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I need to replace the ball joints on my 1997 LX.. they squeak like hell when you turn the wheel, and the boots on the uppers have been gone since I bought the car. The lower ball joints seem to be fine.. I don't think I'm going to mess with those right now.

Do you have to replace the whole upper control arm, or can you just replace the ball joints?

Anyone know where they can be bought at a decent price?
 

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You need to replace the entire UCA. Honestly, you should do the LCA at the same time while you're working on it unless cost is really that much of an issue. Take a look at the LCA bushing to really be sure. Either way, the best part is (in my estimation) the Ford OEM if this is a daily driver, but I'm biased - I've had bad luck with the greasable fittings getting road debris in them.

The Ford OEM should run you about $55 (each) most places. Rockauto.com has them for around that, and same for supercoupeperformance.com.
 

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If you are replacing the uppers atleast check the lowers too, they like to get loose and separate eventually. Jack the car up and let the suspension hang, next get a big bar and pry up on the bottom of your tire. I'd bet my milk money that you will get some up and down movement in the joint. I've have had to replace a handful of lowers on markviii/tbird/cougars in the parking lot of the shop i worked at because they separated while the car was being driven. The cars were flatbedded to our shop at night and thus were fairly immobile once dropped, hence the parking lot thrash. Do yourself a favor along with everyone else on the road and check 'em out. Good luck!
 

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You have to replace the whole arm. I think I got them for around $50 when I did mine. Most auto parts store will have them. I used Advance Auto Parts and bought all TRW brand products. Also look at the endlinks as see if they will need to be replaced while your tearing into it.
 

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If you are replacing the uppers atleast check the lowers too, they like to get loose and separate eventually. Jack the car up and let the suspension hang, next get a big bar and pry up on the bottom of your tire. I'd bet my milk money that you will get some up and down movement in the joint. I've have had to replace a handful of lowers on markviii/tbird/cougars in the parking lot of the shop i worked at because they separated while the car was being driven. The cars were flatbedded to our shop at night and thus were fairly immobile once dropped, hence the parking lot thrash. Do yourself a favor along with everyone else on the road and check 'em out. Good luck!
Ever had a case where they give way with no warning? Are you saying if they check out good at 200K miles they wont seperate?
 

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Ever had a case where they give way with no warning? Are you saying if they check out good at 200K miles they wont seperate?
I had 6 month old lower balls joints start making noise and snap in half. Look at my gallery pics and you'll see what I'm talking about.

If your high milage I agree with the other members, do the uppers and lowers at the same time if you can afford it.
 

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I would never say that something could never occur. However, I have never seen a quality ball joint separate catastrophically in terms of metal breakage outside of a good wreck. If the joint is not loose odds are the ball won't slip out of the socket. Once they get loose and there is vertical movement in the joint eventually it will pop out. I think it is hard to determine a set amount of miles of when this will occur; that is why checking things out like this and paying attention to noises are important.
 

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I would never say that something could never occur. However, I have never seen a quality ball joint separate catastrophically in terms of metal breakage outside of a good wreck.
Use search, there are threads with pictures; it's a lot more common than you think.

I usually see one a year locally, that has broken and skidded to the side of the road.

God help someone if it happens at 70 on the interstate; The cops tend to take a dim view of killing people thru poor maintenance... ;)

Look at the way the joint is made; the whole weight on the tire is trying to pull the ball out of the socket. That's almost 1000 pounds on a worn-thin rim that was ~1/4" thick when it was new... How thick is it now? :)

If these are making noise, they need to be fixed very soon.
 

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Just to clarify, I stated it is rare for ball joints in seemingly good working order (not loose or creaking) to fail. I have seen quite a few failures, but they fell under the category of neglect.
 

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Replace both for sure. My uppers looked way worse than the lowers, but the lowers were causing the creak when I turned the wheel in my case.
 

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I had 6 month old lower balls joints start making noise and snap in half. Look at my gallery pics and you'll see what I'm talking about.

If your high milage I agree with the other members, do the uppers and lowers at the same time if you can afford it.
I saw the pics...

I bet they were the "world brand" china specials, right? Those ebay parts look attractive but I would never buy. You end up paying more in the long run.

Might as well use a coat hanger instead of that cheap garbage. I wouldn't buy any suspension parts unless its MOOG, Ford or Motorcraft. At least there is someone to sue :)
 
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