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I'm having a go at my car's ball joints. I got the knuckle off without too much trouble, but now that I am trying to press out the lower ball joint, I seem to be getting nowhere. I have a press, with the screw pressing down on the "top" of the ball joint, with a cup pressing against the control arm from below. At a certain point, I cannot turn the screw on the press no matter what, and the ball joint hasn't moved one bit.

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As far as I can tell, this is the correct arrangement; it matches both the diagram provided in the packaging in the press, as well as a document for a 2010 crown victoria, which I understand to have the same suspension (and it sure looks like it):

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I am certain I have removed the snap ring, and everything else looks to be correct. Am I misunderstanding anything about how the ball joint press works? Is there some step I am missing? Am I misunderstanding how much force I need?

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  • Your approach looks legit to me. I'd recommend heating the outside ring with a torch so it expands and loosens its iron grip on the ball joint. Dec 1 '20 at 21:45
  • You didn't take of picture of the joint before you fitted the press, but make sure the top adaptor is small enough so it doesn't catch on the ball joint housing as you press on the ball, and the bottom adaptor tube is long enough to allow the ball to move down inside it. The press probably came with a selection of different adaptors and spacers.
    – alephzero
    Dec 1 '20 at 21:56
  • @alephzero - I don't think there's a problem with the top ... it's pressing directly on the top of the ball joint (threaded part). The bottom on the other hand ... That's what I'd check first. Dec 1 '20 at 22:09
  • @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 I can't tell from the pictures whether the top-hat-shaped piece is an adaptor, or the top of the joint itself. Sometimes you need a dome-shaped adaptor to fit over the ball and then press on the top of the dome.
    – alephzero
    Dec 2 '20 at 1:08
  • @alephzero - It's the pin of the C-clamp directly against the ball joint. Dec 2 '20 at 1:33
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Looking at online suppliers it appears available either as a balljoint or a new control arm with a ball-joint. This may be a case where the most prudent (albeit more expensive) method is to replace the whole arm. The arm is cast aluminum. This limits the amount of heat and pressure you can apply. Ammonia is supposed to work at dissolving the corrosion that forms when steel (the ball joint) is in contact with Aluminum (control arm). You could try wrapping an ammonia soaked rag around the ball joint for several days to see if it helps. Short of that buy an entire arm.

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It took a while before I was able to tackle this again, but Alephzero and Paulster were correct -- the cup on the bottom was not deep enough, and pressed on the bottom of the ball joint instead of just the control arm. After getting a deeper cup, I was able to get out the lower ball joints with very little fuss.

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