Question about 2003 Ford Explorer Sport Trac

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My 2003 Sport trac needs lower ball joints but I cannot get the lower ball joint bolt to break free what do I do?

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Use heat, go get a torch and heat around the bolt (not the actual bolt) to expand the threads and break any rust. then when the metal that the bolt is stuck in is glowing a very dull red (dont melt your truck by turning the metal orange and white), turn the stuck bolt slowly, if it makes an obnoxious squeaking noise thats a good sign, just dont force it if it still doesnt want to turn, the bolt will be a little weaker than normal from the heat.

(make sure the area your heating is clear of flex hoses, plastic sensors, rubber CV boots, anything that can be damaged or blown up. keep a fire extinguisher near you, and a water bottle too (dont quench the glowing red metal with water, only use the water on things that can be damaged by the fire))

(one last thing, the grease inside the ball joint could heat up and expand, blowing the rubber off and spewing hot grease everywhere, so have some sort of a gaurd (plexiglass works best, but use cardboard as a minimum) and wear a welding mask (the flame can damage your eyes) and gloves)

Hope this helps and be safe!
                       Joe.

Posted on Feb 09, 2010

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2001 sport trac doeslower control arm have to be replaced due to balljoint or just balljoint replaced.


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some lower control arms have the ball joints pressed in so it is necessary to press out the old ball joint then press in the new unit

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Lower Control Arm Ball Joint Replacement Removal Procedure Tools Required J 43828 Ball Joint Separator
  1. Raise and suitably support the vehicle. Refer to Lifting and Jacking the Vehicle in General Information.
  2. Remove the tire and wheel assemblies. Refer to Tire and Wheel Removal and Installation in Tires and Wheels.
  3. Remove the stabilizer shaft link. Refer to Stabilizer Shaft Link Replacement .
  4. Remove the wiring harness from the lower control arm.

  5. 165249.gif
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  6. Remove the cotter pin (1) from the ball joint (3).
  7. Remove the nut (4) from the ball joint (3).

  8. 490085.gif
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    Notice: Use only the recommended tools for separating the ball joint from the knuckle. Failure to use the recommended tools may cause damage to the ball joint and seal.
  9. Remove the ball joint from the steering knuckle using the J 43828 .

  10. 491742.gif
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  11. Remove the lower control arm front (1) and rear (4) mounting bolts.
  12. Remove the lower control arm (1) from the vehicle and place in a vice.
  13. Drill out the 3 rivets (3) retaining the ball joint to the lower control arm (2).
  14. Use a 3 mm (1/8 in) drill bit in order to make a pilot hole through the rivets.
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  15. Remove the ball joint (4) from the control arm (2).
Installation Procedure

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  1. Install the ball joint (4) into the control arm (2).
  2. Install the 3 ball joint bolts (3) and the nuts (1). Follow the instructions in the ball joint kit. Tighten the ball joint bolts (3) according to the specifications in the instructions.

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  4. Install the lower control arm (2) to the front suspension support (1)
  5. Notice: Refer to Fastener Notice in the Preface section.
  6. Install the lower control arm front (5) and rear (4) mounting bolts.
  7. Tighten • Tighten the front bolt to 107 N·m (79 lb ft). • Tighten the rear bolt to 110 N·m (81 lb ft).
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  8. Install the lower ball joint stud (3) to the steering knuckle (2).
  9. Install the ball joint stud (3) through the steering knuckle (2).
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