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Old 03-05-2013, 09:39 PM   #1
punmaster7
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2000 Taurus Ball Joint Reinstallation

Hi all!

It's hard to believe that it's been a year since I did this very same operation, but here I go again! So why do I ask? Please help!

I needed to replace my right side tie rod ends (yes, both of them). After doing so, there was still a wiggle in the wheel. Short story, the lower ball joint was bad and for good measure, a lower control arm as well for the front bushing. But now I am at that point where I can't remember from last year's strut assembly replacement, how I ever got the ball joint back into the control arm! I've read post after post saying to pry the control arm down and push the knuckle in. I cannot get the arm to go down far enough to clear the ball joint before it hits on the engine cradle, and jacking up the knuckle is an exercise in futility, since it wants to pull out away from the control arm. I would like to reassemble the ball joint and control arm without the risk of damaging the new ball joint's boot. So, after an hour of frustration, does anyone have any good advice for doing this seemingly impossible task?

Thanks in advance!
Curt.
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Old 03-05-2013, 11:18 PM   #2
shorod
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Re: 2000 Taurus Ball Joint Reinstallation

The factory service manual for the 2000 Taurus states the same thing you've been told, to use a pry bar to lower the lower control arm down until you can install the ball joint. Make sure that you don't have a jackstand or jack blocking the control arm at the subframe, preventing the arm from going low enough. You're also very likely going to need two people, one to pry the arm down and one to start the ball joint though the arm.

Another think you could try would be to install the wheel on the opposite side, then lower that side so the suspension compresses. Maybe the anti-sway bar will lift the side you're working on just enough to make the job a bit easier.

-Rod
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:46 AM   #3
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Re: 2000 Taurus Ball Joint Reinstallation

Thanks Rod! It never occurred to me to use the cross compression through the sway bar to gain the space I need. I still have the sway bar link disconnected! Last year when I did this, I had exactly that scenario because I was working outside in the snow and the mud and jacked up only the right side. Now I have a garage and a concrete floor and no snow or mud, and supported the car on the engine cradle! I shall connect my link and jack up the driver side suspension and will share how that works. I may also get a bigger bar!
Thanks again! Curt.
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Old 03-07-2013, 05:31 PM   #4
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Re: 2000 Taurus Ball Joint Reinstallation

Well Rod, ... I needed to get a bigger bar. The sway bar link idea did not work. It still did not control the steering knuckle from popping out. But it did give me an idea. After removing the link again, I used one of my ratchet straps to pull the strut in toward the fender. Then, I could jack up the knuckle assembly and compress the strut spring enough that I could push the lower control arm down. It took a few tries in repositioning the knuckle until I finally got the ball joint stud aligned. Then I was able to drop the knuckle down and wiggle the ball joint stud into place.

I don't know how Ford techs do it. If they go by the book, it is beyond me how that works. There was nothing I could do short of dropping the engine cradle down, to get that control arm down below the joint stud. Fortunately, I figured out a way.

Thanks for your suggestion.
Curt
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:22 PM   #5
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Re: 2000 Taurus Ball Joint Reinstallation

Actually, the way you did it is not too far off of how professionals have been known to do these. If using a drive-on lift, such as the 4-post style used with alignment systems, it's pretty easy to wrap a strap or chain around the control arm and the alignment rack, then use the rolling jack to jack up the car and pull the control arm down the extra half inch that's sometimes needed. However, with the car on the lift, it's also a lot easier to put more weight on the pry bar to lower the control arm. It's certainly easier with 2 people as well.

-Rod
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