How to Remove the Ball Joint on a 1997 Ford F150by Cecil Fontaine
The ball joint is an essential component of the Ford F-150's steering mechanism. The ball joint provides a link between the control arm and the steering knuckle, allowing the wheels to respond to the motions of the steering wheel. Ball joints are designed to last beyond 80,000 miles; however, exposure to extreme weather can lead to premature deterioration. You can tell that it's time to replace a ball joint when you hear a clicking sound coming from the wheels when turning or going over rough terrain.
Raise your truck with a jack and then support it with a jack stand. Place the jack stand beneath the undercarriage and then remove the jack, making sure that the truck is securely supported. Use a lug nut wrench to remove the lug nut bolts and then pull the wheel off.
Use a socket wrench to remove the two caliper support bolts -- these bolts secure the caliper bracket to the steering knuckle. Once you've removed the bolts, pull off the caliper and tie it to the coil with a piece of wire so it doesn't hang in the air while you are working.
Use a drum brake tool to pry out the cotter pin. Remove the tie-rod end by hitting the side of the steering knuckle with a mallet until the tie-rod end pops out.
Use an impact wrench to remove the wheel hub nut and then locate the upper ball joint and remove the nut that holds it in place. Hit the side of the upper ball joint with a mallet to pop it out and then remove the snap ring with pliers.
Locate the lower ball joint and remove the nut that holds it in place. Hit the side of the lower ball joint with a mallet and it will pop out from the knuckle. Remove the snap ring as with the upper ball joint.
Use a press to completely remove both ball joints from their respective knuckles.
- "Haynes Repair Manuals: Ford Pick-ups & Expedition 1997-1999"; John H. Haynes; 1999
Things You'll Need
- Jack stand
- Lug nut wrench
- Impact wrench
- Socket wrench
- Drum brake tool
Based in Colorado, Cecil Fontaine has been writing and editing since 2009, specializing in Brazilian travel guides. He received his Bachelor of Arts in political economy from the University of California, Berkeley in 2008.