Submitted by Name: Ryan From: Mesa, AZ E-mail: Contact
Comments: Best writeup ever! I always refer back to it. TY so much!
Admin reply: Thanks for your comments. I am glad you find it useful.
Added: May 8, 2009
Submitted by Name: russell From: wisconsin E-mail: Contact
Comments: thanks for the info helps a lot.ford dealership wanted $1200 for this job.other places i hear are half that much. i may just pay. lots of rust and no time to spare
Added: May 6, 2009
Submitted by Name: russell From: wisconsin
Comments: cool write up I was going to atttempt myself on '04 f350 but was told you need a alignment job when finished.I have the same setup as the pics. what parts would the use for alignment with the leaf spring setup.thanks
Admin reply: You don't have to do an alignment unless you have a specific reason to do so, or if you moved the camber-adjusting sleeve. The camber-adjusting sleeve is used for alignment.
Added: May 6, 2009
Submitted by Name: Paul Whitford From: Edmonton, Canada E-mail: Contact
Comments: Thank you, great help with all the pic's, I replaced the right side ball joints. big job took me 8 hours, lots of rust. but with the new tools I still saved $ 800.00 . I took the easy way out by having the ball joints pressed out and the new ones pressed back in at the local repair shop it cost me $140.00 and I helped, looks like I wont go back there. yes I will do this again
Admin reply: Glad the pics were a help Paul.
My first side took me 8 hours too, and I didn't even have rust to contend with. The next side is a breeze though.
Thanks for taking the time to sign my guest book. It is much appreciated.
Added: April 8, 2009
Submitted by Name: Eric Pero From: Bethany, Connecticut E-mail: Contact
Comments: Excellent write up on the ball joints replacement. I am tackling this task for the first time and needed more info than I could find to do the job the right way! I have one question:
Are there recommended sites that you can post where to get these parts rather than going to a "brick and mortar"? I would like to try to acquire everything I need online.
Admin reply: Thanks Eric. I replied about an online vendor via email. Good luck with your project.
Added: April 8, 2009
Submitted by Name: Bill Endres From: Delphos , Ohio E-mail: Contact
Comments: Nice write up on the ball joint replacement. Copied and pasted it on the TDS forum twice tonite. The pic's sure help the novice. Gonna do mine soon. Glad I came back to sign the guest book, 1st one didn't show the number to enter. Thanks a bunch.
Admin reply: Thanks Bill. I am glad you found it useful. Thanks for posting.
Added: March 29, 2009
Submitted by Name: Andy Schuh From: Brillion, Wisconsin E-mail: Contact
Comments: The website was very help the pics are great you did an exclent job. I am going to the hardware stop now to get the pipe tool. I am one that likes to have every thing there before I start. Again thanks Andy 2000 F-250 4x4 with 7.3
Added: March 8, 2009
Submitted by Name: Dave From: Fort Wayne, IN E-mail: Contact
Comments: I think the intentions are good but this job can be a real nasty one. 2003 Ford Excursion with 162K miles on it. Live in Northern Indiana where there is not much salt. Still the parts on the left side were virtually welded together with rust. I have a lot of tools, Oxy Acetylene setup etc. Hydraulic press. Impacts etc. I ordered most of the parts from Rock Auto - trying to figure out what I needed took quite a while. The yellow rings only Ford had - $13.00 for two O-rings. Now I know why they don't need a bailout. The parts from Rock Auto were about $300.00 using the best Dana joints that they had. The left side just didn't want to come apart. I ended up heating up just about everything to get things loose. The bearing housing was was stuck hard in the knuckle. I used a puller on the hub to pull on bearing which drives the axle into the axle tube and pushed the big vacuum seal out the backside. The bearing still would not come out with several tons of force on it. It started to move and then stopped. Get out the torch and I heated up the sides of the knuckle where the bearing housing enters the knuckle and it started to pop. A lot of pulling and tapping and heating and finally it came out. Then what to do about the axle with the seal stuck behind the knuckle. After thinking about it for quite a while I fired up the torch and cut the ball joints off. The wheel U joints where shot on the left side and welded into the sockets. Fire up torch and cut out U joint cross, then knock out U joint cups. Clean it all up and put it back together. Total time for left side with U joint - about 12 hours. No joke.
The right side literally fell apart compared to the left side - I have no idea as to why. The coolest trick I read really worked well on the right side. Back the knuckle nuts off all but 3 or 4 threads. And use a impact driver - aka air chisel,muffler cutter etc with a straight driver in it. It drove the bearing right out. But for some reason the corrosion on the right side was much less than the left? Someone napping at the spray gun at Dana that day??? I dunno. Still the wheel U joint was corroded (welded) together rust so out came the torch and I cut out the cross in that one also. Autozone had the wheel U joints for $30 each. Right side total hours 7 1/2.
Besides using my 1/2" and my 3/4" impact wrench I made good use of my hydraulic press. I have a ball joint tool and it wouldn't budge the big ball joints - those things are huge. Also used the impact driver. Had a hard time finding a snap ring plier that didn't bend with that large axle snap ring. Also the Oxy-Acetylene torch set was necessary on this truck. Without it I'm not sure how I would have gotten the left side apart.
I've done a fair amount of heavy mechanical work and on a zero to ten scale I'd rate this as a 8 as far as difficulty. It was much worse than I expected. I could have pulled the engine and trans in the time it took me to rework this front axle.
Cost wise: $300 for seals and U joints from Rock Auto $12 for Yellow rings from Ford $60 for wheel U joints from Autozone $50 misc tools - two sets of snap ring pliers until I got one that worked
Probably 4 hours driving around finding the wheel U joints and Yellow rings. Napa did not have the wheel U joints in stock and if I ordered them from Napa they were $69 each!!!
Would I do it again - yes but only if I had a cutting torch setup on hand with a number 2 or 3 tip. If you don't know how to handle one don't attempt this job on anything but a one year old truck or unless you live in the southwest where things just don't rust. I was thinking that after I had the left side torn down that if I didn't have the torch to cutoff the ball joints I would not be able to even reassemble the truck so it could be towed to a shop. I would have been totally screwed.
I can see why Ford would charge $1500 or more for a ball joint job. It's simply a tough job. Add in the wheel joints and that is probably another couple hundred - probably approaching $2000.
But the truck drives great now - no problems. Why some idiot at Ford didn't think that a superduty truck needs $1.00 worth of grease fittings I have no idea. The wheel U joint crosses I cut out where hollow. All they needed was a grease fitting to lube them.
Admin reply: Too bad you had so much trouble.
I will say that I do not think your experience was the norm.
Glad to hear you are happy with the result.
Added: March 1, 2009
Submitted by Name: OLMEC From: Texas
Comments: I have thoroughly enjoyed the site and the wealth of information provided. DONATION on the way!
Added: February 15, 2009
Submitted by Name: Eric From: Georgia E-mail: Contact
Comments: Thank God I found your article. I just left my garage where my 99 super duty on stands torn apart and me scratching my head wonder how all this c*** goes back on. THe repair manual leaves a lot to be desired. Your instructions were great and your pictures were excellent. Thanks a bunch
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