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1998 Ford Explorer 4x4 New Front Suspension and Brakes.

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by Explorer5150, October 21, 2012.

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  1. Explorer5150

    Explorer5150 New Member

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    :D1998 Ford Explorer 4x4.
    Replaced Upper and Lower Control Arms, Sway Bark Links and Front Shocks.
    Also did the brakes front and rear while at it.

    Used Ebay Front End Kit with Doorman Lower control arms from Advanced.
    Shocks are Pro Comp ES 9000 and Brakes are Autozone (Valucraft Rotors with Duralast Gold Pads)....

    Took 2 full days and was alot of work. but it looks great and no more noises and bad ball joints :thumbsup:

    Words of wisdom are don't even bother trying to change the lower balljoints the lower arms are like 110 bucks from Advanced... they were practically welded to the old arms.... Also get a torsion bar puller tool if you have 4x4 trust me when I say you must have one of these. Also when installing the upper arms/balljoints back into the knuckle you may have to enlargen the hole to get them to fit all the way in. We ended up using a unibit and it worked awesom. Over time this opening shrinks and you will be like an 1/8th too narrow trust me it works like a charm. Oh also you do not have to take the axle shaft out to do it you will see what I mean when you move the knuck out of the lower arm. There is a slot which can be used to angle the two to get them apart or together. Oh and be prepared to cuss putting the upper bolts in the the upper arm lol.

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. RomeovilleIL

    RomeovilleIL Well-Known Member

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    Ummm... not sure exactly what to say here. These are suspension parts that carry the weight of the vehicle. As the suspension moves there is substantial force acting on those joints. Many of the parts and joints have press fittings to keep components tight and together under this stress.

    Drilling out a hole to get parts to slide together easily that are normally press fit is probably not a great idea long term. Never found a case of any fitting or joint getting tighter over time. Maybe corroded or salty but definitely not physically shrinking. If the new part is truly that much larger, might be best to first confirm you received the right parts.
     
  4. Explorer5150

    Explorer5150 New Member

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    I can tell you we tried lubing it hammering it weight of the vehicle and pressing. No way to press an upper I know of when the pin will just slip since it is part of the upper arm.

    Compared new to old and it was the exact same size.

    Literrally shaved off a 1/16th out of the top of the collar on the knuckle just to get the pin to fall all the way so we could get the bolt back in.

    Trust me it is not going anywhere. Is it ideal or textbook no
    but if you have this happen to you I am trying to give an alternative to sitting around hoping the two parts will jump back together.

    The pin is like 1 1/2 inches long with a guide slot. Pretty impossible for it to come loose
     
  5. obie

    obie Active Member

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    Drilling your knuckle is definitely not the correct way. And did you drill it 1/8", or 1/16" inch? Either way, those are massive tolerances when it comes to something like a ball joint. Over time, that's going to move more, wear more, and slop more. Throw another ball joint in there and its going to do the same thing. It also possibly going to wallow out your knuckle even more. At that point, you're going to need new ones and they aren't cheap. Odds are you got the wrong part. Did you just visually compare, or did you actually measure the pin and knuckle bore with a mic or calipers?

    Also, aside from the super minute heat/cold contractions, your knuckle bore does not "shrink" over time. You may even have just needed to clean dirt or corrosion out of the bore.
     
  6. koda2000

    koda2000 Explorer Addict

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    if the old and new upper bj pins were exactly the same size, how is it you managed to get the old one out of the knuckle to begin with? i wouldn't have run a drill through it. emory cloth to clean out rust/dirt would be okay and if necessary. i'd consider putting a wedge in the slot to slightly open the pinch, but it shouldn't really be necessary.
     
  7. SoNic67

    SoNic67 Well-Known Member

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    Needed to drill your truck to use China-made Doorman Lower control arms? Especially when you got "Used Ebay Front End Kit...".
    That should ring an alarm bell and ask before acting!
    You just f't up your truck. Probably you will sell it soon to another unsuspecting guy.
     
  8. koda2000

    koda2000 Explorer Addict

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    SoNic67 - i agree with you that Dorman quality sucks, but i think your comments to the OP are a bit harsh.
     
  9. alohamonte

    alohamonte Active Member

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    looks good with nice new shiney parts in there all at once!

    i dont know about drilling the knuckle or anything, but i did buy a made-in-china ebay front end rebuilt kit and it was a mistake. ball joints gave out in a year. i wound up replacing the entire set with Moog brand and havent looked back. maybe you'll have better luck than me.
     
  10. Explorer5150

    Explorer5150 New Member

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    Thats just it its my truck. LOL

    To widen the flange at the top it was opened up it is what it is...there is no play and everything is secure.

    Hell of a lot less play than destroyed ball joints.
    Is it my preferred method no but sometimes you have to fabricate.

    That or sit around hoping it will fix itself.
    Yep my truck
     
  11. rabbit91

    rabbit91 Active Member

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    looks perdy
     
  12. Billexplr96

    Billexplr96 New Member

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    Hi, how is your front suspension holding up? How many miles since your replacement parts and fabrication?
    I am experiencing the exact same problem you describe. I do wish I had read more and replaced with Moog components, Oh Well. I have spent hours trying to get the upper ball joint in the knuckle. I am going to try cleaning out the knuckle with emery cloth. If that does not work I may have to try your solution.:thumbsup:
     
  13. obie

    obie Active Member

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    STOP. If you're seriously thinking about drilling your knuckle, return the parts you bought and spend a bit more for the correct ones. Drilling your knuckle can lead to nothing but trouble. If you do this, God help the person on the road you might hit when your entire front suspension disconnects from the vehicle. Or take it to a qualified mechanic. Anyone who says drilling your knuckle is a way to "fix" something is like a guy who says the way to fix a headache is to drill a hole in your skull.
     
  14. Ashbourne27

    Ashbourne27 New Member

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    I just went and bought the LCA with the bj already pressed in. As for the upper, I changed those no problem. It was a pita trying to get the old one out. Not very hard to put the new one in, used a rubber mallet. Pretty easy.
     
  15. chefduane

    chefduane Texas Elite Explorer Elite Explorer

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    Interesting. We have the exact same truck - '98 SOHC 4x4 and within the last year or so I did UCA with BJs, front swaybar bushings and end links, inner and outer tie rods, front hubs, and Monroe SensaTrac shocks all the way round. I used Moog for most all the parts. I also did new Raybestos rotors and Wagner Thermo's on all 4 corners. I did have my local shop do front lower balls as I know they are a SOB to do. All told there was some grunting and cussing about, but everything fit together without having to drill out anything or any part modifications. I sure hope you got the right parts in there. I >do not< think you f'ed up your truck and you probably won't have any catastrophic road failure, though. I would just keep a keen eye on it for any undue wear issues and any weird noises that start happening. Also, if you get any odd steering characteristics or tracking issues, I'd get on right away. And I do completely agree that it is YOUR truck and you know it better than anyone else.


    EDIT: Just realized this thread is 2.5 yrs old. Oh well, I'll just let my comments stand. I hope things are holding up for 5150.
     
  16. masospaghetti

    masospaghetti Elite Explorer

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    I'm curious what happened to the OP's truck.

    My experience with low-quality suspension parts is just that - low quality. I assumed they would be safe and fit together but probably not last as long, but really, the quality is so lousy that they often don't fit or break on installation. It's not worth it!

    The fact the OP drilled out his knuckle is scary. When that upper control arm fails again (because its a cheap Chinese eBay part with zero quality control) for the next owner, they will be f*cked. They will have no idea why the parts don't fit, and they will chase this problem around before realizing they have to completely take apart the front end to replace the knuckle.
     
  17. Explorer5150

    Explorer5150 New Member

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    The truck is fine.... I didnt drill it out All I did was use a bit to open up the entrance to the bolt hole.

    How do you assume what I bought was low quality?
    Advanced auto is low quality?.... Ebay upper arms low quality?

    Most moog is made in China anyway along with likely 1/2 the a/m these days.
    At any rate I just posted because you wondered

    No I should screw with it for 4 hours with a hammer instead of making it so I could get the bolt in. No difference
     

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