How To: Upper Control Arm / Ball Joint Replacement (Lots of Pictures) | Page 5 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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How To: Upper Control Arm / Ball Joint Replacement (Lots of Pictures)


I guess you could but you are able to get in on there by moving the lines. We've both been there.. Because of that and the accessibility I would suggest staying with it.

Best of luck..

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Took the time to take out the A/C line strap that was tapped into the front UCA mount. That gave me the 1/2 inch I need to get the cam bolt out. Thanks everyone for you tips and hints. Now I can get it back together.

BEWARE!!! Check and Double Check Your Parts!!!

Just had to list this info. I got a 2001 Explorer Sport 2 door SUV and the owner before me had Wal-Mart replace the drivers side upper control arm and ball joint. I got the Explorer and had a left front tire with a lot more wear than the others, and pulled to the left when letting go of the wheel.

Took it to the Ford dealer and had it on the alignment rack, the caster was so far out on the left that it couldn't be adjusted in enough to get anywhere close to being right. Come to find out Wal_Mart had used a aftermarket upper control arm and matching it up to a factory Fort upper control arm, the ball joint was way off from where it should have been to mount to the spindel.

Although it was able to be installed and work for 2 years this way, the alignment was never able to be set right and had destroyed 2 tires. Check your parts and match them up to the old before installing. This will save you time and money if you happen to get a off made aftermarket part as mine had installed on it.

I changed my passenger side upper today. Wasn't bad at all, especially compared to the ball-joints on my Ranger. Those things sucked.

nice write-up, i just did mine over the last few days, replacing the lower joint and wheel bearing while i was at it. the worst part the the camber adjustment bolts and space to get them out.

Sent to me via PM:

I've read your Lower Control Arm replacement tread four or five times and I still don't understand why your replacement part failed.

You wrote:
In for an update: The very ball joint I replaced above went bad It is a lifetime warranty part, so I exchanged it. I paid more attention to removing the camber washers this time. The hardlines in there did interfere with the washers, but I just had to rotate the bolt/washer assembly until it cleared the lines. I also pushed the UCA in or pulled it out to make room. It worked on both sides, I was able to remove and replace both bolts with minimal trouble. Its all in how the washers are oriented.

Did this replacement ball joint go bad because of something you did? Is that why you discussed camber washers?


The part failed I think due to a manufacturing defect, no fault of my own, IMO. I put a MOOG brand upper in and it's been fine ever since. I paid attention to the washers that time because so many people complained about how hard it was to change these because of the hard lines and washers, I still didn't think it was that big of a deal :dunno:

I can't get the upper ball joint off the spindle/steering knuckle..

BJ removal

Yep , just bang it out.. dont damage the knuckle though ..

Just want to say I'm so glad I did this. You will be too. Add some new shocks if you havent done that in 50,000 miles.. Quite a difference. My car rides so much smoother over bumps, driving this car is fun again.. Now if I could only get my check engine light to stay off!!!


If you add shocks will you need a new alignment?

BJ removal

If you replace the Ball joint that means you replaced the control arm and you should get an alignment. AFter that if you put on shocks , you don't need to do it again. Replacing the shocks with standard replacements will not mess that up.


Alright, so I guess I can get the shocks after my alignment is done, no need to rush it. Thanks man

ok i replace my driver side upper control arm and it came with the bushings and the balll joint in one piece but the passanger side is in 2 pieces and i have the part and its in 1 piece with the bushings and the ball joint all in one piece will it hurt me to just convert it into 1 piece? or is that bracket thing used for somthing?

Sorry this is my second post I see that quite a few people already posted the above question.

New question, when I enevitable get frusterated with the bolt and resort to cutting it off can I put a new one in opposite direction so the square plate will be facing in torwards the spindel?

I just did my 1998 4WD 4.0 SOHC. What I did is before I took the nut off of the back bolt I cut the extra off with a PC tiger saw. That just gave me enough room to get the bolt out. What a PITA.

I'm having a lousy time getting the bolts out of my factory UCA on the driver's side. The whole deal was easy until this stage but I've been looking at it closely and I just don't see how either the front or rear bolt will come out with the hard lines and such that are in there.

I'm ready to bend the hard lines a touch but I haven't resorted to that, yet. Any advice?

2000, 4.0, 4x4

This is really simple, the only complication would be excessive rust or stuck parts. My truck being from the south, I am blessed with no rust.

To start, jack up the truck, remove the tire and wheel on the afflicted side. It should look like this:


Remove the rubber flap held to the fender liner by push retainers. You'll see the front and rear camber adjusters on the top side of the frame.

This is the back:


The front:


Note the position of the camber adjusters-



Remove the large nuts on the end of the camber adjuster bolts.



Remove the camber adjuster, bolt and cams on both sides.


See the flat side on the bolt?


Remove the pinch bolt from the knuckle


Knock the UCA upward, the arm should come out.

The new one and the old one:


The empty spot:


The new one replaced.


Its just the opposite of the removal procedure, I put the camber adjusters in the same spots as they were. I recommend getting an alignment after replacing the UCA.

Hope this helps.
hi, great post.
i purchesed a repair kit for my 02/ford/explorer/xlt/auto.
the the UCA are as follows
moog p/n k8708 - left uppr control arem
moog p/n k8710 - right upper control arm.
i called moog and they verifed the part numbers are for my application, but
in trying to install the left side, it does not fit, nor does the ball joint fit in the knuckle!
in trying to install the right side i cant see how it can fit at all, at least the left side
looks similar to the original i took off.
both ball joints are on the non-threaded style, but instead are of the pinch type of installation.
i verified with the vendor i was getting the right parts, but no such luck!
my truck is in pieces in my driveway.......PLEASE HELP.
i am obviously not a mechanic, but i cant screw it up any more, right?

excellent pictures

Q: this appers to be the driver side front, when I seach for parts the passenger side seens to come back with a control arm that looks a little diffrent, ie one end has flat metal end bent at 90 degrees. any comment. I agree with the post above one side parts wise looks differant. Unlike him I didnt take mine apart yet.

The updated arm is one piece. People have discovered that the two piece arm isn't necessary to obtain proper alignment caster. So it's your choice.

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Have a 2000 Limited Explorer replace my front 2 tires because of wear. Then the shop check the aliment on it said my left upper ball joint was bad and needed replace. From what I read in one post you check the ball joint from top to top and if I see movement that means it needs to be change right. and the UCA is the bottom part right that the pinch bolt goes threw? I haven't work on auto's in a long time so I do need help on all this stuff things has change since I have work on a auto. By looking at the pictures sure looks easy enough to change. I also need to replace the inner tie rod I also guess you look for movement in them as well. I just don't want to get in over my head Sociol Security don't go very far.