How to Change Ford Explorer Ball Joints

by Daniel Valladares

The Ford Explorer contains ball joints connecting each of its four wheels to the steering linkage underneath the vehicle. These ball joints act in a similar way to your knee or elbow, allowing your Explorer to turn the wheels and steer the vehicle smoothly. If the ball joints break, you should replace them immediately as you will not be able to operate the Explorer without them. Replacing the ball joints is a time-consuming process and you should expect to spend close to two hours on the task.

Preparing the Explorer

Place a jack under the Explorer and raise it up.

Use a wheel-wrench to remove the nuts from the Explorer's wheel.

Remove the wheel from the Explorer.

Place a supporting device such as a floor jack underneath the control arm of the Explorer.

Accessing the Ball Joints

Remove the brake caliper's two mounting bolts with a socket wrench. Disconnect the brake caliper's electrical connector and remove it from the Explorer.

Remove the Explorer's brake disc by pulling it off.

Remove the brake disc splash cover by uninstalling its two securing bolts.

Use a slotted screwdriver to pry off the Explorer's tie-rods from the control arm.

Replacing the Lower Ball Joint

Remove the cotter pin and nut from the lower ball joint with a socket wrench.

Use a ball joint fork to pry out the lower ball joint.

Install the replacement lower ball joint and secure it by reinstalling the cotter pin and the nut.

Replacing the Upper Ball Joint

Drill out the four securing rivets from the upper ball joint with a drill.

Pull the upper ball joint off and install the replacement ball joint.

Secure the upper ball joint to the vehicle by installing the four bolt and nut assemblies that came with the replacement upper ball joint.


Reattach the tie-rods and the brake disc splash cover.

Reinstall the brake disc and reconnect the brake caliper's electrical connector. Mount the brake caliper back to the underside of the Explorer.

Reattach the wheel and its accompanying nuts.

Remove the floor jack from the lower control arm. Lower the Explorer to ground level.

Items you will need


About the Author

Daniel Valladares began his career as a medical writer in 2008. He has written patient education brochures for several pharmaceutical companies and has worked as an auto mechanic at Kim's Speedy Auto Service since 2007. Valladares holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Rice University and is currently studying to become a personal trainer.