With 94k miles and a broken front coil, I decided it was time to replace these parts.
First and foremost I want to thank John Benoit for his excellent write-up on replacing these.
I am NOT trying to outdo his efforts, but just give you some pictures to go on... more information to help anyone who needs it.
His write up is here;
How To Change Ball Joints. Steps provided
Since I had never done ball joints I also viewed this;
With truck supported under frame, and wheel removed, remove this bearing cap.
Next remove the small nut....
Remove the caliper mounting bolts (have something ready to place the caliper on, or a means of securing it up) a milk-crate works well...
Remove the rotor too and set aside...
Next remove the 4wd vacuum lines....
Now the anti-lock brake sensor....
This pulls straight out, I had to twist, pry, curse, lubricate, curse,...
(one side came out in seconds, one took ten minutes!)
>>>If you are NOT replacing the upper control arms, the next step will need to be done without damage to it.<<<
Since this just makes the job more time consuming, plan on replacing these.
Remove the upper ball joint nut.
Beat the stem-end till the ball joint pops out, or a few whacks on the cast spindle arm may do the trick (like in the video).
>>>After this separates, push the stem back through and put the nut back on with a few turns, (it helps hold the spindle from falling on you after the next few steps).<<<
(In this pic it's been loosened and put back through.)
To replace the shock and spring assembly, the lower control arm needs to be lowered more than what the stabilizer bar link will allow;
To gain the needed access, the link mounting nut needs to be removed from UNDER the lower control arm....
Next remove the steering tie-rod end nut and free this from the spindle.
Now remove the lower ball joint nut, and separate/ free the spindle from it.
>>>At this point the only thing holding the spindle should be the upper control arm nut.<<<
Grab the spindle tightly, & remove the upper nut,... the spindle comes off towards you, as it drops off of the lower ball joint.
Set this aside....
Next, bungee or tie the drive shaft aside....
The shock/coil-over is replaced by removing the three nuts at the top...
>>>>NOT THE CENTER NUT....WHICH LETS THE SPRING FLY<<<<
and the big bottom bolt.
Here's the new and old...
>>>> Before removing the upper control arms, measure the angle that they are sitting at. The new upper control arms need to be installed and tightened at the same angle, to prevent binding or tearing of the inner rubber mounts, once everything is back together.<<<<
Old upper arm....
New upper arm....
Next the lower ball joint gets pressed out downward
with the rented press.
You can see that this is going to bottom-out before the ball joint is all the way through....I inverted the big-*** nut from the shock, and used it to push the ball joint the rest of the way.
Now the new ball joint gets pressed in....
You will need TWO of the 2" sleeves, one to push up on the metal rim of the new ball joint, and one to allow clearance for the ball joint to pass 1/4 inch or so above the lower control arm.
Be sure to put the lock-ring on the upper side, along with the new grease fitting.
Now the new coil-over got put in...
Next I cleaned and re-greased the 4wd engagement-gears and
reinstalled the spindle....
The spindle installs upwards over the lower ball joint (slip the drive shaft in at this time,& make sure it fully seats).
Getting the bottom nut started helps support the spindle.
Grab a pry-bar and push the upper control arm down to get the upper ball joint into place, get the upper castle nut started.
Set the tie-rod end, stabilizer bar end-link nut, drive-axle nut, & cap.
Dang, only pic I forgot to take....everything buttoned up.
Make sure to re-install the anti-lock brake sensor and 4wd vacuum lines before replacing the rotor.
Re-install the caliper.
Also very important;
>>>> Make sure you tighten all of your hardware to the proper torque specifications.<<<<
Add the cotter-pin to your ball joints if so equipped, and a few pumps of grease.