1997 2WD Lower Ball Joint Replacement (With Pictures) | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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1997 2WD Lower Ball Joint Replacement (With Pictures)


Elite Explorer
February 6, 2016
Reaction score
City, State
No. Alabama USA
Year, Model & Trim Level
1997 Blue Ex 4.0 SOHC
KAGG 3611 (CB)
I received my parts in a timely fashion and Monday afternoon was able to start on the lower ball joint replacement. Now I am daily driving this truck so I have to be able to do repairs on it and still drive home at the end of the day. The plus side to this is every time I replace one part and then drive it I can track the results.
I have already done the disassembly involved to get to the lbj.

Tool installed pressing out old part


Majority of the tools involved

New Lower Ball Joint
Lower control arm ready for new part (yes I did replace the bushings in the SB ELK)


Comparing new and old part

Don't let the FoMoCo original fool you like it did me. When I was picking out a collar to use to remove it, I sized it up on the new LBJ. The tool was sitting on the ridge of the old part and I used a 3 ft long breaker bar to turn the C-clamp part of the tool. The ball joint never moved. Picked out another collar out of the kit and was able to proceed.


Ball joint/u-joint tool kit from Advance Auto. $229- plus tax. 100% refund when returned. Home Depot sells these for under $200

another view


This pic should be rotated 90 degrees. At the bottom of the picture are the 3 items plus the clamp that I used to remove the LBJ. At the top are the pieces plus the clamp to install.

After using this tool I see If I had a piece of pipe large enough to go around the collar of the original LBJ and a VERY heavy duty c-clamp I could remove it without renting the big kit but I recommend it if you have the resources.

All in all not a difficult task to perform. My biggest problem Tuesday afternnoon on the 2nd side (passenger) I felt like I was going to pass out in the felt like 106 degree heat index. Stay hydrated and don't forget to move your fan when you move to the 2nd side.

Post Note: The Explorer drives straight again and I had a small problem with the steering wheel being turned to the right when the truck was going straight. I got back on the concrete and adjusted the left (drivers side in the U.S.) one full turn. About 1/16 of an inch more toe in. Test drove on the way home and the steering wheel is centered now. RH outer tie rod needs replaced soon. The grease boot is gone and I can feel a little wear in that particular tie rod end.

I have a total of $80- in the upper control arms (see other post) and the lower ball joints. Thanks Rock Auto.

Nice beard:thumbsup: good job to enjoy your quiet ride

it's almost time to do this task again. "Mo". The 1997 Mercury Mountaineer 5.0 upper and lower ball joints are very worn out. Over the past few months they have worn enough that the truck pulls straight again. Not bad for 260K. And yes, the camber is way out. I am going to change them a little bit different way. I am going to use these pictures of the tool that I rented and use a very large C clamp, a couple of pieces of pipe and washers and my MIG and make up a tool to do this a second time I'm sure that it won't be the last.