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Lower Ball Joint Replacement How To (lots of Pictures)

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Old 09-04-2007, 05:19 PM   #21
MountaineerGreen
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I have a hard time telling, some people say the tire moves, but I have been unable to move my tire even when the alignment shop says its bad. Usually though the tires look like /--\ from the front.
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Old 09-04-2007, 06:24 PM   #22
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It is tough, generally though you have you have the ball joint out of tension/pressure, and tug hard on the tire etc. If the ball joint has any pressure on it then you have to overcome that, and that's too much. Lift the truck wo that the wheel hangs, then get a good hold on the wheel/tire, and pull/yank it in each direction. Any movement seen or felt in the joint suggests replacing it. It's hard, the pros just have a better feel for it.




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Old 09-06-2007, 12:14 AM   #23
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The way I saw it, I had the spindle most of the way off for the CV axles and upper ball joints, so I did the lowers while I was at it. When I took it out... Yeah, it needed it pretty bad. My wheel didn't move, either.




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Old 10-07-2007, 09:42 PM   #24
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Duke16,
grab the top and bottom of the wheel when its off the ground and push/pull it, if it moves your ball joints may need to be replaced, I just replaced mine and it has helped tremendously (and I could actually get an alignment) Now all I have to do is replace the shocks possibly replaces all the seals in the engine.
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Old 11-04-2007, 09:00 AM   #25
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Well, I just did this yesterday on my Sporttrac. The tool from Autozone was useless for the removal. I was removing the factory ball joints which have a huge lip and using the largest collar seemed awkward. And honestly its pretty easy to beat the old one out with a big hammer.

MountaineerGreen, your install method using the floor jack and collars worked great for me. Thanks.




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Old 11-04-2007, 09:16 AM   #26
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The first time I changed my ball joints, I didn't know about this forum.

I took the Mounty in for an alignment after I bought it. They called and said they could replace the ball joints and do the alignment for ~$600. I said don't touch a thing, came got the Mounty. The alignment tech said the LBJ's were nearly impossible to change without a special tool, the torsion bars were dangerous, I shouldn't do it myself, bla bla.

I went to Oriley and bought two ball joints, the cheap ones. (which was stupid looking back) I used a hammer and large sockets to remove the LBJ's, pressed them in using a jack like I mentioned. The first side took ~2 hours because I had to figure out what parts to remove and not to remove, the second side was done is much less time. I learned the hard way how to do it, so when it came time to replace them after Moab and ~35k miles, I decided to do this write up to save people some time.

After I did the ball joints the first time, I found out about the press kit from AZ, so I got it for this job. I'd say it made it easier, but this time around the ball joints weren't nearly as tight in the LCA. Now I can blow apart and reassemble the whole front end in a matter of hours.

Last edited by MountaineerGreen; 11-04-2007 at 09:19 AM. Reason: easy reading
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Old 11-04-2007, 11:42 AM   #27
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I did my first lower joint the other day, I needed to change my left axles seal as well, at five months it was leaking.

The tool I bought made installation a breeze, 60 seconds with the three adapter pieces. The removal was a pain for two reasons. The stock LCA has a strong grip on the ball joint, and the steel around the joint flexed down instead of the joint coming out. Tapping on the joint made the LCA pop back up, letting go of the joint for the distance that it had flexed. I will try to take a picture of the right side LCA if it does the same thing.

The other problem is that the largest adapter needed to surround the ball joint underneath, it doesn't fit well against the LCA. That causes the tool to cock inboard at the top, not pushing straight down on the joint. That isn't ideal, but it applied enough pressure with a breaker bar to flex the LCA downward. It's a tedious job, but no huge problem. Just be very careful, there's a lot of kinetic energy being dealt with there, like doing coild springs. Regards,




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Old 11-07-2007, 02:54 AM   #28
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about to tackle all 4 balljoints soon, dunno if it will be done yet this year but we'll see.

i'm thinking that i'll be using my air hammer quite a bit




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Old 11-07-2007, 11:23 AM   #29
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I has issues last time i did my lowers. The new ball joints slid up and down in the lower control arm. Im guessing you can only press these in and out so many times.




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Old 11-07-2007, 11:26 AM   #30
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from what I know, you jack up the car and then wiggle the tire to see if there is any play. also a sqweak is a tell tale sign

I replaced the lowers on my 96 sport...but went two plus years with bad uppers. did seem to matter at all...

now my 01 needs lowers...ugh
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Old 11-07-2007, 11:42 AM   #31
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i just did yesterday and the whole proceedure was easy enough to get it all accomplished within 4 hours. i rented a balljoint press and a torque wrench from autozone but ended up just using the metal rings with a jack for installation.
the only thing that kept me from doing this job whin 2 hours was the separation of the old lower balljoint from the spindle, it was like they were fused together..
so out comes the BFH and i pounded that old balljoint out with the spindle still attached. the drivers side went out within 5 mins but the passenger side did not want to come out no matter what so i used a two jaw puller hooked up to the lower control arm held by a metal braket pushing down on top of the balljoint and it worked like a charm.
after getting it out from the lower control arm i used the 2-jaw puller again to pry that joint out of the spindle.

got it aligned today and all i can say is that it was worth every penny i spent for the parts.

hopefully this info might be of use to other people who are preparing to replace thiers..
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Old 11-16-2007, 07:42 AM   #32
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hey carlover ,my ball joints were the same way .i had mine done by my mechanic...he only charges me labor and i bring my own parts.i got the ball joints at advance auto.they had the same part numbers as other part stores but was much cheaper on all parts so i went with that.my mechanic said the ball joints were sliding in and out the arm very easy so in addition to the clip he welded them at the bottom so they wouldnt move around in the arm.has anyone else had this problem???do you think its still safe??they are clipped and welded.he said they have done this befor.i have been using this guy since my 5.0 mustang days,i trust him...he used to race mustangs and funny cars and built them himself and was featured in muscle mustangs and fast fords so i know he knows his stuff.but whats your thoughts on this loose ball joint thing???if he would have called me i would have went and returned them and bought from ford .but its a done deal now .i did all 4 ball joints ...3 were bad so i did them all.

for those of you who want to test your ball joints its done like this .
first get a helper...someone has to work the tool and someone has to watch the ball joint.

put a jack under the frame ..not the lower control arm..we need this to hang free.raise the truck up until the wheel is off the ground enough to get a tire iron under the tire with a little room to spare .now someone needs to get under the truck and watch the ball joints ...the helper now needs to put the tire iron under the tire far enough so he can lift up on the tire ,while he is doing that whoever is under the truck should be looking at the ball joints .have the helper (usually the ol lady..lol)lift up and down on the tire with the iron from under the tire .look at the joints while he/she is doing this .if any up or down movement is noticed in the joint ,it is bad and needs to be replaced.you can see this very easy just eyeing it .this works for the upper and the lower ball joint.same goes for the other side.

i done this with a helper just to be sure i needed this many after the mechanic said i needed 3 .he was right...so i done all 4 .anyone in the same situation should replace all 4 as well.

all 4 joints and a inner tie rod ran me 230.00 at advance auto.the same parts at autozone was 350.00..big savings here but i did have the problem with the lowers .same part number at autozone though .

mechanic charged me 200.00 labor for 4 hours work and that included cutting the front rotors for 40 bucks .so labor alone for 4 hours was only 160.00.
40 bucks an hour labor ...i love my mechanic...lol...its no wonder i never work on my own stuff anymore.




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Old 11-17-2007, 05:23 PM   #33
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I disassembled everything to change my LBJs out ( and changing the brake as well) on the drivers side. Well, to start off I couldnt get my rotor off... nothing worked. So i decided to remove the hub with the rotor on it. Couldn't get the hub off either ( and i have changed this hub out about 1-1/2 ago). So I went to the local u-pull it and bought a spindle w/ hub on it out of the same model and year for $100. Figuring I will just replace everything in one shot. Oh, forgot to mention I am changing out my UCAs as well. So i get every thing off but I cannot get the old spindle off my LBJ. It will not come off. Anyone have any suggestions?? Since i am changing the whole spindle I was even taking some pretty good whacks on the top of it with a 3lb sledge. Didnt budge, not even one thread. this is the only thing holding the spindle on at this point...
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Old 11-17-2007, 05:51 PM   #34
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Knock the UCA up, leaving the knuckle attached to the LBJ. Drive a chisel in the "crack" where the pinch bolt goes, that usually frees it up.
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Old 11-17-2007, 08:49 PM   #35
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a ball joint removal tool might help a bit .like the fork you hammer in there to seperate them.bigger sledge?you could change out the whole lower i read somewhere a guy looked up one said about 85 bucks ....do your research,then decide.he said it included the ball joint pressed in it already




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Old 11-18-2007, 01:00 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountaineerGreen View Post
Knock the UCA up, leaving the knuckle attached to the LBJ. Drive a chisel in the "crack" where the pinch bolt goes, that usually frees it up.
Not quite sure I understand this. There is no pinch bolt "crack" for the LBJ only the upper. I am assumming the LBJ stud is tapered like the outer tie rod end.
I have everything disconnected from the spindle except, I cannot get the spindle off the LBJ stud. I was even hitting the spindle from the top with a 3lb. sledge. nothing.
Do they make a ball joint seperator for this? All the ones I saw were like 15/16" opening which is way too small......
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Old 11-18-2007, 10:22 AM   #37
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Ahh, I wasn't understanding what you were doing. The best thing is get a helper to push down on the knuckle put the nut on the end of the LBJ stud and whack away. It it is a tapered seat, once it breaks loose, it should be easy. Soak it in PB blaster, it helps too.
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Old 11-18-2007, 11:33 AM   #38
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I was even hitting the spindle from the top with a 3lb. sledge. nothing.
You are not hitting hard enough. I got my off by hitting them from the top with my 3lb hammer.

One of my rotors was a PITA too. I took baseball swings at it from the back with my 3lb hammer and would rotate it a little bit over and over until it came off.




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Old 11-18-2007, 11:34 AM   #39
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The mini sledge is your friend- don't be scared of it.
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Old 11-18-2007, 11:59 AM   #40
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Making the tapered seat joints let go is best done by hitting them on the side. Use the baby sledge and hit the spindle on the side of the LBJ, where the spindle has a large protrusion on it.

Hit it there, it will let go. If it does not, hit it again there, hit it harder, then harder. It will let go. Good luck,




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