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Old 07-06-2015, 09:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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i just finished this job and to answer the question for anyone else in the same position, yes, the upper control arm must be removed to replace the upper ball joint. it takes almost the exact same amount of work to replace the ball joint on its own as it does to replace the ball joint with new upper control arm so the only reason to get the twice-as-expensive ball joint with UCA is if the bushings on the UCA mounting arm are worn out (since the new UCA comes with a new mounting arm with new bushings). anyway, so here is what i did.

- disconnect brake caliper, rotor, tie rod, CV nut, and both ball joints, and remove steering knuckle
- undo 17 mm nuts in engine bay that are next to strut mount
- remove nut and bolt that fastens bottom of strut to lower control arm
- with bottom of strut now able to move a bit, work UCA (upper control arm) down lower for access and undo 14 mm nuts and bolts that connect it to the mounting arm
- with UCA free, remove spring clip from ball joint boot, remove boot, use snap ring pliers to remove snap ring from base of ball joint, and use hammer to bash old ball joint out
- installation is reverse but i'll note the important things
- marks on new ball joint must be aligned with marks on UCA as per instructions
- tap the new ball joint into place with boot off, being careful not to get dirt in the grease. then install snap ring, than rubber boot, than spring clip over boot. must be done in that order because the snap ring will not fit over the boot
- marks on UCA must be aligned with marks on mounting arm as per FSM

also of note is that you need to use either a big hammer or a pickle fork to separate the upper ball joint from the knuckle. this is because a puller doesn't fit due to the angle of the knuckle arm that goes up to the ball joint.

took me a few hours but i could probably do it in less next time.

Last edited by dlb; 07-07-2015 at 12:08 AM..
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