The lower ball joint in a Ford Ranger 4X4 contain a cup and a ball. The joint allows the suspension to move and flex without falling apart. If you hear a rattling or if your steering becomes stiff, this is a clear indication that your joints are worn or failing. You can also visually inspect the joints for wear or deterioration of the joints' boots. Once the ball joints fail, you have to replace them to avoid damaging the rest of your suspension.
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Things you need
- Tire wrench
- Air compressor
- Impact wrench
- Replacement ball joint
- Ball joint separator tool
- Ball joint press tool
- Rubber mallet
- Socket wrench
- Socket set
- Floor jack
- 2 jack stands
- Torque wrench
Break the front wheel lug nuts loose by turning them 45 degrees counterclockwise with a tire wrench.
Put the jack under the front jack point and lift the 4X4 up.
Finish unbolting the lug nuts and pull the wheels off the hub assembly.
Pull the cottar pin out of the centre of the axle nut with a pair of pliers.
Unbolt the axle nut using an impact wrench.
Push the axle in towards the tie rod end by hitting the end of it with a rubber mallet. The axle should slide in enough for you to slide the hub assembly forward.
Remove the upper and lower mounting bolts on the caliper and pull the caliper off the brake rotor. Secure the caliper assembly to the coil springs above the brake assembly with zip-ties.
Slide the rotor off the hub.
Remove the cottar pin and mounting nut from the lower ball joint.
Wedge the teeth of the ball joint removal tool-called a pickle fork-between the ball joint and the steering knuckle. Hit the end of the ball joint tool (on the end of the handle) with a hammer to separate the joint from the steering knuckle. You must hit the tool extremely hard or the joint will not separate.
Push the axle into the hub to back it out and pull the hub away from the axle. In the process, the knuckle will come apart as well.
Remove the snap ring on the lower joint by pushing the clip apart and pulling up on the clip with a pair of pliers.
Press the old joint out with a ball joint press tool. Place the head of the ball joint press tool over the top of the ball joint. Turn the handle on the tool to tighten the clamp until the ball joint is pressed out of the control arm.
Install the new ball joint. Installation is the reverse of removal.
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