2000 Ford Ranger upper and lower ball joint replacement

 Instructions on replacing the upper and lower ball joints on a 2000 Ford Ranger 2WD with coil
spring suspension. 

The Ford factory service manual does not have a procedure for replacing the upper ball joint.  The
factory indicates that  the whole upper control arm is changed as an assembly with the ball joint included.  For this particular model, the ball joint can be pressed out with a lot of force.   I do not know if this is the case with other models.  I also do not know if a regular ball joint press would have had enough force to press the ball joint out. 

  • Procedure:
I'll try to list the tools necessary for doing this job.  I know I won't catch it all and  I'll assume you have things like jack, jack stands, lug wrench, etc. 
  • 13 mm socket and wrenches
  • 15 mm socket and wrenches
  • 15/16" socket and breaker bar (wrench, etc)
  • Small standard screwdriver
  • Pliers (I use wire cutter for this part) to remove cotter pin.
  • Snap ring pliers (pliers and/or screwdriver works as well)
  • 21 mm socket and wrenches
  • Ball joint separator
  • Ball joint press
  • Large hammer
  • Various other large sockets (sorry, I don't know exact sizes here)
  • Large hydraulic press
    • If you don't have one of these, the job can be dificult.
    • However,  you can always take the part to someone (a shop etc) and have them press out the BJ and press the new one in.
  • Ball joints:
  • Small wrench to install grease fittings into ball joints (3/8" for lower, I can't remember what the upper one needed).
  • Grease gun.
  • How to:
  • Raise the truck, support the truck using jack stands.  If you have a lift (like I did), then you're in better shape.  However, you don't  need it as I've done these jobs with jack stands and a floor jack.
  • Remove wheels. 
  • Using 13 mm socket, remove brake caliper bolts (2 of them).

Use ratchet, loosen the caliper bolts

Removing brake caliper bolts
(2 of them)

.....and remove caliper (lift up) and pads.
Set pads aside

Tie the brake caliper off to side
with some wire.

  • Support the lower control arm..  I used one of these screw type supports, you can use the floor jack.  Just lift up enough to support  the spring pressure.
  • Remove cotter pin.
  • Use a 15/16" socket and remove nut.  Turn nut upside down and lightly screw nut on to the ball joint. 

Lift up on lower control arm
to support spring pressure.

Remove cotter pin.
I use cutters.  Hold pin to get a good grip
and then tap the plier with a hammer.
Comes out easier using this method (for me).

  • Using the ball joint separator, separate the lower control arm from the spindle assembly. 
  • Leave the lower nut (holding the lower ball joint in place) for now. 

  • Now using the 15 mm socket and wrench, remove the pinch bolt holding the upper ball joint to the spindle assembly

Upper ball joint pinch bolt

  • Lift the upper control arm out of the spindle assembly. 
  • Remove the nut holding the lower ball joint in place.
    • Lower the spindle assembly out of the ball joint.
    • Tie it out of the way. 
  • After the spindle assembly is removed, lower the lower control arm to relieve the spring tension. 

Spindle assembly removed from upper and lower control arms.
Outer tie rod (steering) is still connected (not in picture)

OK, now that we have the spindle separated from the upper and lower control arms, it is "just" a matter of getting the ball joints out.

Lower Ball joint removal:
  • Remove snap ring (screw driver works best).
  • And then using a hammer, pound the ball joint out.

Remove snap ring holding lower ball joint in place.

Using hammer,
Pound lower ball joint out.

Lower ball joint installation:
  • Using a large socket, I was able to just hammer the ball joint in.
    • If you have the press, it'll press in without any problems. This one is easy. 
    • When I was installing the lower ball joint, I noticed it went in almost all the way very easily.  The last 1/8" or so was a little tougher.  Be sure it's all the way in so you can install the retaining clip. 
  • Install the retaining clip.  The new ball joint comes with one. 


Pictures of lower ball joint installed. 
Left picture is from top
Right picture is below.

Upper Ball Joint:

I tried using the ball joint press.  It is EXTREMELY tight.  Therefore, I ended up removing the upper control arm and using a hydraulic press
  • Mark the position of the control arm cam bolts.
    • I used a Sharpie pen.  You want to mark the orientation of the bolt and the mounting tab. 

Rear upper control arm cam bolt.
Mark on cam and arm mount.

Front upper control arm cam bolt.
Mark on cam and arm mount.

  • Remove the upper control arm.
    • Using a 21 mm wrench (you might be able to get a socket and ratchet in there). remove the Nut.  You may need the ratchet/wrench to hold the bolt from turning.
    • Do Not Turn the Bolt - The bolt and cam are 1 piece and if you force the bolt, you will damage the bolt and/or frame or cam.

Detail of cam  bolt. 
Bolt Side.

Detail of cam bolt.
Head side.

  • Remove the upper control arm (continued). 

Wrench on nut to remove upper control arm.

Nut turned out.  Remove both the front and rear. 
Pull the cam bolts out.

And then remove the control arm from their mounts.

Extremely important!!!  Do not mix the rear and forward cam bolts up.

Removal of ball joint from upper control arm:
In my example, I used a hydraulic press with a piece of 3" galvanized pipe and a large socket.  Like I said above, you might want to just take it to some shop to have them press out the old ball joint and press in the new one.  I am not sure a regular ball joint press (C-clamp style) would work as I didn't attempt it.  I wish I had a better answer for you.


Pictures of large socket, 3" galvanized pipe
and upper control arm. 


Picture showing set up in hydraulic press. 

Press the ball joint out.  You might need to hammer
out the ball joint the last bit (1/8" or so).  That's OK,
Once you have it freed, it will come out easier.

Insertion of upper ball joint into control arm:  
Insertion of the ball joint into the upper control arm is essentially reverse of extraction.  The arrangement of the metal plates is a little different (on the hydraulic press) but the tools are basically the same.  Instead of the socket, I used a nice round, flat piece of brass to insure I was pressing straight down on to the ball joint into the control arm. 


Two pictures showing the set up I used to press the ball joints back into the control arm.
Notice I did use the socket but not against the ball joint. 

Reassembly of the suspension:
OK, almost done here.  The hard part is behind you now. 
  • Install the upper control arm into the truck.
    • Put the upper control arm in place.
    • Slide the cam bolts into place,  don't worry about aligning the marks yet.  Just be sure the bolts are in the slots they belong in.  If you look at the suspension mounts, you'll know what I mean. 
    • Snug the nuts (21 mm wrench) but don't tighten them yet.  This is because you'll need to have the upper control arm move freely while you're aligning the upper ball joint with the spindle mount later. 
  • Mount the spindle on the lower ball joint. 
    • Don't forget the boot!!
    • Cut the wire supporting the spindle in place.
    • Slide the spindle up on to the lower ball joint. 
    • Screw on the nut to hold the ball joint in place.
  • Jack up the lower control arm (compress the spring a bit). 
    • You won't be able to get  the spring up enough but it'll be OK.
    • You will probably lift the vehicle off the jack stands doing this.  When you get to that point, stop and leave it there.
  • Insert the upper ball joint into the spindle assembly. (Don't forget the boot)
    • Maneuver the spindle/pinch section into the upper ball joint. 
      • TIP: I used  a ratcheting tie down strap to pull the upper and lower control arms together. 
    • When the spindle is pulled up into the upper ball joint.
      • Insert pinch bolt and tighten nut using  15mm socket and wrench. 
  • Tighten the suspension pivots (upper control arm).
    • Use a  21 mm wrench to tighten the nut.
    • Turn the cam bolts so the marks line up.
  • Tighten the lower ball joint nut and insert the cotter pin.
  • Insert the grease fittings now before you forget. 
  • Clean the brake rotor because you've probably gotten greasy hands all  over them by now.
  • Install the brakes.
    • Insert the brake pads.
    • Install the brake caliper
    • Bolt the brake caliper down and tighten with 13 mm wrench (socket). 
OK, now you're pretty much done.................with one side.  Now go do the other side (don't have a beer yet). 
  • After you're done with both sides, check both sides again (make sure nothings going to fall off).
    • Ball joints snug (in all the way)?
    • Clips in?
    • Bolts tight?
    • Marks lined up?
  • Put the wheels on.
  • Lower the vehicle off the jack stands and get the weight on wheels.
  • Straighten the grease boots
  • Grease the ball joints with the grease gun.
  • Test drive the vehicle in a parking lot. 
  • Take it and get a front end alignment.
  • Now, go have a beer.
  • Total time for me with all the learning and "engineering" was about 6 hours for both sides. I did this whole job all by myself without  additional hands.  With some help I would guess it could go a bit faster.  Good luck.