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Keeping Your Vehicle In Great Condition

Hi there, my name is Nellie. Welcome to my site. I am excited to share my knowledge about automotive service on this site. I would like to help everyone learn about how to keep their cars and trucks in excellent condition over the years. My site will cover all of the different maintenance and repair tasks required by vintage and modern vehicles. I will talk about the tools and safety equipment you must use for each task. I hope you can use the information on my site to keep your vehicle well-maintained and running great. Thank you for your visit.

Keeping Your Vehicle In Great Condition

How To Replace The Upper Control Arm On Your 1998-2011 Ford Ranger Pickup Truck

by Ana King

One of the main signs that the ball joint on an upper control arm on your Ford Ranger is going bad is that the wheel will wiggle back and forth. This will affect your steering and wear your tire down faster than normal. If you don't have a pneumatic or hydraulic press to squeeze the ball joint out of the control arm, the easiest way to fix a bad ball joint is to replace the control arm. This is a car repair project that can be done by truck owners who know how to do things like change a tire. If you are doing the work on your truck by yourself and you don't have a press to remove the ball joint, here is how you would replace the upper control arm on a 1998-2011 Ford Ranger pickup truck.

You Will Need:

  • New Upper Control Arm
  • Socket and Ratchet Set
  • Breaker Bar
  • Set of Metric Wrenches
  • Hammer
  • Pickle Fork
  • Side Cutters
  • Torque Wrench
  • Jack and Jack Stands
  • Wheel Lock Key

Remove Ball Joint from Spindle

Jack the truck up, place it on jack stands, and remove the front tire on the side of the truck you'll be replacing the upper control arm. The upper control arm is located near the top of the shock absorber. The bottom of the ball joint on the upper control arm is inserted into the top of a large part, called a spindle, which is located right in front of the shock absorber. The bottom of the spindle is connected to the wheel and axle. You need to remove the ball joint from the spindle to remove the control arm.

A pinch bolt holds the ball joint in place on the spindle. Take a 15mm socket and wrench and remove the nut to the bolt. You may have to use a hammer to tap the bolt out of the spindle. You need to force the ball joint out of the spindle with a pickle fork and a hammer.

A pickle fork is a tool that resembles a pry bar. It has two forks that slide around the base of the ball joint to force it up out of the spindle when you pound on the end of it with a hammer. Place the tip of the pickle fork up against the base of the ball joint, and pound the other end of the pickle fork with a hammer. The ball joint will pop out of the spindle.

Remove Inner Wheel Liner

You have to remove the mud flap first. The mud flap is held to the truck with three 7mm bolts and a couple of plastic clips. Remove the bolts and clips to take off the mud flap. You need to remove the three 5mm bolts connecting the edge of the inner lining to the front fender. Now remove the four 8mm along the middle of the liner. Remove the plastic clip on the liner near the front door. Disconnect the two vacuum lines attached to the liner. The vacuum lines will pull right off of the nipples on the liner. You can now pull the liner out of the wheel well.

Remove Control Arm

There is a 21mm bolt at both ends of the control arm. You will need to use a ratchet fitted with a breaker bar to loosen and remove the bolts. The control will pull out once the bolts are removed.

Installing New Control Arm

Set the new control arm into the place vacated by the old one. This is a tight fit, and you may have to tap new control arm into place with a hammer. Replace the bolts on both ends of the control arm. Do not tighten the bolts until the new ball joint has been inserted into the top of the spindle and you've raised the wheel up with a floor jack to increase the pressure on the suspension system. Place the bottom of the ball joint into the spindle, and tap it down with the hammer.

Replace the pinch bolt. You should use a torque wrench to tighten the pinch bolt to 41-foot pounds. Lift the wheel up with your floor jack until it stops. Use the torque wrench to tighten the two bolts on the ends of the control arm to 100-foot pounds. Release the floor jack, and remove it after you've tightened the control arm bolts.

Replace Liner and Mud Flap

Replace the liner and mud flap in the opposite order in which you took them apart to finish the job.