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Explorer, Sport Trac, Mountaineer & Aviator 1991-1994, 1995-2001, 2002-2005, 2006-2010 Ford Explorer

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  #1  
Old 03-11-2010, 08:45 AM
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07250psd 07250psd is offline
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Wink The truth about 02 explorer Upper Ball Joints

Guys and gals, after reading multiple posts and searching for parts I am offically confused.

My question.......can you replace the upper ball joints without replacing the entire upper control arm?

I can buy what is supposed to be (oe replacement) ball joints, and can buy the entire control arm. Some posts here say they can be replaced with a ball joint press and others say no...must replace the arm.

So, what is the truth from someone who actually has done it?

Vehicle is a 2002 Explorer 4WD


Anyone help please ????
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  #2  
Old 03-11-2010, 02:31 PM
97powerstroke 97powerstroke is offline
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New one to me, never heard of having to replace the entire control arm. Is the 02 still the twin traction or is it wishbone type? Havn't had one that new so forgive me if that sounds like a dumb question. Ive had nothing but the twin traction and allways just changed the ball joints. Can't say on the wishbone style though if thats what it is.
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  #3  
Old 03-11-2010, 08:24 PM
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1996 and newer is upper and lower control arm style. I see no reason the joint by itself could not be replaced but it would certainly be more convenient to replace the entire arm, especially if you plan to have an alignment performed.

-Rod
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  #4  
Old 03-11-2010, 09:06 PM
bronco-man bronco-man is offline
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ball joints

i just changed the upper ball joints on both front sides , i have a 2005 ford explorer 4wd , i only bought both ball joints, see if you can buy ball joints with (nipple where you can add grease later with grease gun) i had to buy mine without the nipple cause they only had those in stock. you will definately need a ball joint separator/installer cause the ball joint is pressed to the upper control arm.
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bronco-man View Post
i just changed the upper ball joints on both front sides , i have a 2005 ford explorer 4wd , i only bought both ball joints, see if you can buy ball joints with (nipple where you can add grease later with grease gun) i had to buy mine without the nipple cause they only had those in stock. you will definately need a ball joint separator/installer cause the ball joint is pressed to the upper control arm.
So your just pressed them out with a ball joint press??

Can you describe the process and help me out?

I still think you can change them without buying control arms, it just does not make sense.......but as noted it appears to still be confusing to many folks.

Thanks for the replies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 03-12-2010, 06:06 PM
bronco-man bronco-man is offline
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: loosen the wheel nuts . raise the front of vehicle and support it on jackstands, apply the parking brake. remove the wheel.
loosen the upper balljoint nut a few turns . using a balljoint removal /installation tool separate the ball joint from the upper control arm & steering knuckle. remove the nut and separate the upper control arm and balljoint from the steering knuckle.
separate the balljoint from the upper control arm with the ball joint removal/installation tool. you may need to turn the steering all the way to the left or right to give you more room to work with the ball joint removal/installer tool.
installation is the reverse of removal.
tighten upper arm ball joint to steering knuckle nut to 41 ft. lbs
youtube.com website has a lot of great -how to- videos on this subject.
good luck and god bless
jesse from nc
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  #7  
Old 03-14-2010, 12:43 PM
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by bronco-man View Post
: loosen the wheel nuts . raise the front of vehicle and support it on jackstands, apply the parking brake. remove the wheel.
loosen the upper balljoint nut a few turns . using a balljoint removal /installation tool separate the ball joint from the upper control arm & steering knuckle. remove the nut and separate the upper control arm and balljoint from the steering knuckle.
separate the balljoint from the upper control arm with the ball joint removal/installation tool. you may need to turn the steering all the way to the left or right to give you more room to work with the ball joint removal/installer tool.
installation is the reverse of removal.
tighten upper arm ball joint to steering knuckle nut to 41 ft. lbs
youtube.com website has a lot of great -how to- videos on this subject.
good luck and god bless
jesse from nc
Thank you for the info, very helpful. It would seem this should be marked or created as a special thread due to the number of people being told otherwise.

Thanks!
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  #8  
Old 03-17-2010, 08:17 PM
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drivembig drivembig is offline
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I work for a company that makes control arms. Most of the newer control arms you DO have to replace the whole control arm because the ball joint is made into the control arm. I have a 2002 explorer and on this particular model you CAN replace just the ball joint. The upper control arm is stamped steel and the ball joint can be removed as you would with any other ball joint and replaced. If you take a look at advanceautoparts.com you will find that the upper balljoint sells for around $23.99.

Suspension Ball Joint by OE Brand - Part S-104268 - Advance Auto Parts
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Old 03-17-2010, 08:51 PM
bronco-man bronco-man is offline
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balljoint

greetings :
thanks for the update drivembig . on them newer models they sure finding ways to make it more difficult to work on them and more expensive for the d.i.y. .. i see you are also from nc, im from oxford (just north of durham)
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  #10  
Old 09-11-2012, 08:40 PM
twaunsaint001 twaunsaint001 is offline
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Talking Experience with ford explorer upper ball joints..

well I just thought I'd add my experience with the upper ball joints on the 2001 ford explorer sport..
I recently replaced both driver & passenger sides upper ball joints for a customer.. at first look the control arm & ball joint looked separable; when calling in parts' the parts dealer told me that the A-Arm & upper ball joint is sold as one piece.. I told the parts dealer that i had already removed the ball joint from the A-Arm; and that it is in two pieces.. I ordered the replacement ball joints, and installing them on the A-Arm (control arm); the ball joints didn't fit..!! I did some research and found out that the OE Control arm/ Ball joint isn't supposed to be disassembled it is as one piece, it's recommended that you replace the whole control arm w/ ball joint.. the new control arms- other then the one that came on the vehicle; you'll be able to change "just the ball joints" once the OE control arm is replaced with a after market one..!!
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  #11  
Old 09-11-2012, 10:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twaunsaint001 View Post
well I just thought I'd add my experience with the upper ball joints on the 2001 ford explorer sport..
I recently replaced both driver & passenger sides upper ball joints for a customer.. at first look the control arm & ball joint looked separable; when calling in parts' the parts dealer told me that the A-Arm & upper ball joint is sold as one piece.. I told the parts dealer that i had already removed the ball joint from the A-Arm; and that it is in two pieces.. I ordered the replacement ball joints, and installing them on the A-Arm (control arm); the ball joints didn't fit..!! I did some research and found out that the OE Control arm/ Ball joint isn't supposed to be disassembled it is as one piece, it's recommended that you replace the whole control arm w/ ball joint.. the new control arms- other then the one that came on the vehicle; you'll be able to change "just the ball joints" once the OE control arm is replaced with a after market one..!!
I can confirm this info, investigate if you have the OEM no re/re, before ordering parts.... Philip
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  #12  
Old 09-13-2012, 01:53 PM
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Hey twaunsaint001 & aquanaut20, I have the same issue. How do I know if my current upper control arms are OEM or aftermarket??
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  #13  
Old 09-14-2012, 10:35 AM
twaunsaint001 twaunsaint001 is offline
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Most of the OEM control arms & individual ball-joints don't have the grease fitting on them.. most of the new ball-joints have a different color dust boot like orange or blue, but they still do come in black..!!
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Old 09-14-2012, 10:43 AM
twaunsaint001 twaunsaint001 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by secn View Post
Hey twaunsaint001 & aquanaut20, I have the same issue. How do I know if my current upper control arms are OEM or aftermarket??
Most of the OEM control arms & individual ball-joints don't have the grease fitting on them.. also some of the new control arms w/ ball-joints & individual ball-joints come with a different dust boot color like orange or blue, but they still do come in black..!!
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  #15  
Old 11-02-2012, 08:39 AM
Mikeymoe Mikeymoe is offline
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for what its worth

i recently replaced the upper control arm as an assenbly in my '04 explorer. inadvertantly i had stripped the stud that goes through the control arm.
i removed the ball joint from the replacement arm and installed a replacement ball joint. i also had to tighten the nuts on the ends of the shafts which had loosened up.
taking the car for a ride, the ball joing "popped"out of the control arm.
i re-installed the factory control arm with a new MOOG ball joint and all is well.

im my experience, the ball joint can be pressed out of both the factory and replacement arms. and can be replaced accordingly. Just be wary of a certain chain store`s ball joints.
the MOOG joint i uinstalled is just a hair oversized and is greaseable, so i forsee a long life.
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Old 11-02-2012, 08:39 AM
 
 
 
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