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Tools needed for Ball Joint Replacement ('98 4x4).


PMitchell08

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Hello to the helpful members of TRS,

I have a 1998 Ranger Extended Cab 4x4 3.0L 5-speed, torsion bar front end, 155K miles, and it is now way past due for lower balljoints, and upper control arms/balljoints.

I recently moved from Ohio to Texas, and having gone from a house to an apartment, I have lost the use of my garage and the many many tools I used to have available to me. I have relatively minimal mechanics essentials available to me at this point. I really don't want to spend $1k+ at a shop to have this job done on a truck that's only worth $3k, but having done the same job on a couple other trucks in the past, I have my concerns about what a nightmare it may become if I attempt to go it alone in my covered parking spot at my apartment complex. Most of my truck's miles are salty rust belt winter miles, so things tend to be more of a challenge than they should be. Also, automotive work in one's parking space is frowned upon by the apartment complex, though it shouldn't be a problem unless one of my relatively laid back neighbors uncharacteristically complains about it.

My question is, could anyone who has done this job on a rusted 98-2000 4x4 tell me what problems I can expect to run into, a list of the tools, both obvious and unexpected, that I may need to invest in to complete the job, along with an estimate of how long each side takes for an experienced amateur working in 97-100 degree sun.

Also, is it recommended to do tie-rod ends (or anything else) in conjunction with balljoints? The tie rod ends seem tight, but they also seem too cheap not to go ahead and replace while I've got it torn apart.

Should I adjust the torsion bars one way or the other before I get an alignment? The front end seems very loose to me. The shocks have less than 10k on them, I'm wondering if a little more tension on the torsion bars might stiffen the ride in a positive way, or if just the new balljoints will be enough to smooth things out. I also wouldn't mind a more leveled stance, the truck is pretty nose-down right now.

Thanks in advance for you advice, thoughts, and comments.
 


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adsm08

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Basically you need to remove the knuckle. After that it's just popping ball joints in and out. I would have sockets 8-19 and a 21, as well as a 21MM wrench, a BFH, RBF C-clamp, some axle nut sockets, a punch, dykes to remove any cotter pins you might have to deal with, a 3/32 punch to finish removing those cotter pins. Maybe a 1/8 flat blade screw driver to help undo plugs if you have ABS. A floor jack and a large pry bar would be good to have, but you can probably get by without them in a pinch.

1/2" electric impact gun would be nice, but a breaker bar or large ratchet will do as well.

I would budget at least a full day. If you can put it off until Labor day weekend that would be good.
 

1996xlt

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Rent a ball joint press from your local parts store (Advance, autozone, etc) should make the process go a little quicker. Also, the axle nut should be a 32mm (unless its different from 3.0 to 4.0) and make sure you hose down everything to be unbolted with WD-40 or PB Blaster a few times a day or two before, it should help breaking things loose.
 


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