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How To: Replacing Upper Ball Joints on a 3rd Gen 4x4 [Pictures]

Discussion in 'Stock 2002 - 2005 Explorers' started by thepotroast, July 11, 2009.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^





  1. mrnextel

    mrnextel Member

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    My upper fronts are newer but the joints went bad, im just gonna do the joints with the rough terrains from Mevotech. Seem like they may actually last. Ehat tool combo are you guys using? Will AutoZone rent them if you don't buy the parts there?
     
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  3. Limited02

    Limited02 Well-Known Member

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    Yes. You should be able to rent tools from Autozone without buying parts from there.
     
  4. mrnextel

    mrnextel Member

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    I was thinking even if I can't I could just buy Joint there and return them with the tool and tell them I got in over my head. Lol

    Your other Explorer owners should check these out http://www.ttxterraintough.com they are made by Mevotech
     
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  5. drdoom

    drdoom Well-Known Member

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    Those Mevos look awesome, I have Mevos on my '05 front upper location, but not that particular model. Those do look sweet.
     
  6. sethsport

    sethsport Member

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    2003 sporttrac xlt 4x4
    is there a write up anywhere on replacing the entire lower control arms?
     
  7. Number Twelve

    Number Twelve Active Member

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    I did the upper control arms in 90 minutes each. It's just 3 nuts and a tool to pop the ball joint out of the center arm. I used a pulley puller tool. Two wings with hooks and a center screw to apply pressure. I didn't have a clue about how to do it except for what I read here. Alignment shop shows nothing went wrong with the camber or caster. In and out for $200 and half a day of work. One of many successes caused by this Forum.
     
  8. Michowski

    Michowski New Member

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    So quick question. I replaced my upper arms today, along with lower and a bunch of other stuff. I noticed on the passenger side that it only had 1 of those centering shims. The drivers side had both front and rear. I got this used a few years ago so no idea on its past. All I did for now was just center it by eye in the rear. I want to replace the missing one so any idea where these can be bought?
     
  9. drdoom

    drdoom Well-Known Member

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    Junkyard. But let me know if you can't find any, I may have one in the shop you can have (it is from the rear end so not sure if it is the same).
     
  10. XploX

    XploX Active Member

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    I used both the upper and lower joints. They are very well made, grease-able, and I like the green boots.

    Yes, you can borrow tools from all of the parts stores without buying the parts from them. I've done it several times and if I need a tool more than twice, I just buy it. Chances are, I will need it again in the future and I won't have to hope they have the tool I need, when I need it, or getting it back before the allotted time. It's usually not a big deal, but I like to have tools on hand.
     
  11. rhartmaier

    rhartmaier New Member

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    Some comments:

    1 - I believe the folks who just want to replace the ball joints and not the control arm are wanting to replace the ball joint without removing the control arm. Some say it can be done; the manuals say it can't......?
    2 - If you are going to remove the control arm anyway, why not replace it while you have things apart? You say you spent $84 for the ball joints. You can get a set of two brand new control arms with new ball joints already installed for $100 shipped if you spend a little time on eBay! My shop wanted to charge $250 each!
    3 - Those parts that you refer to as "shims" are not shims. You are correct that they MUST be reinstalled correctly. The holes in the frame need to be elongated in order to install the control arm. The "shims" serve to properly locate the control arm after it is in place. And they still do not go back to the exact original position, so an alignment is highly recommended after putting everything back together.
    4 - It also took me longer than expected due to the difficulty of removing the nuts due to 14 years of road salt in the New Jersey Winters. Even after two days of soaking with the "fabulous", "powerful" PB Blaster, I needed to use a long pipe to increase leverage, and still could only move the ratchet one or two clicks at a time in between applications of heat from a propane torch. Went back together much faster!
    5 - Nice photos! Should be very helpful to those who want to attack this job and save mucho dinero in labor costs, as well as the huge mark up in parts costs that the shops get away with.
    6 - You might want to consider replacing the struts at the same time depending on how many miles they have on them. I found a pair of Monroe struts on eBay for $135 shipped. I had no choice, as one of my struts had a broken spring. My shop wanted to charge $250 each!

    Hope this helps...........
    Jersey Bob
     
  12. XploX

    XploX Active Member

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    Yes, the upper ball joints can be replaced ON the truck WITHOUT removing the control arm. Why would anyone want to remove the arm unnecessarily? If the bushings need replaced, ok.
    The upper is no more difficult to change on the truck than the lower is. 3 hours to change both upper, lower ball joints and both tie rod ends.
    Doubt it? Bring your truck by and I can show you. It's very easy! About $100 in new parts for everything and everything is grease-able, not that non grease-able junk with a plastic liner.

    If there is a need to remove the arm, just torch the nuts off (propane won't work here) and save some time. The bolts/nuts should be replaced anyway.

    And if you are so inclined, while it's apart, consider changing the hubs. It's much easier now than to wait until later and have to tear it apart again.
     
  13. rhartmaier

    rhartmaier New Member

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    Well, my acetylene rig was at the airport, and when I got to where I needed it, I couldn't go get it! The propane worked, but the nut would cool down fast and only allow a few clicks of the ratchet before I would have to stop and heat it up again. If you get new control arms they supply new nuts, so yeah, if I had planned ahead and realized how difficult the nuts would be, I would have just cut them off!
     
  14. Drewmcg

    Drewmcg Elite Explorer

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    2002 XLS 2WD
    Does Advance add the price of shipping from RA in their match?
     
  15. mbed

    mbed Member

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    similar thing happened to me with beilstein rear shocks for my expedition...actually went to a shop and after taking everything apart, we discovered a front and rear shock in a pair of rear shock boxes. couldn't locate another one anywhere local so i had to quickly find and install monroe which are not very good. I have an 08 EL so the back end has too much leverage...
     

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