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Discussion Starter #1
I replaced the ball joints on my 97 Grand Marq and ran into a problem that I have not seen before. I haven't replaced a ball joint in decades so running into anything odd makes me think real hard about it. Here's my problem.

The lower right joint pressed out with very little effort. In fact it was much easier than expected and a lot easier than the one on the left. I brushed the dirt and corrosion from the lower arm and started the new one in making sure it was straight. Next I put the ball joint clamp on and started pressing the new one in and it got tight about half way in so I cranked harder on the breaker bar, then harder still, and then really friggin' hard. It didn't budge. I backed the c-clamp off to take a look and saw that it had started to turned and was going in crooked. I tapped it back out and saw that, by forcing it really hard with the c-clamp, I had slightly rolled the metal inside the hole. It was enough to catch a finger nail so I took a small rat tail file and removed the burr being careful not to take any meat away from the A arm. You can probably guess where this is going...

I centered the new joint in the hole again and started it in with a wooden mallet just like before, but this time I made sure it stayed straight and then POP! It popped in and seated all the way using nothing more than a few taps with a mallet. I knocked it back out to mic it and the hole is maybe a thou larger than the new joint. I also measured the entire circumference to make sure it wasn't wallowed out. I also mic'd the old joint and it matched the new one so I'm 99% sure I have the correct part.

My limited experience tells me something is wrong. It should take much more than a few taps with a piece of wood to seat a ball joint. I'm fairly sure I could knock it out with my hand but I'm not going to try it. What do I do now?

I set the hub assembly on it and tightened the crown nut but haven't driven it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Don't drive it. It will pop loose in the control arm the first good bump you hit. You can get a oversized ball joint. They're fairly common and most parts stores should be able to get them.

https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/mercury,1997,grand+marquis,4.6l+v8,1199617,suspension,ball+joint,10070
THANK YOU!

Just placed an order. Rockauto has some very good prices. I also ordered 4 Motorcraft oil filters for $3.10 each because they were cheap. Shipping for everything was just $10. I'll be checking them out again.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
She's on the road again! Oversized ball joint from Rock Auto arrived ASAP and was installed today. Thanks for the tip and the very helpful link.

Let me also add a plug for Rock Auto. I ordered 4 Motorcraft oil filters at the same time. They arrived and 2 of them had golf ball size dents in them. I reported the problem to RA and was advised to toss them and they would send replacements, and they did. Got 'em in 2 days. That's how to handle a problem.
 
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