1996 lower ball joint must replace control arm? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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1996 lower ball joint must replace control arm?


New Member
January 28, 2008
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Year, Model & Trim Level
1996 ford explorer sport
I'm being told that I must replace the entire lower control arm and not just the ball joints on a 1996 explorer sport? is this right? Seems a bit extreme. quoted $1100 for 4 ball joints replaced becuase it was for all 4 control arms?

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You can replace the lower ball joint without replacing the while arm. the upper control arm must be replaced as it is one sealed unit. You can do this while job in your driveway uf you want to save on the labor. Parts shouldnt be more that 350$ for the Moog balljoints and tie rods and such.


even the online "repair guides" on autozone say replace the entire arm...go figure.

The Haynes repair guide says the same thing, but my local Ford dealer parts department carries the ball joints alone

I have a 95 EB and replaced one of my lower ball joints a few years ago.
I bought the part at Auto Zone or Advance, can't remember which one but they will lend you the ball joint press.

Yeah this is an old thread but I am throwing this into the pot.

I found it easier to replace the whole ( lower) arm.

Look at it this way. New bushings and ball joint pressed in for twice the cost of the joint alone.

The tricky part is releasing the tension on the torsion bars, but believe me doing it this way will save labor hours and get the front end a lot tighter. Your control arm bushings are 16 years old.

Also, since the uppers are also removed, re install using camber adjuster shims. This will allow a better alignment,and, they should not charge any additional labor to install them over the upper ball joint(s) labor charge, as the adjuster kit is basically a different style of mounting bolt for the upper arms.
My .02

I have repair manuals that say that the entire lower control arm has to be replaced, and just looking at the lower ball joints, one would say the same thing. Thing is, it's not true. I have not done it, but I have had the lower ball joints replaced on two different 1998 explorers at a Ford dealer, and they have a method to replace the lower ball joints without replacing the whole control arm. It looks to me like a hole is punched out in the lower control arm and a replacement ball joint is put into the hole.