to be a little larger in diameter. I've been able to expand the slot slightly by wedging a cold chisel into it, but can't expand it wide enough to allow the b/j stem to be inserted. Even if I were able to expand it more, I'm afraid it will cause the bolt holes to be misaligned. Any suggestions? Thanks.
       
    5. MountaineerGreen

      MountaineerGreen Towing Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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      Take the part back, odds are you got the wrong one from AZ. I have gotten parts that the box was the right #, but the contents were wrong.
       
    6. bob lawrence

      bob lawrence Member

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      Stems on ball joints on both control arms were larger than OEM, and wouldn't fit into the knuckle. I took the arms back to Autozone and bought the correct ones from Advance Auto Parts. Had to order them from Advance, but they were delivered next day, so not too bad.

      Part No. 10929 TRW Control Arm W/Ball Joint Frt Susp; Upper; RH; 2WD; w/Coil spring Susp. $83.44
      Part No. 10930 TRW Control Arm W/Ball Joint Frt Susp; Upper; LH; 2WD; w/Coil spring Susp. $69.98
       
    7. MountaineerGreen

      MountaineerGreen Towing Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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      I could see how a 2wd, coil spring would have a different upper control arm.
       
    8. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Elite Explorer

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      Say Evan, where did you buy your upper arms from, how much, and was that the first time for the truck? I did just the upper Ford arms on my 98 Mounty when I bought it 76,000 miles ago. I have all new parts to do everything else now, and I haven't looked hard at my 76k uppers yet. Thanks for the good threads that you have done. I hope to do a BW4406 in mine sometime soon. Regards,
       
    9. MountaineerGreen

      MountaineerGreen Towing Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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      I got my drivers side upper from NAPA, it was just over $100, and has a greasable joint. I replaced it at ~135k. My passenger side (two piece) is stock and still good. I don't plan to replace it until I have to. When the time comes, I have a Moog on the shelf in the shop, its used, but for a short while. It should be fine.

      Since I was doing a front end rehab, had the time and a digital camera, I thought I'd cover the how to's while I was it. We can't have the world largest Explorer community without write ups on common tasks.
       
    10. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Elite Explorer

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      Thanks, if when I look at my uppers they don't look great, I might take a look at the NAPA part.
       
    11. carguy101

      carguy101 New Member

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      sorry its a dumb question, why would i need to replace my UCA? they looked about the same in your pictures but one was obviously cleaner

      TIA
       
    12. MountaineerGreen

      MountaineerGreen Towing Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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      When worn out the joint will move up and down in the bore, the new one was nice and tight. I didn't / couldn't diagnose it myself (truck assembled), I took it in for an alignment, they said I needed a new one. Once I removed it, it was obvious it was no good.
       
    13. matt98sport

      matt98sport Member

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      HEY there is a new RH UCA available from MOOG. the part number is a K80068, it is a direct replacement for the 2 piece design, it comes with control arm bushings and the same problem solver ball joint as the LH UCA. when i replace my ball joints, i will be going with the one piece design for the simple fact that it comes with control arm bushigns (which ALL of mine are completely F***ED!!!) i can feel my whole IFS system jiggle front and back at times in the bush and its a really annoying and uncomfortable movement. anyone else have this???

      if your going to buy ball joints, go all out and get the MOOG ones because if you grease them they will literally outlast your vehicle!
      check out moog's site if you are curiuos what a "powder metal gusher bearing" is.
      it really is an incredible little piece of lubrication technology only MOOG has! they use this rather than grease veins and a nylon bearing.. lol...

      i had a rep from federal mogul come in to my store and he did a demonstration with a piece of this metal and its mind boggling to see grease come out of a seemingly solid piece of metal.
       
    14. CarolinaBlazer

      CarolinaBlazer New Member

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      Whats up yall. Thanks for the great instructions here. I'm having the eorst time trying to get the upper ball joint free from the knuckle. I've removed the pinch bolt and sprayed the thing down with PB Blaster, but it still wont budge. I've also tried using ball joint forks and a hammer. Any ideas?
       
    15. MountaineerGreen

      MountaineerGreen Towing Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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      Take a short screwdriver or something to wedge in the crack on the back of the knuckle. That will spread it open and help the ball joint slip out. A mini sledge and a few whacks up on the UCA usually does it though.
       
    16. CarolinaBlazer

      CarolinaBlazer New Member

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      Thanks for the tip, Evan. I managed to get the tip of a ball joint fork in that slot and coax it to break free. Thanks again!
       
    17. Ford_Racing_Guy

      Ford_Racing_Guy Well-Known Member

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      what is the difference really between the 2 piece and 1 piece design for the right side?


      it shouldn't be a problem to make the conversion should it?
       
    18. DeRocha

      DeRocha NEX Vice President Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      Anyone have torque specs?
      Upper ball-joint pinch bolt
      Lower ball-joint castle nut
      Tie rod castle nut
       
    19. MountaineerGreen

      MountaineerGreen Towing Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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      I lost my Ford CD when I moved, the link doesn't work anymore, so I don't know where to get specs. I just snuged em up and called it good.
       
    20. DeRocha

      DeRocha NEX Vice President Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      Sorry.. My subsequent searching turned them up.. :)
      Torque specs..

       
      Last edited: November 18, 2007
    21. MountaineerGreen

      MountaineerGreen Towing Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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    22. MountaineerGreen

      MountaineerGreen Towing Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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      In for an update: The very ball joint I replaced above went bad :mad: It is a lifetime warranty part, so I exchanged it. I paid more attention to removing the camber washers this time. The hardlines in there did interfere with the washers, but I just had to rotate the bolt/washer assembly until it cleared the lines. I also pushed the UCA in or pulled it out to make room. It worked on both sides, I was able to remove and replace both bolts with minimal trouble. Its all in how the washers are oriented.
       
    23. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    24. MountaineerGreen

      MountaineerGreen Towing Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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    25. 99ExploderXLTCA

      99ExploderXLTCA New Member

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      Does anybody know the socket size needed for the bolts? Thanks in advance :roll:
       
    26. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Elite Explorer

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      15mm for the pinch bolt and nut, the control arm bolts were 13/16" I believe.
       

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