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Lower Ball Joint Replacement How To (lots of Pictures)

joecrna

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98 XLT 4X4 sohc
That's because you were truely motivated.
 
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koda2000

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That's because you were truely motivated.

yeah, zero degrees F would motivate the hell out of me to do the job quickly... lol
 
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funnybugnut

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Many thanks

JUst a line to say thanks in a big way for the post on ball joints . I started mine and soon got stuck your post got me over the hump . :usa:
 
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jbeta

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1996 Ford Explorer XLT
Woot! Just followed this post a second time for my LBJ. I did one 2 years ago, and probably should have done both at once... anyway, just a note that the kit i rented from advance auto parts (powerbuilt 23 piece) indeed worked for removal and installation (unlike the smaller one from autozone i used before like the one in the OP). I used the half-cut adapter for removal. for installation i cranked from the top instead of the bottom, with an adapter on top... if you do that just be sure to check a few times and make sure the top is centered. you'll know what i mean if you do it.

Thanks again! (if I didn't say thanks before)
 
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ViktorKay

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Help 97 xlt LBJ

I have taken the passenger LBJ and the OEM LBJ replacement is obviously too long and the thickness is larger. I do not know what is going on. Any idea what ball joint I could have? I had to put the old one back on and it does not have much time.
 
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XLTrunner

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1998 Explorer XLT 4.0SOHC
Can I assume you bought your's online from a Seller who describes them as "OEM"...but, doesn't give you a specific name brand? If so, it's near impossible to know unless it's stamped on the ball joint somewhere. Regardless, if it doesn't fit, you should return it. Personally, I run as far away as I can from these companies. I ALWAYS want to know what brand parts I'm installing on my vehicles. This Spring, I installed Moog #K8695T Problem Solver Lower Ball Joints on my '98 and they fit perfectly. And, I think their quality is above average...if not better. RockAuto had them for $23.79/ea...so, it's not like they cost an arm and a leg. Go with quality brand names and forget trying to save a few bucks on suspension parts like this. Seriously doubt you want to go thru this again in 6-9 mos?
 
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nguyen_3

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ViktorKay....listen to XLTRunner, use Moog parts.
I installed the Drive Works brand and they were somehow too thick causing the bolt to rub against the inner rim. I had to redo both sides with Moog and it worked like a charm on my 1996 XLT.
 
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clumsy

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I just got finished installing the uppers. I finally got the bottom ball joint out with the autozone press cocked at an angle and a few well placed smacks with a hammer on the front (exterior) of the BJ. I thought, wow, this is going to be cake with the press trick. Doh! I cracked the stupid sleeve.

Does anyone know what auto parts store has the correct size sleeve for an autozone branded LBJ? :confused:

In hindsight, I did think the sleeve was a tad too large... but I didn't think it would slip around the BJ and crack.

Live and learn. Thanks for the original post and all the responses. Between this site and youtube, I've already saved at least $300 with the upper one, hopefully I can save another $200 doing the lower soon.
 
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jbeta

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Does anyone know what auto parts store has the correct size sleeve for an autozone branded LBJ? :confused:

Advance Auto Parts has a kit that worked better for me. It's a Powerbuilt 23 piece kit. If I recall correctly, I used one of the sleeves that has about half of it cut away for removal. For installation, i used a few other pieces and don't remember which ones, but there was a sleeve on top, and one or two pieces on bottom. Please refer to my post above.

There are a lot of sleeves and collars, and I don't remember all of the ones I used, so take your time examining them all and I think you'll find the ones that more properly do the job.

This is the kit you want:
http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/p/...u-joint-service-set-23-piece-648617/9150043-P

Good Luck!
 

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clumsy

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Autozone returned the kit and gave me all my money back. I work at a parts company and found a needle bearing sleeve for a ZF 5-speed transmission that worked perfectly.

Thanks again for everyone's help.

I didn't think it had been 5 months since doing those..... wow time flies by.
 
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manimal

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Thanks for the method in OP, it works great. Just replaced both lowers with Moog "Problem Solver" units, and it was easy to get them in without any special tricks.

For the uppers I just replaced both UCA assemblies with complete UCAs from OReilly, which had new bushings and joint. I eliminated the adjustable arm from the right hand side.

Also replaced both tie rod ends.

Make sure to maintain alignment cam positions on the UCA bolts. I marked the topmost visible portion with a auto center punch, so that I could easily keep their original position when reinstalling. Also make sure that the alignment cam plates don't get hung up on the two small bumps in the UCA mounts on the frame - these bumps are supposed to "hold" the alignment plates in place, but it's easy to install the plates so that they're not contained properly by these bumps.

Result = smooth, tight ride, no more bad ball joint squealing.
 
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textrader

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Do you guys know what the torque values are for a 2003 Explorer 2wd or where I can find them to do a lower ball joint job?

Wheel nut
Upper ball joint nut
Lower ball joint nut
 
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coops310

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Has anyone replaced the bushings on the Lower Control arms? I did this ball joint replacement but now moving on to bushings a year later. Seems that the rear bushing is a pain to get off and not sure what puller would be best (since the end of the LCA is hollow) other than trying to bash or cut it off. The current challenge is getting the front pivot bolt nut off to remove the control arm and work on it. Doing bushings on other cars I have been able to pull the bushing off with a jaw puller since the control arm is solid. The front bushing I am hoping I can push out with my ball joint press.
 
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coops310

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Has anyone replaced the bushings on the Lower Control arms? I did this ball joint replacement but now moving on to bushings a year later. Seems that the rear bushing is a pain to get off and not sure what puller would be best (since the end of the LCA is hollow) other than trying to bash or cut it off. The current challenge is getting the front pivot bolt nut off to remove the control arm and work on it. Doing bushings on other cars I have been able to pull the bushing off with a jaw puller since the control arm is solid. The front bushing I am hoping I can push out with my ball joint press.


Ok I figured this one out on my own in the end. For the from bushing I pressed the center metal bolt carrier portion out, then pressed the rubber bushing out, then cut the casing carefully with a sawsall and got it out. For the rear bushing I drilled a few holes in the rubber and got a sawsall in between a gap in the control arm pin (not sure about terminology) and cut the inner casing. I used a chisel to split the end of the inner casing and then was able to hammer the bushing off. For one LCA it was about 3 hours of messing around. In the end there was good way to press or pull them off. It was all sawsall and chisel work! with careful consideration not to damage the control arm. The other side should go faster. Maybe it would have been easier to just order a new LCA with the new ball joint and bushing but I had already replaced the ball joints last year...This probably won't fix the steering issues I am having but was the last front suspension item I had to do to refresh this 14 year old truck!
 
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allmyEXes

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I'll admit that I didn't read all 25 pages to find an answer. My '97 is a 2WD model and I am ready with parts to install the Lower Ball Joints.
QUESTION?? Can I undo the LBJ from the spindle and swing and tie the spindle out of the way to replace the Lower Ball Joints ? I'm wanting to dis-assemble as little of this as possible. Is there room to do the hammer/jack method? or should I go rent the tool and have working room to perform this task?
EDITED: Looks like if I undo the tie rod end , the anti-lock brake sensor, the caliper (and hang it) and then the upper ball joint pin bolt, I can move the spindle out of the way entirely.
Thanks in advance, and speaking of Advance Auto I read here that they have the better Ball Joint Press Tool.
In my town we only have Orielly's and Advance Auto to chose from
 
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BTR

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#1 - There's a special "Ford" collar that's made specifically for removing Ford lower ball joints. Some ball joint press kits include the special collar; some don't.

#2 - If you were able to install the new ball joint simply by pushing up on it with the jack, then there's the possibility that you should have installed an oversize ball joint, i.e., the ball joint you installed is too loose in the control arm. Did you install a standard size ball joint or an oversize ball joint... which one?

#3 - Even if you're replacing the factory lower ball joint, i.e., this is the first time its been replaced, it's not uncommon that an oversize ball joint is required.
 
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allmyEXes

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I replaced the shocks 20k ago with Monroe Yellows. The RH lower control arm is off of a 2001 low mileage
explorer with 120,000 miles on it. LCA bushings are really tight. Left lower control arms bushings are tight.In fact, the uppers that I removed have really tight control arm pivot bushings in them. It's too bad that I couldn't replace just the upper ball joints themselves. The old 2 upper ball joints and the left lower ball joints are so worn that once I had the disconnected I could hold the ball joint stem at the threads and jiggle it in its socket.
I own all or part of 4 or 5 dozen vehicles (I have not counted lately) so I can't always replace everything if I wanted to. But thanks for the advice. I'm replacing the LBJs in the morning and going to rent the tool at Advance instead of beating the luck out of them.
Thanks again !
 
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Trainmaster

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2010 Limited
Say goodbye to Moog. Their ball joints are now Chinasium garbage. A set lasted six months. Motorcraft for my 2010 are still made in Canada and worth the $40.

No need to remove the rotor or caliper on my 2010. Just need to be strong enough to animal the knuckle/rotor/caliper off the ball joint studs and hang it on a wire from the upper control arm.
 
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Pete Deering

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Possibly a dumb a question, but how do you know if the lower ball joints need replacing? I can see that my upper ones do because the rubber part is torn, but the lowers don't seem as obvious to me.
They are both a maintenance item, every 50k too 100k.
 
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