New Front Track Bar, Bushing and Ball Joint...Drive like new again - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
General 6.7 Discussion (2011-2016) General 6.7 Discussion

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post #1 of 9 Old 07-28-2019, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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New Front Track Bar, Bushing and Ball Joint...Drive like new again

Just spent one very long day (actually did it over two days) changing the track bar (came with the bushing already installed) and the track bar ball joint. (This ball joint was a huge PITA to change...and definitely the hardest part of the job).

I now have 171,xxx miles on the truck, and for the past 500 hundred or so, experienced the 'death wobble' and the steering just felt loose (not sure how better to describe it). Ball joints and tie rods all felt solid, but felt very slight movement in the track bar when I got under the truck and tried to move it...thought it was time. Once I took it apart, it was apparent the ball joint was shot, but the track bar bushing didn't feel that bad (was tight). This said, I thought it best to replace everything.


For those thinking about trying to replace this stuff on your own... a few words of warning:
- This is not a job for the first timer... trust me!

- You will need a 3/4" drive set to remove the bolt holding the track bar to the frame (drivers side). I think it's torqued to over 400 ft/lbs. I removed the front left wheel for easier access. (Actually, I would not even try to do without removing the wheel....you'll need the space to get on the nut/bolt holding the track bar to the frame).

- Removing the ball joint is a real pain. I wound up cutting the stud off the ball joint to get the press to fit on. Used the press and the ball joint broke (ball came out of it, the 'cup' of the ball joint was still in the mount on the truck. I got lucky...I got creative with the ball joint press and parts and managed to press it out...though I thought for a while that I may have to have it towed to Ford to have them do it. Again, I got lucky! This thing is really tight in there...and I'm sure the rust didn't help any.

- Going back together went a lot easier. Again, I had to get creative with using the ball joint cups (on the ball joint press tool) to get the ball joint fully seated. The stud on the ball joint is long, and doesn't clear the press/clamp by much...again, gettting creative with the ball joint press cups. Patience is a must for this.

- Probably best to have a helper when putting the track bar back in... Lining up the holes on the mount and ball joint takes patience, and someone in the truck turning the wheel a little to get things aligned.

Good luck to those thinking about doing this on their own. I'm hoping I won't have to worry about it for another 170,xxx miles or so.
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post #2 of 9 Old 08-11-2019, 05:49 AM
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I just had the same work done to my '13 F250 6.7 with 105K miles. Began to get the dreaded "death wobble" over the past several weeks, steering felt loose and the truck wandered all over the road. So...took it in and had ball joints replaced, track bar replaced, new steering stabilizer installed, and had Rancho 9000XL shocks installed (had Bilstein shocks on it and I just didn't care for them...too firm). It drives like a new truck now...smooth as can be. She's ready for the next 100K miles now....
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post #3 of 9 Old 08-12-2019, 11:05 AM
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We typically cut that ball joint out slice top off hammer ball up through the top, then cut a thin slice in cup, have the pass side in air, small Jack to separate axle and frame as much as possible, helps fitting press in, and the rest you have covered, also check bracket that track bar attaches to on frame have seen a few not many come loose, extreme duty oil field
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post #4 of 9 Old 08-12-2019, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Woodsgew View Post
We typically cut that ball joint out slice top off hammer ball up through the top, then cut a thin slice in cup, have the pass side in air, small Jack to separate axle and frame as much as possible, helps fitting press in, and the rest you have covered, also check bracket that track bar attaches to on frame have seen a few not many come loose, extreme duty oil field
After I got the old one out, I did put a little oil around the 'cup' (receiver for the ball joint) and the part of the ball joint which gets pressed in hopes it will come out much easier if I ever have to remove it again. And trust me... it's still plenty tight.
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post #5 of 9 Old 08-18-2019, 07:42 PM
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Hi,

I was doing the exact same thing this afternoon. What a PITA, I got track bar off and ball joint out, which did exactly what yours did and shot the ball through. Thankfully I was able to monkey the housing up a bit and use an air hammer once I got clearance.

However, I can not get the new ball joint to press in. The long shaft, weird angle. I already destroyed one moog ball joint, any tips on how to get it to seat back in?
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post #6 of 9 Old 08-18-2019, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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Yep...I struggled with this too. Prior to doing the work, I went to Harbor Freight and purchased both the Maddox ball joint removal kit as well as the Ford adaptor set. When I purchased the ball joint, I also got the 'ball joint removal' loaner kit. What I did was stack two of the cups inside of another (slightly larger) cup (which happened to be approximately the correct height) to accept the stud. I honestly cannot remember which cups came from which kit...but I can tell you it did take a few minutes to figure out how to get the correct combination of cups to make it work. I'm not sure how 'safe' this was...but it did work. I also had to change the cups as the ball joint went in. Toward the end (if memory serves), I did not use any cups; the 'open end' of the ball joint press was directly against the bar I was pressing the ball joint into. It worked! I also oiled the ball joint seating surface prior to pressing it in.

I'm not going to say this was the proper or safest way to do the job, but for me, it did work. I was extremely careful when I pressed the new ball joint in.

In speaking with a mechanic, I understand that Snap-On has a kit which works properly to press this ball joint in. Not sure I can offer much else, but do wish you the absolute best in pressing this thing in. Let us know how it goes. Good Luck!!!
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post #7 of 9 Old 08-20-2019, 07:27 PM
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Thanks! I ended up hitting up 3 auto part stores to get a ton of different cups to finally get some configuration that worked. Once I got the right cups it wasn't a problem.

Its all in the right tools.
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post #8 of 9 Old 08-22-2019, 12:31 PM
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I did Ball Joints, Axle Ujoints, and lower control steering arm when I first got the truck. It drove fine but you could tell the ball joints weren't happy and I could feel a tiny bit of bind on the Ujoints at full turn.

I agree, what a nightmare....(Did it in the Auto hobby shop on base so had the right tools and lifts. It would have been un-doable without them)
That being said, after I did the job, the truck drives like brand new! I need to do shocks and when I put some Bilstein 5100's under there I will be a happy camper.

Love how much better it drives and more importantly, steers with everything tight in the front end....new tires didn't hurt either! LOL
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post #9 of 9 Old 08-22-2019, 04:14 PM
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Man my ride was terrible. I had a 2012 same color same options and loved how it towed. Got a 2015 when I got over 100k, 2015 only had 30k and it was a nightmare.

When towing it would porpoise and drag me all over the road, and this is only a 9k trailer. I was so frustrated considered going to a dodge, but eventually decided to dump some money into instead of taking a big loss.

So last few weeks-
New drag link, tie rods, Carli track bar, ball joint, stabilizer, sway bar links, Carli coils and bilstein 5100s.

It’s like a new truck!! I can’t believe how bad the Ford/rancho leveling kit is. Every stupid shock was completely toast. But now it feels solid like the old truck, a little stiff but I’m more concerned about about towing and safety since I tow almost every day in traffic.

Now I am waiting on my timbrens and I’m good.
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