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  #1  
Old 10-22-2011, 01:48 PM
fenway1702 fenway1702 is offline
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2001 Ford Ranger 4x4 upper ball joints

Hi everyone:

I went to get an alignment and was told that I need to replace the upper ball joints on the passenger side (drivers side look fine for now - I'll deal with that problem when I get to it). How hard is it to replace just the upper ball joints and do I need to replace the entire control arm to do that? Also, it's 4WD with the torsion bar - do I need the torsion bar tool for just replacing the upper BJ?

Sorry if this has been answered already - I couldn't find the specific answer for the '01 4WD model and wasn't sure if the later model write-ups would be applicable.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 10-22-2011, 02:45 PM
LCAM-01XA LCAM-01XA is offline
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We just did that yesterday, it's real easy, especially if you have the 2-piece control arms - the upper control arm consists of two halves, an inner half that's bolted to the frame and that you don't mess with at all, and an outer half that has the ball joint itself pressed in it and that you replace as a set.

First lift the truck by the lower control arm, this will keep the torsion bar loaded and will save you grief later on. Then when you pull the wheel and look at the upper control arm you'll see two big nuts staring you right in the face - these two hold the outer half of the control arm to the inner half that's bolted to the frame, they take 21mm (you can also use 13/16") socket. If you remove these two nuts, the outer half of the control arm will slide right out, it literally takes only a minute. However, watch out cause the whole knuckle assembly (wheel hub and brake too) will try to swing your way some, you may wanna prop that up with a piece of wood or something, or better yet have a helper hold it for ya. Then you'll have to separate the ball joint stud from the steerig knuckle: right below where the ball joint enters it you'll see a 10mm bolt going front<->rear through the knuckle, both its head and its nut take 15mm sockets/wrenches - remove the nut on the back side (facing the rear of the truck), pull the bolt out towards the front of the truck, put a pickle-fork tool between the knuckle and the ball joint and smack it a few times with a hammer and the ball joint will pop loose.

Then installation is reverese - slide new ball joint assembly onto the inner half of the control arm (watch out for the slot in the front corner of the new part, there's a bolt on the inner half of the control arm that's used for alignment purposes that it will have to slide on, you'll see what I mean when you get to it) and run the big nuts back on, then wiggle the ball joint's stud around till it matches the bore at the top of the knuckle and slide it down in it all the way (a crow bar helps for that somewhat, but may not be neaded) and then put the new cross bolt through the knuckle. put the new nut on the rear of that bolt, tighten everything up, put your wheel back on, drop her down, and head out for alignment.

Notice during that process you never mess with the torsion bar, heck you leave it alone even if doing the lower ball joint too - that's the beauty of torsion bar suspension, it not only rarely gets in your way, but sometimes even helps you.
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Old 10-23-2011, 01:03 PM
fenway1702 fenway1702 is offline
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Thanks, LCAM. This is great. I have a feeling I'm spending today trying to get those bolts off.
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Old 10-23-2011, 06:12 PM
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I am doing full rebuild on mine right now. What I found is that the ***** are not replaceable on the upper control arms. You have to replace the whole arm. There are listings for just the ball joint, but those are for aftermarket (moog I think) control arms and wont fit the factory control arms. As I was told, there is one version of the drivers side control arm and 2 versions of the passenger side.

On the pass side it will look like this:

Click the image to open in full size.

Or this:

Click the image to open in full size.



Those are from rock auto. I have never ordered from them before but after this will definitely do it again in the future. Parts were about 60% of the cost from autozone level type stores. Order arrived in 3 days to my door. Not bad.
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99 3.0 auto ext cab stepside 4x4
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Old 10-23-2011, 09:06 PM
LCAM-01XA LCAM-01XA is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfp4073 View Post
On the pass side it will look like this:

Click the image to open in full size.
This is exactly what we replaced - however this is not the complete upper control arm, rather it is just the outer half of the assembly, and since it contains the ball joint it is what gets replaced - the inner half remains attached to the frame during this process, and unless its bushings are bad (ours weren't) there's entirely no need to mess with it.
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Old 10-24-2011, 09:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LCAM-01XA View Post
This is exactly what we replaced - however this is not the complete upper control arm, rather it is just the outer half of the assembly, and since it contains the ball joint it is what gets replaced - the inner half remains attached to the frame during this process, and unless its bushings are bad (ours weren't) there's entirely no need to mess with it.
Not sure, but in your previous post it sounded like you were saying you had these one both sides? Or did you just replace the pass side?
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99 3.0 auto ext cab stepside 4x4
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Old 10-25-2011, 05:45 AM
LCAM-01XA LCAM-01XA is offline
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Just the passenger side got replaced - driver-side is indeed a one-piece control arm, I know better than to mess with that unless it's absolutely 110% needed.
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Old 10-25-2011, 07:46 AM
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I will be referring to this thread when I do mine in a couple of weeks... Thanks for the write up!
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Old 10-25-2011, 05:47 PM
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Drivers side is not a big deal. The only dumb part that I can see is the attachment bolts that go through the pivots are put in from the inside out. Meaning they push out toward the center of the arm.....the problem here is there is a bunch of other stuff in the way so getting wrenches/ratchets on it is a bit of work. I got my lower control arms in today and am going to finish up on my next day off....probably thurs.

If you can do the pass side, then you can do the drivers side.
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99 3.0 auto ext cab stepside 4x4
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Old 10-25-2011, 05:48 PM
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mfp4073 mfp4073 is offline
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Drivers side is not a big deal. The only dumb part that I can see is the attachment bolts that go through the pivots are put in from the inside out. Meaning they push out toward the center of the arm.....the problem here is there is a bunch of other stuff in the way so getting wrenches/ratchets on it is a bit of work. I got my lower control arms in today and am going to finish up on my next day off....probably thurs.

If you can do the pass side, then you can do the drivers side.
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Old 10-25-2011, 05:48 PM
 
 
 
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