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Lower Ball Joint Replacement How To (lots of Pictures)

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.
Lift the vehicle and wheel ( tire ) up in the air off the ground. Place a bar under the tire and lift up and down, looking at the joints upper and lower. You will see it move or play. You want a tight joint. Also place your Hands at 12 &6 and move the wheel up and down looking for movement. Then hands at 9&3 move in and out looking for play. You'll be checking HUD bearing, tie rod ends and upper and lower joints.
 
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Trainmaster

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They are both a maintenance item, every 50k too 100k.
The Motorcraft ones seem to do much better. In our fleet, we have many with over 150K that have never failed. Some do go sooner though. Most of the Chinese aftermarket ones are six month junk.
 
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Pete Deering

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The Motorcraft ones seem to do much better. In our fleet, we have many with over 150K that have never failed. Some do go sooner though. Most of the Chinese aftermarket ones are six month junk.
My original factory ball joints failed at 50k under factory warranty; and were non greaseable. At that Time Motorcraft did not offer greaseable ball joints. I believe I installed moog.
 
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gavin

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Might start looking in to Mevotech. They have their TTX line which they claim to be heavy-duty, or at least heavier built.

product listing for their TTX lower balljoint for 2nd gen Explorer.

I did get a Mevotech TTX pass-side upper control arm (outer piece, kept the 2-piece) as the old upper balljoint was absolutely toast.
can't say too much for it yet, but the boot actually does seal unlike whatever brand it replaced (I believe Moog)
 
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Trainmaster

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Hey, SKP has a mega-super-heavy duty ball joint too. Best China craftsmanship also. And it's only $5.78 at Rock Auto! It might be painted red. The sell sheet says it's made of steel, iron or aluminum. I guess they're not sure. But they are absolutely sure it's heavy duty.

So why pay $8.00 for the Mevotech? Heck, that's more than $2 I'm saving.
 
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allmyEXes

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BenDT

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Not junk on my x been great
You get what ya pay for
Buy Mevotech better grade
like what was suggested above
Agreed. The ttx line seems to be the best brand out right now. Also mevotech is Canadian. I know somethings they make themselves and yes I have totally seen stuff from China. However moog is making its stuff in China. It’s truly not the Chinese manufacturing that is garbage, it’s the quality standards the COMPANY chooses to allow. So, looking for quality, the boots, the machine process, all the stainless, down to supplied hardware seems to be a grade above. The non ttx line outlived my moog front end parts with timken bearings. The moog ball joint boots failed both sides and ended up causing premature were on an almost brand new set of BFG mud terrain. Aftermarket for these is not the same standard it was 10 years ago. Also until I started running marine grease in my ball joints they would always fail 30-40k Bc my tires and driving habits (so I thought). I have not had one lower ball joint wallow out at all. They have all failed trying to seize now instead of slopping around. Just my 2 cents
 
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J_C

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I've read many times about Moog BJ grease boots failing prematurely, but they changed the boot design to a recessed one for this generation explorer, so I took a chance and bought and installed those. However, despite plenty of potholes (which I suspect is what wore out the factory BJs in the first place), I don't have enough miles on them to vouch for them yet, but as far as "time" goes, they (the boots in particular) are 3-4 yrs old, are lasting so far.

You should not need marine grease on any brand, would not provide any benefit, unless you are submersing them at a boat ramp, then of course you need a grease that is a trade off for that application. Keep in mind that if the marine grease is not a compatible formulation, then you have to completely flush out all the original lithium complex grease for best results. I'm not launching boats so am using (at random...) Valvoline synthetic moly, because it's in the lithium complex devoted grease gun.
 
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BenDT

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I've read many times about Moog BJ grease boots failing prematurely, but they changed the boot design to a recessed one for this generation explorer, so I took a chance and bought and installed those. However, despite plenty of potholes (which I suspect is what wore out the factory BJs in the first place), I don't have enough miles on them to vouch for them yet, but as far as "time" goes, they (the boots in particular) are 3-4 yrs old, are lasting so far.

You should not need marine grease on any brand, would not provide any benefit, unless you are submersing them at a boat ramp, then of course you need a grease that is a trade off for that application. Keep in mind that if the marine grease is not a compatible formulation, then you have to completely flush out all the original lithium complex grease for best results. I'm not launching boats so am using (at random...) Valvoline synthetic moly, because it's in the lithium complex devoted grease gun.
You are 100% correct about flushing out the old grease. No argument. And a quality lithium grease will out preform apples for apples. I do live around the beach (and drive on it), I find something muddy daily, and if it floods I’m deep enough I normally find muddy water filling my relay box below my intake (the one for wiper motors and rear wiper relays). With that said I do see a fair amount of contaminants and water. Even with meticulous maintenance and greasing after anything needed I still would see a lot of water logged grease inside the joint that would come out. With marine it does what is supposed to. I would never use it on something that moves more than a ball joint as like I said you’re correct at it’s limitations and correct applications. Wheel bearings I would never use just a marine grease. Though for this jet boat axle I just rebuilt with all galvanized or stainless parts respectively, I did buy this extremely expensive marine rated lithium (just called bearing grease). But it was like almost $40 a tube.
 
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