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Installing Ball joints on a Ford 1999-2004 Superduty Pickup truck REV2 7-8-07 Pre-introduction ­ My name is Kenny Gallo, I am not a certified mechanic in any way shape or form. I work on my truck as a hobby. I wrote this install article as a guide to those who want to try to attack this job. I take NO responsibility for anything that goes wrong with your install. Its up to the person doing the job to make sure they are doing it right. This is how I did mine and I followed the ford tech book as close as I could. Introduction: Ford makes a workhorse of a pickup truck. They use solid axle setups in their super duty line and this is a very beefy setup. The only problem is that there ARE weak links, and the trick to making a truck last as long as possible is upgrading those weak links when necessary. What really wreaks havoc on these stock ball joints is snow / sand / salt, plowing, and larger tires. Do not fear however, the answer is near. Ball joints ­ Defined: A joint, as in a mechanical device, that permits rotary movement in all directions through the movement of a ball in a socket.

Figure 1 ­ Ball & socket joint Testing: So how do you know if you need a set of ball joints? I have 72000 miles on my truck, and I just did my ball joints. I've heard and read about people changing them with less then 60,000 miles on their trucks. A buddy of mine had 110,000 miles before he did his, and he plows ­ however his had a lot of play. The way to test the ball joint is to jack the front of the automobile off the ground. Use all safety measures you would normally use, PARK, lock the rear wheels, use proper safety equipment and jack stands. After the vehicle is jacked up off the ground in the front only, and on jack stands, grab a front tire and see if it has play by grabbing it at 12:00 and 6:00 and push on the top and pull on the bottom, then switch to pushing on the bottom and pulling on the top. If

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there is any play there at all, new ball joints should be installed. Note: There is a possibility that a bad wheel bearing can show the same symptom ­ to check that aspect, o the same test except at 3:00 and 9:00.

Figure 2: Testing for ball joints, follow arrows at 12:00 / 6:00

Replacement options: So it looks like you needed ball joints. There are a few choices out there so lets take a look at the options: 1. OEM replacement ­ bad idea ­ the OEM replacement from Ford is likely expensive and does NOT come with grease fittings. This means the joints are not at all grease able. Stick with this option if you are selling the truck and all it needed was ball joints ­ or if you are just trying to keep it for a little while longer. 2. Level 1 at auto parts store: These are grease able, you may end up with some non popular name brand, this will do the job but if you want the best for your truck, see item 3. 3. Popular aftermarket ball joints / tie rod end company ­ MOOG. These guys are supposedly the best in replacement parts of this nature. I bought the Moog, they are a little bit more then the first level of ball joint available at the auto parts store, but I hear they are worth it. Be prepared to spend about $230 - $260 on Moog ball joints at a local parts store. Online may be cheaper.

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When you buy your ball joints, ask the guy behind the counter if they have the ball joint tool that you can borrow. It looks a lot like this:

Figure 3 ­ Ball joint tool If you don't shop at a place that has a shop, then they may not have the tool, and this is ok too cause you can find them relatively cheap OR you can get the ball joints pressed in for fairly cheap < $40 for both sides. Parts needed: 1. Upper and lower ball joints for each side (2 upper and 2 lower total) 2. 2 ­ yellow o-ring seals for sealed hub assy 3. Possibly ­ new dust seal on axle shaft (2 total) 4. Possibly ­ new main axle seal on short / stub shaft (2 total)

Install instructions: Installing ball joints is a fun experience; it is even more of a great old time with a buddy. Not only can you have the option to yell at somebody with a buddy but also they may be able to lend a hand and keep you safe. What I am saying is that it is totally doable alone, but a buddy will help the job go more smoothly. 1. Jack up entire front of truck, chalk the rear wheels (both), trans in park, e-brake on.

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2. Remove both front wheels (I only remove the wheels on both sides then concentrate on one side).

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3. Remove brake caliper, put on spring, so it does not hang by hose.

4. Remove rotor, if it does not want to come off, and you don't mind spending some money then a nice set of aftermarket rotors and pads may be worth it ­ I personally like www.appliedrotortechnology.com. For a stubborn rotor that needs to be reused ­ use a rubber mallet, or a mallet with a piece of wood to protect the rotor, and bang the rotor off. Once the caliper is off, the rotor should just "fall off" but in a lot of cases it will not and it is stuck to the "hub". The trick to getting it off is blunt force against the rotor without putting dings in it, that's what the wood is for.

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NOTE: If you want to try to remove the axle shaft AND the sealed assy all at the same time you can try, but the sealed assy is usually hard to get off. And if nothing more then to inspect the internals I think its worth taking everything apart, then you get to see how it all works, and in my opinion it makes it easier then such a cumbersome mass of parts, but if you want to try and remove the axle and sealed assy at once, feel free ­ skip to step #8. 5. Remove the lock out hub. Squeeze the spring clip, and remove, then remove hub by pulling while shifting the hub up and down.

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Note mine is manual warn premium so its "smaller" 6. Remove the C-CLIP on the axle short shaft

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Use a C-Clip tool and remove the following piece:

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7. Remove the two metal washers surrounding the plastic "nut" looking spacer, put this all aside with the locking hub.

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Here we have the two metal washers and the plastic spacer inbetween. 8. remove the 4 nuts on the back side of the wheel bearing assy, these are hard to get to and are easier if your buddy turns the wheel so you can get the left two then the right two. You may also want to spin the axle shaft so that you can sneak your 13/16" socket back there. These are torque to 133 ft lbs so a breaker bar may be necessary for some leverage.

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Popping out those 4 nuts behind the sealed assy. 9. Hopefully the sealed assy housing is not too rusted onto the knuckle, spray some penetrating lubricant on the sealed assy where it meets the dust shield and knuckle. 10. grab some of the lug bolts and shake the sealed assy until it comes off the knuckle. Watch out for the ABS sensor wire, I left this connected until my sealed assy was disconnected and loose, then I unplugged the wire and set the entire sealed assy aside w/dust shield.

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I have the sealed assy in my hands here, note the ABS sensor will need to be disconnected before you walk to far with the sealed assy! 11. Remove axle shaft ­ do this by wrapping the axle spline with a rag and pulling like crazy, there will be a pretty good seal where the axle shaft goes into the front differential, but its just a vacuum so just keep yanking and eventually it will go. I used a crow bar and pry against the U-Joint to make mine pop out. The book says to use a drift and pop the seal off from the back, that's fine, if you are going to replace the main seal ­ I replaced my main axle seals once and I never will again unless they are toasted.

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Picture of axle shaft stub, grab that with a rag and PULL ­ it helps if the wheel is straight.

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Removing pass side axle shaft 12. Inspect the dust rubber and axle seal ­ if a new axle seal is needed, it is a pain to press on, you can use 3 c-clamps but the right way to do it is to get the tool from ford ­ or have them do it.

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Take a look at the main seal and the rubber dust boot. I still have never replaced my dust boot, youll notice the axle tube gets NASTY inside but honestly I don't think that the rubber dust boot is going to help prevent that. The main seal on the other side will stop elements from getting to the needle bearing on the sealed assy, also it will seal the assy so the automatic hubs can work. 13. Remove top ball joint nut, remove lower ball joint nut.

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Removing cotter pin on upper ball joint nut.

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Using an impact gun to get that upper ball joint nut off. 14. Remove tie rod end caliper pin (save this or use new ­ I say use new) also remove tie rod end nut. Using a pickle fork remove the tie rod end ­ NOTE after doing this on mine, I suggest using a tie rod end puller ­ the reason is the pickle fork will damage the grease boot on the tie rod end.

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Using a pickle fork to remove a tie rod end ­ bad idea, use a puller, this will protect the grease boot, I put a hole in mine with the pickle fork (live and learn)

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Remove the tie rod end from the steering knuckle, helps if one person pushes up on the tie rod while the other spins the knuckle out of the way, this is easier if any steering stabs are removed prior to this job. 15. Bang the top ball joint down, bang the lower ball joint down, use some more penetrating lubricant, this will get the knuckle off the truck. Watch out when banging the ball joints that the knuckle does not fall on your feet, some people leave the top ball joint nut on a few threads so it don't drop. I found that by doing that the threads of the upper ball joint got damaged; this is not a problem if you have a saw-zall.

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Bang the bottom and top ball joint bolts, bang bang bang, keep banging, spray some penetrating lubricant, then bang some more. I had the nut on the upper ball joint to prevent the knuckle from falling, by hitting it so hard I ruined the threads ­ this is ok cause they are being replaced, but I needed to cut the ball joint with a sawzall.

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Cutting off the nut on the upper ball joint, NOTE: Knock the cam down or else you will cut into the cam a little with the sawzall. Oops. See next picture.

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Cam is a little bit hacked into, oops, im not worried though its just a surface wound. So when you cut the ball joint, if you have to, just make sure the cam is down all the way and cut above it. 16. Now the knuckle is off the truck, bring the knuckle, C-clip snap ring tool, Ball joint tool, and impact gun and penetrating lubricant to the work bench. 17. Remove the lower ball joint first ­ remove the C clip and push the ball joint AWAY from where the C-clip was. Use the ball joint tool to at least get the ball joint started, I then took a standard hammer and gave it a whack and the ball joint flew right out.

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Removing C-clip on lower ball joint, note the new ball joints should come with new clips

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Removing lower ball joint, make sure the c-clip is removed first and if you borrowed this tool make sure you have a good socket that will fit the end well without damaging it!

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A lot of the ball joint tools are one ­ fits all ­ so on my ball joint lower ­ it didn't quite get it out all the way ­ no problem, grab a hammer and give her a good whack or two. 18. With the lower ball joint out of the way you can use the hole in the knuckle to remove the upper ball joint.

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Lower ball joint removed, lets remove the upper next.

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Use the hole made from the lower ball joint to put the air gun, then remove the upper ball joint just like the lower. 19. Install the upper ball joint first, keep tightening the tool until the ball joint seats all the way down in there, it's a tapered fit, and you want it to fit well.

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Seat the ball joint first, and make sure it is sitting straight and will go in evenly 20. Install lower ball joint, don't forget the C-Clip. 21. Install the supplied rubber over each of the ball joints and then install the grease fittings, use the right angle one on top and grease the ball joint until grease fills the rubber. Replace the upper ball joint grease fitting with the plug (the axle Ujoint will rip the grease fitting right off, if you don't install the plug). Now to grease it again, you need to remove the plug and install the right angle grease fitting. The bottom you can leave the grease fitting right on, not a problem.

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These rubber things are a pain to install, but keep at it you will get them on, as a little help I applied some grease and used the ball joint tool by hand to push them on all the way 22. ball joints are in the knuckle, youre ¾ of the way home now. 23. Install the knuckle on the truck, just catch the nuts for the ball joints for now, reinstall the tie rod end to the knuckle. Torque the tie rod end to : 52 Ft/lbs ­ install cotter pin (new one preferred)

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Tie rod end installed, while you are here, grease any fittings that you see 24. Torque lower ball joint nut to 35 ft/lbs as a pre-tighten. 25. Torque the upper ball joint to 69 ft/lbs and install new cotter pin 26. Torque lower ball joint nut to 150 Ft/lbs then install the cotter pin. Note: To assist in tightening the lower ball joint, use a jack and lift up on the ball joint with the jack just enough to keep it from spinning. 27. Reinstall axle shaft ­ just slide it in, I spin it to make sure it has seated in the splines, if you spin the one side the u-joint on the other side should spin

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Axle installed, thrust washer installed with dimples towards diff 28. Install the "thrust washer" I install mine with the grooves towards the differential ­ I don't really know which way it goes. 29. Before installing the wheel hub assy, check the needle bearing on the back side of the assy, if it does not spin free with a finger nail, replace it. It is a Torrington B2110 needle bearing inside a race. Put some grease inside the needle bearing and inside the wheel bearing (even though it is sealed) and also install a new yellow O-Ring (this will seal the vacuum for auto locking hubs. The O-ring is available from ford.

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Notice the needle bearing inside (that can easily be removed. Also the yellow o-ring. The 4 bolts on the sealed assy should spin freely in relation to the 8 lug bolts on the hub, if it does not, look into getting a new sealed assy, or a dynatrac free spin kit ­ if you do the free spin kit, check and see what comes with it, you may not need to do ball joints at all. 30. Tighten the 4 nuts behind the sealed assy to 133 Ft/lbs 31. Install the metal washer then the plastic (nut looking spacer) then the other metal washer then the C-Clip onto the axle shaft. 32. Install the Locking hub. I like to apply a small amount of grease in side the splines for the locking hub. If you have a manual hub or have converted to a manual hub then apply a little bit more grease. 33. Check rotor ­ look for pad imprinting, if there is any use GARNET paper ­ NOT SANDPAPER to clean the rotor and pads. Sand paper has silocone in the glues to hold it to the paper ­ silicone wreaks havoc on brake systems. 34. While the calipers are off, check the slide pins, one of mine was stuck ­ chances are one will be stuck or sticky for you too. 35. You can buy replacement slide pins, or clean yours up really well. Use some wheel bearing grease and grease the slide pins and make sure they slide nicely. 36. Install rotor 37. Install pad housing to caliper (42 ft lbs (slide pins) 38. Install caliper to truck, torque caliper main bolts to 166 Ft lbs. 39. install wheel, torque lugs in a cross pattern to at least 140Ft-lbs, refer to your manual for the correct lug nut torque.

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40. Recheck lug nuts after 200 miles and again at 500 miles.

Conclusion: Learning by doing is the best kind of learning out there. With this truck (my first new automobile) I have learned more by doing then I could have possibly learned in a book. Somebody once told me that a minute not learning is a minute wasted. Best of luck and if there are specific questions, look me up, shoot me an email. Mercury (Kenny)

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