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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
my 98's half shaft grenaded because my wife was stupid...
well, i cannot fix the wife but i can fix the car.

I went to harbor freight and got the front end tool kit for 49.95 less 20% off coupon in the paper. This allowed me to get the tie rod end and ball joint separated. with some persuasion, i finally got the ball joint separated from the lower control arm and got whats left of the half shaft out. There was NO balls left in the outside CV joint. Guess my wife left my balls on the street somewhere...

got the new half shaft positioned in the trannie and in the bearing.
but now, i cannot seem to get the upper suspension (still connected to
the strut) back into the lower A arm. If i jack it up, it pulls out and i need
it to go in to be able to mate it up with the hole in the lower A arm.

So, whats the easiest way to do this? do i need to compress the strut
springs to get this to line up?

any tips appreciated.

also found loose tie rods and shot brake pads.

and to top it off, i did not remove the brake line bracket from the
strut and think i might have pinched it taking the lower ball joint
separation from the A arm. Live and learn. Looks like a trip to the
U-Pull is in my future...

bob
 

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How-to Replace Lower Ball Joints, Front Wheel Bearings, and Half-Axles on a 1996 thru 2001 Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable


1. Remove hub cap, apply parking brake, and loosen drive axle/hub nut (30 mm) ¼-turn with a breaker bar. Loosen lug nuts, raise vehicle, and support securely on jack stands placed under the rocker panels. Remove front wheel.
2. Remove stabilizer bar link nut (18 mm) from strut and swing link out of the way.

3. Remove brake caliper (12 mm), pads, caliper mounting bracket (15 mm), and disc. Support caliper with a piece of wire or bungee cord. I prefer an eight-inch "S" brake caliper hanger, made from 20 inches of 1/4-inch copper tubing.

4. Detach tie-rod end from steering knuckle, by removing and discarding cotter pin, loosening nut (18 mm) on tie-rod ball stud, and separating tie-rod end from steering knuckle with a puller. Support tie-rod on a small box so it doesn't hang.

5. Remove ABS wheel speed sensor mounting bolt (Torx E8) and move sensor out of the way.

6. Knuckle Removal. Scribe index alignment marks on strut and knuckle. Disconnect the lower control arm (LCA) from the steering knuckle, by removing the ball joint nut (21 mm) and using a ball joint separator. Removing the ball joint stud from the LCA can be a "battle royale."

TRICK 1: Remove air dam (for access to front subframe bolts), place an hydraulic jack under the side of the subframe that you'll be working on, remove both 18 mm subframe bolts (M12x1.75x112HE), thread both bolts in 3 turns, and lower the subframe. Always keep the hydraulic jack under the subframe, in order to take the load off the bolts, Ford Part No. N804442-S426.

TRICK 2: Alternatively, compress the spring to get the stud of the lower ball joint high enough to clear the tapered hole of the LCA.

7. Remove axle nut (discard) and washer. Push axle from hub, using a two-jaw puller.

8. Remove strut-to-steering knuckle pinch bolt (21 mm). Wiggle knuckle and hub assembly off the strut. Tap assembly off strut with a large ball pein hammer, if necessary.

9. Grasp axle shaft in one hand and pull hub and strut assembly out to separate nose of CV joint from hub. Rest axle on the LCA. Don't let it hang free, because this can overextend and damage inner CV joint.

10. Ball Joint Replacement. Remove circlip (Hi-Tech 75 snap ring pliers); break loose the ball joint from its mount, by beating the mount with a 32 oz. ball pein hammer 5 or 6 times; remove the lower ball joint (Motorcraft MCS104217) from the steering knuckle, using a shop press, air hammer, or ball joint C-frame. Prior to installing the new ball joint into the knuckle, insert the stud into the tapered hole of the LCA and ensure the stud does not rock in the tapered hole. Coat sides of new ball joint with grease, press ball joint in knuckle, and reinstall circlip. I use an air hammer, with a 1-inch hammer tip (Grey Pneumatic CH117), to remove the old ball joints and install the new ball joints with a C-frame.

11. Wheel Bearing Replacement. Remove the three wheel bearing/hub bolts (15 mm) from the back of the steering knuckle. If the wheel bearing/hub sticks in the knuckle, pry it free.

12. Clean area on steering knuckle where wheel bearing/hub assembly seats; otherwise, it can create a lateral run out (LRO) problem with the brakes. Coat seat with high-temperature wheel bearing grease, to ease assembly and prevent corrosion.

13. Fasten new wheel bearing/hub (Timken 513100) to steering knuckle and tighten the three 15 mm bolts 70 lb.-ft.

14. Half Axle Replacement. Insert pry bar or large screwdriver between inner CV joint housing and transaxle case, if replacing the half-axle. Pry out just far enough to release the circlip. Seat pry bar on a solid surface and avoid damaging the transaxle case.

15. Support outer CV joint with one hand, grasp axle shaft with other hand, and guide axle clear of chassis.

16. Install new circlip on inner stud shaft spline.

17. Coat differential seal lip with multi-purpose grease, align splines of new inner CV joint (Example: Cardone Select 662008, Left; Cardone Select 662042, Right) with those on the differential side gear, firmly grasp inner CV joint housing and insert it into the transaxle. You should feel the circlip snap into place, as it seats in the differential gear.

18. Knuckle Installation. Install drive axle into wheel bearing/hub. Then, install and align knuckle on strut. Tighten strut-to-steering knuckle pinch bolt 72 to 97 lb.-ft. Push the drive axle as far into the hub as possible by hand.

19. Install washer and new axle nut, tightening it part way.

20. Leverage down on lower control arm, with a 5 foot barbell bar, and insert ball joint stud. Install ball joint nut (21 mm) and tighten 55 to 65 lb.-ft. Raise subframe and tighten both 18 mm subframe bolts 60 lb.-ft.

21. Attach tie-rod end to the steering knuckle arm. Tighten nut (18 mm) 35 to 46 lb.-ft.; then, align the next castellation in the nut with the cotter pin hole by further tightening.

22. Install disc, caliper mounting bracket, pads, and caliper. Tighten caliper mounting bracket bolts (15 mm) 65 to 87 lb.-ft. and tighten caliper bolts (12 mm) 25 lb.-ft.

23. Tighten stabilizer bar link-to-strut nut (18 mm) 62 lb.-ft.

24. Install wheel and lug nuts. Lower vehicle and tighten lug nuts (19 mm) 85 lb.-ft. Tighten axle nut (30 mm) 184 lb.-ft. Pump brake pedal several times to seat brake.


Because of the effort involved in removing the steering knuckle, it's advisable to replace the lower ball joint and wheel bearing at the same time.

<><
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Well, its back together and running. the key to getting the ball joint back
into the lower A arm was a LONG pipe. i had a 5' section of scrap pipe
laying around. I used this to pry the lower A arm low enough to get the
ball joint tip into it. it landed in the hole, but not all the way through.
then i hammered the bottom on the A arm and it slipped the rest of the
way in. Its much better to do this with two people. I did it myself,
but pulling the long pipe with one arms and steering the ball joint in
with the other is a trick at best. And this was without dropping the
subframe bolts at all

The one thing i DID NOT want to do is remove the stabilizer bar link.
Every time i tried to salvage one on a junk car, i stripped it or broke it.
this one was intact, and i wanted it to stay that way. It would have
been easier to maneuver things around with it off.

there seems to be a little bit of groaning when turning tight.
i wonder if the CV's break in? They were new aftermarket ones

bob
 

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LBJ stud won't line up with LCA

I am not sure what to do next...I feel like I've tried every suggestion in the forums and beyond. Basically I had to replace the CV joint and the LBJ on the passenger side of my 96' Taurus. I can use my pry bar and easily get the LCA low enough to clear for the stud to go through the hole, but the stud won't align. When I raise the LCA back up to meet the stud it's about 1/2 inch to far in for the stud to go through. So, before lowering the LCA it looks like they should line up fine, but when I lower the LCA by nature it slightly pulls inward and regardless of how hard I push on the knuckle/strut assembly to push any play on the drive shaft in it's just not enough. Would I really need to loosen the sub frame bolts if my LCA is already low enough to clear? I thought about using the spring compressors to raise the strut up, but there is no room to put on the spring compressors while it's assembled, so would I actually have to take off my strut to compress the coil and then try it? Any insight here would be appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I am not sure what to do next...I feel like I've tried every suggestion in the forums and beyond. Basically I had to replace the CV joint and the LBJ on the passenger side of my 96' Taurus. I can use my pry bar and easily get the LCA low enough to clear for the stud to go through the hole, but the stud won't align. When I raise the LCA back up to meet the stud it's about 1/2 inch to far in for the stud to go through. So, before lowering the LCA it looks like they should line up fine, but when I lower the LCA by nature it slightly pulls inward and regardless of how hard I push on the knuckle/strut assembly to push any play on the drive shaft in it's just not enough. Would I really need to loosen the sub frame bolts if my LCA is already low enough to clear? I thought about using the spring compressors to raise the strut up, but there is no room to put on the spring compressors while it's assembled, so would I actually have to take off my strut to compress the coil and then try it? Any insight here would be appreciated.
how far into the lower control arm did the ball joint thread go?
If you can get some thread sticking out the back of the lower control arm,
put a nut on it a carefully snug it into the hole. Its tapered, so it should
slowly go. If you barely get it in, you might put a jack under the lower
control arm and try to lift it up to get it aligned.

i know i fought mine for awhile.
 

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When I did this I discovered that Autozone mislabels or doesn't carry AX4N halfshafts... I had to get them from O'Reilly which was 15% cheaper anyway

/threadjack over
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
When I did this I discovered that Autozone mislabels or doesn't carry AX4N halfshafts... I had to get them from O'Reilly which was 15% cheaper anyway

/threadjack over
Good point, at least one of the 1/2 shafts is a different length between
the AX4S and the AX4N. Then there is ABS no ABS too to think about.
 

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I am not sure what to do next...I feel like I've tried every suggestion in the forums and beyond. Basically I had to replace the CV joint and the LBJ on the passenger side of my 96' Taurus. I can use my pry bar and easily get the LCA low enough to clear for the stud to go through the hole, but the stud won't align. When I raise the LCA back up to meet the stud it's about 1/2 inch to far in for the stud to go through. So, before lowering the LCA it looks like they should line up fine, but when I lower the LCA by nature it slightly pulls inward and regardless of how hard I push on the knuckle/strut assembly to push any play on the drive shaft in it's just not enough. Would I really need to loosen the sub frame bolts if my LCA is already low enough to clear? I thought about using the spring compressors to raise the strut up, but there is no room to put on the spring compressors while it's assembled, so would I actually have to take off my strut to compress the coil and then try it? Any insight here would be appreciated.

OK, this is easily a 2-person job. One to pry down on the lower control arm and one to align the hole with ball joint stud. I did mine with a pair of 2x4's and no lowering the sub-frame. Find someone to help you.

Here's what I did, with 2x4's, warning you may break a 2x4 in the process. Like Bob, cut each 2x4 to about 5 feet. Place one 2x4 parallel with the body between the axle shaft and lower control arm, centered. Place the 2nd 2x4, forming a crossing, between the sub-frame and 1st 2x4, on the front end of the sub-frame. When the 1st 2x4 is in place you will see a gap to place the 2nd 2x4, toward the front-end.

The 2nd 2x4 is used as a lever. Have your helper push down on the lever while you hold & align the ball joint. Keep in mind the shape of the lower control arm you will have to hold the 1st 2x4 in place while aligning the ball joint. Doing this is a royal PITA but it can be done.

Hope this helps.

Monsoon
 

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Hi,

I've done these many times, only the last two have I had to use Trick #1 above
and will continue this way in the future.

Just follow trick #1, you will be amazed at how easy it is to do and you will not
damage the boot on the ball joints.

regards
 

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What is Ford Part No. N804442-S426, from Trick 1?
 
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