I'm trying to replace the ball joints on my escort but i don't have a pickle fork. Most of the things i've seen so far without the fork require removing the calipers and rotor. Is there another method?
This year Escort uses a ball joint that attaches to the knuckle via a pinch bolt. It is not a taper fit shaft that is typically used. The ball joint shaft has a radius notch that the pinch bolt slides into. In theory once the bolt is removed the ball joint should slip out. The theory part means that a "pickle fork" may be needed to get the shaft to slip out. The ball-joint is attached to the control arm by two bolts. Not pressed in as shown in the generic video Typically the brakes must be removed to get the ball joint to clear the dust shield behind the rotor. You may be lucky and slip the ball joint past the dustshield by loosening the ball-joint to control arm mounting bolts. You may also have to remove the sway bar mounts from the control arm to allow it to pivot low enough to get the balljoint to clear.
I always prefer to use a scissor-type ball joint separator, like this one rather than a fork-type one, if it'll fit. They're less likely to cause damage to other parts (and to the joints themselves, but that doesn't matter if you're replacing them.
What's stopping you buying a fork-type one? They're incredibly cheap (the above site has them for £5, so less than US$10 ), certainly much less than the value of the time it'll take to remove and replace the brakes!
Just use a hammer, on the backside without knocking the axle.. In same time put a (long) iron bar for maintening down, and knock with medium force.
If it don't come, don't hurt you or the car, disassemble all the front half axle, this is quick and will be easy to dissasemble into separates parts when this is not under pressure.
Usually not necessary but sometimes better, not really longer.with good tools, and it is preferable to never force if you work alone, so the second solution could be better, depending of the context.