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How to: Replace balljoints and u-joints

grufman

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Hi everybody

I brought a "how to replace a ball joint on a 95 explorer in under 6 minutes" to the guys in the 95+ forum, now it's your turn!

http://www.grufmanbil.se/mektips/spindel-drivknut-explorer_91-94.pdf

I've written this small tutorial on how to replace upper/lower balljoints on your precious explorer, and also how to replace outboard u-joints (those that tend to rust.)

Sorry, the text is in swedish only, but there is a lot of pictures and here is a link to a dictionary

http://lexin.nada.kth.se/sve-eng.html

Enjoy!!
 



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Both excellent articles :thumbsup::thumbsup:
I looks like the 1st Gen Explorer was covered in salt.. No wonder it looks so rusty :eek:
 






they put salt on the roads here every winter.
 






Looks familiar to me! Maybe my u-joints can be serviced, after all! At least he still has backing plates..
 






Looks familiar to me! Maybe my u-joints can be serviced, after all! At least he still has backing plates..

When I was restoring my D35 I tried to order new dust shields but they are no longer carried and listed as an unnecessary part. It hasn't made any noticeable difference in keeping the wheels clean.
 






long road

Man, I thought doing the RABs with hand tools was a bit of a trial, but this is a real drag. Many, many hours.

Commentary- Most folks probably already know this, but I was in a hurry and went to closest parts supplier. Don't use Carquest! Cost twice what ordering from RockAuto would have, including shipping, and the parts are their-brand made-in China junk instead of the namebrand R/A parts.

Findings- Pinch bolt on driver's side totally seized. (Electric) Impact Wrench only succeeded in rounding it. MAP torch and bolt removal device provided no help. Spindle would absolutely not budge regardless of force and repitions of slidehammer blows. Bolts on ABS protector rounded.

Some remedies- Nieghbor, who is a little bored after finishing his rotisserie restoration of a 57 Chevy, finally took pity and uncoiled a couple hundred feet of pneumatic line and rolled over his oxy-acet set. That plus pipe wrench got the pinch bolt free, impact hammer on spindle got that free. Partial drilling of ABS protector bolts allowed hammering-in of small socket and removal.

Remaining issues:
- On both sides, cotter pins on lower ball joints are mostly disentegrated. Is the thread coarse enough to just force of the nut, or will the ball joint just spin when the nut hit resistance from remaining pine? Suggestions?:(

- On driver's side, inner bearing race is seized onto spindle. Attempting to cut with cut-off wheel, but so far it isn't budging- help?:(:(

- On the driver's side, after removing axle, I can see a seal just laying randomly in there. Are there one or two seals for the axle at the diff, and can anyone provide insight on removal and install?
:rolleyes:

Thanks for any help/coaching, Snow is COming!!!
 







Remaining issues:
- On both sides, cotter pins on lower ball joints are mostly disentegrated. Is the thread coarse enough to just force of the nut, or will the ball joint just spin when the nut hit resistance from remaining pine? Suggestions?:(
This was a tough one. Got most of cotter pin out on one side, nut still seized. Tried to leverage against the joint to stop it from spinning, no effect. Used a nutcracker on the nut and banged and used pickle fork for longgg time- got it! ON other side, nut was too large for splitter. Got neighbor's torch again, reduced it to slag- got it:thumbsup:!

- On driver's side, inner bearing race is seized onto spindle. Attempting to cut with cut-off wheel, but so far it isn't budging- help?:(:(
Went back to pneumatic hammer/punch. Eventually separated it. Not that I didn't create a few blemishes, but the real problem was that the race was forced on over some spalling and burs last time. Thanks P/O! Spindle is junk. In addition, the retaining nut was both split and had a big chunk of the shoulder missing, and the 'key' was slid all the way out and well-threaded by the nut, it's junk:mad:.

- On the driver's side, after removing axle, I can see a seal just laying randomly in there. Are there one or two seals for the axle at the diff, and can anyone provide insight on removal and install?[/B]:rolleyes:
Fished out the part in there, can't really tell whether it's the whole seal or just part. The seals from the parts store don't resemble at all..craaapp..:mad:.

Thanks for any help/coaching, Snow is COming!!!
Snow is here, didn't make it! Have to rely on Quattro, which would be OK except the A/S Toyos don't really cut it on the 40' incline to my house..
 






This was a tough one. Got most of cotter pin out on one side, nut still seized. Tried to leverage against the joint to stop it from spinning, no effect. Used a nutcracker on the nut and banged and used pickle fork for longgg time- got it! ON other side, nut was too large for splitter. Got neighbor's torch again, reduced it to slag- got it:thumbsup:!


Went back to pneumatic hammer/punch. Eventually separated it. Not that I didn't create a few blemishes, but the real problem was that the race was forced on over some spalling and burs last time. Thanks P/O! Spindle is junk. In addition, the retaining nut was both split and had a big chunk of the shoulder missing, and the 'key' was slid all the way out and well-threaded by the nut, it's junk:mad:.


Fished out the part in there, can't really tell whether it's the whole seal or just part. The seals from the parts store don't resemble at all..craaapp..:mad:.


Snow is here, didn't make it! Have to rely on Quattro, which would be OK except the A/S Toyos don't really cut it on the 40' incline to my house..


Ouch.. It seams like when it rains it pours.. When the spindle bearings have been neglected, or installed incorrectly (usually too much torque), they can overheat and spin the race around the spindle. In short order this will fuse/weld the race onto the spindle :eek:

All the seals are 1 piece, but when broken/falling apart will appear as 2 or more pieces. The original spindle outer seal contained a metal ring and was a press fit. Newer seals (Timkin 722109) are all rubber and slip over the axle easily and isn't a press fit like the OEM seal.

Wheel Seals for the back of the rotors= Timkin 4950
The Spindle Bearing= Timkin B2110 {within the spindle}
Spindle Seal inner = Motorcraft BRS-88 F3TZ-1S175-AA) {End of spindle}
Spindle Seal outer = Timkin 722109 {Attached to the stub Axle}
 






Have the knuckles and rotors and one good spindle in the house for the bearings and seals. The seals for the spindles have a plastic shoulder on them, or maybe it's firm rubber. It's the axle seal at the diff that I'm puzzling over. I'm still annoyed at the cheapo parts that I have, but don't have the time to spare to return them and get upgrades. We'll see how long until I regret that decision. Now to call the local axle shop to check on time and cost of having them do the axle U-Joints and slinger...I'm fed up with fused parts.
 






Have the knuckles and rotors and one good spindle in the house for the bearings and seals. The seals for the spindles have a plastic shoulder on them, or maybe it's firm rubber. It's the axle seal at the diff that I'm puzzling over. I'm still annoyed at the cheapo parts that I have, but don't have the time to spare to return them and get upgrades. We'll see how long until I regret that decision. Now to call the local axle shop to check on time and cost of having them do the axle U-Joints and slinger...I'm fed up with fused parts.

Yes the spindle seal is hard plastic on the outside with a flexible seal that goes around the axle shaft. I would imagine the seal looks much like the press fit seal at the back of the rotors As mentioned the Stub axle "slinger" seal was originally a press fit part, but now they are simple rubber seal that you stretch over the axle (piece of cake). With an impact gun and the "C" clamp autozone press you can replace your U-joints with relative ease. See the U-joint links in my sig line for info/pics on using this tool.
 






more chaos, mayhem and frustration

oi, oi OII!

Got the axles back today..as always, folks were right, should've faced the aggravation. Asked the axle/driveshaft specialist here in town to do it, and asked about the slinger seals. He said 'dealer only'. I said, I think I have them at home, from Carquest..brought them down... he holds 'em up...nope, see they're different...OK, I pick up finished package this morning. They looked different because the shoulder of the spindle seal stayed with the axle!! More perplexing 0- $125 for U-joints in both axles, ouch!

Also got my used-from-Maine spindle today. That was a waste, must be for different application because, while it has cutouts for ABS sensor, it has some large stud facing inboard...I may try to press it out and tap the hole tomorrow because at least the bearing race surface looks OK_ resit is badly rusted and bearings are toast. It came with two nuts and a washer- they are different than what came off the vehicle, the washer is stipled with holes and the nuts are the four-post axle type. *sigh*.

Final dilemma- can't get the tie rods to seat well enough so I can get the nuts back on. Any pointers? Got the balljoints but putting the jack under the joint (next to the grease fitting).. not sure how to safely create a bit of resistance on the tie rods?

Pass side is mostly together, I worked an overnight and was getting stupider and madder and so decided not to mess with the the actual locking mechanism. Driver's side still awaiting a spindle solution. Sigh. At least the inner seal on the axle seemed to work out with just a re-positioning.:frustrate
 






oi, oi OII!

Got the axles back today..as always, folks were right, should've faced the aggravation. Asked the axle/driveshaft specialist here in town to do it, and asked about the slinger seals. He said 'dealer only'. I said, I think I have them at home, from Carquest..brought them down... he holds 'em up...nope, see they're different...OK, I pick up finished package this morning. They looked different because the shoulder of the spindle seal stayed with the axle!! More perplexing 0- $125 for U-joints in both axles, ouch!

Also got my used-from-Maine spindle today. That was a waste, must be for different application because, while it has cutouts for ABS sensor, it has some large stud facing inboard...I may try to press it out and tap the hole tomorrow because at least the bearing race surface looks OK_ resit is badly rusted and bearings are toast. It came with two nuts and a washer- they are different than what came off the vehicle, the washer is stipled with holes and the nuts are the four-post axle type. *sigh*.

Final dilemma- can't get the tie rods to seat well enough so I can get the nuts back on. Any pointers? Got the balljoints but putting the jack under the joint (next to the grease fitting).. not sure how to safely create a bit of resistance on the tie rods?

Pass side is mostly together, I worked an overnight and was getting stupider and madder and so decided not to mess with the the actual locking mechanism. Driver's side still awaiting a spindle solution. Sigh. At least the inner seal on the axle seemed to work out with just a re-positioning.:frustrate

The lock nuts with washer with lots of tiny holes are used with manual hubs. Like ball joints the outer tie rods are tapered. I use a wire brush or med grit sandpaper to clean up the tapered holes in the steering knuckle then spray in some brake cleaner to remove any remnants of grease. The tapered part of the joint shouldn't move at all. If the tapered joint spins before you've torqued it down you can use a large "C" clamp to press down on the tie rod just enough to seat it more. The ball joint press tool is ideal for this as the open end fits over the nut and allows you to easily tighten it..
 






onward

DeRocha, Thanks you've been great. Definately will pony over for the site as soon as I get a little cash flow.

Grufman, apologies for the flagrant hijack, and you're right up is great- I hope some of my trevails and DeRocha's advice will help others that may run into similar issues.

Today...Driver's side is pretty-much together, got the tie rod seated with ball joint press then fastened. I don't seem to ahve the two 'thrust washers' that I see in the hub schematics..but the whole setup snugs up nicely against the axle spacer (after tugging on the axle) so I guess all is as it should be.

Passenger side..oi (again). Despite careful use of sockets/cups, repeated use of balljoint press, I damaged the tie rod end prior to getting it secured. Bought a new one (wow, didn't expect fifty bucks, but it's a beefier unit at least). Tackle that tomorrow. Still awaiting the used hub I bought. IN the mean time, installed a 'rebuild' (read:bearing) kit I bought online for the grinding passenger side. TOok a lot of work to get the gearset out of the hub. Once the new bearing was installed the grinding was taken care of - but it's still NFG, once the gearset was out I could see some sort of plastic retaining ring abouth halfway down missing a 'chunk', and some bands that were bent as a result.

Think that's all my whining for today. HOping to actually get to an alignment shop tomorrow, but still got a little ways to go (tie rod R& R and stuck nut on the on currently installed, fill diff, install hub & etc on pass side.
 






What are they Heating up in view 14 and 17?

Very nice pics
 












What are they Heating up in view 14 and 17?

Very nice pics

14 is the upper ball joint pinch bolt
17 is the lower ball joint castle nut
 






we're using an induction heater. No flame, just 100% pure energy. Glows red in seconds with an alternating magnetic field. Great stuff,alltough extremy expensive payed $7000 for it....

Looks like this

http://www.carpart.se/verkstadutrustning/alesco700.htm

swedish quality.

Are induction heaters common in Sweden? I haven't seen any over hear in small shops (they primarily use a Oxy-Acetylene gas torches).
 






Cool! Just heating up the Balljoints so they Pop easier.

Very consentrated heat so you don't screw up surrounding Seals.

Thanks
 






Done.

hm, I have 'swedish quality' via the composting toilet I bought for my camp in Nova Scotia....true story, not sarcasm!

Anyway, done now.
RAB R& R became:

RABs.
Upper and lower ball joints.
Inner and outer wheel bearings.
Spindle bearings.
One spindle (used).
Hub rebuild kit.
Grease seals.
New front driveshaft U joints.
Brake pads.
Outer tie rods.

Ignored: pass side hub assembly still NFG, poor quality rotors and really tight junky calipers; leak at steering box; probably much, much more. :censored:

Thank you Grufman for the roadmap, and DeRocha for the advice!!
 



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