Lower Ball Joint Replacement How To (lots of Pictures) | Page 18 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Lower Ball Joint Replacement How To (lots of Pictures)

You ROCK! Im doing this job next weekend. Ive purchased MOOG parts, Im going to go at it with a press instead of the hand tool. I'll let you know if i live thru it.
Thanks again!

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Vacboots or spindle seats

I recently replaced my upper and lower on my 01 Ford Explorer Sports Trac 4x4your post was really helpful and greatly appreciated. Although I have found that no one on this repair and replacement mentions the vacboots that is located on the end of the drive axle facing the wheel hub. Mine were bad and were in need of replacement. They were not easy to find and most places even Ford didn't know what I was talking about. I finally found them at Napa auto parts with great help from them. The part # is 25009 from SKF. There were no instructions on installation so I just put them on as they came off. But now I have a whinning, whistling noise coming from the driver side wheel when the truck moves. Should I have put high temp grease on the seal facing the hub? Any info would be greatly appreciated! Thanks Dan :-)

Vac boot? the skf # you provided is for a dust seal...Im not sure what you mean...the only boot out there I can think of is the CV boot on the drive axle...is this what you mean? I had a little noise (squeak) from my 98 Explorer but it eventually went away...btw: Ive found IF the boot fails the replacements rarely are worth the hassle...the split boots are complete crap & a full replacement requires disassembly of CV joint. The entire CV shaft is easier to replace & usually comes with a heck of a warranty for less than 100 bucks.
If this isnt what you're referring to please reply & Ill go look under my 02 & try to make sense of what going on for you.
good luck

Great how-to in this thread. Replaced mine this weekend. The first time I attempted it in my '95 for whatever reason (possibly wrong part?) the LBJ was actually too small to fit back into the LCA... ended up replacing the whole LCA.

Either way, everytime I got stuck with a stubborn part, I referred to this thread and applied brute force in the right places described here. I found beating the LBJ out of the LCA with a framing hammer is really the only way if your'e still dealing with the factory LBJ - the lip is too big for any press ring to fit around correctly. The replacement MOOG parts have a smaller diameter flange, so the press should work better IF I ever have to replace those. The jack trick worked great - don't be afraid to beat on the LCA to get it into place. Jackstands. Always double up on your safety.

Only word of caution I don't know if anyone mentioned, but don't beat on the spindle with a metal hammer - the cast spindle isn't designed to take impact blows like the stamped control arm pieces. There's nothing a swift whack with a rubber mallet can't solve regarding the spindle itself. Go ahead and beat on the control arms though.

Hello, great Thread. I've got a 1998 Sport and I'm doing my upper and lower ball joints. I got everything apart, just waiting for the parts to come in from, Rock Auto. Great prices. I was quoted $1565.00 for the job from a local shop and Ford was actually $20.00 cheaper. I said to the guy, are the parts made of gold? So far I have $350.00 into the job. I'm changing the shocks, rotors and I think it would be best to change the calipers. They are really rusted.

The reason I'm posting is it has been mentioned that you should be careful with the ABS sensor. It should be removed before the hub is removed. Well, I was very careful with taking the screw out and when the screw came out with out doing anything with the sensor the sensor just crumbled with some part of it still in the hub. I checked Auto Zone. $158 + dollars for this part/harness. O'reilly was $138.00. Still to much for my blood. I'm going to check the Internet and junk yards in my area before I pay that much.

So here is what I did on the other side. The ABS sensor is on a harness it can be disconnected from a plug that's right between the head light and bumper. I took the harness and rolled it up and used a rubber band to keep it from getting in the way. Doing this I avoided taking the sensor out of the hub.

The SUV being 12 years old, the plastic must get brittle from age. Before I did this project I had no problems with the ABS. If you don't want to buy a new ABS sensor it's best to leave it in the hub and be careful when you lay the spindle down after it is taken off the axle.

Again, great Tread.

This is why I love this place

JOE Im getting my parts together to do this job this weekend, I didnt even THINK about the ABS sensor! Perfect timing, and I couldnt stand another $$$ surprise at this point. If i was closer, Id buy the suds. Thank you!
BTW, I ordered my parts from Energy Suspension. You might like their prices.
Front Lower Ball Joint
Part Number: MOOG-K8695T

Front Upper Control Arm and Ball Joint - Passenger Side
Part Number: MOOG-K80068

Rear Sway Bar End Link Kit
Part Number: MOOG-K80139

Front Sway Bar Bushings and End Links - 34mm
Part Number: 4.5155

hope that helps

FYI, the Ford 4WD hubs come with a new ABS sensor, and those have few issues. Don't remove them from the hubs, just be gentle with them. The 4WD ABS sensors basically only get damaged from handling, never in use.

The 2WD ABS sensors on the other hand are open to the air, with a gap at the rotor. Debris sticks to it there and sometimes interferes with the sensor. Those need to be handled carefully, cleaned off and reused if they still work.

Don, does that apply to an AWD hub as well? I see youre going to switch to 4WD. Have you gathered your pieces yet? can you give me an insight on the 4406? (I have the EB mommy mobile, am pondering how to mount the 4WD shift mechanism in the cab).

the vac boot and the dust boot are the same thing. The dust boot has a place at the end that attaches to hoses...i beleive they are vac hoses...

I could not get mine re-attached...I gave up after 1/2 hour. someday I will get mine back on

as for ABS...I just changed my wheel bearings and must have gotten some grease on the rotor...which now is causing some pulsing from teh ABS.

luckily, I am 2wd so I can just unbolt the sensor from the back and clean it off...I guess I will have to keep doing until the grease goes away

It may be because I over greased the bearings...so some grease is still flinging out

be careful to not do what I did

Don, does that apply to an AWD hub as well? I see youre going to switch to 4WD. Have you gathered your pieces yet? can you give me an insight on the 4406? (I have the EB mommy mobile, am pondering how to mount the 4WD shift mechanism in the cab).

Yes the AWD/4WD are the same hub for 95-01's.

I have the parts for my swap basically. The electric shift version requires adding two wires in the harness leading from the TC to the main under hood wiring, plus the three 4WD modules and harness from a 4WD truck. I'm going to try to keep a 22 gallon tank, others have swapped a Sport tank to make room for the shift motor of the TOD BW4406. I've got my old 93 tank, plastic that I hope to add the later sensor to. The older tanks are all shorter, the old 22 gallon tank(91-94) is the same length as the newer(95-01) 17 gallon tank.

Amazon prices:

Lower Ball Joints: Moog K8695T $31.59 each
Upper control arm - LH: Moog K8708T $80.03
Upper control arm - RH outer: Moog K8710T $80.03
Sway bar bushings: Moog $15.57

Don't forget axle hub nuts (4x4). You shouldn't reuse the old ones.

I used these instructions to to do my lower ball joints over the weekend. I also ended up doing uppers and both tie rod ends, as well as shocks. Overall, the directions are pretty good, however they fail to mention the biggest pain in the ars portion of the project (at least for my '98 ranger). These instruction begin with the 4WD hub already removed. I did not have the actual hub puller so I had to spend over an hour fabricating a slide hammer puller to remove the hub. When this was done it came off easily, however there was a plastic snap ring inside the hub to prevent the axle from pulling out of it. This was a monumental pain in the ars to get out and I broke the one on the passenger side causing me to wait until Monday morning to get one from the Ford dealership. BTW they charge $20 for the stupid plastic snap ring... absolutely unbelievable!

As for the press tool, it worked very nicely to remove the old lower ball joints, however I had to cut a piece of 2" pvc to use as a spacer between the top of the joint and the cone of the press tool. This helped a lot and drove in the joint nicely.

Overall, this is a very good guide, but be warned (at least in my case) the 4WD hub was a nightmare to deal with. If anyone is interested in the puller I made, let me know and I'll see if I can get some pictures.

^ ???

You've lost me... 4WD hub? You only need to remove the halfshaft axle nut, then press the halfshaft inboard to disengage it from the hub (bearing) splines. This uses just a 2- or 3-jaw puller.

If you go a step further and decide to replace the unit bearing (hub) it's held to the spindle with 3 bolts. Sometimes that can be a pain to separate from the spindle, but I've been able to pry it off with a screwdriver and some light taps.

To my knowledge, I know of no such snap ring at the outer hub. Only if you remove the halfshaft from the differential is there a snap ring on the inboard halfshaft spline.

Pics of what you're speaking of?

Just did my ball joints this weekend. Pictures and write up helpful except for a few things. I have a 2wd '98 explorer sport. After I spent an hour trying to press out ball joints i ended up giving them a couple wacks with my 5lb mini sledge and they came out easy. Just had to punch them out with a pipe. There wasn't enough room between the arm and the ball joint collar for the cup of the press to fit so I spent an hour bending the collar of the old ball joint. Then tried the hammer and worked beautifully. Then when i went to use the press to press them in i had to use a collar for the ball joint (so I wouldn't crush the joint) and for the top. So with all that on there the c-clamp part wouldn't fit. So i did like the pictures showed and used jack and cups to lift in and then hammered down on the lower arm to slowly work the ball joint in. Took several hits to get it to show the groove for the ring. After that went well. So basically you only rent the press for the collars, I bet you could use some iron pipe to do the same work, but then again after you return the tool it's free. Also rented pickle fork to separate the knuckle from the ball joint (cheap too, $12 rental). If you have 2wd you don't need to mess taking off the dust shield off the brake (waste of time, hard to get to screws also). Check your stabalizer bar link bushings as well, I noticed I was missing one, so i replaced all of them. Drives alot nicer now, smoother. Thanks for all the help Mtnr Grn.

Hello to all ,???^^^

i have a 1997 2wd sport and i had to do the passenger side lower ball joint and for some reason the ball joint mevotech MEMK8695T i installed was a bit too long where it was touching the rim , the bolt was a bit too long so i had to cut the bolt a few m'm

right now it is not touching any longer although when im going over little bumps i have this little tuck metal touching little sound ......from the passenger front wheel area

i have looked and looked if the is a different ball joint for 2wd although everyone told me it is the same one as 4x4

i was wondering if you have the part # and make for the ball joint you just installed
i never got a chance to talk to anyone with a 2wd that did a ball joint


I used the Moog ball joint he recommended from RockAuto. Part number is k8695t Front Suspension, lower, problem solver. Are you sure you pressed the ball joint in far enough? It looks like you bought the right part (I think you meant MK not MEM). You were able to get the groove to show and then put the snap ring on right? Send pic and I can try to help. I'm a rookie at all this, but got mine working great so will help if I can.

I used a ball joint press with the jack trick it worked beautifully
the ball joint is pressed all the way with the snap ring installed in place
although the bolt was a bit long , it was touching my 15" stock alloy rim
i cut it a few m'm and now there is no touch , what is k8695t problem solver ?
Is it different from mk8695t ?

It was the name of the part. Moog was the brand, they called it problem solver. looked the same as the one you installed, just different brand.

Has anyone used the oe brand ball joints from advance auto parts? I see alot of talk about the moog ball joints figured i would ask before i attempted to install these on my girls '98 explorer.



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Not familiar with Advanced Brand. If the cost is even close to Moog I wouldnt buy them. You can always compare price with Amazon, thats where I bought some of the Moog suspension parts. No shipping & No tax if you buy thru Amazon. Beware of part no's, the China manufacturers use the exact same part no. but manufactured by Moogoo Guy Pan.......