- Raise the vehicle and place floor jacks beneath the lower control arms.
- Make sure the front wheel bearings are properly adjusted.
- Inspect the lower ball joint and replace the lower control arm assembly, if required.
- Have an assistant grasp the bottom of the tire and move the wheel in and out.
- 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 control arm indicates a bad ball joint which must be replaced.
See Figure 1
REMOVAL & INSTALLATION
Ford Motor Company recommends replacement of the upper control arm and ball joint as an assembly. However, aftermarket replacement parts are available, which can be installed using the following procedure.
- Raise the vehicle and support on frame points so the front wheels fall to their full down position.
- Remove the wheel and tire assembly.
- Drill a 1 / 8 in. (3mm) hole completely through each ball joint attaching rivet.
- Using a large chisel, cut off the head of each rivet and drive them from the arm.
- Place a jack under the lower arm and raise to compress the coil spring.
- Remove the cotter pin and attaching nut from the ball joint stud.
- Using a ball joint removal tool, loosen the ball joint stud from the spindle and remove the ball joint from the arm.
- Clean all metal burrs from the arm and install the new ball joint, using the service part nuts and bolts to attach the ball joint. Do not attempt to rivet the ball joint once it has been removed.
- Install the ball joint stud into the spindle. Tighten the ball joint-to-upper spindle nut to 60-90 ft. lbs. (81-122 Nm). Continue to tighten until the slot for the cotter pin is aligned. Install a new cotter pin.
- Install the wheel and tire assembly.
- Lower the vehicle.
- Check front end alignment.
- Raise and safely support the vehicle with safety stands under the frame behind the lower arm. Remove the wheel and tire assembly.
- Position a floor jack under the lower arm at the lower ball joint area. The floor jack will support the spring load on the lower arm.
- Remove the retaining nut and pinch bolt from the upper ball joint stud.
- Mark the position of the alignment cams. When replacing the ball joint, this will approximate the current alignment.
- Remove the 2 nuts retaining the ball joint to the upper arm. Remove the ball joint and spread the slot with a suitable prybar to separate the ball joint stud from the spindle.
See Figures 2 and 3
The upper ball joints differ from side to side. Be sure to use the proper ball joint on each side.
- Position the ball joint on the upper arm and insert the ball stud into the spindle.
- Install the pinch bolt and retaining nut. Tighten to 67 ft. lbs. (92 Nm).
- Install the alignment cams to the approximate position at removal. If not marked, install in neutral position.
- Install the 2 nuts attaching the ball joint to the arm. Hold the cams and tighten the nuts to 90-109 ft. lbs. (122-149 Nm) on 1992 vehicles or 107-129 ft. lbs. (145-175 Nm) on 1993-98 vehicles.
- Remove the floor jack from the lower arm and install the wheel and tire assembly. Remove the safety stands and lower the vehicle.
- Check and adjust the front end alignment.