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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I will be replacing my rt side upper ball joint this weekend and am looking for any time saving tips.It has 4 bolts which were already rust free and just to be sure I have sprayed them down with WD-40. Will I need a pickle fork or will a well placed blow to the spindle do it? Is it better to have the car jacked up with the tire off? I will also be replacing the left outer tie rod end and the idler arm bushing as well. Any tips or pitfalls to avoid will be appreciated.
 

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To safely replace any suspension ball joint, I think, you should first remove the front spring. I removed mine this morning; with an internal spring compressor (most chain auto stores "rent" them, with an initial fee of the tool purchase cost, in my case $56). It took about 3/4 hr for both sides. However, everything else was already out of the way: wheels, outer spring covers (the formed piece that bolts to the unibody with six 9/16" bolts, bracing the spring in its upper perch), shock absorbers. I'm in the process of stripping the car down for repaint, so the fenders were off too, aiding in accessibility.

Use a pickle fork to separate the upper ball joint to the spindle; you don't need to use a pickle fork on the tie rod; I use a long extension on the flat of the tie rod bolt and a BFH!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Is it REALLY neccessary to remove the coil spring? I have an old Motors manual for this car and all it says is remove the old bj and replace with the new, drilling the rivets if needed. Good directions, huh. I hope that I don't have to remove the spring.
 

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I've replaced several over the years and never considered removing the springs.

i can't imagine why this would aid in speed or safety.
 

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No need to R&R the spring. If the ball joint is riveted in, I'd suggest just replacing the whole arm. Drilling out the rivets is a ROYAL PIA. If they've aleady been replaced before and are bolted in, the just replace the ball joint.

Definately use the propper pickle forks on both the tie rod and the ball joint (they both use a different fork). I've done it with and without the forks ... with the forks will cut your time by 90% and your frustration level by 200%.

Edited:
If you need to drill out the ball joint, or replace the upper a-arm, the spring WILL need to come out, as it must come out to remove the arm. Also ... if you need them, Autozone will loan you all the tools (spring compressor if needed, and both pickle forks) for free. You just leave a deposit, and they give your deposit back when you bring back the tools in good shape.
 

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Ya, you definetely don't need to remove the springs, the shock absorber would hold it in place if it could get loose. Just like when you jack the car up and let the wheels hang, the spring won't usually pop out on you by itself.
 

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Don't use the shock absorber to hold the spring. With the car on the ground, stick a 2 x 4 between the frame rail and the bottom surface of the upper control arm. Then jack the car off the ground and allow the upper control arm to rest on the block of wood. The ford manual shows a special toool you can make for theis purpose but it's not needed.

You can change both ball joints using this technique.
 
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