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How to..for balljoint replacement???

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Old 05-19-2009, 06:55 PM   #1
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Default How to..for balljoint replacement???

is their a "how to" type write up on how to replace the ball joints on F-body's...

i was told my lower ball joints are shot so i was thinking of replacing them..i have no clue as to were to begin besides taken the rim/brakes off the car..

any help or tips would be appreciated.

Thanks
Mike
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:09 PM   #2
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I will tell you that it is a pain. You need a ball a press and a drill or grinder. The originals are riveted in and pressed into the control arm. The actual replacement is easy. Its just getting them out that is a hassle. I used a ball joint removal tool (looks like a big c-clamp with cups) and an impact gun to get mine out. You can rent the tool at most auto parts stores. You get your money back as long as you return it when you are done.

Last edited by LS1Aggie; 05-19-2009 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:13 PM   #3
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Uppers are riveted, lowers are pressed in. Its not too bad, just grab a Haynes manual and go to town. And rent a ball joint press too.
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:29 PM   #4
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im only doing the lowers...Hmm guess i will just have to go and see about renting this tool...and just take the **** apart and go from their....
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:29 PM   #5
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Well I replaced mine not to long ago. So i will try to help you put the best I can.

Tools needed-
Jack, jack stand, air tools-perferablly, ball joint removal/installer, if you are doing the top a air chisel to knock rivets off, descent size hammer.

Start by jacking up the front of the car. Support the lower contorl arm as far out and near the lower ball joint as possible.

Remove the wheel, remove the brake assembly, rotor. So know you should have just a the knuckle and the spindle in front of you.

Remove the cotter keys from the castle nut on the upper and lower ball joints. Remove the castle nuts. After the removal of the nuts the knuckle should be unbolted. Use the hammer to shock the on the meaty part of the steering knuckle around the ball joint stud. DONT NOT hit the ball joint stud. I would start with the top one first then the lower one.

After removal of the steering knuckle and spindle you should have the upper and lower control arm left. Use the ball joint removal tool with the correct spacer to push the lower ball joint out towards the ground. I tried that for about a hour and got pissed off. I went and got a 1x1x4feet soild stock steel bar and placed it on my ball joint and took a few whacks at it with a mini sledge it came right out. With the jack stand farther out the less of the deflection I had when beating on it. It was toast anyways.

After you remove the ball joint clean the mating surface with brake cleaner or some type of cleaner. Install new ball joint from bottom. Use the ball joint installer tool to press the ball joint in from the bottom. It is hard to see when the ball joint is seated due to it sitting up inside the lower contorl arm. I would take a look at on the other side to get a good idea to when it is seated, or kinda have to judge it to the best of your abilty.

If you are going to do the top which I recommend. Use the air chisel to knock the rivets off the top. Remove the uppper ball joint. Install new ball joint and tighten the suppiled screws and nuts

Install the steering knuckle, tighten castle nuts-snug not gorrila tight. Install new cotter keys. assemble brake system back together, install wheel and start on the other side.

The biggest hassle to me was getting out the lower ball joint. AKA the ball joint installer and remover are normally the same tool. Looks like a giant C clamp.

This is what it looks like ball joint remover.
http://www.mactools.com/product/tabi...472-bj031.aspx

That is the best that I can do if you need any help I am sure I can help you. Or someone on here can.
Hope it helps
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:30 PM   #6
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im only doing the lowers...Hmm guess i will just have to go and see about renting this tool...and just take the **** apart and go from their....
No I kinda helped. haha
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:34 PM   #7
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If you have a picklefork, use it. Makes the knuckle/control arm separation a snap.
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:41 PM   #8
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No I kinda helped. haha

yeah that write up helped a ton. thank you very much. i am planning on attempting this on friday.. i was told only my left one needed to be replaced but i figure the other side has to worn as well..might as well do both sides. anything else i should replace while im in there? i was thinking pads/rotors as they could get swapped as well. maybe swaybar endlinks...
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:54 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by 1BADTALS1 View Post
yeah that write up helped a ton. thank you very much. i am planning on attempting this on friday.. i was told only my left one needed to be replaced but i figure the other side has to worn as well..might as well do both sides. anything else i should replace while im in there? i was thinking pads/rotors as they could get swapped as well. maybe swaybar endlinks...
Well depending on your budget I would replace everything at once so you not going thur the hassle a second or even a third time.
Upper ball joints
Lower ball joints
Tie-rod ends
Sway bar end links-polyuarthane
Get it aligned after you are done.
You can check you pads thickness and use a micrometer to measure the rotor thickness to see if you need new rotors or pads. Or unless you just plan on upgrading. Then just say the hell with it and replace them.

Make sure your new ball joints/tie rod ends are greasable. They tend to last a lot longer than the sealed ones.
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Old 05-19-2009, 09:31 PM   #10
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all i can tell you is to find a bj press with a master bushing kit.

the kit i rented didn't have the right sizes and i had to start cutting metal pipe to fit it.
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Old 02-24-2012, 11:15 AM   #11
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I removed my LCA, took a 3 lb sledgehammer, popped the old one right out, no puller installer needed for this job, just a little chemistry. To install the new one you need a brine solution, 3 parts ice, 1 part salt (Soodium Chloride), this will give you a solution that is -20 C through cooling depression, soak the ball joint in this solution (not the entire ball joint just the mounting surface) for 13-18 minutes, you can then install the ball joint with one or two blows from a claw hammer. Not much force at all needed, this soultion does not damage the grease packed in the ball joint.
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Old 02-24-2012, 01:58 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Novaracer1966 View Post
I removed my LCA, took a 3 lb sledgehammer, popped the old one right out, no puller installer needed for this job, just a little chemistry. To install the new one you need a brine solution, 3 parts ice, 1 part salt (Soodium Chloride), this will give you a solution that is -20 C through cooling depression, soak the ball joint in this solution (not the entire ball joint just the mounting surface) for 13-18 minutes, you can then install the ball joint with one or two blows from a claw hammer. Not much force at all needed, this soultion does not damage the grease packed in the ball joint.
"Bubba" might do it this way, but A) you risk damaging the new ball joint with an errant whack with the hammer; and B) you risk tweaking the a-arm if you don't get the b/j started squarely in the lower a-arm. I fully understand the part about "shrinking" the b/j so it goes in easier, but that's what God invented freezers for. 20 minutes in the freezer will accomplish the same thing.


To the OP, if you're unsure of what you're doing, or don't have all the tools to press the b/js in and out properly, try to get to the point where you have the a-arms out of the car, then take it to a competent shop. The "BS" part of the job is removing the a-arm, so why pay somebody to do the labor, if you can do it yourself. Installing the b/js isn't a big deal for a good shop, so the labor shouldn't be too much.

BTW, if you're going to try to press the b/js in and out yourself, leave the a-arms bolted into the car. That way, you're not wrestling with the a-arm AND the b/j press at the same time.
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Old 02-24-2012, 07:18 PM   #13
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i did the lowers myself.......PITA........take the arms off yourself and let a shop do them
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Old 02-25-2012, 12:10 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by 94TransformulaCln View Post
If you have a picklefork, use it. Makes the knuckle/control arm separation a snap.
I bought a pickle fork since I couldn't get the two apart. I had to beat the crap out of it just to get anywhere. Bent the pickle fork handle and popped every balljoint it came in contact with. I don't know how else I could have gotten things apart, but that experience makes me hope I don't have to use one again any time soon. I guess what I'm saying to the OP is, be careful you don't pop the upper balljoints too (or have spares just in case).
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Old 02-26-2012, 07:54 AM   #15
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I bought a pickle fork since I couldn't get the two apart. I had to beat the crap out of it just to get anywhere. Bent the pickle fork handle and popped every balljoint it came in contact with. I don't know how else I could have gotten things apart, but that experience makes me hope I don't have to use one again any time soon. I guess what I'm saying to the OP is, be careful you don't pop the upper balljoints too (or have spares just in case).
On many cars, there's a "flat spot" on the spindle, right near where the stud of the b/js pass through the spindle. Usually, if you loosen the nut on the stud of the b/j a couple of turns, and give the flat spot a good, sharp whack or two with a hammer, this will loosen the stud from the spindle. That's what the flat is there for.
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Old 02-28-2012, 12:44 AM   #16
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take the a-arms off and go to a shop with a press
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Old 02-28-2012, 12:55 AM   #17
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Only use the pickle fork to separate something that you plan on replacing.
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Old 05-17-2015, 06:11 PM   #18
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Dug this thread up as I replaced the spindles and brakes on my 95 this weekend.

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Only use the pickle fork to separate something that you plan on replacing.
This. I planned on only replacing spindles, but ended up doing a lower ball joint as well because the pickle fork destroyed the dust boot on my lower ball joint

Still trying to wrestle the passenger side loose without using the pickle forks.
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Old 05-18-2015, 03:58 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by MasterTomos View Post
Dug this thread up as I replaced the spindles and brakes on my 95 this weekend.



This. I planned on only replacing spindles, but ended up doing a lower ball joint as well because the pickle fork destroyed the dust boot on my lower ball joint

Still trying to wrestle the passenger side loose without using the pickle forks.


Note to self....Energy Suspension makes ball joint boots. They might not be available "immediately" if you're thrashing and need to get the car right back on the road. But if you have some time to work around, you can get them, and avoid having to buy a complete ball joint.
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Old 05-18-2015, 05:57 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by MasterTomos View Post
Dug this thread up as I replaced the spindles and brakes on my 95 this weekend.



This. I planned on only replacing spindles, but ended up doing a lower ball joint as well because the pickle fork destroyed the dust boot on my lower ball joint

Still trying to wrestle the passenger side loose without using the pickle forks.
smack the side of the spindle where the ball joint goes thru with a big hammer, works hella better then trying the boot destroying pickle fork method.
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