not saying this is the right way, or the wrong way, to replace ball joints, but its the way I did it!
jack truck up under lower control arm, place jack stand under front frame member and remove tire/wheel.
disconect the abs brake sensor on the inside of wheel well its the top one.(4x4 only)
remove brake caliper and hang it up out of the way, I used zip tie.
remove cotter pins from the upper/lower ball joints, tie rod and axle shaft.
remove nuts from upper ball joint,tie rod and axle shaft.
useing pickle fork break upper control arm from knuckle.
to remove tie rod I hit the knuckle until tie rod pops out and remove.
loosen but do not remove lower ball joint nut, useing pickle fork break lower ball joint and knuckle apart. now remove nut, but be carefull the knuckle will drop down, remove knuckle and axle shaft at same time.
this is what it looks like apart.
tip tie axle shaft out of the way.
remove clip that holds the lower ball joint into the lower control arm.
useing wd-40 a socket and hammer pound the ball joint out.(its a socket I don't like)
now to install lower ball joint I went to plumbing store, found pipe that the ball joint fits inside.
start ball joint in lower control arm, put pipe over ball joint, put jack under pipe, start to jack up putting pressure on joint and pipe, spray with wd-40 then start tapping lower control arm with hammer until ball joint is in place.
install new clip and lower ball joint is replaced.
upper ball joint/A arm take the two nuts off and remove the two bolt.
remove A arm and repace with new one and put bolt and nuts back on.
I used jack to help put lower ball joint/axle shaft back onto knuckle, they have to be done at the same time.
now put everything together, install nuts and torque to spec's
install cotter pins, brake caliper,abs sensor and wheel/tire
And now I saved lots of money and you can too!
I just ordered a kit off ebay that has both side upper A arms, lower ball joints, inner and outer tie rods, idler arm and drag link for $179 plus $30 for shipping. I checked all the part numbers and its repackaged Moog parts. I priced all this stuff out at a couple parts stores and was at almost $500 for everything. Much cheaper this way. I went ahead and got some Energy suspension sway bar bushings and end links since Ill already have the front end apart. I am trying to get ahold of some Bilstein shocks cheap. Not having any luck there. Might have to pay close to full price for them.
The factory ball joints do seem to last forever on these things. I have a 96 with a straight 6 RWD, and I did mine at 175k. The things were rusted in solid, and the boots were COMPLETELY gone. The funny thing is that they were just fine, I replaced them solely because of appearance! lol
Lol speaking of lasting forever, my ball joints had worn good 2inch diameter holes in themselves before they started going bad and even then the ride wasn't that bad. Just bumpy and squeky over train tracks.. haha
Also I will be changing the cheap chinese autozone ball joints the mechanic put in about 10k miles ago this week... Never go to a mechanic if you can help it