Serious Explorations Ford Explorer and Ranger Message Board
#1 Resource for Ford Explorers and Rangers for 20 years 1996-2016

Searches Only

Ford Explorer Generation Guide

2017 Explorer Forums Elite Membership Chat Elite Rides Reviews Gallery
Go Back   Ford Explorer and Ranger Forums "Serious Explorations" > Offroad Tech Forums > Offroad Explorer - Ranger Projects > Offroad Drivelines


Offroad Drivelines Ford Explorer and Ranger Transmissions, Transfer Cases, Driveshafts and Axles.


Thread Tools
Old 10-02-2003, 10:13 PM   #1
Albuquerque, NM
97 EXT 2WD
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
(Original Poster)

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.
menace-man is offline   Reply With Quote
( Join the Elite Explorers )

Join the Elite Explorers for only $20 a year

Explorer Forum has probably saved you that much already, and will continue to save you money as you learn how to diagnose and fix problems yourself, and learn which modifications really work without having to experiment on your own. Elite Explorer members can change the forum "styles" to eliminate most ads, including the blue underlined links, and no ads on photos. Other benefits include the ability to store 1000 Private Messages, add your own avatar to your posts, upload photo attachments directly to your posts and to our Photo Gallery and more. Join the Elite Explorers today. Your support of the forum is greatly appreciated.

Old 10-03-2003, 09:21 AM   #2
410Fortune's Avatar
B2 Mod
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 21,957

Vehicle Specs

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
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........

96 Explorer daily driver build-1996 XLT 5.0L AWD to 4x4 conversion complete on 33's
88 BII 5.0L conversion - BII 5.0l drivetrain thread
My Bronco II - 1988 Bronco II 4x4 V8 on 35's - registry and updates
Wifes 07 FJ build - 2007 FJ cruiser locked and lifted
410Fortune is offline   Reply With Quote

Suggest this thread to friends:

Join the "Elite Explorers" Today!

Top of Page

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:51 AM.

US Flag
We Support Our Troops!

Copyright 2016 - 1996 Rick Horwitz Photography Explorer Forum is celebrating it's 20th birthday!!

Ford Motor Company is not involved in the management of this site in any way.

All tips on this site are for use at your own risk and discretion.

Modifying the suspension on any vehicle will cause changes to its handling characteristics.

Vendor Tools vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.