The Following is a step by step instruction to R&I the lower ball joints on the Mark VIII. Hopefully the pictures will explain everything that I may fail to put in here, but if not, contact me OR joey, and we’ll get you the correct info, and then update the install guide. I am NOT a professional ASE certified mechanic, so anything I show on here, is to be taken as advice only. I CANNOT be responsible for anything that may be messed up by following this advice.
Common problems associated with loose or worn ball joints can range from a small shake in the steering wheel to the car wanting to pull it’s self depending on what wheel falls in a dip in the road. This can also be aggravated by a modified suspension along with wider tires. I ran into this problem with my 98, and had a VERY hard time diagnosing the problem. If you think you may have the same problem keep reading.
This job is started off by turning the air-ride computer off via the switch in the truck, raising the car to a good, SAFE and comfortable work height, and supporting the car with good quality stands. The lug nuts will need to me loosened and removed from the front tires. If you do not have an impact wrench, it will probably be easier to break the nuts loose while the car is still on the ground (ONLY BREAK THEM LOOSE, no more). Once the car is to this point, your ready to start removing the spindle assembly.
I have color coded, and numerically categorized all of the bolts to show you what you need to loosen to get the assembly apart, and HOPEFULLY I have gotten all of the hex sizes correct, but there is a margin of error here so double check before you go to torqueing down on these nuts.
- Green, These are 12MM bolts, and hold the caliper assy to the main bracket. Remove these and then pry the caliper and pads off of the rotor. (keep check of the pads and reinstall them in the same side of the rotor they came off of)
- Yellow, 15MM bolts are holding the caliper bracket to the spindle, these are also locktite so it will take some umph to get them off.
- Purple, 10MM bolt holds the wheel speed sensor to the spindle. Tap this out and place aside
- Blue, 15MM nut holds the sway bar link to the spindle, remove this and give it a good crack with a hammer to release it from the spindle. (leave the nut half on to protect the threads from a misplaced hammer blow).
- Lime, 23MM nut holds the spindle on the lower ball joint, and will probably need some work with a torch to get it hot enough to break loose,(I know mine did). (remove completely)
- Red, 19MM nut holds the upper control arm bolt in place. Remove this half way, and hammer the bolt out of the other side. Keep in mind that there is a little tension on the spindle from the air springs, the will kick the top of the spindle out once you remove the upper joint , but it’s nothing to be worried about. Once you have the bolt out, you may need to beat the joint out of the spindle, and can take some effort, but it will come out. Also, during this step you may notice that the sway bar link did not come all of the way out. It will come out ALOT easier if you wait till the top of the spindle is free and just pull it through the hole when you have enough room to do so.
Once this step is complete you should have something that looks like this:
You will notice I have the tie rod loose. I did this to allow me to photograph this easier. You can set the spindle off to the side and out of the way with the rod still connected. Now that we are this far, you should have the spindle kicked out at you and the lower ball joint ready to separate from the spindle. All I had to do is whack down on the joint while I kept steady moderate upward pressure with my other arm. It took a couple of good cracks but it’ll go. Once that is done your ready to start pressing the joint out.
I have the use of a VERY well stocked shop to work in, but most of these tools can be rented at an auto parts store. If you have any questions PM me, or confer with someone who is in the know. I used a screw type ball joint press to push mine out and is really the only good safe way to do this job.
I had some trouble keeping the press centered on the top of the joint so I cut the shank off with a cut off wheel to allow me to use a socket to keep everything square while I pressed it out. It should be noted that I was using a ¾” drive air hammer running 140 PSI on the ball joint press so you can imagine the force your gonna be putting on this to drive it down and out. Keep your body parts as clear as possible and PAY ATTENTION to what's going on!
Once you finally get the parts to break away from each other it will come out fairly easily, and the hard part is finally over. Clean up the inside of the bore with some emery cloth, and press the joint back in the way it came out, making sure to drive it in SQUARE until the flange fits flush against the bottom of the lower control arm.
From here, reverse the procedure to re-install everything. To get the torque specs that I used look at the end of the bolt color chart.
Hope this helps.
This is a video of replacing the ball joints on a Lincoln Town Car. While not exactly the same, I thought it would help to show the process on a similar car.