Ford Aerostar 1986-1997 Repair Guide

Upper Ball Joint



  1. Raise the vehicle by placing a hydraulic floor jack under the lower control arm.
  3. Have an assistant grasp the top and bottom of the tire and move the wheel in and out.
  5. As the wheel is being moved, observe the upper control arm where the spindle attaches to it. Any movement between the upper part of the spindle and the upper ball joint indicates a worn ball joint which must be replaced.

During this check, the lower ball joint will be unloaded and may move; this is normal and not an indication of a worn ball joint. Also, do not mistake a loose wheel bearing for a defective ball joint.


See Figure 1

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: The upper ball joints are held in the upper control arms by six rivets, which are installed at the factory-aftermarket replacement ball joints should come equipped with new mounting hardware

The manufacturer recommends replacement of the upper control arm and ball joint as an assembly, rather than replacement of the ball joint alone. However, aftermarket ball joints are available. The following procedure is for replacement of the ball joint only. Refer to the Upper Control Arm procedures for complete assembly replacement.

  1. Raise the van and support it safely with jackstands placed under the frame lifting pads. Allow the front wheels to fall to their fully extended (down) position.
  3. Remove the front wheel/tire assemblies from the vehicle.
  5. Place a hydraulic floor jack under the lower control arm and raise the jack until it just contacts the arm.
  7. Drill a 1 / 8 in. (3mm) hole completely through each upper ball joint attaching rivet.
  9. Use a chisel to cut the head off of each rivet, then drive them from the upper control arm with a suitable small drift or blunt punch.
  11. Raise the lower control arm about 6 in. (15cm) with the hydraulic jack.
  13. Remove the pinch nut and bolt holding the ball joint stud to the spindle/knuckle.
  15. Using a suitable tool, loosen the ball joint stud from the spindle and remove the ball joint from the upper arm. Make sure to support the knuckle to keep it from tipping excessively and possibly damaging the brake hose.

To install:
  1. Clean all metal burrs from the upper arm and install a new ball joint, using the service part nuts and bolts to attach the ball joint to the upper arm. Do not attempt to rivet the ball joint again once it has been removed.
  3. Attach the ball joint stud to the spindle, then install the pinch bolt and nut and tighten to 27-37 ft. lbs. (37-50 Nm).
  5. Remove the hydraulic jack, then install the front wheel/tire assemblies. Lower the van and have the front end alignment checked by a professional automotive mechanic.