Information resources for rebuilding front end? - 2002 Expedition 2wd 4.6L

Discussion in 'Suspension' started by Dudeth, Feb 14, 2019.

  1. Dudeth

    Dudeth Well-Known Member

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    I need to replace upper ball joints, lower control arms, inner and outer tie rod ends, idler arm, and stabilizer bar end links. Does anyone have any good resources for instruction? I've worked on pretty much everything else on vehicles before but never done any front suspension work other than shocks so I'm just trying to get some good info to make sure this is something I want to tackle myself because I can't afford to pay a shop to do it at the moment.

    Also, the kit I found says it's for pitman and idler arms with a 2.48" bolt pattern. How do I know if this is correct for me?

    Here's the kit:
    https://www.amazon.com/Complete-12-...d=1550168258&s=gateway&sr=8-4#customerReviews

    Thanks in advance!


     
  2. TobyU

    TobyU Full Access Members

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    On those it's much easier to just do the upper arm like you are buying. Mark the position it is in with a scribe mark on the frame so you can put the new one back close to the same as old as this is how the camber is adjusted for front end alignment. Of course after you install all you need to get a front end alignment. 4 wheel thrust crap not needed as yours is solid rear axle...despite many shops and techs will still have some spiel about why you need it of at leat why they are going to charge you that price...but I digress and step off of soapbox --for now-

    I'll try to cover best I can.
    Jack stands under frame with tires off ground. Jack under lower control arm to remove some pressure.

    Two bolts for upper arms, cotter pin out of ball joint stud then remove nut and pop out with hammer or separator (pickle fork)
    Get torque wrench and spec for installing new nut unless you can do tight with 3/8 or 1/2 ratchet and not snap off or strip out. Tighter better than looser but NOT to breaking sheeeet.

    Lowers- be glad its not 4x4. lol You have to pop out cv half shaft on those.
    On yours when upper is off you should be able to lower jack and control arm all the way. Remove cotter pin and nut and pop with hammer or separator again. Usually three good whacks and they pop out of steering knuckle.
    I'm not sure if it's easier to do lowers first or uppers but if you do uppers first just start the nut on upper and don't finish in case you need to move knuckle more.
    I don't take the steering knuckle completely off because then you have to remove more stuff.
    Some you can do lower ball joint with brakes and rotors on some are easier to pop rotor off.
    Anyway, the upper arm and joint holds knuckle up and you pop lower ball joint out and lower lower control arm.
    Then get the press you rented at the parts store. These might have a inner snap ring and if so remove it and some of the will drive out easily and i have used an air chisel whit flat tip to push them out too. But most car lowers are tight press fit and even with press they are a bear.
    Use the press (square tubing small press or large c-clamp looking press) and the appropriate size adapters so it pressed out of arm and into adapter ring when you tighten the press.

    Install new lower with press if needed to seat it. AS I said some with snap rings just slide right in. Then install new snap ring c-clip or whatever it has.

    Make sure you put rubber dust cover if it's not still there on ball joint stud then
    put stud through hole in lower arm install nut and tighten/torque to correct spec and insert cotter pin and bend the end back around.
    You often have to go a little more to get to closest lined up hole for pin to go though but there are multiple notches in nut so one is close.

    Tie rods. Pull the whole inner/outer with sleeve as unit. cotter pin on each nut then remove nuts, pop out with separator or hammer.

    Lay next to new parts and note left and and sleeves. There are some standard threads and left handed threads....gets confusing but that's so you can turn sleeve to adjust.
    Thread inner and outer into sleeve in proper configuration to as close to same distance from stud to stud when they are in straight 90 degree position as possible.
    This is attempt to get the same as old so the steering wheel will be centered as much as possible before your alignment. You can play with it later by one turn at a time of adjuster or doing a string alignment method.

    Put back in just like old came off with dust boots in proper place and nuts then cotter pins. then tighten adj sleeve clamps unless you are going to test and adj some.


    Pitman arm cotter pin probably and nut on smaller nut and then larger nut on steering shaft. Often need a puller for these..sometimes they tap wiggle off. PB blaster is your friend.

    Idler arm one cotter pin and nut to pop out and two bolts hold to frame.
    The 2.4 measurement thing should be the space between the bolt hole centers. You an measure yours and see what two possibilities are to see what yours is.

    Make certain all rubber dust caps are in place before you put the stud into corresponding hole and tighten or you will have to repop and redo.

    Double check ALL nuts before you put cotter pins in.

    Can't recall if 1st gen stabilizer are typical ford suspension ling ball and socket style of old style bolt and spacers.
    Either way oil threads and unbolts..Fast impact works as the ball and socket style sometimes like to turn and not loosen nut.
    I've even had to torch one out on a Jeep Wrangler.
    Just make sure you have correct R and L sides for these style as it can matter.
    The old style you just put washer then bushing then control arm then bushing then washer then spacer then washer then bushing then bar then bushing then washer then nut.
    Or something about like that. Then you turn yourself around...cause that's what it's ALL ABOUT!


    I like good deals and internet but I like to get lifetime parts locally so I can warranty them quickly and easily when I need to. I keep many vehicles for a good while and will use most warranties.
    I get the house brand lifetime ones like Mile Master or Tread Saver or whatever the call it at O'Reilly Auto Parts or Advance and sometimes Autozone.

    Prices aren't much more. Last upper ball joint I got for a Town Car was about wither 8.95 or 12.95.

    I don't do all the stuff at once as lots of it never wears out.
    Over the years certain cars have been know for like wearing upper ball joints out but lowers lasting almost forever...then other cars exact opposite.
    These 1st gens DO wear out upper ball joins and can separate dangerously.

    Tie rods often you will only have play in right outer or the outers and no play in others.
    I inspect and only do what's needed.
    Others go all out though.
     
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  3. Dudeth

    Dudeth Well-Known Member

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    Wow, thank you very much for the very detailed reply, it's much appreciated!!

    The shop didn't mention that the upper ball joints were bad, just that the lower control arm needed replacement. I didn't realize the uppers could be dangerous on these . :(
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2019
  4. 1955moose

    1955moose Full Access Members

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    You said in your post, upper ball joints, lower control arms. Toby got a bit carried away. It's not quite as tough as he detailed. As far as parts, the go to long lasting replacement parts are Moog problem solvers, they have grease fittings for long life. You regrease them about every 5k.The upper control arms come complete with new ball joints installed. The lower control arms should be too. If not Moog makes replacement ones, problem is you still have to change worn CA bushings. Better to buy complete arm. Pitman, and idler arm are in center of front lower frame. You should be able to take a measurement between the 2 bolts, to know if you have the 2 1/2 inch bolt centers. On my 2000 four wheel drive, I installed adjustable caster bolt kits on the top bolt that goes through upper control arms. Sometimes like in my case my caster measurements were off, that's the way the tire/rim is centered front to rear in fender well. Like Toby said, spray everything way ahead of time. Liquid wrench is good. You don't want to fight frozen/rusty bolts. If possible I'd order a Ford repair CD online. Their usually $20.00 or less on eBay. The Haynes and Clymer books are better than nothing, but barely. Good luck, you can do it.

    Sent from my N9131 using Tapatalk
     
  5. Dudeth

    Dudeth Well-Known Member

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    Whoops, my mistake about the upper ball joints. The shop didn't mention that they were bad but I figured since I was needing to do everything else I should do those as well. My expy has 340,000 miles on it and don't know how much more I will get out of the motor at this point so it's probably not a good idea to spend all the money on moog parts I'm thinkin...

    Also, it's my understanding that I will need an alignment after the work, is that correct?

    Thank you both for the input, I really appreciate it!
     
  6. 1955moose

    1955moose Full Access Members

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    With that kind of mileage I don't think rebuilding your worn parts is wise. Your putting good money after bad, as the saying goes. And putting in cheap Chinese parts with all that labor is just silly. If your SUV was a human, he'd be 85 years old. Just run it till it dies, then donate it or scrap it. Your looking at a money pit at this mileage point.

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  7. TobyU

    TobyU Full Access Members

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    I saw rebuilding front end and you said..."I need to replace upper ball joints, lower control arms, inner and outer tie rod ends, idler arm, and stabilizer bar end links."
    So I figured whole kit and caboodle...

    If you mark the upper control arm and measure/match up lengths on tie rods you can get it very close to where the alignment was but it is always best to go get alignment. Just like the chiropractor says. LOL

    I don't replace anything until it has play and is worn out. Often only one side or jsut the uppers wear and the other side or lowers are fine.

    Upper control arm with ball joint is about 30-45 minute job for a backyard guy like me with a floor jack and breaker bar to loosen the bolts.
     
  8. TobyU

    TobyU Full Access Members

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    I also think I just noticed that you said it's two wheel drive. That's a lot easier than four wheel drive. The lower ball joint should be a simple press out replacement. I might have missed it the first time but I might not have. I don't know. I forget things sometimes.
     

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