How to: Replace 4x4 Lower Track Arm Ball Joint
I did some searching prior to doing this job and most of what I found was about flipping this joint. The original plan was to change the upper bushing and the lower joint at the same time, but a foul up at the stealership left me with the wrong ball joint. I think the first one I got was for a 2x4 f350. New dealership and another ball joint later, I had the correct one.
*Note: My phone took blurry photos, but they are still clear enough to make sense.*
All of the tools I used are pictured here.
A ball joint press w/ fittings for a D44 (I know I don't have a D44 on this truck, but it worked) There was an extra fitting that I fount to fit the press and the outside of the upper part of the ball joint. I'm pretty sure the rental kit at Autozone has everything you will need.
15/16" deep socket
7/8" shallow socket (puller and ball joint press)
7/8" wrench (puller and ball joint press)
2-jaw puller (I don't know if the one pictured has a specific application, but it worked beautifully for pulling the track arm)
1/2" drive ratchet (I used one with an extendable handle, it allowed me to get a little bit more umph when loosening or tightening the bolts.
10" All/16" (crescent wrench) (I used this in place of the 15/16" wrench because I didn't have one and wasn't using it to torque anything.
2: Jack up the truck and support the front with jack stands. I supported under the front bumper and let the axle droop with the wheels still on the ground. The point is to get some space between the frame and the top of the axle. Some people would recommend disconnecting the battery at this point. It's a good habit to practice.
3: Loosen the nut on the ball joint. It's 15/16" and you should be able to use a ratchet with a deep socket to get it loose. This method worked for me, both times.
**NOTE: Save the nut, the new joint doesn't come with one. If the onl one is rusted to ****, acquire a new one.**
4: Use the puller and a 7/8" wrench or socket/ratchet to remove the track arm from the ball joint.
**WARNING: The track arm is heavy and gravity WILL cause it to rotate down until the end is supported. Make sure your face is not what stops its fall. That will hurt.**
Loose track arm:
There should be a boot. I removed it the first time I removed the ball joint because I thought it would make the joint easier to remove.
5: Install the ball joint press with just the large cup, for receiving the ball joint, on the ball joint. The joint is too long to use a smaller cup to help apply a more even force. I didn't have a problem pressing the joint either time I did it. Remember it presses out from the bottom to the top.
**Note: A little pre-gaming with some PB Blaster is a good idea. Helpful too**
It should look like this: (The hammer is just there for morale.)
6: Hopefully you did this before you get to this point. Remove the new joint from the box and make sure it looks like the old one. The 4x4 joint is on the right and joint I THINK is for a 2x4 application is on the left. No, the joint on the left wont work for an 07 f350 4x4. The diameter is too small.
They will come out of the box looking just like this.
7: Install the new ball joint by pressing it in from the top. This is the main spot that jacking up the front of the truck is beneficial. Otherwise, you might not have enough space for the ball joint press, especially if your truck is still at stock height. With a 2.5" leveling kit, I was borderline.
**NOTE: A little grease on the body of the joint and in the opening might make installation easier.**
8: Reattach the track arm. For this step, you might need the 1/2" wrench to keep the joint from turning in the track arm until you can get it tightened up with the 15/16" wrench. I finished up wit the ratchet w/ the 15/16" socket to make sure I got everything tight.
9: Get your truck back properly on the ground and reconnect the battery.