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Old 03-29-2001, 08:00 AM
John34609
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Like other posts, my 300D has started some groans and creaks up front. I think I've narrowed it to the lower ball joints on the steering knuckle/lower control arm connection. I ordered the parts for it as the boots were almost completely gone... however as a temporary measure, I sprayed them down with WD40 and the sounds are gone for now. My question is this: How big of a job is it to break all of that down to drive out the lower ball joint and press in the new one? I have a puller tool and a ball joint seperator tool but before I venture into this, would like to get feedback on just how difficult a job is this for a shadetree mechanic like myself! Thank you for your reply.
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Old 03-29-2001, 09:00 AM
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The ball joint must be pressed into the spindle. It takes a special tool or one He** of a good press operator (I used to have one but he retired about 15 years ago - so I had to buy the tool). It is not likely that a generic ball joint tool will work as the clearances are small.

With the special puller its just a matter of disassemble and reassemble. The tierod end and the balljoint have tapered shafts so they won't just fall apart with the nuts off. Technique becomes almost as important as tools at that point.
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Old 03-29-2001, 09:09 AM
John34609
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Steve,
When you say pressed in on that lower ball joint, do you mean a tool other than the three pronged puller with the threaded bolt down the middle that would push it into place? You'll probably gasp at this thought but what about a large socket or metal pipe fitting that would fit over the top of the new ball joint and tap it in that way? I would imagine that the lower joint would have a large amount of pressure on it since it mounts in from the top so it probably takes a hydraulic press? If that is the case, does the whole control arm have to be removed to have that done? I hope not, otherwise that rascal is going to be expensive to get replaced! I was planning on putting the car on stands, putting a chain down the middle of the spring with metal bars at each end to prevent the spring from coming loose and then using a hydraulic floor jack to move the assembly up and down, use the pitchfork to break the joint, hammer from the bottom side to get the old joint out and then using the puller to reinstall the new joint. Will that not work? While I have it broken down, I was going to have the disc rotors turned too.

Please advise. I really need to get this resolved as I use the car for long trips required by my work.

Thank you!
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Old 03-29-2001, 09:59 AM
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DON'T turn the rotors. Leave them or replace them, if there is sufficient wear to worry there is too much wear to be cut. The pads will do fine on old rotors up till their wear limits.

Remember what I said about a "good press operator"? Other than the special "C" clamp syle dedicated ball joint tool there is no other way. Beating the old joint out is acceptable, beating the new one in isn't. You need to look at the spindle once more to see the problem. The spindle is built around the ball joint and direct pressure can not be transmitted with a standard press. My old timer used to have a billion different bars, cones, tubes, spacers, etc. and he used to jig the spindle and place two bars on each side spaced up so that the bars saton the sides of the joint and the spacer. He would press down in the middle outside the cone of the spindle.

The proper tool pulls the ball joint in with the screw action.

The spindle will have to be removed of course to do all this. The spring is held by the shock and lower control arm during this removal and is not a problem. Getting the two ball joints off there tapered seats without ruining the boots is also tough without special pullers.
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