Ford Crown Victoria / Mercury
Grand Marquis Lower Ball Joint /
Control Arm


Step-by-step guide for replacing the lower ball joints and A-arms on your Ford 1994-2004 Crown Victoria and/or Mercury Grand Marquis. The instructions would probably also be equally applicable to a Lincoln Towncar from the same years but this has not been verified. This is not a difficult job by any means and most folks with even modest mechanical ability would pile right in even without instructions. That said, even if you're an accomplished do-it-yourselfer we have documented the process and some of what you'll find in these instructions might save you some time and headache. Although not designed to be completely exhaustive in nature (i.e., idiot-proof), anyone with even the most modest mechanical skills and some relatively common tools should be able to readily accomplish the procedure described. That said, your front suspension is a critical componenet of keeping your car safe and roadworthy. If you read through the described procedure before beginning and get concerned about your skills to accomplish the task then take your car to a reputable repair shop (if you can find one) and have them replace your upper ball joints with quality replacement parts. If you do decide to take on this procedure yourself please drop us a line and give us some feedback on the content of this site. We're always trying to improve our content and we love getting feedback from fellow Do-It-Yourselfers

Getting Started

When replacing your lower ball joints you can take one of two approaches: A.) replace the individual ball joints themselves or B.) replace the entire lower A-arm assembly with new pre-assembled units. If you choose to replace the ball joints themselves they need to be removed (pressed out) from the A-arm (control arm) and new ball joints have to be pressed in with a special tool or by a shop press. If you go this route you'll probably want to remove/replace the lower A-arm bushings as well (which are also pressed in). Not a huge deal if you have a press (we didn't) or know a local shop that will remove and replace the ball joints for you (we do but chose not go that route). The other method is to buy A-arm assemblies which already have new ball joints installed as well as new A-arm bushings.

We chose to replace the entire A-arm assembly for several reasons. 1.) Our test car needed new lower A-arm bushings as well as new ball joints. The new, pre-assembled units come with both. 2.) We had limited time to perform the repair and wanted to get the car back on the road the same day if possible. Since we didn't have a shop press (and assumed most of our readers wouldn't either) taking the lower A-arms off and to a shop where they might sit for a few days was not an option we desired to pursue. 3.) We got a discounted price on pre-assembled units and free shipping which made the cost of new control arms not much more than buying the discrete parts (ball joints and bushings) and having to pay some labor to have them pressed out and new units pressed in. That said, it's still probably cheaper overall to replace the individual components rather than buy all-new control arm units as we did. If you want to save $30-$40 go with Option A mentioned above. If you want to get it done faster and be able to do it without special tools go with Option B as we did in the following instructions. Check out our sponsors for good prices on the parts you need regardless of the option you choose.

Over time the lower ball joints wear out and cause your car's front end to feel "loose" and can create vibrations and "clunking" in your car's front suspension. You will definitely want to inspect the lower control arm bushings for wear. If these bushings are overly worn this is a great time replace them as well. It's always a good idea to replace the ball joints on BOTH sides of your car. If one is worn out the other one probably is too (or close to it). Also, you will need to have the front end aligned once the repair is complete. If you do one at a time you'll end up paying for multiple front end alignments. If you try to go the cheap-O route and just replace one side we'd question your manhood and call you names behind your back.

Replacing the lower ball joints is a fairly straight-forward job and you don't need too many tools to accomplish the task. That said, suspension bolts are very tight and require some muscle to get them loose (and some muscle to re-torque them properly). As with all repairs, read through the instructions first, take your time and be careful. Working under a car is an inherently dangerous activity. Always make sure to use a jackstand in addition to a floor jack when working under a car. Let's get started...

Tools & Supplies

This procedure does not require many tools but if you have the necessary tools at your side when you need them it will save you some time.

Tools & Supplies You'll Need...
  • Floor jack or bottle jack AND a jackstand.
  • 2nd floor jack or bottle jack (for supporting the lower control arm).
  • 3/8" or 1/2" drive ratchet (1/2" drive preferably)
  • 24mm socket or wrench
  • 19mm socket or wrench
  • 14mm socket or wrench
  • 13mm socket or wrench
  • Large-face hammer or mallet
  • Rubber mallet
  • Lugwrench
  • Pickle fork(s)

Crown Victoria / Grand Marquis
Upper Ball Joint Replacement
Ford / Lincoln / Mercury
4.6L Intake Manifold Repair
Crown Victoria / Grand Marquis
Front Speaker Upgrade
Crown Victoria / Grand Marquis
Rear Speaker Upgrade
Crown Victoria / Grand Marquis
Front Brake Rebuild
Crown Victoria / Grand Marquis
Rear Brake Rebuild
Crown Victoria / Grand Marquis
Tie Rod Replacement
Ford 4.6L Intake Air Control
(IAC) Valve Replacement
Ford / Mercury / Lincoln
OBDII PCM Trouble Codes

One of the less-common items you will need is a set of pickle forks (see picture below). These are used to seperate the ball joint from the the spindle. You can find them at auto parts stores (often times on the "cheap tool table" or at places like Harbor Freight). You'll also need a good size (weight) hammer to use the pickle forks effectivly. We used a 3lb "drilling" hammer (kind of small, hand-held sledge hammer) and it worked well because it has some weight to it and a large striking face. If you don't have this type of hammer (or some other heavy, large-face hammer) your might want to get one. They make the job a lot easier and less likely that you'll accidently hit your hand, cuss and have to get your wife to drive you to the emergency room, etc.

Replacement parts...

You will also need lower ball joints. There are variety of opinions on which brand(s) of parts to use and whether or not to use OEM (Ford) parts. There are definitely a large number of knowledgable repair people who strongly believe that many OEM Ford suspension parts are better-made and last longer than many if not most of the aftermarket replacement parts. For example, many mechanics who service Crown Victoria police and fleet vehicles often prefer OEM Ford parts becuase in their experience they just last longer and hold up better.

Having said that, Ford does not actually make lower ball joints (or tie rods, etc.) they source them from companies like TRW, Moog, Dana, and others. These same companies market their parts through your local auto parts stores. We chose to use some aftermarket lower control arm aseemblies from MevoTech which looked good and fit nicely. Our only complaints about these parts is that the ball joints on these pre-assebled units did not have grease fittings or provisions for them and the new parts also did not include new rubber bump-stops; we had to remove and re-use the ones from the orignal control-arms.

Looking Underneath...

The picture below shows some of the suspension components you'll see when you get under your car.

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