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Hello New member in serious need of help!


New Member
March 18, 2014
Reaction score
City, State
Bend, Oregon
Year, Model & Trim Level
99 Ford Explorer XLT AWD
Hello everyone! well I am glad I found this site! I am in need of some direction and any help that you guys can either throw my way or direct me to would be very VERY helpful. I own a 1999 Ford Explorer XLT AWD about 176k miles with the V8 5.0l engine. the last few days every time I drive over any bumps or turn i get a horrible squeaking sound in my front end. a Mechanic said that I need to replace the lower ball joints in it. and said he could do it for $936.00!!! wwwwweeelllllllllll. Im a broke single dad and cant afford that. lol so ive been trying to do reasearch on how I can do it myself and save me a TON on money but everyting im finding is about the uppers. Can i just replace the ball joint or do I need to replace the Lower control arm as well? im not super proficent but witha manul and a "how to" i can do it! :) and do you guys know where I could find any manuals or even a video would be AWESOME!! that can show me how to do it?? Im hoping to get this done this weekend. I have all of saturday off and would like to get it done then. the Autozone here in town has all the tools that i can rent from them to do it. again thank you in advance for your help. I really like my explorer and want to keep it for awhile!! :)

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you don't need a library, all the info is here free,,

welcome to the forum,

Lower ball joints can be replaced on their own.
No need to replace the whole lower control arm (LCA).

Check our site vendors such as A1 auto or rockauto for pricing. If you want to do the job this weekend, you will need to purchase the joints locally.

The lower ball joint can be a bear to pop it out of the lca. Im sure you will find this out. Research how to do it on this site using the search button. Its really not a difficult job. No need to do a wheel alignment after either.

You will save yourself over $800.00, and thats after purchasing a few tools.

i paid under $200 for 4 upper/lower moog ball joints and was charged $300 in labor for the job, only because it was way to cold to do myself this winter. $900 is waaaay too much

advance auto has coupons for $50 off $100 purchase often. code "wd12" might still be active (used it yesterday). You can pick up locally and they have free tool rentals

Hmmmmm......bad ball joints usually make thumping or clicking sounds. A squeak can be as simple as taking off the front sway bar and cleaning and greasing the rubber pieces that hold it in place.

Are you having any steering anomalies, like it won't go in straight line or pulls to one side and then then other depending on the crown of the road? Thats a sign of bad ball joints. You can also check for yourself. Just look at it. If the rubber boot is all gooey and junk, or split open, its bad.

you guys are awesome! thank you so much for your replies already!! I am using today to start checking everything out. no there is no problem with steering it drives straight. would squeaking be a sign of bad bushings then? Ill jack it up tomorrow and look at the boots. Last time i poked my head under there i took a quick glance and they didn't look torn or gunked up but again it was literally a quick glance. if its bad bushings can just those be replaced?

lower control arm bushings rarely, if ever, go south.

It could be the anti-sway bar bushings possibly.

I have had a lower ball joint dry out on me and squeak really badly on my truck. It was a factory ball joint that had no grease nipple.

I had a mustang where the lower control arm bushings and the ball joints went bad. The bushings were seriously cracked and split. On that car I spent so much time trying to remove the lower ball joints from the arm, it would have been cheaper and faster to just replace the whole arm with a new one that came with them installed, and then you wouldn't need any special tools either.

Just my experience, not sure if that's the way to go on an explorer.

The explorer has a torsion bar attached to the lca. My experience was not good replacing one that was bent by hitting a curb.

Ball joints are relatively easy in comparison. I also have never heard of anyone with lower control arm bushings worn out or noisy. Not saying this cant be the first.

It could also be a broken sway bar link. Those squeak a lot when they break. They are easy to change too. A little poking around under there should reveal the problem. There are good tutorials on this site for fixing all of those things.

climb under the front end and get a helper to bounce the front end and listen for yourself where its coming from ,thats a good start .then report back what you find .

Go to Youtube and enter "lower control arm". There are a bunch of videos. Didn't see one specifically for an Explorer, but it's pretty similar from vehicle to vehicle.

I had both lower control arm ball joints badly wear on my '96 5.0. There were no obvious symptoms beforehand, but they were pretty sloppy and loose once removed. There is a simple test you can perform with the Ex jacked from the front cross-member (with no load on the side you plan to test). Insert a crowbar under the tire to lever up and down and watch the ball joint for any play (search this site for the technique) Steering and ride quality were firmed up after installing the Moog greaseable replacements. There was no squeaking in any weather conditions, hot or cold. Mind you, lower control arm bushing failure can be disastrous as they hold the whole magilla together. But, as guys have commented, they have never heard of this happening. But that doesn't mean that they can't nor that you shouldn't replace them if badly worn. If the boots are cracked, their probably due.

I also had an anti-sway bar end-link snap in half on me and BOY OH BOY you will know when that happens as your anti-sway is essentially nullified and rig bobs and weaves down the road like grannies caddy with worn out struts. No fun at speed or on turns.

There's a good chance the squeak is coming from the ant-sway bar bushings where the bar bolts to the frame. Inexpensive replacements are available at most any auto parts store (I got the blue urethane ones). Some guys just loosen the bushing retainers and squirt some lube in where the bushings meet the bar to eliminate the noise. But old bushings start to petrify while new ones are more compliant and you will notice the improved ride quality. You might try the lube squirt as a test to determine if this is the source of the noise. If so, get the replacement urethane bushings and enjoy the improvement. The sway bar bushing job is real easy and should be your first pass at determining the squeak. Sway bar end-links are inexpensive as well and your probably due given the mileage you mention. There are several good writeups on the end-link replacement and it's easy too.

well finally got under the car today. It was definatly the LBJ's the boots were destroyed under there. :( also discovered a orn boot on my Tie Rod as well. so gonna go to the store to get some parts and tools and start trying this out on my own. I'm really REALLY thankful that I have found this site. there is NO WAY that I could have done anything like this on my own. thank you so much everyone for the links and where to find the information that I can use to do this on my own. I have already purchased a 12pack for when i start to get frustrated because I can see this taking me ALL day. lol I'll update you all as I get it done! thank you again. AND ill be making some other posts down the road for help with a couple other minor things that I want to get fixed as well!! anyone else have problems with their doors and rear windows??? :)

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