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How to Replace Steering Knuckle 00-04 Ford Focus

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How to Replace Steering Knuckle 00-04 Ford Focus

Created on: 2019-07-19

Check out this video to learn how to replace the front steering knuckle on your 00-04 Ford Focus. 1A Auto shows you how to do it yourself and save money!

  1. step 1 :Removing the Wheel
    • Loosen the 19 mm lug nuts
    • Raise and support the vehicle
    • Remove the lug nuts
    • Remove the wheel
    • You may replace one lug nut and pry the wheel from behind if it is difficult to remove
  2. step 2 :Removing the Brakes
    • Remove the two 6 mm hex slider bolts
    • Pry out the outer brake pad retainer
    • Remove the brake caliper
    • Hang the brake caliper to relieve stress from the brake hose
    • Remove the brake pads
    • Remove the brake rotor.
  3. step 3 :Removing the Knuckle
    • Remove the 32 mm axle nut
    • Remove the 15 mm nut from the T50 lower ball joint pinch bolt
    • Remove the 16 mm tie rod nut
    • Tap the knuckle to loosen the tie rod, and remove the tie rod from the knuckle
    • Loosen the axle in the wheel hub, tapping it if necessary with the nut threaded on the end
    • Hammer down on the lower control arm to loosen the lower ball joint from the knuckle
    • Remove the 15 mm strut pinch bolt
    • Hammer down on the knuckle to remove it from the lower strut
  4. step 4 :Installing the Knuckle
    • Apply anti-seize to the axle splines and ball joint studs
    • Reattach the boot cover to the lower knuckle
    • Install the knuckle onto the axle, and the lower ball joint
    • Slide the knuckle onto the lower strut
    • Use a jack to push the knuckle into proper position on the lower strut
    • Install the 15 mm strut pinch bolt
    • Install the T50 lower ball joint bolt and tighten the 15 mm nut onto it
    • Insert the tie rod into the knuckle
    • Install the 16 mm tie rod nut
    • Torque the 15 mm strut pinch bolt to 66 ft-lb
    • Torque the 15 mm lower ball joint nut to 37 ft-lb
    • Tighten the 16 mm tie rod nut to 37 ft-lb
    • Install the 32 mm axle nut without over-tightening it
  5. This video shows additional steps replacing the brake line and caliper. Those steps are not necessary for this installation.

    step 5 :Installing the Brakes
    • Apply anti seize grease to the wheel hub surface
    • Clean the brake rotor
    • Install the rotor onto the wheel studs
    • Temporarily install a lug nut to hold the rotor in place
    • Remove the slider pins from the caliper
    • Apply brake grease to the slider boots
    • Install the slider pins and slide them in and out to spread the grease
    • Apply brake grease to the face of the piston
    • Apply brake grease to the pad contact surfaces of the caliper
    • Install the piston side pad clip into the piston
    • Install the outer pad into the pad groove in the knuckle
    • Install the caliper onto the knuckle
    • Pry the outer pad retainer over to lock it in place
    • Tighten the 6 mm hex caliper sliders
  6. step 6 :Installing the Wheel and Torque the Axle Nut
    • Slide the wheel onto the wheel studs
    • Install the 19 mm lug nuts by hand
    • Lower the vehicle with minimal weight on the wheel
    • Torque the 19 mm lug nuts to 93 ft-lb in a crossing pattern
    • Torque the axle nut to 266 ft-lb
    • Lower the vehicle completely

Tools needed for replacement

  • General Tools

    Jack Stands

    Floor Jack

  • Hex Wrenches

    7mm Allen Wrench

  • Materials, Fluids, and Supplies

    Anti-Seize Grease

    Brake Grease

  • Ratchets & Related

    Socket Extensions

    Torque Wrench

    Ratchet

    1/2 Inch Breaker Bar

  • Screwdrivers & Related

    Pry Bar

  • Sockets - Metric

    15mm Socket

    16mm Socket

    19mm Socket

    32mm Socket

  • Star Drivers & Sockets

    T50 Socket

Installation Video
Watch video

Hey friends. It's Len here at 1A Auto. Today I'm working on a 2001 Ford Focus and I'm going to show you how to remove a left front knuckle. It's going to be a very easy job. I want to be the guy that shows you how to do it. If you need any parts, you can always check us out at 1aauto.com. Thanks. Okay, friends. So, we've got the vehicle supported under all its lift points. We're going to bring the vehicle up a little bit, try to keep the wheel so it's just barely touching the ground. We're going to break free the lug nuts, 19 millimeter. If you're going to be using an air gun, you really shouldn't have to do this. But if you're using a ratchet you want to do it with the wheel still touching the ground. Now that they're loose, we can raise the vehicle and we'll get busy.

So, here we go. Time to get the wheel off. Use your ratchet. Use your air gun. Use your 19, whatever you're doing. I'm going to take off the last one. I'm going to hold the wheel. It's nice and corroded on there. Just put one of these lug nuts back on. Just going to give this a little bonk, see if we can get it to break free. Feels like a no. Okay, something else that we can try doing, just grab a pry bar or you can use a rubber mallet if you wanted to. I use a pry bar and I just come from the backside, pry up against the lower control arm and the wheel. Use a little leverage. Break it free. Easy peasy. Some people might try to use a hammer. You could dent your wheel. A rubber mallet could work. All right, we removed the wheel. Now we have a clear view of what we're working on. Okay, so what we're going to do now is we're going to take the caliper bolts out. We've got one bolt right there and one down here, slider bolts. It's a seven millimeter Allen head.

It looks something like that. Okay? Slider bolt number two, same as the first. You don't have to worry about mixing them up. You can see that there's a little clip right here. The way that this clip works is you actually have to grab this side and draw it out and away from the caliper right there. Okay? So, grab wherever you need to. Just try and go like that. Do the same for the other side. Now, take your pry bar. Take that off. Easy peasy. Now we're going to hang this aside and we can move along. So let's hang this caliper. Okay, I like to just do something like that. You can pull your right brake hose off of the strut if you need to. It's just a little thing right there. Easy peasy. That'll give you a little bit more slack. I'm going to replace the brake hose and the Caliper. But as for right now, let's keep going with what we're doing. Next one I'm going to do is I'm going to have my lug nut on here a little bit.

I want plenty of room so the rotor can move around and I'm just going to give this a bonk. I'm replacing this rotor. So I'm not worried about the braking surface. If for some reason you're just taking your rotors off for some reason, you just want to look at them, I don't really know why, you don't want to damage your braking surface. But if you're replacing them like I am, you're replacing your pads like I am and maybe you're doing your calipers, just do it it pretty much the way I am. All right? I'm just going to bonk right here as far out from the hub as I can. I want to stay away from these studs. The reason for that is because if I damage the studs, I have to buy myself a new bearing. This is on so it doesn't come off and hurt me. My safety glasses and my hand protection is on. I'm going to give it a bonk. Bonk, bonk, bock. There we are. That's nice and freed up. Get our lug nut back off of here. There's our rotor. It's quality. We'll set this aside.

We can move along. So our next step, we're going to try to remove this knuckle right here. To remove the knuckle, we're going to need to take out this bolt right here. That's a Torx bit 50. On the backside, there's a 15 millimeter nut. So I like to hold the Torx bit 50 with a ratchet and the Torx bit obviously. Then I'll just blast off this nut back here, 15. Next what I would do is I would take this off right here, the outer tie rod nut. Give the knuckle a couple of bonks so it breaks free. We're going to take off this axle nut right here. That's a 32 millimeter socket. That's a big one. Once we get all that stuff apart, we'll go ahead and remove this right here. It's a pinch bolt for the upper knuckle to the strut. That's a 15 millimeter. With all that said, let's go ahead and do it. You can start with whatever you want. But I would definitely end with this. I'll start with the axle nut since I already got my socket on here, 32 millimeter. It comes right off. That's what it looks like.

We'll set it aside. Using a 15 millimeter back here and my Torx bit, that's what they look like. It's kind of like a star. It's going to go right in here. Safety glasses, of course. Here we are. Here's our 15 millimeter nut. Let's see if we can get this to turn. It is turning. That's good. It's always great to use some penetrant spray if you have some. Couldn't hurt to put a couple squirts in there. I'm going to grab a hammer real quick. It's going to give this a bonk. Here's our bolt right there. We're going to remove the tie rod nut. Let's see if it's a 15. It's a little bigger. 16 millimeter on this. It looks like it's an aftermarket tie rod. So your tie rod nut could be a little different. Here's the nut, neoprene locker on there. Okay, now we're going to give the knuckle a couple of bonks. Try to break the tie rod free. So now I'm just going to take the tie rod nut. I'm going to put it on a couple of threads here.

Just so when I bonk this knuckle right here, the tie rod is going to fall down. It won't fall down, hurt me if I'm under there or hit the ground, get damaged somehow. What I'm going to do is I'm just going to try to hit the knuckle, not the boot or the tie rod. Okay? Definitely not the stud. You don't want to peen that over. There we are. Pull that down. This is your outer tie rod end. At this point, you can turn this if you need to. Okay? We're going to leave this in. Now what we're going to do, make sure the axle pushes through. If for some reason yours doesn't push through, it's stuck in there, you would just take your axle nut, put it back on. Okay? Not tight or anything. Then just give it a couple of bonks. You want the axle to be able to move around. If it doesn't move, well, just keep doing that until it does. You don't want to hit the axle without a nut on there. You'll peen over the threads and you'll never get your nut back on.

Now what we need to do, get this lower control arm to go down and break away from the knuckle here. Okay? We need to get the ball joint stud to come out of the knuckle. So let's take a look at what we're going to do here. Looks to me like what I'm going to try and do is I'm going to try to give this a bonk right up on here. I could try to use an air hammer if I want or just a regular hammer. You just want to be careful not to hit your axle. Super important you don't rip this boot. If you rip the boot, you could buy yourself an axle at 1aauto.com. So I'm just going to use my air hammer, try to drill this down. I'm going to wear some safety glasses and some ear protection and we'll give it a try.

Okay, friends, I've got my air hammer, my eye protection, my ear protection and hand protection safety. Safety first. I'm going to use the air hammer flat bit on the control arm. I'm going to try to drive the control arm down and force the ball joint stud out of the knuckle. Here we go. It's coming down. Easy peasy. As you could tell, the penetrant did its job. Thank you, penetrant. We could pull this away a little bit. Now what I'm going to do is I'm going to take off this right here. This is a pinch bolt for the upper knuckle to strut, 15 millimeter.

That's what that looks like. If you want to, you can go ahead and clean that up. Where you want to do is you want to check to make sure it's not rotted and pitting and getting thin. If it's getting thin anywhere, you'd want to replace it. It's integral for this to be nice and solid because when you put this in and you tighten it up, it needs to be able to pinch both sides of this knuckle. Basically, the knuckle kind of looks like this and when you put in the bolt, it tightens, tightens, tightens, pinches the knuckle tight up against your strut. If it's not tight because this bolt is garbage, you're going to have an issue.

Now I'm going to use my big fabulous hammer. I'm going to give this knuckle a couple of whacks. I'm going to try to give it a few bonks and try to knock it down. Okay? I want to be careful for this boot. Like I said, the axle does move. I can pull it away if I need to. As this comes down, you have to be careful because once the knuckle breaks free from the strut, there's going to be nothing holding it up but your hands. So get a grip. Keep your hands away from where you're going to be hammering and just go ahead and knock it down. It's coming down. Now we've removed our left front knuckle assembly. So I'm just going to take a little bit of copper Never Seize. I'm going to go right around here. I'm going to go on the splines of my axle and then I like to go on the ball joint stud. This is all just so some day down the line, if it ever needs to come back apart, I'm not going to be struggling too much. Do you need to do it? No.

It's not integral to doing the job. It's all preference. If you don't have any copper Never Seize, it's no big deal. You can use something else like your penetrant spray, whatever. Now what I'm going to do is I'm going to take this little thing. It's just a boot cover, slide it over the knuckle just like that so when my holes line up. That's going to protect the boot and it's also going to make it so if any grease happens to come out of there, it doesn't get on the rotor. I'm going to slide the axle splines through. I'm going to try to pull down on this. I'm going to try to get this lined up. There we are. Like it. I'm just going to give this a couple of bonks under here, see if I can drive it up. Okay, cool. Do this. Now we're going to need to do is we're going to need to try to lower this control arm. Okay? You might not want to go down very far, but we need to get the strut inside here.

So you can do whatever you need to do to try and get it lined up. Whether it's using something like a pry bar, you can see if you can pry down. I don't know if it's going to go down too much further than it is. I feel like it's pretty much maxed out at this point. So I'm just going to take this. I'm going to go around like that and then just a little bit of maneuverability here. Yeah, baby. Love it. Cool. Okay. This little piton on right here goes inside the slot on the backside of the knuckle. So if you notice that for some reason your knuckle is not going up onto your strut, you might have this misaligned. It might be hitting up against the knuckle itself. If it is just, move it. I don't know your circumstance. I'm on my side of the computer screen. Just going to give this a couple of bonks. Okay? We need to drive this up. If you want to, you can use a jack. Jack it up. That might help it.

That's probably what I'm going to do cause I don't want to put too much pressure on this ball joint by whacking it too much. So I'll just grab a jack. I'm going to raise this up so this hole lines up with the hole inside the little piton right there and then we can put our bolt through. We've got our jack. I'm just going to lift this up. If it seems like it's binding up, I'll just give it a little shake. Wiggle it around, do whatever I have to do. Just going to keep jacking, keep wiggling. Looks like we should be pretty darn close. It might even be at right there. There we go. That's it. Okay. We've got our pinch bolt. You can use some thread locker if you'd like. For the purpose of this video, I'm not going to worry about it. I'm just going to put it through here. You can relieve pressure. Just line up those holes. Maybe your knuckle needs to go up. Maybe it needs to go down. Mine needed to go down a little bit. I'm going to go ahead and tighten that up.

I'm just going to snug it and then I'm going to torque it down. There we are. We'll torque this in a minute. We might as well just put everything else in. We'll torque it all at once, right? You've got our ball joint bolt. We're going to put it right through. There we are. I've got my nut. I'm going to get it on here. I'm going to hold this backside still using my Torx bit. This is the 50, Torx bit 50. Just going to hold the backside. I'm going to snug up this nut right here, 15 millimeter. See if I can get it on there. There we are. I'm going to torque it later. We can still move this around. Nothing's binding. It feels pretty great. We can do the tie rod if we want or you can leave it apart so you can put the rest of the brakes on first. It's completely up to you. I'm just going to put it on there. I've got my nut with the neoprene washer there, 16 millimeter. I'm going to tighten it down. Yours might be different. This is after market. We'll torque that after.

Let's move along. Okay, we're going to go ahead and torque up this upper knuckle jam bolt, 66 foot pounds. I'm going to use my 15. There we are. Just going to hit it one more time. Torqued. Let's move along. We're going to go ahead and torque this down right here, 37 foot pounds using my 15 millimeter. There we are. I'm going to hit it one more time. This is torqued. Now we're going to move up here. We're just going to tighten down this nut right here to 37 foot pounds. All right, I'm going to do it one more time. Okay. So we torqued to this. We torqued this and we torqued the upper jam nut. The only thing we would have left to torque at this point would be this right here. We're not going to worry about that yet. We'll move along to the next step though. We've got our axle nut. I'm just going to start it on here. We'll give it a few good threads. Make sure it's going on. Now we're just going to blast this on. But we don't want to go too tight.

We just kind of want to get it so it's close to bottomed out and then stop because we're going to torque this down. Here we are, 32 millimeter socket. Looks like it's getting pretty close. Okay, I'm going to leave it there for now. We'll go ahead and torque it down and that'll get it to the correct specifications. You don't want to over tighten this, ruin the bearing we just put it in there. Okay, so from this point on we're going to be replacing everything we took off with brand new parts. I just want to specify that. Before we go ahead and mount our rotor on here, I'm going to put on a little bit of copper Never Seize. It's going to be important because it's going to help us get the rotor off later on down the line in case we ever have to take the rotor off to do maybe another break job. Just like that, nothing too crazy. Okay? Now we're going to grab our rotor. We're going to have a little bit of parts cleaner on a rag. We're going to clean it off and we can install it onto the hub.

Parts cleaner on the rag directly. We're just going to clean off the rotor braking surface. This is just going to get off any film that might have been on there from packaging and shipping and all that to make sure that it doesn't collect any moisture. That looks pretty great. I can't wait to install it. Let's do it. So here we go. Slide it up on here just like this. I'm going to take one of my lug nuts. I'm just going to put it like that. That's going to make it so my rotor can't move around too much. I don't want any rust to make its way in between rotor and the hub. Super important. You get anything in between there, your rotor's is going to be off kilter. You're going to have a brake pulsation. Okay, let's do it right. Let's keep rolling. Now what we're going to do, we're going to go ahead and start replacing the caliper and the flex hose. Maybe you have to, maybe you don't. I'm going to be doing it for this particular vehicle. If you're not, all you're going to do is take your new pads.

You'll take your caliper like this. We can clean out these right here. Just take out these boots. Clean up in there. Same thing on this side. Clean up inside there. Make sure you get all your crud out of there just like that. Once these are clean, you can lube them and you'll have your sliders. Then you'll just take your new pads, set them all up on there. I'm going to replace all this for my video. So yeah, keep watching. Okay, so now it's time to prep our caliper. These right here are the caliber sliders. They need to be able to slide freely. They should be greased. This doesn't feel like it has any grease on it yet. So it's ready to be prepped. If you're using your old calipers and these are rusted or rotted, you're going to want to make sure that you clean them up so they're a nice, smooth surface and then of course, put some lube. I'll show you what I'm talking about. I have a little bit of caliper grease here. Okay? All you're going to do, try to get a little bit right in that boot right there.

You can even put it directly on the slider if you want. It's completely up to you. It might be a little bit easier to do it on the slider. But then of course, you're going to get it all over your hands. So that's something to think about. So I'll just leave that like that. Now I'm going to take these, just going to drive them through. Get it slipping. Sounds good. Nice and lubed. Same thing for this one. Either way, I guess we get the grease all over our hands. No avoiding that. Cool. Next thing you want to do, take some more of your caliper grease. First I'm going to clean this off. Take some more of your caliper grease. You're going to go right around the piston right here. This is the muscle of the caliper. When you step on your brake, it forces fluid into this channel right here in which turn pushes it out this Piston. It squeezes the pad up against the rotor.

Once the inner pads hitting against the rotor, it makes the caliper slide a little bit on these sliders and then it presses the outer pad against your rotor, causes friction, makes your vehicle stop. I'm going to put some right along here. The reason why I'm putting this on there, it's going to help with vibration dampening and noise reduction. It's kind of like a little buffer we'll say. Some people will say, you could just put the grease all over the whole back of the pad. I don't personally think that you to do that. The reason for that is because that's just more area for dirt and crud to get stuck onto there. So I don't need that. Now what I'm going to do is I'm going to take these little ears. I'm going to slide them in. Sometimes you just have to squeeze them a little bit and press. There we are. Make sure you don't get any grease on your friction material if you can avoid it. If you do, just use some parts cleaner. We've got our other pad. This one right here, just going to go right on here.

Okay? I'll show you what we're doing. Take the slider, push those back so they're ready. The threaded areas are going to screw into here. So you want to make sure that you have these sliders pushed in. Okay? Take our outer pad, just going to get it on here. Put that down on my cart for a second. Just like that. Pull up on that bar. Take our caliper. Just going to slide it right over. There we are. Now, this clip is going to be a little difficult. You're going to want to make sure you're wearing your safety glasses of course. Take a pry bar or if you need to use a screwdriver, whatever you need to do. You do you, booboo. I'm just going to take this, bring it so it comes up and over that way and it sits inside this channel right here. Once it's in that channel, you should have an ear up against the backside of your hub assembly, sorry, your knuckle assembly and you should have one down here. That locks your caliper in. It's really not going anywhere at this point. We still have to tighten these up.

Your caliper slider's on the backside. I'm going to grab my tool. I have a seven millimeter Allen head. I'm going to use that to tighten this down. We'll leave that like that for a second. I'll go back to tightening that up in one second. I just want to make sure that I have this one started as well so I can still move the caliper around if I need to. All right. We got both of them started. Tighten that up. That's nice and tight. Tight. Boo yeah. We can move ahead. Okay, now that we have this side together, you're going to go over and do the same to the other side of the vehicle, right? Then you're going to go ahead, check your master cylinder fluid. Your master cylinder is right here. You want to top that off with fluid, make sure it's nice and full and then you're going to go ahead and start bleeding the brakes. You can watch the video on to do that. Basically, you're just going to pump up the break. Give it three to five nice slow pumps. Let it sit for a second.

You can come out here, open up this bleeder screw. It's an eight millimeter. Let it trickle out. You want to see no more air bubbles coming out. When you have regular just solid fluid, close it up. Go ahead and pop it again. It's always good if you have an extra person. You can have somebody in there doing the pumping, holding the brake pedal for you while you open it. Okay? There's a bleed sequence for that or you can go on 1aauto.com and get the self bleeding kit and watch the video on that. It's very simple. So let's continue. I'm going to use my eight millimeter. I'm going to loosen up this bleeder screw. Here we are. We're going to let it do its thing for a second here. The fluid's going to take a little while because we replaced the flex hose and the caliper of course. So it could take a minute for the fluid to start coming out. If you have a vacuum bleeder, you could help it along with that. Not everybody has access to that. So I'm not going to worry about it for this video. There we go.

So we got the fluid trickling out of here. If you shake the hose around a little bit, sometimes you can get a little extra air. You can also give the caliper a couple little bonks. So this is called gravity bleeding at this point. I would say we've got a pretty good trickle going. We can go ahead and close this up and at this point, you would want to continue with a regular bleed. Now that we've got this bled, I'm just going to clean it off a little bit. I've got my little boot, right? We took this out of the hole and the caliper. I'm just going to slide it over that. That covers up the inside hole in there, prevents moisture from getting in and freezing up. What happens is as moisture gets in, starts corroding in between the bleeder screw on the caliper, you go to open up your caliper bleeder and it breaks. So that's just going to help protect it. We're clear to move along. Let's take off that stabilizing lug nut that we throw on there. Okay, we'll grab our wheel. Bring it over.

I'm just going to lift it right up with our leg. Use our ab muscles. Hold the wheel. Put our lug nut back on here. I'm going to grab the other three. It's time to go ahead and tighten up these lug nuts, 100 foot pounds. We're going to go in a crisscross pattern never around in a circle. Let's do it again. Tight. We're going to go ahead and torque this down, 266 foot pounds. Using my 32 millimeter socket, getting close. Tight.

Thanks for watching. Visit 1aauto.com for quality auto parts shipped to your door, the place for DIY auto repair. And if you enjoyed this video, please click the subscribe button.

Tools needed for replacement:

    General Tools

  • Jack Stands
  • Floor Jack

  • Hex Wrenches

  • 7mm Allen Wrench

  • Materials, Fluids, and Supplies

  • Anti-Seize Grease
  • Brake Grease

  • Ratchets & Related

  • Socket Extensions
  • Torque Wrench
  • Ratchet
  • 1/2 Inch Breaker Bar

  • Screwdrivers & Related

  • Pry Bar

  • Sockets - Metric

  • 15mm Socket
  • 16mm Socket
  • 19mm Socket
  • 32mm Socket

  • Star Drivers & Sockets

  • T50 Socket


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