Have you inspected the control arm bushings? I was getting some weird noises that went away with ne control arm bushings.
Removing ball joint is easy, I think but I live in the south where my car does not see salt.
2003 Jetta wagon GLS, 5 Speed, Alligator tune, 34 psi tire pressure, 49.1 US mpg first 35k, 50 next 31.5k, 50.4 next 36k miles, cleaned intake twice and polished end runners last time, Mobil Truck & SUV or Delvac. Koni FSDs, VWs since 1977. Sprint 520 Nozzles for Christmas 2007. Ecodes with fogs and Eswitch. 414,000 miles and counting, original turbo. 2004 Dodge 2500 Cummins HO.