Ball joints on 97 Ford F150 4X4

Imagine our surprise when my pal backed out of my drive way, and with a loud bang, the front left wheel seperated from the A frame at the
lower ball joint. on a 97 F150 4X4. This could have been nasty if it would have happened at speed, and just the prvious week or so it had been returned to the Ford Dealer on a recall to check some steering and suspension issues. The truck had 190K on it, and is not used for off roading, or other serious macho pursuits. Is there a history of defects in the front end on this model?
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