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Good to know. I'm half tempted to do this job myself, but my local guy has the tool, and he has pullers for the control arm, and lots of experience, so I plan to watch and learn while he does the passenger side, then I may brave the driver's side myself someday if it becomes necessary.

I've historically avoided significant mechanical work on a vehicle's critical systems, since my background is EE, and I didn't want to void the warranty, but I'm starting to wonder if I'm just throwing away money. I'm fairly capable and have plenty of tools.

My guy said the same thing as you about having it jacked up and only losing a tiny bit of fluid. I bought the diff fluid Amazon prime so if he doesn't use any or if I only see a cap full drip out, I'll just return and get refunded.

Is there any process to disassembling the joint itself? The ford workshop service manual doesn't get into that. Does it just pull apart, or is there a release mechanism? I kind of want to clean out the joint completely in-case I got any sand/dust in there, versus just removing the old boot and immediately installing/repacking the new one. But not if there's risk of damaging the joint when disassembling, or little clasps or pins or something that might get damaged.

The silicone boots are linked in the first post, but I may not have worded it clearly. I linked it under "this site that Van Compass directed me to."

Happy to help spread the word. This forum has helped me many times over.

Cheers.
****...76 dollars for a single CV boot! Those things better be good, especially in an era when one can buy a reman CV axle from Oreilly's for 100 bucks!

Typically there is a circlip that holds the CV joint itself together. Once removed, the carrier and three giant ball bearing along with *ssloads of grease fall out. Ford def wouldn't give directions for rebuilding or disassembling a joint because in their minds, once a boot is compromised, the joint is bad and the whole axle should be replaced. In many cases this is true because most people don't notice until the joint itself starts to make noise.

If you don't want to disassemble the joint, it looks like those pneumatic spreaders are sold on ebay. Probably not good enough for shop use, but to do two axles, I bet they would be fine. Lastly, there are lots of plastic funnel type expander devices that will take some muscle, but still allow for replacement of the boot without disassembly. Even if you don't disassemble the joint, you could still flush it and repack with fresh grease.

I still have a lot of other projects higher on the to do list for the van, and technically my warranty remains intact because I went with the Qlift. Maybe when I get near warranty death, I'll buy a couple of near axles, do the boots, and put them in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
****...76 dollars for a single CV boot! Those things better be good, especially in an era when one can buy a reman CV axle from Oreilly's for 100 bucks!

Typically there is a circlip that holds the CV joint itself together. Once removed, the carrier and three giant ball bearing along with *ssloads of grease fall out. Ford def wouldn't give directions for rebuilding or disassembling a joint because in their minds, once a boot is compromised, the joint is bad and the whole axle should be replaced. In many cases this is true because most people don't notice until the joint itself starts to make noise.

If you don't want to disassemble the joint, it looks like those pneumatic spreaders are sold on ebay. Probably not good enough for shop use, but to do two axles, I bet they would be fine. Lastly, there are lots of plastic funnel type expander devices that will take some muscle, but still allow for replacement of the boot without disassembly. Even if you don't disassemble the joint, you could still flush it and repack with fresh grease.

I still have a lot of other projects higher on the to do list for the van, and technically my warranty remains intact because I went with the Qlift. Maybe when I get near warranty death, I'll buy a couple of near axles, do the boots, and put them in.
I hear you, and I was very hesitant to spend that much, but for me it's more the hassle than the cost. I just don't want to be in Alaska or some remote wilderness and have it happen again. It hit me at 10k miles, so I bet it'll happen once per year if I just replace the axle or use a substandard boot.

Having said that, VC directed me to this pair: Replacement CV Boot - Products - Off Road Solutions

I bet they'd hold up very well, much better than the Ford pair, and they are much cheaper than the high angle silicone ones. I didn't ask ORS how well they expand though (presumably they do).

Good to know the spreader tool is on ebay. I thought about doing this DIY with the cone trick but I'm buried in so many projects right now that if my local guy can nock this out for me in one day, it seems worth it. Ford doesn't consider cv boot damage warranty covered, so I doubt Qlift would either. It's more of a road hazard thing, but I'm the same way, I don't want to do any work or any customizations beyond what I've paid others to do in-case something else breaks, otherwise they might blame it on my work. Once the warranty expires though...

Thank you for the joint rebuilding tips. I'll inspect when we get the oem boot off. If I see any evidence of sand/dirt, I'll see what we can do to flush. Good to know it's just a circlip. Assuming we can get that off without damage, I may try to fully clean it out.

Cheers.
 

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I hear you, and I was very hesitant to spend that much, but for me it's more the hassle than the cost. I just don't want to be in Alaska or some remote wilderness and have it happen again. It hit me at 10k miles, so I bet it'll happen once per year if I just replace the axle or use a substandard boot.

Having said that, VC directed me to this pair: Replacement CV Boot - Products - Off Road Solutions

I bet they'd hold up very well, much better than the Ford pair, and they are much cheaper than the high angle silicone ones. I didn't ask ORS how well they expand though (presumably they do).

Good to know the spreader tool is on ebay. I thought about doing this DIY with the cone trick but I'm buried in so many projects right now that if my local guy can nock this out for me in one day, it seems worth it. Ford doesn't consider cv boot damage warranty covered, so I doubt Qlift would either. It's more of a road hazard thing, but I'm the same way, I don't want to do any work or any customizations beyond what I've paid others to do in-case something else breaks, otherwise they might blame it on my work. Once the warranty expires though...

Thank you for the joint rebuilding tips. I'll inspect when we get the oem boot off. If I see any evidence of sand/dirt, I'll see what we can do to flush. Good to know it's just a circlip. Assuming we can get that off without damage, I may try to fully clean it out.

Cheers.
I understand. I don't even have the issue of more severe CV angle than stock, and I'm still considering the upgrade. Still, I'd bet money I could get Ford to cover a torn CV boot unless there was a stick stuck in it, or Paul Hogan was under there with his knife. In most cases CV boot failure is just a matter of angle, time, and material fatigue. On subaru's they fail due to proximity to the hot exhaust. If you want my free opinion (what's its worth), your CV boot failed because of the VC lift combined with the already severe angle of the stock passenger CV.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
I understand. I don't even have the issue of more severe CV angle than stock, and I'm still considering the upgrade. Still, I'd bet money I could get Ford to cover a torn CV boot unless there was a stick stuck in it, or Paul Hogan was under there with his knife. In most cases CV boot failure is just a matter of angle, time, and material fatigue. On subaru's they fail due to proximity to the hot exhaust. If you want my free opinion (what's its worth), your CV boot failed because of the VC lift combined with the already severe angle of the stock passenger CV.
I thought the exact same thing initially, but two things changed my mind:

1) The first time I heard the mild boot deformation/rubber flipping sound was the same day I had driven through deep sand with buried rocks, and even recalled thinking "the center berm is higher than usual today, I'm hearing scraping". It's a section I've gone through many times that is always hair raising. Lots of people get stuck there. I documented it in this post.

2) And the clincher was upon inspection I found clear evidence that a rock had punctured/deformed the boot in one specific location. See that pockmark in the center? That's where the grease is exiting. That's clearly been done by an object. Plus, my Ford dealer has already warned me that bringing the van in with big tires and a lift will void any future warranty claims (they did a rack and pinion for me due to the wheel shake issue that many non-lifted people have also resolved that way). If I brought them this, they'd make me pay. And even if they didn't, I'd just bust it again next year because the boot material is really thick, almost like plastic, so it can't deform and recover like silicone can. That's exactly what happened to the other guy who also had this problem, and 2 other forum people who have had inner cv boot issues.
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Cheers.
 

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I thought the exact same thing initially, but two things changed my mind:

1) The first time I heard the mild boot deformation/rubber flipping sound was the same day I had driven through deep sand with buried rocks, and even recalled thinking "the center berm is higher than usual today, I'm hearing scraping". It's a section I've gone through many times that is always hair raising. Lots of people get stuck there. I documented it in this post.

2) And the clincher was upon inspection I found clear evidence that a rock had punctured/deformed the boot in one specific location. See that pockmark in the center? That's where the grease is exiting. That's clearly been done by an object. Plus, my Ford dealer has already warned me that bringing the van in with big tires and a lift will void any future warranty claims (they did a rack and pinion for me due to the wheel shake issue that many non-lifted people have also resolved that way). If I brought them this, they'd make me pay. And even if they didn't, I'd just bust it again next year because the boot material is really thick, almost like plastic, so it can't deform and recover like silicone can. That's exactly what happened to the other guy who also had this problem, and 2 other forum people who have had inner cv boot issues.
View attachment 169535
Cheers.
Both fair points. Sounds like you basically ran over Paul Hogan and found evidence of it on the boot itself. I'm glad to hear that someone is pushing the AWD vans like everyone with 4wd says is impossible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Both fair points. Sounds like you basically ran over Paul Hogan and found evidence of it on the boot itself. I'm glad to hear that someone is pushing the AWD vans like everyone with 4wd says is impossible.
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Cheers.
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Given the stresses associated with the CV joint, it looks like a way to secure the boot takes a special tool: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002SRCZQ or similar.

Got me going down a rabbit hole of "high angle cv joints" - the space constraints in the front in a Transit AWD setup are likely a limiting factor, but still, seems like a solved problem. Maybe just a matter of time until someone comes up with an ingenious solution to the problem of having Transits lifted more than 2".

Added: Living vicariously though Automotive CV Joints & Kits - Pat's Driveline :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Hey folks,

I got the upgraded inner CV boot installed by my local garage. Glad I used them, because getting the control arm off the ball joint was difficult. I might have given up on my own out of fear of damaging the ball joint, but my mechanic insisted that it was normal. Ford has a lift for these massive vans, so they can get it up in the air, then use a special long tool to get leverage and pry the arm down, but at home or at a local garage with the vehicle jacked up on one side, there's not enough clearance for that (and who would have that specialized tool anyways). It took a puller tool, which Ford does depict in their graphic above, a heat gun to warm up the metal, jacking the loosened nut+bolt under the ball joint, and repeated blows with a sledge hammer to get it to pop off. That last part made me pretty nervous, but my mechanic insisted you can't break a solid steel control arm, and in hindsight it looks like his experience was correct.
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With the control arm off, everything went smooth until we got to the boot expander tool. It required letting air out of his compressed air tank until the compressor kicked on to get extra force for the tool, then repeated expansions to loosen up the small end of the boot, plus two people forcing the boot higher onto the metal ribs, then finally we were able to push the cv joint into the tool and then remove it over the joint.
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One tip is to be careful about squeezing the boot when you are putting the axle back into the differential. We did that, and it let all the air out, but then the boot was deformed. After driving it a while at full speed, it seems to have recovered, the clamps are so tight (good, no grease will leak) that I don't know if air got back in or the boost just warms up and eventually restores its normal shape. While doing a different job this weekend, I noticed when the control arm was all the way down, the boot had that deformed shape appearance. But I drove it out of his shop on a test run and didn't hear any unusual noises, and upon return the boot was in the right shape (warmed up I think). So it's probably a non-issue. Just thought I'd mention it for anyone else who tries this. The silicone boots linked earlier in this thread are also larger, and per the vendor, it's okay to push the small clamp end further up the axle than the oem ford boots. We stopped just at the edge of the bar code sticker, which barely gets under the loose outer lip of the clamped boot material. I thought about removing the sticker entirely, but it seems to be holding well and no leaks.
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The real question is whether this boot survives any longer than the Ford one. I think it will. Silicone is very flexible. The Ford boot had many nicks and marks on it, so I've probably hit it on high center berm sections a few times before. I'll keep an eye on this one and see how it goes.

I bought two of the silicone boots, but decided not to do the passenger outer one. It seems like the inner is the most common one for problems, and I may need to replace the entire passenger axle someday due to the lift and a lot of heavy off-road use (my mechanic said Ford cv joints are trash, and the angle on this one is really bad). If I replace the axle, I'll want to upgrade the boot on the new one, so having that second boot in storage seems like the way to go. And if the driver inner or either of the outers fails, I can upgrade them.

Cheers.
 

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Hey folks,

I got the upgraded inner CV boot installed by my local garage. Glad I used them, because getting the control arm off the ball joint was difficult. I might have given up on my own out of fear of damaging the ball joint, but my mechanic insisted that it was normal. Ford has a lift for these massive vans, so they can get it up in the air, then use a special long tool to get leverage and pry the arm down, but at home or at a local garage with the vehicle jacked up on one side, there's not enough clearance for that (and who would have that specialized tool anyways). It took a puller tool, which Ford does depict in their graphic above, a heat gun to warm up the metal, jacking the loosened nut+bolt under the ball joint, and repeated blows with a sledge hammer to get it to pop off. That last part made me pretty nervous, but my mechanic insisted you can't break a solid steel control arm, and in hindsight it looks like his experience was correct.
View attachment 169800
With the control arm off, everything went smooth until we got to the boot expander tool. It required letting air out of his compressed air tank until the compressor kicked on to get extra force for the tool, then repeated expansions to loosen up the small end of the boot, plus two people forcing the boot higher onto the metal ribs, then finally we were able to push the cv joint into the tool and then remove it over the joint. View attachment 169801
One tip is to be careful about squeezing the boot when you are putting the axle back into the differential. We did that, and it let all the air out, but then the boot was deformed. After driving it a while at full speed, it seems to have recovered, the clamps are so tight (good, no grease will leak) that I don't know if air got back in or the boost just warms up and eventually restores its normal shape. While doing a different job this weekend, I noticed when the control arm was all the way down, the boot had that deformed shape appearance. But I drove it out of his shop on a test run and didn't hear any unusual noises, and upon return the boot was in the right shape (warmed up I think). So it's probably a non-issue. Just thought I'd mention it for anyone else who tries this. The silicone boots linked earlier in this thread are also larger, and per the vendor, it's okay to push the small clamp end further up the axle than the oem ford boots. We stopped just at the edge of the bar code sticker, which barely gets under the loose outer lip of the clamped boot material. I thought about removing the sticker entirely, but it seems to be holding well and no leaks.
View attachment 169802
The real question is whether this boot survives any longer than the Ford one. I think it will. Silicone is very flexible. The Ford boot had many nicks and marks on it, so I've probably hit it on high center berm sections a few times before. I'll keep an eye on this one and see how it goes.

I bought two of the silicone boots, but decided not to do the passenger outer one. It seems like the inner is the most common one for problems, and I may need to replace the entire passenger axle someday due to the lift and a lot of heavy off-road use (my mechanic said Ford cv joints are trash, and the angle on this one is really bad). If I replace the axle, I'll want to upgrade the boot on the new one, so having that second boot in storage seems like the way to go. And if the driver inner or either of the outers fails, I can upgrade them.

Cheers.
Very cool. Thanks for the follow up. Yeah, those ball joints can be nuts sometimes. You should try removing the pitman arm on a 30 year old 1 ton truck.

Do you think the same size boots would work for the outer joint?
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Very cool. Thanks for the follow up. Yeah, those ball joints can be nuts sometimes. You should try removing the pitman arm on a 30 year old 1 ton truck.

Do you think the same size boots would work for the outer joint?
Sure thing. Glad to help.

Yes, I'm pretty sure the same boots will work. See the original post where another guy on the forum documented installing on both inner and outer. No feedback from him about that being a problem. But the outer boot is better protected by the control arm (again, see photos in original post for a better view of that), so I'm not sure it even needs it. If it does, then the driver side outer is also at risk. So far I've only see forum posts about the passenger inner. And swapping these boots out when it's time for a new front axle is a PITA. I'd rather only do what's absolutely necessary.

Cheers.
 

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Thanks for all the info. Hope you get more than 10k out of the new boot otherwise this could become a yearly maintenance task (or a per-trip task).
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Thanks for all the info. Hope you get more than 10k out of the new boot otherwise this could become a yearly maintenance task (or a per-trip task).
Right? I sure hope these hold up better. The high angle silicone boots feel like they will hold up. Van Compass was really negative about the material Ford uses. I think it's half the problem.

Cheers.
 

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I wonder if there’s some way to wrap the stock boots in some material to protect them before the go bad, athletic tape wrap or something like that. Might be a silly idea, but if you protect them from puncture that might help
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
I wonder if there’s some way to wrap the stock boots in some material to protect them before the go bad, athletic tape wrap or something like that. Might be a silly idea, but if you protect them from puncture that might help
I thought about that just to prevent grease from coming out on the way to the local garage (I had already spent a good hour wiping grease off just about everything under the van). But they spin at 80mph, and are designed to change shape in a manner that doesn't create excessive rub/wear/friction/heat. I'm pretty sure any kind of tape wrap would impede that, or would wear off very fast. It may still be possible. That's just my sense of it.

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That make sense for sure, good thinking. I’ll run my CVS as is til they go (or the boot goes), then I’ll upgrade
 

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Hi, I have the Van compass Awd lift with the bilstein struts and heavier springs. I bought the lift before VC stopped selling the bilstein struts for the AWD lift. My Van has 60k km on it with about 55k km on it since I installed the lift.
The front end has been squeaking intermittently for over a year but I couldn't find the source.
I was changing my wheels and discovered that my lower ball joints are now worn out with about 1/4" of play when I shake the wheels side to side. If I had known they were wearing out I would have injected grease into the ball joints with a needle. Which I have done now to try and prolong their life. I strongly suspect that the ball joints did not have enough grease form the factory.
That's not a big problem for me as I'm not afraid to change the ball joints myself. The problem I'm having is the AWD ball joints are specific to the AWD and they are on back order everywhere. I managed to find 1 but can't find a 2nd. I will have to run the worn out joints until I can find the 2nd.
My inner passenger CV boot has also started to wear through from the extreme angle. The pleats are rubbing against each other and grease is seeping out. I managed to buy the whole replacement CV shaft at rockauto. I will install it and re-boot the old CV shaft with silicone boots and keep as a spare.

Once I have all the parts, My plan is to replace the ball joints and the passenger CV shaft. Then install the original springs and struts while keeping the strut spacer for a mild lift with better CV and ball joint angles. I will also have to lower the back down too as the van will sit too high in the back.

I'm really starting to regret buying the AWD transit. It really bugs me that the van is so low to the ground and can't even be lifted 2 1/2 inches without causing extremely accelerated wear on the front end.

I wish I had bought a good used Econoline 350 and installed a 4wd conversion.

Here she is in 2020 when I installed the lift. The tires are 235/85/16.
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Discussion Starter · #37 · (Edited)
Hi, I have the Van compass Awd lift with the bilstein struts and heavier springs. I bought the lift before VC stopped selling the bilstein struts for the AWD lift. My Van has 60k km on it with about 55k km on it since I installed the lift.
The front end has been squeaking intermittently for over a year but I couldn't find the source.
I was changing my wheels and discovered that my lower ball joints are now worn out with about 1/4" of play when I shake the wheels side to side. If I had known they were wearing out I would have injected grease into the ball joints with a needle. Which I have done now to try and prolong their life. I strongly suspect that the ball joints did not have enough grease form the factory.
That's not a big problem for me as I'm not afraid to change the ball joints myself. The problem I'm having is the AWD ball joints are specific to the AWD and they are on back order everywhere. I managed to find 1 but can't find a 2nd. I will have to run the worn out joints until I can find the 2nd.
My inner passenger CV boot has also started to wear through from the extreme angle. The pleats are rubbing against each other and grease is seeping out. I managed to buy the whole replacement CV shaft at rockauto. I will install it and re-boot the old CV shaft with silicone boots and keep as a spare.

Once I have all the parts, My plan is to replace the ball joints and the passenger CV shaft. Then install the original springs and struts while keeping the strut spacer for a mild lift with better CV and ball joint angles. I will also have to lower the back down too as the van will sit too high in the back.

I'm really starting to regret buying the AWD transit. It really bugs me that the van is so low to the ground and can't even be lifted 2 1/2 inches without causing extremely accelerated wear on the front end.

I wish I had bought a good used Econoline 350 and installed a 4wd conversion.

Here she is in 2020 when I installed the lift. The tires are 235/85/16.
View attachment 171604 View attachment 171605
Good info. Thanks for posting. There's every reason to believe the Bilstein's are contributing to accelerated wear on your passenger inner cv joint/boot, but it's also pretty clear than anyone with a lift is going to need to replace those joints sooner than with a non-lifted van, and when replacing the cv joint it's common to also need to replace the lower ball joints.

You can just use an upgraded aftermarket MOOG ball joint. They're reasonably priced, and at least a month ago were readily available, even for local pickup in my relatively small home city. That's what I had planned to do if we damaged the ball joint while upgrading to the silicone passenger inner cv boot, but my guy managed to get it all back together with no damage.

So far so good on my silicone cv boot upgrade. I'm still only at 13k miles, but I'm expecting around 50k miles to just proactively replace the entire front axle, upgrade to MOOG ball joints, and swap the passenger inner silicone boot over to the new axle, assuming the boot lasts that long and is still in good condition.

The passenger inner boot appears to be at the most risk of puncture/failure, and at least in my case, when that boot punctured, it was clearly full to the brim with grease. I'm still wiping grease off months later. It's incredible how much it flung and how widely it spattered.

Cheers.
 

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You can just use an upgraded aftermarket MOOG ball joint. They're reasonably priced, and at least a month ago were readily available
Are you sure this Moog ball joint fits the AWD ? Because the AWD has a bigger ball joint than the RWD Transit. Here are some pics I just took of the 1 AWD ball joint I have (2.123")compared to 2 other Transit ball joints from Rockauto (1.966").
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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Are you sure this Moog ball joint fits the AWD ? Because the AWD has a bigger ball joint than the RWD Transit. Here are some pics I just took of the 1 AWD ball joint I have (2.123")compared to 2 other Transit ball joints from Rockauto (1.966"). View attachment 171644
View attachment 171645 View attachment 171646 View attachment 171647 View attachment 171648


View attachment 171644
Well, now you've got me wondering if it really is compatible. I had called O"Reilly's and they pointed me towards that one but it the rep might have been mixed up. I tried to look at the compatibility list they have on their website, but I don't see the exact T-250 Xl trim I have, although they do list the base T-250 gas turbo, and I don't recall exactly if the trim influences the AWD option or if there's any other way to identify AWD versus RWD using the information they display in the compatibility section. Maybe you've dug in deeper on this, or can dig in deeper? I'm admittedly not in a big rush to sort it out since I don't currently need to do the upgrade, and I'm in the middle of nowhere on limited internet. Sorry I can't be of more help right now. Please update the thread if you sort it out.


Cheers.
 

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I think the different joints are because of the axles, heavy duty vs standard.

The larger ball joint is probably the heavy duty axle which the AWD has. The RWD can have either the heavy duty or standard axle.
 
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