Below are pictures of suspension components from a 1997 ford crown
victoria with around 150k miles on it. The car handled really nasty and
made loud creaking noises too.
Here's the upper balljoint.
This joint appears to be in serviceable condition, and the cause of
being unable to maintain proper front suspension geometry appeared to
be the lower control arm bushings rather than the balljoints.
Normally, these joints would be covered in a thick chassis grease. But
for the photos this grease was removed by soaking the components in
Here's one of the tierods. This peice made loud creaking sounds when
installed on a vehicle. The grease inside dried up, and then moisture
corroded the joint.
This tierod was quiet, but it felt somewhat loose and had no preload.
No noticeable corrosion inside, but the grease had dried up and felt
sort of like silly putty.
Here's the tierod ball stud inside the polymer cap
And the tierod assemblies with the ball studs and cap removed
Here's the lower balljoint
When removing this balljoint from the steering knuckle, a hammer was
used in hopes of popping the stud out. This was unproductive and
enlarged the stud end so that the balljoint wouldn't come out when a
pickle fork was later pounded in. A little grinding got everything
apart in the end though.
This balljoint was really stuck in the knuckle. Ended up using a pickle
fork, and a 10 pound sledge hammer with a 3 foot handle on it to
seperate things. The large amount of force generated by the process
cracked the balljoint cup.
Prior to purchasing the car, the seller had replaced this tierod with
an aftermarket one to quiet noises. The other joints were in a little
better condition at the time, but not by much.
There's supposed to be a preload spring somewhere in here, but it went
flying off to places unknown when the tierod assembly was opened up.