Upper ball joint was surprisingly in good shape. I cut off the rubber boot to inspect the grease and it was clean with no sand or debris. I wiped it all off to inspect the ball and there is no play up or down, left or right, however it does move freely and rotates with little effort, esp compared to the new Moog bj, which was stiff and tight as heck.
Tried to use the snap ring pliers I bought from Harbor Freight
, that thing is like junk
, couldn't open it up enough to seat it the groove. I ended up using needle nose pliers while my wife hammered the snap ring in with a flat screwdriver. What a pain.