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Replace Control Arms with ball joints?


Well-Known Member
June 29, 2001
Reaction score
City, State
Tulsa, OK
Year, Model & Trim Level
2000 XLS
I've searched and searched and found lots of good help but I still have some basic questions regarding control arms vs ball joints.

I have a 2000 2wd explorer with 85k miles and all original ball joints and control arms. I did the torsion twist and shackles back in 2001 and I think this put additional stress on the ball joints. A couple of my ball joints are worn out and I am having my mechanic replace the front uppers and lowers for me with MOOGs (I don't have the tools, garage, or the time to do it myself). I plan on keeping this explorer for a few more years.

My questions:
1) Does each ball joint have a control arm? (So there are 4 ball joints and 4 controls arms on the front of my explorer?)

2) How do you know if you need to replace the controls arms too?

3) In terms of installation, how much time does replacing the control arms add to replacing ball joints?

Any recommendations are appreciated.

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Study this picture. It includes everything you should replace.

Typically you replace the upper ball joint and the upper control arm as a unit on both sides.

The lower ball joint (1 each side) can be pressed out of the lower control arm, and replaced with a new one.

Man i wish i saw that kit earlier. Thought what kind of parts are they using? Are they any good? I'm putting Moog for the LBJ's and tie rod ends.

I purchased and installed this kit. It took me about 2 hours for each side (4 total).

The ball joints and tie rod ends do have grease fittings . . . . which was important to me.

So far, so good. Everything fit and seems to work fine.

I also replaced both front hubs, axles, shocks, front drive shaft, and 4 tires. Rides like a dream now.

dont trust too many suspension parts from ebay. moog are very good. most of there things come with a life time warranty. as well as there upper ball joints are pressed in the control arm like the lowers are, if you every have a problem with the ball joint, you will not have to replace the control arm.

Thanks guys.

JCat: You said it took you 4 hours to install that entire kit. If I am having a mobile mechanic install just the upper control arms with ball joints and lower ball joints, how long do think that should take him?

Looks like it is going to cost me $272 in parts for the MOOG items. Since I have oversized tires and the TT lift I want to go with the heavy duty parts (MOOG).

stick with the moog parts .i once went with some taylor ball joints from advance and they failed in under 2 years .
so now i went with the moogs.

Can someone post the part numbers that are in that kit but are all moog parts? I'd like to do this same thing using all of those parts but using quality ones. Having a hard time putting all the numbers together needed.

EDIT: nevermind, seems the ebay kit has the same part numbers used, they just add an X to them.

I would stay away from the Moog garbage. They have gone down hill fast in recent years. I would also look into the cost of replacing the entire lower control arm assembly. I was in a similiar situation as you (limited time & space to work on my own vehicle) and when I priced out lower ball joints installed vs lower control arms installed, the lower control arms actually ended up cheaper. Plus you have the added benefit of new control arm bushings (these typically become noisy after so many years)

RE: time it takes to install. . . . .

Experience makes a huge difference. Also having a lift or pneumatic tools makes a huge difference.

2 hours/side is a reasonable maximum. A minimum (for me) would be 45 minutes.

Let me throw in my 2 cents about ebay.. Waste of time. too many false advertisers not to mention the quality of part is 5x worse than walmart. I bought a set of ball joints for cheap and they weren't even the right ones, they were the same size but didn't have anything to grab on to when pushing it in the hole so the joint most likely gets damaged. I never even installed them.

The farmers and opium addicts who make these in china have never seen a ford explorer let alone tried their own parts on it. They go by specs and size and sometimes that isn't enough as it lacks little bits to make the part a proper fit install.

You have to research well. Stay away from the cheapest white box.

I just picked up ball joints recently from an ebay scammer, they had coat hangers holding the rubber down.

LOL at the coat hangers. Anyways i replaced my lower ball joints, tie rod ends and werent given any option to replace the uppers without the control arms as the uppers they offered dont fit OE control arms. The lowers, i went with basic parts from your local auto store(mastercraft i think) as well as the tie rod ends. The lower ball joints were a pain in the a** to press in even with a torch. Unless you have the special C clamp press to hook to an impact. Saved me time and effort and made the world of difference. Having a hydraulic lift, the proper tools and experience helps as well... If i had to hammer the lower ball joints out w it jacked up it wouldve taken me hours upon hours. Before i replaced these, i tried to get an alignment bc i got new tires all the way around, they told me my ball joints were bad, showed me and told me it would cost $540. With some help from my friend i was able to replace all that for about 250 bucks in parts.

Beware of service shops installing new parts. They are out to make a buck and will use cheap "Service" grade parts. Insist on getting quality Pro Grade replacements.

Knowing that you have done a TT and are running larger than stock tires, I wouldn't use anything but "Pro grade" parts.

I don't know about anyone else, but I run all Pro grade Raybesto's and Mquay Norris suspension parts. Rock Auto (EF Vendor) offers the best pricing I have been able to find for these Quality parts.