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  #1  
Old 09-17-2003, 07:45 PM
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Location: Charleston, SC
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Here I go, rwthomas1, wish me luck...

I can't put it off any longer so Friday I am going after my lower balljoints. I picked up the new balljoints (TRW with a star on them) and the press today. I wanted to run my plan by you for your opinion.
  • 1. Front end up on jackstands, leaving room for hydraulic jack under control arm.
    2. Wheel removal
    3. Caliper removal, tied up out of the way
    4. Brake shield removal
    5. Hub removal
    6. Hydraulic jack under lower control arm to take coil spring load
    7. Spindle removal
    8. Drive out old balljoint with drift and BFH
    9. Press in new one
    10. Reassemble after cleaning/repacking wheel bearings

Am I missing anything, especially related to the coil spring/safety/death?

Will I need to get an alignment afterwards?

What is the correct torque for the balljoint nuts and other fasteners involved?
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  #2  
Old 09-17-2003, 10:32 PM
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I used one jackstand to support the car and the other was adjusted to take the load from the lower control arm. I have adjustable jackstands though. A good floorjack will work too. I used a "import car pitman arm puller" from Autozone to pop the upper balljoint. Then with the lower controll arm supported with the jackstand, the nut on the lower balljoint loose and screwed to the top of the stud, pull the top of the spindle out towards you and you will be able to smack the nut/stud of the lower balljoint with a BFH to release it. Sounds strange but you will see what I mean when you get there. Don't bother messing with the outer tierod. Just unbolt the steering arm from the spindle and leave it attached. To drive the old balljoint out I placed the spindle on a piece of plywood on the ground with the top of the spindle where the upper balljoint attaches against the foundation of my house protected by another piece of wood. I then stood on the spindle to hold it down and used the big brass drift and BFH on it. On really good whack gets it going and then it moves easily. Don't be too concerned about damaging the spindle. They are forged steel and VERY tough. My 123 CD indicates 40nm and 80nm for the upper and lower balljoints respectively. Hope this helps, and good luck! RT
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  #3  
Old 09-19-2003, 09:33 PM
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Well, everything was going along very well until #8. I could not (well, can not really) get the old balljoint out. No matter what I tried, I got no cooperation. It's really in there. It wasn't a matter of not hitting it hard enough as I was wailing on it. I'm not sure what I'm going to do at this point - other than drive my Jeep for the next few days...
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Old 09-19-2003, 09:55 PM
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Try to soak him in the diesel fuel for somme time and then show who's the boss
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  #5  
Old 09-20-2003, 02:24 PM
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Ok, I got it out. Turns out I may have caused the problem. What I did was to use a piece of pipe as a drift. Because all the pressure was just inside of the edge of the balljoint, I may have mushroomed it out whilst beating it. Today I heated the balljoint red hot from the bottom, and drove it our with a solid drift. The drift should be solid and half the diameter of the bottom of the balljoint or less to avoid what happened to me. Applying this, we'll see how number 2 goes tonight...
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Old 09-20-2003, 10:52 PM
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Half way there!

One side completed!! However I still can't get the second balljoint to budge. I'm taking it down to our shop tomorrow morning to heat it up as I did with the first, except this time before heating it I am going to try to remove the ball portion so it comes out a little slower I sure am glad I am replacing them. They are really pitted and worn (no wonder they started groaning). Final chapter tomorrow (hopefully!)
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Old 09-21-2003, 02:57 PM
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Finished!! Groan free in SC!!

Heated up the second one and pounded it out this morning and reassembled the suspension. What a difference!! Here is some extra info for anyone reading this in preparation for doing their own:

Tools
  • -Tools required - Metric sockets to 22mm, 6mm allen for shield cap screws and axle nut, ball joint press, BFH, drift, two jackstands, torque wrench
    -Tools that make it easier: Oxy-Acet Torch/WD40 (spray the edge when hot), hydraulic jack, large 15" adj. wrench for axle nut, mounted bench vise, long breaker bar

General Procedure/Observations
  • - I did one side at a time, supporting with a jackstand under the control arm bushing and raising with factory jack.
    - Next step is to remove wheel, then caliper (hang with wire), then hub (catch front bearing), then shield, then steering attachment (hang along with caliper)
    - Now you're looking at the spindle
    - If you use a hyraulic jack under the lower control arm, right under the coil spring, many things go easier as you can infinitely control the height. Regardless of what you choose, lower control arm has to be supported and secured at this time. I used a jack and you should too. Triple check the security of your support.
    - With arm supported, loosen nut to upper control arm until flush with stud end. I then put a second jack stand directly under the spindle as safety and lowered the hyd. jack abnout 1/2in. or so.
    - Strike the upper balljoint nut with a hammer and it will pop loose. Take it off.
    - Lower the lower control arm a little more until the threads of the upper balljoint stud are not visible. Push straight in on the top part of the spindle, which will point the the upper balljoint stud towards the center of the car. Top of spindle should now be free.
    - Rotate the spindle out of the way and remove lower ball joint nut entirely (do not leave to beat on - threads on old balljoint are unimportant and any damage to nut will cause hell on reassembly - trust me)
    - Beat lower ball joint stud with BFH. Spindle will fall off.
    - Drive out old balljoint. I had to use a torch, you might get lucky, but be prepared if you only have one vehicle. Propane will not cut it. If you use a torch, be aware that it is likely the ball and stud will explode from the unit. I'm not sure how far they go or how fast as mine shot into a bucket, but it was loud. Take safety precautions in light of this. One of mine did, one didn't.
    - Press new ball joint into cool spindle. I did not rent the tool from PP (I could not justify renting and waiting and returning PP's press to save the 45 seconds or so), but instead went and- picked up a free press at PepBoys (deposit required), it was Performance Tech's Balljoint and U-Joint Service Set, Item #W89304. I did have to remove the boots from the new balljoint (10 seconds, needle nose pliers and it kinfof unscrews over boot, grease from joint transefered back into boot with finger). Then I clamped the press in a vise, set it up with nothing on the top of the press as it is the same diameter as the inside shoulder on the balljoint, a ring and its holder on the bottom of the press and screw it in. Big breaker bar and the vise help a lot here - much torque required.
    - Put boot back on, "screw" on lower retainer(30seconds)
    - Reassemble in reverse, observing torque settings and wheel bearing preload procedures.
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  #8  
Old 09-21-2003, 10:55 PM
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Glad to hear you were successful! Sorry the LBJ's were such a bee-atch to get out. Speaking only from my experience, mine popped free with the liberal use of the mini-sledge. Obviously I got lucky. RT
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