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Virtual Wrench
Virtual Wrench, Ford Mechanic
Category: Ford
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Experience:  35 years Master Mechanic
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Ford E350: Ball joint job. Mechanic said last year that it

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Ball joint job. Mechanic said last year that it needed to be done... but when I jacked it up today I couldn't tell by wobbling the tire.
Very heavy duty though... Ford E-350,XXXXX front driver jacked up right now.

It's pretty tough to check for lower ball joint wear. What you have to do is "unload" the pressure on the joint first. To do that, you need to put a floor jack under the lower control arm as close to the ball joint as possible and raise it just far enough off the ground to put a long bar under the tire and lift the bar up and down to check for any movement.

That is the ONLY way you can get a true idea of if it's too loose or not.

If you have further questions feel free to reply.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Larry,

I'm not experienced with doing work on my van... but I'm really trying hard to learn more about it.

I went out and gave what you suggested a try but I'm not completely following.

I have a haynes diagram of this area, but they don't mention control arm... but I think I know where it is.

I've attached a picture. I don't want to put the jack in the wrong spot.

Could you indicate where on the picture?


Hi Graham,

Your pic didnt come thru but here is where you place the jack.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So my floor jack couldn't get in there, but my bottle jack did. Got a long crow bar under the wheel, and there is a very little bit of "bumping". Took a look at the ball joint and there is a little play. Would you recommend I go ahead and try to replace it?


To be honest with you, if you haven't replaced one before you might want to pass on it because they are pressed in place and it requires some special tools and a lot of elbow grease to get them pressed out and the new ones in. Just being upfront with you and wouldn't want to see you get into a jam with it tore all apart. But then again i dont know your skill level so its totally up to you.

Best wishes my friend!

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

A buddy of mine lent me a ball joint remover/replacer press and C-clamp.

If I just did one side and not the other for now, would that be bad? I have parts for both but maybe not time right now.


Skill level unknown ;)


If you have those tools then it won't be so bad. Sure, you can do just one side for now and the other side may not even need to be replaced.

Watch out for those knuckles :-)

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