A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Ball joint replacement on 2000 Ford Taurus

This answer was rated:

I have a 2000 and 2002 Taurus. I am told that they both need lower ball joint replacement. I have access to a lift. It "looks" easy, but I can not figure out why the labor quoted is $120 each. Why so high? What tools are needed? How is this done? Thanks.
HelloCustomer and welcome to JustAnswer.com!

The ball joints in these are pressed into the steering knuckle assembly. To replace it you must unbolt the strut from the knuckle, unbolt the brake caliper and remove it, and remove the brake rotor. You must also separate the ball joint stud, and remove the knuckle from the drive axle. You'll also need to disconnect the ABS wiring (if equipped) and separate the tie rod end from the knuckle as well.

At this point you have to use a ball joint press tool with a special adapter to press the ball joint out of the knuckle, and to press the new one in, and then reassemble the assembly. The angle of the ball joint in the knuckle makes it nearly impossible to use a standard hydraulic press for this.

The knuckle is aluminum, and as a result you cannot hammer the ball joint out and in, as this poses a huge risk of breaking the steering knuckle assembly. It's actually a bit more difficult than it looks!

The labor guide time for this repair is 1.5 hours per side, so at a "average" labor rate of $80/hour, this adds up to $120 per side. This sounds like a fair estimate, but if you are good with tools you could save a bit of money.

You'll need to buy or rent a ball joint press:


And you'll need the special Taurus adapters for this tool:


Good luck!
Brad, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 2366
Experience: ASE Certified Master Technician
Brad and other Ford Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Brad, OK I think I get it... it is a lot more work. A couple clarifications: 1. So, if I get what you are saying the steering knuckle needs to come off and is pressed in/out on a bench... right? Do you know if a NAPA or Autozone do this for a fee? 2. When you say remove the knuckle from the drive axle, what does this entail? The other items I know how to do, but not sure about this. 3. Your opinion... if I am going to do all this work, would it make sense to replace the outer tie rods at the same time? (One car is >100k miles, the other 80k miles.) 4. Similarly, I assume this is a good time to do a brake job as well, right? Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX
After the brake caliper, bracket, and rotor is removed, you get the tie rod end separated from the knuckle, then you have to get the axle loose. Next loosen, but don't remove the pinch nut for the strut.

The axle isn't a huge deal. What you do is remove the axle nut from the hub, then reinstall the nut just far enough so that the nut is flush with the axle stub edge... then smack it with a hammer. This will usually break the axle loose in its splines and allow it to slide out freely. The reason you reinstall the nut is so you don't "mushroom" the end of the axle with the hammer, which could make it impossible to reinstall the nut.

Then once you get the knuckle loose from the lower control arm, you can swing it out far enough to slide the axle out of the knuckle. At this time you can remove the strut pinch bolt and tap the knuckle down off of the strut.

As far as the press work, you'll have to call around to different parts stores. Most will want to charge you for the service, but some might do it for free, if you purchase the ball joint from them (it really helps if you're a regular customer and they recognize you as such). Each store has their own policies.. even one NAPA store might handle it completely from another, so you'll just have to check around.

It's actually possible to replace the ball joint without removing the entire knuckle, if you have the above tools... I've done so many that I can leave the strut and brakes attached, and swing the axle out of the assembly and that gives me just enough clearance to get the ball joint tools up in there... but the first time I tried this it actually took me a lot longer than if I had just removed the entire knuckle! Each time it gets a bit faster and now I can do them in much less than half the labor time... but that's only because I've done hundreds of these.

You'll need sockets/wrenches for these sizes:

30mm or 32mm socket for the axle nut (I've seen both sizes installed on the taurus).
12mm or 13mm for the caliper bolts.
15mm for the caliper bracket bolts.
17mm or 18mm for the tie rod end nut and strut pinch bolt.
Side-cutters for the cotter pins, and rotors hold down clips (if still equipped... if you have to remove these just throw them away, they are installed to hold the rotor on the hub at the factory, but aren't necessary after-the-fact)
And of course, a hammer.

As far as the ABS wire (if you have ABS) you'll need to remove it with the knuckle. Unplug the wire from behind the front bumber, and use a screwdriver to pop the plastic retainers from the top and sides of the frame, and remove the whole wire along with the knuckle assembly. Do not try to remove the sensor from the knuckle, as there's a 99% chance it will break in the process. Also make note as to how the wire is routed, so you can reinstall it the same way.

And lastly, here are the torque specs for the bolts:

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Brad, thanks for the help. Your answer was very helpful. I finished up the 2000 today and it worked out well to put some new brakes on there... I'll get to the 2002 in a few weeks. I find it amazing that you can do that in less than an hour, the benefit of pneumatic tools and experience I guess! The second one took about 90 minutes, about half the time of the first. Pretty impressive you can do that press fit on the car... but I did it without the Ford adapters, so it took a while to figure it out on the first one and it is a little tricky to get it right and press straight in there. Overall, definitely is "easy" once you have done it. The tip on the ABS wire was great. Next crazy project I need to do, I'll be looking for your advice. :) Thanks again.
Ask Brad Your Own Question
Brad, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 2366
Experience:  ASE Certified Master Technician
Type Your Ford Question Here...
Brad is online now
How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

What Customers are Saying:

  • AlvinC answered a question about my Ford truck that only someone with an in-depth knowledge of his subject would have known what was going on. Rich D USA
< Previous | Next >
  • AlvinC answered a question about my Ford truck that only someone with an in-depth knowledge of his subject would have known what was going on. Rich D USA
  • Because of your expertise, you armed me with enough ammunition to win the battle with the dealer. They are installing a fuel filter and fuel pump at no charge to me. Molly USA
  • I needed help with my car on Saturday morning....got a response in 5 minutes, and it was the perfect solution. Thanks again to your service. Jason V. Kirkland, WA
  • I do know, after going though this with JustAnswer, that I can somewhat trust my mechanic but I will always contact you prior to going there. BR New Jersey
  • I would (and have) recommend your site to others I was quite satisfied with the quality of the information received, the professional with whom I interacted, and the quick response time. Thanks, and be sure that I'll be back whenever I need a question answered in a hurry. Stephanie P Elm City, NC
  • used your service this weekend with "Trecers" help. thank you ,thank you, thank you. replaced an A/C fan motor. Local Auto Zone had part. $15.00 "tracer" fee and $40.00 for parts, I saved several hundreds of dollers at a shop. i will recommend you and use you in the future. David L. Richmond, TX
  • 9 dollars, 2 hours of my time, and I drove away. Your diagnosis was right on the mark. Thank you so much. Phil Marysville, CA

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

Meet The Experts:

  • Ron


    ASE Certified Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    23 years with Ford specializing in drivability and electrical and AC. Ford certs and ASE Certs
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FO/fordguyu/2015-7-7_172556_onnieew.64x64.jpg Ron's Avatar


    ASE Certified Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    23 years with Ford specializing in drivability and electrical and AC. Ford certs and ASE Certs
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MU/muddyford/2012-6-13_1204_1.64x64.png Chris (aka- Moose)'s Avatar

    Chris (aka- Moose)


    Satisfied Customers:

    16 years experience
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JM/jmcdo28/2012-2-23_01655_resized.64x64.jpg John Mc's Avatar

    John Mc

    Ford Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    19 years Ford Lincoln Mercury experience
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/wmarti7/2009-4-18_04332_Avatar.jpg Chuck's Avatar


    ASE Certified Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    33 Years Experience,Ford Senior Master,ASE Master,L1 Advanced Engine Performance
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BL/Bluegorilla/2012-6-21_16298_cam.64x64.JPG Cam's Avatar


    Journeyman Automotive Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    GM Grand Master Technician 2007. 14 years Automotive experience.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/CR/crzydrvr00/2013-11-3_12123_246347.64x64.jpg Richard's Avatar


    ASE Certified Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    12 years at a Ford Lincoln/Mercury and Jaguar dealer as a technician and shop foreman.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BA/baddad1/2014-4-1_23659_avatar.64x64.jpg Mike V.'s Avatar

    Mike V.

    Auto Service Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    25 years experience on all makes and models, Licensed NYS Inspector.