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I am pretty sure that I need ball joints.  Know I need tie rods and have the inner and outer ordered.  I already replaced struts and stabilizer links.

 

2002 Taurus Wagon, U engine.

 

If I buy the tool (on sale for $79) from harbor freight (http://www.harborfreight.com/ball-joint-service-kit-for-2wd-and-4wd-vehicles-60827.html) can I replace the ball joints without taking the knuckles off the car?  Can I do it at all and is it work the effort on my part?

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I don't think this can be done without removing the knuckles. The CV axle may prevent the tool from sitting over the top of the ball joint. And if you've gone through the trouble of separating the CV axle from the knuckle, you may as well remove the knuckle and hold it in a vise to remove the BJ with the tool.

Soak the top side of the BJ with penetrating oil. Remove the large circlip that holds the joint in place. Expect a lot of corrosion between the aluminum knuckle and steel joint casing. It may even require heating the knuckle.

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I did mine last month. Knuckle can stay on the car. Remove brakes from hub and move out of the way. Pop the ball joint. Slide axle out of the hub and tie out of the way. Then you should have access to the ball joint with the tool you listed. Don't forget to remove the retaining clip. I had issues with the kit I had not having quite the right stuff, a deep well socket stuck over the stud end of the ball joint worked for me. My ball joints came out very easily on this car, I have not always had that much luck. As stated above penetrating oil is a good idea. And also some light taps with a hammer in coordinated locations will help (the strap that goes around the ball joint that is part of the knuckle. Try not to hit on the tool, and don't hit too hard either.)

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I am pretty sure that I need ball joints.  Know I need tie rods and have the inner and outer ordered.  I already replaced struts and stabilizer links.

 

2002 Taurus Wagon, U engine.

 

If I buy the tool (on sale for $79) from harbor freight (http://www.harborfreight.com/ball-joint-service-kit-for-2wd-and-4wd-vehicles-60827.html) can I replace the ball joints without taking the knuckles off the car?  Can I do it at all and is it work the effort on my part?

 

I did 3 BJ last year. I would not try to do it on the car. See pic, sometimes others have had the BJ off and over tightened. Yep, all 3 of the ones I did. One, I just bought a new LCA rather than pound it out.

One in Pic, I could not get out with puller, heat, big hammer as seen.

-chart-

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