Balljoint installation notes -- Doetsch users read also - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 05-30-2005
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Balljoint installation notes -- Doetsch users read also

Well, first, those of you with Doetsch spindles should do what Jon Dugan did (jdugan4859) when he installed his and grind or cut the edge off the outer radius of the lower arm as shown below. I didn't cut ANY off there, and discovered that it's a mistake not to cut it.



I found that the lower bolts that hold the spindle shaft to the body of the spindle were rubbing the a-arm badly, particularly on the drivers side. This was not apparent when I first assembled the side, but I tried it WITHOUT tightening the lower ball joint. But apparently when I tightened, it, it pulled the spindle in and it rubbed.

Word: grind or cut that outer radius. If you look at the pictures further down you can see that I did grind mine down finally.

Okay, now as for installing ball joints: BIG PAIN IN THE *** -- UNLESS you have a ball joint press.

Someone asked me about getting them out in another topic and I didn't pay much attention -- shame on me. You can't hammer them out (well maybe you can but I couldn't) and it's very frustrating. I couldn't rig anything up with a big C-clamp like someone told me you could do -- just can't get it in the right spot.

I rented a ball joint press from AutoZone for $99. Well, actually it's a loaner and I get the $99 back when I return it. Well worth tying up the money if you don't have one.

There are two attached pictures. Picture 1 shows the ball joint being pressed out. The tool is like a C-clamp on steroids. The end opposite the screw has a hole in it that the stud can pass through, and sleeves of different sizes that can be put on pedestals on either side of the tool

In picture 1 (removal configuration), the largest sleeve is on the bottom, and the screw is directly in contact with the ball joint (don't forget to remove the snap ring, by the way). You just torque until the ball joint falls down into that big sleeve. The big sleeve does not contact the ball joint, but goes around it and contacts the a-arm.

In picture 2 is one of two steps in the install. You use a smaller sleeve on the bottom that now contacts the flange around the ball joint. The top now has a pedestal on it that contacts the a-arm. Tighten until resisance increases dramatically, then stop.

I didn't take a picture of phase 2 of the install. In that, you put a sleeve on top that goes around the joint to contact the a-arm -- the sleeve goes between the pedestal and the a-arm. My tool was small enough that I had to do it in two stages. For all I know, you can start with the sleeve on it with other tools.

I wasted an INCREDIBLE amount of time farting around before I went and got the tool. With the tool, maybe an hour per side. I lost another 3 or 4 hours trying different things to remove it, and then traveling to parts stores trying to find a press (note: that's what the phone is for, MORON!)

Anyway, thought I'd share this with you.

Oh, and one more tip: It's almost impossible to get the spindle down over the ball joint stud. But you need it out of the way to use the press. The solution is to loosen your t-bar adjuster so the lower a-amp comes up quite a bit.

Then you can push the upper down enough to get the stud out of the spindle without prying or removing anything else. I did the replacement removing nothing but the tie rod ends from the spindle, one of the anti-sway bar links, and the lower ball joint castle nut. This saved some time and trouble. I know some say to remove the whole spindle -- but that's too much work.

And what condition were my old ball joints in? TOASTED. I can move them in and out by HAND, I don't even need a pry bar test. They were really gone and ready to fail. I think failing to cut the relief in the lowe arm made it worse by side-stressing the ball joint in ways it was not designed for.

EDIT: If you want one of these tools, Harbor Freight has them for about $20, and about $8 for shipping. http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=38335

Last edited by n3elz; 05-30-2005 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 05-30-2005
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Hey John. Wanna do mine!!!! You said that itz not neccessary to remove the spindle but from the look of it it might be easier to remove the spindle if your doing a 4x4. Now I suppose you need an alignment now. Are you gonna put a camber kit in it too and save some wear on those big *** 35s.
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Old 05-30-2005
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so, im doing a spindle lift on my 99 xlt 4x2, and i have no idea if this applies to me, is it only doetsch spindles? and it only for the edge model, or does it apply to regular xlt 4x2s?
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Old 05-31-2005
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hey thats my hand!!!! haha not jon's

sucks that the doetsch spindles hav eto trim teh LCA too... i wonder if the pro comp ones also rub on the LCA... i know my fabtech ones would rub like that in turns if i didnt grind the lip of the control arm off

gay-briel... it may not appy to you because u might have different control arms due to the coil springs... look at the instructions for the fabtech 5.5" lift for coil spring rangers on their website, i cant remember if you have to grind or not www.fabtechmotorsports.com

heres the linkl for installing spindles on a 99-00 coil ranger... unless i overlooked it, i dont think you have to grind the LCA lip at all

http://www.fabtechmotorsports.com/pd...on%20Sheet.pdf
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Old 05-31-2005
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There have been folks that said the Doetsch spindles for XLT's do NOT require grinding. They are different and apparently the geometry "works" on them without grinding, but I have no direct experience.

I need to measure this camber. The ball joint replacement looks to have "straightened" up the tires in the front even more. You can't really tell by eye unless it's pretty far off. The Doetsch spindles corrected SOME of the camber when I put them on. I'm wondering if I even need the kit now.

Luke, we can try yours. I have to take that tool back though. I'm thinking of buying the inexpensive Harbor Freight one.

As long as the wheels go straight and go back to center when I release in a turn, I don't worry about alignment except to adjust toe-in old-school style. The camber issue is something I want to work out. The old-school toe adjustment works pretty good and took out all the vibration in the front when I did it. Now I check it after every offroading trip, or big pothole, lol.
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Old 05-31-2005
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fery helpful as always... i dont think mine need to be replaced just yet but prob soon
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Old 05-31-2005
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i told you they were loose LMAO!


most of them are (stock ford crap) !
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Old 06-01-2005
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I will never doubt you again!!!

They were WAY loose. Like I say, a prybar was not needed. You could clearly feel it with the wheel in the air just by shaking it. I though the spindle nut was too loose, but no -- it was the ball joints.

I was shocked when I could pop the ball back and forth inside the joint when I got them off!
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Old 06-20-2005
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Hey John, how ya been?
Hey, quick thought. I have the spindles sitting in the closet (they are doing well lifting the other boxes) and i have gotten new upper and lower BJ's to replace when doing the install. Can i press the uppers to the spindle before installing everything and then bolt on the upper arms? Would this be easier or make things more difficult do you think?
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Old 06-21-2005
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I think you could do that -- it'll just be pretty heavy is all.

I need uppers still I'm sure. But I've been too cheap to get them yet, lol.

Good to hear from you -- you're the "invisible man" anymore!
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Old 06-21-2005
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lol...yeah i havent been on any boards for a while. when you get around to getting uppers, rockauto.com has a really good price on moog parts. i think i paid $260 shipped for both uppers and lowers. oh and btw, this will save you more:

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