The ball joints are important to keeping your car's suspension stable, and they need to be replaced if their movement is loose by even a fraction of an inch (3/64 of an inch up and down or 1/64 of an inch in and out). You can replace an individual lower ball joint on a Grand Marquis if it was made between 1997 and 2002. On any other models, you will need to replace the car's entire lower control arm.
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Things you need
- Floor jack
- Jack stands
- Tire iron
- Pry bar
- Cotter pin
Raise the car's front end with a floor jack and then support this end on jack stands. Remove the front wheel (using the car's tire iron) that corresponds with the ball joint that needs changing. Remove the mounting nuts for the shock absorber with a wrench.
Remove the mounting bolts for the brake caliper with a wrench and remove the caliper--hang it by a strong wire so it won't stretch its hose--and then slip the brake disc off. Remove the upper and lower stabiliser bar links by removing their nuts.
Remove the upper ball joint nut for the pinch bolt with your wrench and separate the control arm from the steering knuckle with a pry bar. Remove the shock absorber's lower bolt and remove the assembly from the car.
Remove the cottar pin from the ball joint stud and then loosen the stud's castle nut by one or two turns with a wrench. Tap the knuckle sharply with a hammer near the stud and loosen the stud within the knuckle.
Remove the ball joint stud nut with a wrench, followed by the lower control arm's mounting bolts and then remove the control arm.
Take the lower control arm to an automotive machine shop that can remove the ball joint from the control arm and install a new one.
Connect the lower control arm to the steering knuckle with its mounting bolts. Connect the bolts without tightening them for now.
Connect the ball joint to the steering knuckle using its stud and tighten the castle nut with the wrench, making sure the nut's slot is in line with the hole in the stud. Insert a new cottar pin in the hole and slot.
Reinstall the shock absorber assembly using its nuts and your wrench, followed by the stabiliser bar links, the brake disc and the brake caliper.
Reconnect the control arm to the steering knuckle using the pinch bolt and its upper ball joint nut.
Raise a floor jack underneath the lower control arm to lift the arm to the car's normal ride height, then tighten the control arm's pivot nut bolts.
Reconnect the wheel and lower the car off the jack stands.
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