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1998 & Later upper ball joints CAN BE REPLACED


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Sep 1, 2009
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Columbus, Oh
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:icon_cheers: Contrary to what most say, including Ford, Haynes Manual and members of this site, upper ball joints can be replaced without even removing the original factory upper control arms. My 99' Ranger 2WD coil spring truck now has 4 new ball joints (2 right side BJ's were done recently be former owner of truck, leaving me to do the two on the left side). Studying the job here is recommended, as I found a ton of useful information searching through 700+ posts in the archives. THANKS TO EVERONE ! A link provided by "grantos" is a pretty good one to look at. THE HAYNES MANUAL FOR THIS JOB IS MOSTLY WORTHLESS !!!!!

http://www.cfht.hawaii.edu/~grant/ranger/ball joint/install.html

I owe my success to having a helper, good luck and great C clamp style heavy duty mechanical press. The kit weighed probably about 60 lbs. Had to put a $170 deposit on the tool at Advance Auto Parts, that was fully refunded when I returned it. Press description following:
KIT #46, PN #648617
The greasable ball joints from Moog are PN K8738 (uppers, 74.99ea)& K8771T (lowers, 44.99) which can be found for much less at RockAuto.

I would really like to share a some pics I took, so if someone here could tell me the easiest way to post em', it would be appreciated. I'm much better at turning a wrench than using the computer.

Started by removing the caliper and pads and hung aside.
Removed the upper spindle pinch bolt, then the lower BJ nut.
Tapped on the upper spindle with a hammer with my helper ready to support the assembly. It popped loose with 4-6 wacks. Set the assembly aside on top of a couple stacked 6x6 wood posts. Note we did NOT remove the rotor or tie rod from the spindle. Knocked out the lower BJ with fewer than 10 hammer wacks.
Then we put the press into service to install the lower BJ, which went in pretty easily. Installed the snap ring and went onto the dreaded upper joint. I was fully prepared to go pick up a control arm if the BJ wouldn't come out.
Set up the press to push up on the upper BJ stud, which pushed out up through the top of the now broken joint assembly. Set up a cup from the set the same diameter as the joint and pressed up & out what was left of the junk joint, which didn't take much more effort than pressing in the lower.
The biggest pain in the ass of the whole job was pressing in the new upper joint.
The tool would have worked more effectively if the screw drive of the press could've fit on the top of the joint, but since there wasn't enough clearance between the top of the arm and the fender well, we had to put together a combination of cups from the kit to press it in the other way. The joint kept starting in uneven, which required us to do some creative shimming with some steel stock from the garage. Then it became necessary to put on heavy gloves and slide on a piece of 24" iron pipe over the 14" Craftsman breaker bar and push, grunt and curse while turning the press. Just over a full turn through and things went much more easily. The joint was now in with the snap ring installed.
Having a helper to push down on the upper arm with a pry bar and slide in the upper spindle pinch bolt while I pushed upward from underneath eliminated the need to use a jack under the lower arm to compress the coil spring. Tightened everything up, installed the grease fittings, greased the new joints, installed the brakes and wheels. Checked over everything with my helper and did notice a little slop in the Right tie rod end, so I'll be replacing those this afternoon with greasable Moog replacements and then sending the truck to the alignment shop for the icing on the cake.