new to me 99, need front end advise-tips - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


Suspension Tech General discussion of suspension for the Ford Ranger.

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  #1  
Old 12-22-2013
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new to me 99, need front end advise-tips

So in between snow and ice storms I'm begining to see why I got the truck as a bargain. Behind the front wheels I see the upper ball joints are mostly naked! So I assume will need replacing soon. The lower rubber is there; but it's slipped off, so not holding grease in. Only 1 lower has a zerk. [does this mean the rest are originals?] I can't physically move/shake these parts; but they are on my short list to replace.

I do think I need shocks; tell me your thoughts. When driving, hit a bridge/bump it bounces real bad, once it felt like it was drifting (dribbling?) to the right real bad.
Shocks, ball joints, both? Something else?

How do I know what parts to order? Torsion bar or not?
Is there a front end kit that is cheaper than individual parts; but still good quality?

I'm not wanting a lift or off road; just a decent "cheap" daily driver; so any part recommendations? Online or national parts stores. For shocks, ball joints, etc.

Oh & I plan on eventually upgrading to 16" wheels (223/70/16 vs 225/70/15's now) same shocks for either? Just the $20-30 ones at autozone be fine?

I will get a pick posted soon.

Budget is tight right now; but thinking shocks will be quickest, cheapest fix for now, assuming that is the worst part needing fixed.

Last edited by 08hybridok; 12-22-2013 at 09:01 PM.
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Old 12-23-2013
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It would probably be best to do them all. Shocks defiantly and those are relatively easy. Ball joints are very important if they are severely worn they can separate and its not pretty when it happens. I saw a dodge ram at my shop and he declined to do them until he put it into the barrier on the interstate when it separated. There is no kit that I'm aware of but i rebuilt my entire front end with rock auto parts for around $200 thats ball joint control arms and a few other odds and ends. If it has coils then coil spring if theres bars instead its torsion bar. they are different. But do all the ball joints at the same time it has to be aligned each time so doing them all at once will save you money in the long run.
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Old 12-23-2013
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Thanks, my shocks are wrapped in a coil spring, so is that what it means? as far as I remember thats the only spring I saw upfront.
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Old 12-24-2013
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Yeah its the coil over your looking for then.
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Old 12-24-2013
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Thanks, got the $25 ones at AZ today (mid-grade).
Wasn't to hard to swap out; just used large pliers to hold the old one while loosening the top. Installing new couldn't do that, so vice grips to the top & tighten. Hope that is all there is to it.

The ones I took off were Motorcraft, could they still be original? (153k) Very easy to move ups & down.

Did a quick run; feels much better! Still squeaky; I did spray everything I could find with silicone/teflon lube. The upper ball joints look like crap (most of rubber is gone) but I tried to move things by hand today, and nothing moved (upper, lower, tirerods) so hopefully will be good for a while.

Guess I should replace the rear shocks soon too.

What is the black canister under the bed, in front of the tire? Has some wires plugged into it.
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Old 12-25-2013
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Yeah the squeak is definitely ball joints the rubber in side is most likely worn down to nothing so what you hear is the ball inside the socket bottoming out. The only way to see the play in them is jack the wheel a few inches off the ground and use a long pry bar or similar object to pick up on the tire. Id bet they move quite a bit that way. As long as they are loaded with vehicle weight you will most likely never see the move since most of the slop is up and down movement. 100-150,000 MI is the average life of those non greaseable factory ball joints not sure the conversion to KM us good old boys still use imperial lol but your probably close to the end of service life. Id be very careful cause theres really no more warning signs next step will be breaking parts unfortunately that annoying squeak is the only warning. The black canister is probably charcoal for fuel vapors part of the emissions stuff.
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Old 12-30-2013
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Thanks, I jacked it today; not under the control so it wouldn't be under weight, still couldn't get it to show any movement in the ball joints with a 3' crow bar. I'll need to get a helper out one day to confirm.

But I did feel the driver wheel give very minimal movement in the 12/6 o'clock positions, maybe 1/16-1/8", couldn't really see it, just feel it. Pass side, no movement in either direction.

Ball Joints, Tierods, or wheel bearings?
Where/how to start testing/replacing?

Would this video apply to my 99 for ball joints?

And this one for wheel bearing?

Which bearing do I need from AZ, Oreily or RockAuto? Apparently they are separate, inner & outer?
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Old 12-30-2013
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yes same method for the 03 model they are packed inside the rotor. Make sure you ask for new wheel seals and some grease as well you need the high temp stuff. And they will all be about the same price so if the local place has them id go for their parts i did mine when it got new rotors. As for testing move the wheel like it would turn (left and right) and watch the tie rod ends for slop. You pretty much tested the ball joints the squeak could be because it won't hold grease since the boots are gone so for now id just keep an eye on them but they will wear fast with no grease. to test the bearings grab the wheel at 12 and 6 and push in and out at the top if it moves a lot then most likely worn bearings.
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Old 12-31-2013
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Thanks, I'm positive the squeak is the upper (lower too?) control arm bushings. I keep hitting them with spray; but it ain't helping.
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Old 01-01-2014
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Yeah it may very well be not to keep steering you back to them but i still have to say ball joints cause i did the same thing with mine and it squeaked until i swapped the ball joints. And since the spray didn't help I'm even more convinced its something else. Also it could be coil spring seats they wear out and the spring rubs inside the seat. I replaced those to when i did the ball joints and they were pretty torn up.
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