What happened to ball joints?

Discussion in 'General Automotive Questions' started by Clark, Sep 12, 2019.

  1. Clark

    Clark In Maximum Overdrive

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    While upgrading the front brakes on my 2002 Ford Ranger to the larger 2004 versions which require changing out the steering knuckles I thought I might as well change out the ball joints while I was in there.

    The upper ball joints are integral to the upper control arms and no big deal to change.

    The lower ball joints, however, have a cylindrical body pressed into a matching hole in the lower control arms. These can be changed without removing the lower control arms but what a pain! This requires a big C-clamp affair. Planning ahead, I bought this cheap chinese ball joint press which simply would not cut it. Then I rented a ball joint press from the NAPA dealer which did work but, again, what a pain.

    So what happened here. I think all Ranchero ball joints were held in with two or three bolts. Nothing much to changing those out. Did Ford save 25 cents in bolts here?
     
  2. aquartlow

    aquartlow In Maximum Overdrive

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    My '79's lowers are pressed in, uppers are riveted from factory so the new replacements use 3 "expensive" bolts/nuts/washers. I have a BJ press from Harbor Freight, cheap but works great even when pressing out the BJ's on my F250 4x4 SD and my sons Dodge 3500.
     
  3. TestDummy

    TestDummy In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    They are harder to changed now, but last twice as long, in most cases.
     
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  4. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    Yeah, the press-fit on newer cars is a tighter swedging than on much earlier vehicles, because I did lower ball joints on Babe before I gave her to my friend Dale, and all I needed was a long-frame 1/2" ratchet, but when I did the ball joints on the Taurus for my niece Sarah, I had to smack the side of the hole that the body goes through with a big punch and hammer, in order to get it to come out...like smacking a Pitman arm.
     
  5. Clark

    Clark In Maximum Overdrive

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    Wow, '79 Ranchero had pressed in lower ball joints! Shows my age I guess or at least the age of my vehicles. This 2002, my "new" truck is the first I've seen made with pressed in ball joints.
     
  6. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    The big Three (and AMC, for good measure, all have pressed lower ball joints. I've done so many short-long arm balljoints, upper and lower, and the non-pressed joint is the exception, not the rule.
     
  7. Dan the ranchero man

    Dan the ranchero man MODERATOR Staff Member

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    74-79 are all pressed in type. The 72 is held in buy 3 bolts. I did my buddy Tony's 72 GTS and was pleasantly surprised by this since doing the 74 and 79 rancheros was a bit more work.
     

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