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02 Explorer Ball Joints-What Else To Replace


River Matt

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I have 2002 Explorer XLS RWD with 91,000 miles. The lower ball joints need replaced and I'm wondering what other parts I should consider replacing while I have it taken apart. Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

Edited to add: can anyone confirm whether this Moog part number will work or if there is a better choice?

 
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RagnarL

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You should probably get an alignment afterward so I'd consider replacing the upper ball joints and tie rod ends while you're at it. Could also do the sway bar links. May not all be necessary but they are all parts that wear and eventually need to be replaced
 




River Matt

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Thanks, Ragnar. This is the information I needed. Went ahead and ordered replacement parts for all the above.
 




swshawaii

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If this is the first time replacing lowers .006 oversize replacements may be a very tight fit. Six thousandths of an inch may not sound like much, but pressing them in may be difficult. Too late to change to standard size? (K8695T)

The lower ball joint receptacle has been known to experience wear, especially when the ball joint has been replaced several times.
https://www.rockauto.com/info/Moog/MOOG_PS_Bulletin_29009.pdf
 




River Matt

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Thanks for this comment. Went to get a screw hole in my tire patched yesterday and the shop told me that my driver's side ball joint was "dangerously loose" and handed me quote for $600 to do both sides. I wanted to get parts ordered in a hurry, but didn't know what size I would need. I ordered both the regular size and the oversize to be sure that I will have parts on hand that will fit when I get everything taken apart. I figure I will try the regular size first and if that seems like a good fit then I'll return the extras. Happy to eat the return shipping cost to avoid a situation where my sole vehicle is undriveable and I don't have the parts to put it back together.
 




swshawaii

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"Dangerously loose" meaning worn out or a wallowed out hole? Either way, smart move ordering both.

I interpret "replaced several times" quoted in the Moog bulletin as replaced THREE or more times. GL
 




River Matt

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Probably just "worn." I bought the car used with 60K so I'm guessing this will be the first replacement.
 




River Matt

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Won't be able to tackle this job until likely Saturday. Went in after work today to give all the relevant parts a pre-soak of pb catalyst. Good thing I ordered the sway bar links. They are shot. Note that on the drivers side one of the blue bushings appears to have jumped up over the washer and spacer rod and is now sitting at the top.


And on the passenger side the top red bushing is completely missing.
 




swshawaii

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Your sway bar end links have been replaced with the older design Moog K7275's with blue thermoplastic rubber bushings notorious for blowing out. Moog completely redesigned their end links including stronger polyurethane bushings although opinions on EF are varied.
Moog PS End Link Bushings Downgraded?

https://www.moogparts.com/pdf/problemsolver/english/MOOG_PS_Bulletin_25471_K7275_En.pdf

http://fme-cat.com/livedocs/MOOG_PS_Bulletin_213006_Sway_Bar_Link_ENG-R.pdf
https://www.moogparts.com/pdf/did-you-know/english/DYK18-105 - Improved Sway Bar Link Product Offering.pdf
 




River Matt

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Well, shoot. I definitely ordered the new moogs with the white bushings. Don't have a drill press or likely the skills to modify the ES 9.8103G bushings so I may just roll with what I have and be prepared to replace the links againwhen I have to go back in for brakes, struts, or whatever.
 




River Matt

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So I picked up a ball joint press kit from autozone today and I'm going to tackle this partial front end rebuild in the morning. Changing upper and lower ball joints, outer tie rod ends, and sway bar links. Is there a particular order of operations I should follow here? Should I take everying off all at once and then put it back in or should I change one part at a time? I plan to change the sway bar links on both sides at the same time but wasn't sure about the rest.
 




XploX

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This is a super simple job with it being 2WD. Just do one side at a time. Remove the spindle, do the upper, do the lower, and replace the spindle.
While you have it apart, check the hub bearings. This is a good chance to change the hubs, as it's very easy to do at this point.
 




River Matt

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Got it done. Wasn't too bad for my first time doing this kind of work but it took me 7 hours start to finish, including a couple breaks and some time spent looking up how tos on the forum and YouTube. The hardest part was separating the lower ball joints from the knuckles without any special tools. Not much room to swing a hammer up from the bottom to hit the stud. Will pick up a ball joint separator or a pickle fork if I ever do this again. The nut on one the sway bar links was seized up and it sheared off. On the other link the spacer was seized up on the main shaft and I had to pound it out all the way with a hammer and punch. I'll probably take it in for an alignment but it tracks dead straight going down the highway. Need to do some work on the rear next as I've got a clunk on what seems to be the left rear lower ball joint.
 




RagnarL

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Glad it went okay for you. Might be a bad shock/strut on the rear causing a clunk. I could be wrong but I don't think you have any ball joints back there
 
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XploX

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Glad it went okay for you. Might be a bad shock/strut on the rear causing a clunk. I could be wrong not I don't think you have an ball joints back there
It's IRS, yes it has ball joints.
 




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