phew! job is done, both sides Ball joints replaced ... that was a fight!
in Summary - car is 13 yrs old, old OEM ball joints, everything rusted to hell (welcome to New Jersey!):
a) driver side
took me nearly 3 hours to remove the stupid cotter pin! ended up breaking it off on both sides and hammering the leftover pieces back into the stud.
Thanks to former PB Blaster treatment, the castle nut was very easy to loosen.
HFT Side Separator was able to pop the ball joint loose on second attempt (1st one bent castle nut a bit, it slipped).
After that I noticed that castle nut started spinning together with the stud, so had to rip the boot apart and hold the stud with tight vice grips while wrenching on the castle nut with other hand ... took a while, but it was doable on car..
The rest was easy, installed new Beck & Arnley BJ ... and got pissed a bit about sizes of bolts and nuts ... castle nut was 22mm (OEM is 19mm), so had to feel-wrench the tightness of castle nut without torque wrench based on former experience and looks of such parts.
Lower bolts (to LCA) and nuts in B&A BJ are a joke, only on1 bolt has a threaded hole (the one upside down), the other two are loose and held only by nuts. I believe I stripped one of those two nuts, as cannot tighten it down to specs, it jumps.
b) passenger side
Was able to remove the cotter pin in one piece after 30 mins of hammering, using pliers, screw driver and such LOL!
Thanks to PB Blaster, loosening the castle nut was a breeze.
Wasn't able to pop the ball joint stud free of knuckle, somehow my side separator kept slipping off the stud and bent the castle nut several times. ended up unbolting the whole knuckle (requires unbolting 2x 23mm big strut bolts and 30mm axle nut).
Was able to easily pop the BJ free off the car, but of course then the castle nut started spinning together with the stud, so again had to rip the boot apart and hold the stud down (by some flange) with tight vice grips while loosening the nut with a wrench using other hand, it was quite a fight too LOL!
some pics from today (passenger side, the more interesting one):
Installed new B&A BJ and same complaints as before, had no crow foot in size of 22mm to torque down the castle nut properly, so had to feel-wrench it.
Bottom bolts/nuts are a pain, the two loose ones held by nuts I didn't even bother torquing down to specs from fear of damaging the threads, they are tight though. The onlt one sitting in threaded hole (the only one upside down) is torqued down to specs properly.