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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I couldn't find anything in the general search or "Topic Finder" on replacing the ball joints in my '03 Sable. There are articles for the GEN 3 Taurus/Sable but not GEN 4. I thought there was something said tho that the GEN 3 are pressed in and GEN 4 are not. And just to say it must be the ball joints as the noise didn't start until I had the Quick Strut kit done on all 4 corners. After I got the car back I have a "noise" from the front. Not the CV's tho, steering is tight and true. I did replace the tie rod ends and it helped a little. There was a vibration in the front right area that was cured with the new tie rod ends. And the noise problem isn't as frequent. Noise is noticeable at any speed and any surface. Have driven on a 4 mile stretch of new concrete and a 1 mile stretch of new asphalt. Anyway, is there a tutorial for the GEN 4 Taurus/Sable? Or do I go by the GEN 3 guide?

Pepse.
 

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I've just done both sides with some friends. The easier way will be to drop the subframe in order to gain clearance for the spindle to come back into the control arm/A-arm. Both Gen 3 and 4 have the ball joints pressed into the spindles and it will take you a while to press them out/in. We went on the hard way..aka..not dropping the subframe, and it took like 3 hours and a large number of hostile words to get the driver side spindle attached back into the control arm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Drop the sub frame? You mean the whole front end? Or, if you mean something not as drastic as I am understanding tell me.

Pepse.
 

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It doesn't directly affect the baljoints, however lowering the subframe on the side you are working on will make the job drastically easier. the balljoints of a 96-07 taurus is pressed into the buttom of the spindle, where it is then connected to the lower control arm. Under normal circumstances there is nearly no clearance for the spindle, once removed from the strut and lower control arm in order to have the old ball joint pressed out and new one pressed in , to be assembled back with the lower control arm(since you will have to mount it back onto your struts first, as there woulden't be enough cleanence to put the strut back into the spindle, if you decide to make the spindle-lower control arm connection first) , but since the lower control arm itself is mounted to the subframe, lowering the subframe slightly will also lower the lower control arm so when you press down on it to gain clearance it can go a lot lower compared to if the sub frame isn't lowered, give you a lot more room to work with when trying to force the ball joint shaft into aligning with the pivot hole on the lower control arm. It is possible to re-attach the spindle-lower control arm without lowering the subframe(we did the driver side this way) but it is almost certainly take a lot longer then to simply lower the subframe slightly , reassemble the spindle onto the strut first, then with someone else applying downward force to the lower control arm, push the strut-spindle assembly towards it, re-align the ball joint shaft on the buttom of the spindle with the hole on lower control arm, and release tension from the lower control arm in order to re-attach them. rest of reassembly work is a piece of cake.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So, to replace the ball joints on a FWD car is alot more difficult than a RWD car; i.e. I'd be better off taking it in and pay to have it done. Right?

Pepse.
 

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I wouldnt say you have to take it somelace and pay to get them changed. Its a really easy job if you are good at working on cars. I changed the ball joints on my 99 a few times and never lowered the sub frame. It may make things easier, but it also means you will need to get a front end alignment. If you dont move the sub frame, you wont need an alignment. When I did my 99, I took the stearing knuckle AND the lower control arm off as a unit, and then split them on the bench, for me that was a very easy fix and I didnt need front end alignment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Okay, that sounds better. I mean yeah I've been working on cars for what? pushin' 40m years. RWD, of course. On the one hand I really detest working on FWD cars but I don't have anymore extra cash to have someone replace the ball joints so I gotta try it myself. If the mechanic would have checked the car out better I had the cash then. But then again he stated that when all was said and done that I had a noise from the tie rod ends but since it aligned good it should be no big deal. Yeah right, noisier than he realizes. I'll stop. Sorry for the rant but this annoys me.

dlc360, I will give this a whirl soon and post when I finish. Might be a couple weeks but I'll get it.

Later. Pepse.
 

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Lowering the subframe is definitely a big help. When I was replacing the front strut/spring assembly on my 2002 Tuarus, I found that when pushing down on the control arm, there was still about 3/4" room needed for the bottom of the ball joint to clear the control arm. I even bent a 6 foot length of pipe trying to push down on the control arm enough to get the ball joint clear.
 

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RWD/FWD difference

If you have done RWD, you can do FWD definitely. Think about it. In RWD the axle is of no significance. In FWD the axle actually goes through the knuckle and needs to be separated. And reattached later. That's the difference.

You may hate FWD while doing ball joint. But you can definitely handle it. You may even overcome the fear/hatred of FWD. lol.
 

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By the way, are you sure it is BJ? According to 2005 shop manual, lift the car (jack not under control arm), crawl under, hold lower control arm, push up and down. If movement is greater than a very small number (you can see it on a dial gauge), BJ is bad.

How many miles?
 

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Lowering the subframe is definitely a big help. When I was replacing the front strut/spring assembly on my 2002 Tuarus, I found that when pushing down on the control arm, there was still about 3/4" room needed for the bottom of the ball joint to clear the control arm. I even bent a 6 foot length of pipe trying to push down on the control arm enough to get the ball joint clear.
I use a 4' piece of Sch80 1" stainless pipe. Haven't bent it yet, works every time...
 

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I replaced balljoint on 6 taurus/sables and have never lowered the subframe or removed the knuckle your just making more work for yourself
 
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