Checking and replacing upper ball joints is not too bad if you know a few tricks. Jack the car up and support with jack stands placed as close as possible to the lower ball ball joint. With weight of car supported by these jack stands grasp the top of the wheel and pull out from centerline then push in in same area. .125 inch is max, 1/8 of an inch. not much.
Its much easier to do if you have a partner push and pull while you watch for slop on the back side and estimate slop involved by placing fingers in the area of the grease seal for the upper joint. The factory service manual calls for doing the measurement with a dial indicator and if replacing to drill out the heads of the old rivits first by counter drilling from underneath with a 1/8 inch bit and then then cleaning off the head with a 1/2 inch bit untill you touch the upper control arm. My method was too chisel them off but you had to be real aggressive with the hammer and chisel otherwise all that would happen would be the rivet would work harden and become impossible to either chisel or drill. Use a hand sledge a large chisel and support the control arm with a block of wood between the frame and the control arm. Use enough force to clean off each rivet head with 3 or 4 blows. the new ball joints go in with nuts and bolts. To get the stud out of the spindle arm I use the two hammer method, loosen the big nut about 1 or 2 turns after removing the cotter pin. Place a block of wood between the frame and control arm so that the upper control arm is under tension with the front spring when the car is supported from the frame. With a hammer in each hand and with a horizontal motion smartly wack each side of the spindle where the ball stud passes thru the spindle. Do this correctly and 1 wack and the ball stud is ready to remove once the spring and lower control arm are again supported. Check to see if the space under the ball stud nut is still there and if its gone then your ready to reposition the jack under the spring, lower control arm.