Asked in CV Joints
CV Joints

How do you replace the CV Joints on a 2004 Ford Escape?

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09/12/2011

2001-2006 Escapes do not have CV joints. They have CV axles, a ball joint, and an outer tie rod joint.

Replacing the ball joint is the most difficult of the 3. You might as well do all 3 if you have a bad ball joint, unless you have recently done the others. You have to basically remove the brake caliper and rotor, if you have ABS detach the sensor, push out the CV axle from the hub, disconnect the upper sway bar linkage from the strut, disconnect the 2 bolts attaching the hub to the strut tower, remove the tie rod joint kotter pin and bolt, and then pop the tie rod joint out.

Now, the hub should be connected solely to the ball joint. It's tough getting the hub off. When the hub is off, you should now just be looking at the old ball joint in the control arm. You can use a ball-peen hammer to smack the old ball joint out, or use a ball joint press if you have one. You will definitely need to use a press to get the replacement ball joint pressed back in.

Getting everything back together can be a bit tricky; it is better to get the hub back on the new ball joint, re-connect the CV axle into the hub, and then get the hub assembly back into the strut tower connection. You will have to use significant force to lower the control arm to get the bolt holes in the hub and strut connection to line up (i.e. 1 person standing on it, the other getting the bolts in). After you attach the hub to the strut tower, you will then be able to use a jack to raise the control arm (and hub/strut tower) enough to get the upper sway bar linkage back in.

Then reconnect the tie-rod joint, throw the rotor back on, and hook up the brake caliper again (and ABS sensor if you have).

I just this today and managed to get it done in about 3 hours. I'm not a mechanic, but I'm pretty good and this was a pain and was pretty messy. I also highly recommend the MOOG replacement parts for the sway bar linkage, ball joint, and outer tie-rod. They are engineered far better than the original Ford parts and are inexpensive.

You need to replace the ball joint when you hear creaking and grinding when you are slowing down to an almost complete stop, as if the wheel were about to grind or snap off. Also note that if you replace the outer tie-rod joint, and lose track of where it was set, you will need to get an alignment.