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TOWN CAR LOWER BALL JOINT REPLACEMENT
Submitted by Dereck / 07-01-07


Have you recently noticed a squeaking or knocking from the front of your Town Car when you ride over some uneven pavement? It could be time for new lower ball joints. Today I am working on my limo buddy Glenn's Town Car which is useful as it over hangs my lift and makes life easier!


Tools You Will Need
  • Lug wrench
  • Torque wrench
  • ½ inch Socket set
  • Various wrenches
  • Jack stands
  • Hydraulic jack
  • Ball joint splitter
  • Ball joint press
  • Big hammer
Parts You Will Need
  • 2 Front lower ball joint
  • New pinch bolts/nylok nuts
  • Assorted cotter pins
Safety First

Park on firm level ground, apply the parking brake and put the gearshift into park.

Jacking Up Your Town Car

Jack your car on the frame one side at a time lowering it onto jack stands placed under the frame just behind the front wheels.

Let's Get Started

First off remove the wheels, next remove the brake caliper and place to one side, DO NOT allow it to hang on the flexi-hose. Remove the brake rotor if loose, indexing its position on the hub first.


Next undo the tie rod end and part the joint from the spindle, use a joint splitter or a couple blows with a hammer on the side of the spindle will usually do it. Now place your jack under the lower arm and just lift slightly so that the upper arm is just off the jounce stop, then undo the and remove the upper arm joint and sway bar end link


The spindle will now hinge out a bit on the lower ball joint, undo and split the lower joint as per the tie rod end earlier you can now lift the spindle assembly out and place to one side.


Now set up your ball joint press and push the old joint out of the lower arm, the joint is usually quite tight and will go with a crack when it starts to move, once moving it will slide out easily.


The picture above shows my cheapo ball joint press ready for the big push.
Refitting

Clean up the lower arm around the ball joint hole and lightly run round the inside of the ball joint fitting hole with some 100 grit paper to clean off any corrosion, do not over do it, also just lightly oil the hole so the new joint can slide in easier.


The picture above shows my cheapo ball joint press reversed ready for another push.

You may find the joint will start to tip on the way in -if it does, back off the press, reposition and try again. If you are having trouble getting the joint started then grind a small chamfer on the joint, this will help start the joint squarely in the lower arm.


Now in the tradition of all good shop manuals simply re-assemble in reverse order fitting your new pinch bolts, nylok nuts and cotter pins where appropriate also applying fresh thread-lok to the caliper mounting bolts.

Notes

'90 – '94 brake caliper shown, '95 onwards caliper has a slightly different mounting.

Up to '90 the upper ball joint uses a taper fit, 91 onwards it uses a pinch bolt.
Up to '90 the sway bar is mounted on the lower arm and need not be removed.
'91 – '94 uses a pinch bolt for the sway bar end link joint fixture, '95 onwards uses a taper for the sway bar end link fixture

Torque settings

Brake caliper mounting = 45 - 65 lb/ft(90 – 94)
Brake caliper mounting = 21 – 26 lb/ft (95 on)
Brake caliper anchor = 126 – 168 lb/ft (95 on)
Upper ball joint = 51 – 67 lb/ft
Sway bar end link = 30 – 40 lb/ft
Tie rod end = 35 – 47 lb/ft
Lower ball joint = 80 – 115 lb/ft
Wheels = 90 – 100 lb/ft

With castle nuts tighten to the lower torque figure, and then tighten a little more until the cotter pin hole aligns with a slot in the nut.

Check out these associated tech tips:

Sway bar end links ( http://www.lincolnsonline.com/tech/00038.html)
Upper ball joint ( http://www.lincolnsonline.com/tech/00112.html)

Here is Glenn with his limo!


Happy motoring!




Dereck


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