Sorry for my ridiculous delay...I've been troubleshooting a misfire on my Max...ended up being the harness connectors to 2 of my injectors. If anyone needs to do this, Ballenger Motorsports produces them for a reasonable price...very happy with them and problem solved...I'll detail that in another post. Now for the balljoint DIY.
Here are the tools/items you will need:
19mm combination wrench
19mm deep well socket and a ratchet (I used 1/2" drive due to longer handle/better torque capabilities.)
Balljoint press (rented from AutoZone for free)
Pickling fork (rented from AutoZone for free)
Grease of some sort (I used brake caliper grease-any will work)
PB Blaster (or another penetrating lubricant)
Jack with a good lift height
SawZall (or any reciprocating saw...you can borrow mine if you live near Dayton, OH...or borrow one...trust me, this will save a LOT of frustration and busted knuckles) with one diamond tipped blade ($20+, but quicker) or 2-4 Bi-Metal blades (a little slower, but $3 a piece). I used Irwin Bi-Metal, 18t.p.i. blades available at Lowe's for $3/each.
Torque wrench (for tightening caliper bracket bolts/wheel lugnuts)
Before starting, put your ball joint in the freezer for at least 3 hr. This will make it contract and makes the press-in installation a LOT smoother.
1. Set the E-Brake and Jack the car as high as you can from the central jack point under the front, center of the car (will have a big protrusion in it or a "bump"-make sure this part stays in the cup or lift point on your jack or you may drop your car when it gets up really high). Use Jack stands under the left and right of the car along the frame rails or crossmember. You want the front of the car as high as possible, so use trial and error here until you get it up as high as you can (you will see why later).
2. Remove the wheel (or wheels if doing both joints).
3. Spray the bolt on top of the ball joint and the 2 caliper bracket bolts (19mm, on back side of caliper assembly)with PB blaster and let it soak in a couple of minutes
4. Remove the Brake Caliper assembly by loosening and removing the 2 19mm bolts on the back of the bracket. These bolts will be very tight and a breaker bar may help you out with this. Once the caliper assembly is loose, wiggle it back and forth until it will pull free from the rotor. I secured my caliper assembly to the spring with a length of wire, but you can use string, etc. The main goal is to get it out of the way and secured so you don't damage it or the brake line.
5. Remove the Brake rotor. It may be "stuck" on, so giving it a few taps from the back with a rubber mallet may free it up so that it will slide off. Set it aside.
6. Remove the ball joint. I know, this sounds easy but as you can see, there is no room to get the closed end of your wrench in between the knuckle and top part of the ball joint (the open end of the wrench will more than likely round the bolt, but not break it loose due to how tight it is torqued and it will probably be rusted as well)and the bottom is pressure fit into the lower control arm. This is where the SawZall comes in. You could invest a lot in an expensive diamond-tipped blade ($20 plus) or use a few cheaper, bi-metal blades ($3 a piece), which is what I did. Start at the top by cutting through the nut/bolt on the top of the ball joint. Once this is cut off, most of the pressure between the LCA and knuckle will be relieved. Slide the pickling fork between the knuckle and LCA and the 2 parts should easily separate. Cut through the base of the ball joint on the top side of the LCA. Be careful to make sure your blade will clear the LCA and not damage it. When you get about half way through, you will notice the joint smoking and leaking fluid, which is actually good because the fluid lubricates and cools the SawZall blade, easing the cut and prolonging the life of the blade. Once you are all the way through, you will need to move the strut/hub/knuckle out of the way. Place your jack so that the front of the jacking point is about 1" behind the front bottom lip of the hub. Jack it up far enough to allow clearance of the ball joint press above the remains of the ball joint base in the LCA. Remove the snap ring from the existing ball joint with snap ring pliers. Set up the ball joint press with the "cup" on the bottom of the LCA. I used the largest cup with the kit and it worked great. It doesn't need to line up perfectly, just so it's solid and NOT contacting any part of the ball joint itself. Tighten the press until the ball joint pops through the bottom (this will take a pretty good amount of force, so dont be afraid to use a breaker bar with your wrench if needed).
7. Clean up the LCA/ball joint mount with brake cleaner or whatever you please, especially around the hold where the ball joint goes. Use a general purpose grease (I used brake caliper grease-worked great) and lubricate the hole that the ball joint will mount in (get your mind outta the gutter...lol).
8. Line the ball joint up in the hole and tap it a few times with medium force so that it is securely started into its mounting spot.
9. Set up the ball joint press with the "cup" on top. Tighen the press and monitor the progress of the ball joint going in. Also, make sure the top threaded part of the ball joint is clear from hitting the cup and lines up straight into the hole in the top of the cup. If it gets a little off track, STOP and reposition the press so it goes in the proper way and continue (or you will be pressing it out and buying a new ball joint). Again, this will take a considerable amount of force to get it all the way seated. The base sits a tiny bit cockeyed under the LCA from the factory , so don't freak out if yours is like that. Compare it to the existing ball joint on the other side and replicate the fit/alignment of the ball joint on the side you are working on. It's in all the way when you can not budge the press at all under full force.
10. Install the snap ring on the balljoint using snap ring pliers.
11. Lower the strut/hub/knuckly assembly SLOWLY and toward the ball joint. Line up the jack such that the ball joint will insert into the hole in the knuckle as designed and then let the jack the remainder of the way down. Be patient and do this process slowly. I stopped periodically to check the alignment of my assembly.
12. Install the crown nut on top of the ball joint. The open end of your 19mm wrench will work perfecly for this. I didn't look up torque spec, because it's unnecessary. It is tightened properly when the ridges of the nut line up with the hole in the ball joint for the cotter pin. If it was tightened too far, the ridges in the nut would not be functional, thus the design.
13. Install the cotter pin through the top of the ball joint and crown nut. Bend the ends of the cotter pin close the the contour of the top part of the ball joint.
14. Reinstall your brake caliper assemblyand torque the caliper braket bolts to 53-70 ft/lbs. Also spray the rotor and caliper assembly thoroughly with brake cleaner while your in there and this gives you a good opportunity to inspect your pads/caliper/rotor. Replace if needed.
15. Reinstall your wheel and torque your lugs to spec.
16. Apply band aids, take advil, pour yourself a cold beer...your done!
Hope this helps and saves you all money. I've done this to my 2k3 and my buddies 2k2 and the process is tried and true. I've been very happy with the Duralast ball joint I got at Autozone for $60, but I'm sure Napa or any other reputable parts store supplies good quality replacement ball joints as well. Good luck!