plan on replacing the upper control arm, not just the ball joint. from what I have heard (i haven't done this myself yet) you will probably want to get a 18mm ratcheting wrench to aid in removing one of the bolts...
RIP Joel Bender and Preston Smith. The world will never be the same without you.
You are correct the upper balljoints come as an assembly with the upper control arm. A 18mm ratcheting wrench would be a big help but can also be done with a non ratheting. There is a pinch bol that holds the ball joint to the spindle and two bolts that hld the upper control arm to the shock tower. The worst one is the passenger side between the tower and the firewall because the ac dryer is right there
There is no limit to what you can acheive if you don't care who gets the credit.
Yeah, it isn't difficult to do the upper arms at all, just mildly frustrating. OTOH what about these cars isn't?
It's the rear UCA bolts that are the "problem". The arm-to-spindle bolts and the front arm-to-body bolts are so easy that when you get to the rear arm-to-body bolts you'll be thinking WTF? Access to the engine compartment side of the rear arm-to-body bolt is very limited, so it's moderately difficult to get to, and you can't get much movement of the wrench. So it's a bazillion little movements and the nut is a interference-fit type and it fights every step of the way. No get it loose and spin the nut off here. Accessing from underneath helps, but its a bit of a stretch.
Anyway, just exercise a bit of patience and you'll be fine.
That's where the ratcheting wrench comes in. I've had the best luck taking the electrical weatherpack connector apart, and unbolting it from the fender on the passenger's side, it actually gives you a little room to work. The driver's side is easiest with small hands going between the brake booster and firewall.
When I had mine done a few weeks ago, the mechanic had to use 4 different tools, 3 lb sledge, 10 lb sledge, torch and finally the only thing that worked was an air hammer, kind of like a small jackhammer. This was a PITA, took over 25 minutes just to get the bolt out!
Be prepared to get upset, if you aren't patient like me!
It's times like this u with you had an NA 3.8!! I think it's easier since there is alot more room under the hood and around the engine to get to them. On a 4.6 you can't even see around the engine... let alone get a wrench down there!