Ford vehicles utilise ball joints to allow the front wheels to move up and down as well as left to right. These joints are considered wearable items on the front suspension and must be replaced from time to time. If your ball joints are worn, you might notice a loud grinding or scraping noise coming from the front suspension. If you believe the ball joints on your Ford vehicle are faulty or worn, you should service them immediately. A snapped ball joint can cause severe damage to your vehicle.
In order to gain access to the lower ball joint on a Ford vehicle, you must remove the front wheels and tires. Begin by blocking the rear wheels using wheel chocks or wood blocks. Locate the front jacking point on the vehicle. It will be listed in the owner's manual. Raise the vehicle using an automotive jack, and support with jack stands placed underneath the frame or front sub frame. Do not place the jack stands under the front axle or any part of the front suspension. You will need to remove some of these pieces. Unscrew the lug nuts from the front wheel and lift the wheel off the lug studs.
Removing the Spindle
For Ford trucks and vans, the lower ball joint is mounted to the spindle. Remove the brake caliper and secure it out of the way. Make sure the caliper does not hang from the rubber brake line. Remove the brake disc from the hub, then unscrew the retaining nut and pull the hub and bearings off the spindle. Separate the tie rod from the front of the spindle, by pulling the cottar pin out. Then unscrew the castle nut from the tie rod stud. Pull the tie rod from the spindle. Pull the cottar pins from the studs on the lower and upper ball joints, then remove the retaining nuts. Finally, strike the spindle with a hammer to release it from the axle.
Removing the Ball Joint from the Spindle
Remove the snap ring from the ball joint. You will need a special tool known as a C-frame assembly or T74P-4635-C to drive the ball joint from the spindle. Position the receiver cup on the bottom of the lower ball joint. Working from above, use the C-frame and threaded rod to drive the ball joint out through the bottom of the spindle.