SOLVED! 3rd time's the charm (?)

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#1
(this is more of an 'opinion' than 'need help' post...I pretty much know what my options are...)

Found out that my *second* upper ball joint replacement just worked its way out of the control arm - after < 50mi. Caught it by accident. Was going to take the truck in tmrw morning for an alignment & analysis of where my A/C is leaking from.

I figure that I widened the mounting hole when I tried to press in BJ #1 (and broke the boot cover right off, necessitating #2)

#2 seemed (?) to press in a little easier than I thought it should have (and I saw the ridged lines from #1 around the circumference of the hole). Not to mention that I tore the boot on this one trying to put the snap ring on (HF's $3 snap ring pliers are utter crap, btw). So I knew it wasn't going to be a 'permanent' replacement.

Now I need upper BJ #3 And I'm thinking I should replace the entire upper control arm.

Or do I know when I'm beat, and just let the shop do it tomorrow along with the alignment (I already know they will charge > $250; that was their estimate for just the ball joint). But there's the ignominy of having them see that it came out, and I f'd up the job.

Kicker #1: I received BJ #3 in the mail a day or two ago. So I could just put it in and hope the snap ring keeps it in, this time (and I'll get a *good* set of snap ring pliers from somewhere besides HF)

Kicker #2: I literally just took the ball joint press back to the auto parts store earlier today.

Thankfully, the control arm / BJ combo is in stock in at least one store (although it's CCC, for sure.) And they're open fairly late, so I have a few minutes to pour a drink, calm down, and decide... LMAO

So... WWGMTNMD ? (What Would GMT Nation Members Do?)

(personally leaning toward arm & joint (combo) replacement, unless someone knows for sure that the snap ring would hold in the old arm - I'm thinking 'not')
 
#2
I was going to say that the BJ is in the knuckle but realized that this is the full sized truck section :biggrin:.

Yeah, I'd just replace the arms with BJ's already installed and ready to go. Probably less labour too.
 
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#4
I was going to say that the BJ is in the knuckle but realized that this is the full sized truck section :biggrin:.
Lol...of all the people on this forum, what are the chances I'd crosspost? lmao

I picked up the assembly - found a 'base' level Moog at AAP for $116 (w/ 22% off, 'cos I'm such a good customer...lol). I hate paying for iron...no choice, this time.

Truck is back in the garage...let's see how long it takes. Should sleep well tonite!
Thx to all who chimed in.
 
#5
When the ball joint is in the arm, I almost always just replace the arm if that's an option. Hate screwing with pressing joints in and out. Just not worth the time and effort, IMO. Plus, that way the control arm bushings are also fresh.

On my truck I replaced all 4 arms upper and lower when my joints were shot. UCA bushings were showing wear too, so it made sense.
 
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#6
I'm glad you mentioned this, because after having now replaced the arm - I disagree.
I'd rather replace a joint, vs doing another arm, any day. x10, even.

Part of that was due to rust, I'm sure. But here's a short take on what my experience was like...

- Control arm bolts / nuts were immovable, except via extended breaker bar - and then only 1/4" or so at a time, repositioning the socket at each pass, to gain the most arc for the next swing. Eventually, I finished getting the one out with the impact gun and an air hammer.

- Access to those arm bolts was surprisingly bad - I used long / short 21mm impact sockets, swivel 21mm sockets, short / long extension bars, my new torque multiplier tool, a ratchet, a breaker bar, and a pipe over that breaker - for TWO bolts.

- On the second of the two bolts, I stood on the breaker bar - and promptly sheared off the head of the 21mm bolt (class 10.9 btw - min 1000 lb. tensile strength)

- Had to then cut off that bolt on both ends using the recip saw; could not move it otherwise, even with the air hammer.

- Lost 3 of the four pins that the alignment keys slot into, so I'll incur the cost of a full camber kit, once the shop gets the truck tomorrow - I know they don't just sell the little pins by themselves. Wasn't until I saw #4 about to fall out that I realized they weren't cast into the receiver (frame) for the arm.

But, hey - I got 'er done! Postponed my shop appointment by a day, as a result.

Saw so much corrosion on the brake line that I had to move / reposition for clearance to the one bolt at the control arm, that I ordered a stainless brake line kit - and bought a set of crowfoot / flarenut wrenches to put it in with, when it comes in next week.

Shoulda bought the Silverado!
 
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#7
Wow. Mine was stupid easy, came right apart. I did have to use my extra long handle 1/2" ratchet and a couple of wrenches locked together to break things free, but it wasn't too bad. I did however spray all nuts/bolts with PB Blaster over the course of a week before I actually started work, though they weren't too overly rusty to start with. I almost bought a camber kit, but thought mine should be ok, and it was. The kit didn't seem all that expensive locally if I did end up needing it.

What year is your truck? Access is easy on my 07.
 
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#8
'03. 2nd-gen. Putting it back together was easier (always is.) Thankfully, the knuckle didn't get ruined - if I'd had to replace that, I'd *still* be cursing up a blue streak.

Expecting the camber kit to run $50 or so, plus shop markup. Spilled milk...lol.

Hoping they find the A/C leak in an easy place (I'll do the R&R, and I know it worked when I put a can of r134 in a few weeks ago; it's just a leak)
 
#9
Must be a combined thing of age (more time for rust and stuff to get stuck) and previous gen design stuff making the bolts harder to get to, I guess.
 
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#10
You're being charitable...lol. If anything, the 2nd-gen should be *easier* to work on than the '07-forward (same size, less complexity.)

If I'd done the repair right to start with, I'd have (potentially) saved the trouble of having to do the control arm.

Not gonna sugarcoat the rust issue (there's a pun in there, I'm sure...somewhere.) If not for the corrosion, I imagine it might actually be 'fun' to work on this truck. And I'd give it more love than I'm willing to do -- right now, anyway.
 
#11
I actually had fun (mostly) doing the work on mine. I didn't originally plan on doing that stuff when I got my new shocks to level it, but, once finding everything was shot, I just prepped up and then when the parts arrived I went out and went to town. Over all went well except when I busted the shock shaft being stupid, but, hey...
 
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#12
So the shop calls me about an hour ago...
"Hello, <Reprise>?"
You'll need a high-side A/C line and a new compressor.
:: thinking to self...compressors leak? I'll need to research that::
I know it *cycles* really well, so...

"Ok...how about the alignment?"
"Yeah, that won't be happening today...you need two new lower ball joints"

So I look to see what's going to be involved in doing the lowers, and I'm thinking...
- I wonder if the tech said that, because he knows I'll do the 'hard part' of replacing them for him (e.g.; he didn't want the job for today, being a holiday weekend, etc.). Also wondering if it's the same tech as the one from last visit.

- Had they told me about the lowers when I took the truck in to them the first time, I'd have had them done, instead of now needing to make another trip out there, two Lyft rides at $11/ea, *further* delaying the time until I can hook this thing up to my trailer and get the hell outta Dodge (having waited most of the summer for the dealer to finish *their* warranty work on *that*), etc., etc.

- Now wondering whether I should just replace the rest of the suspension 'wholesale'... inner / outer tie rods, pitman, sway links, etc. But that adds time, and it's kind of limited in my garage, space-wise. I need *more* room, dealing with this HD truck, not *less*.

- Also wondering if I should find a new garage (they have a good rep, and haven't "done me wrong" - until today, that is). And I can see I need to train myself on how to do my own analysis on suspension wear items - where I know that I'm right on the mark whether 'good' or 'bad'. (yes, I know it's not terribly difficult to grab a tire and yank... ::grrrr:: )

It's days like this, when I say... "screw it. I need to get BACK on meds... " :Banghead:
Or, if I had $500,000.00, I could just buy a new truck (and a new trailer, and some land out west to set it on, etc., etc.) :satan:
 
#13
Could be a good garage with a bad tech. Twice I went to my usual shop (that was bought out by a large chain, Kal-Tire) and twice they screwed up on diagnosing why they couldn't do the alignment. I first went in with the Saab, told me the front tires were worn down (no sh!t!, that's why I'm getting it aligned) and it has improper sized wheels/tires (uh they were the winters, 17" instead of 18". Can still align it, doesn't affect angles) and was advising me that both lower arm bushings were getting a little worn but won't affect alignment. Turned out the bushings were totally worn and giving about 1/2" of loose play!

Fast forward about a month, book the second appointment for the Saab after replacing the lower brackets and installed the summer rubber. However, I swapped in the TB instead to get new tires installed and an alignment. They took forever to install them and then, couldn't do the alignment because a wheel bearing was loose and the ABS light was on. What? I was having issues with a sensor. Was planning on replacing the wheel bearing anyway since it's just a little more than a sensor by itself. The bearing had absolutely no issues, no noise and nothing loose. I wound up not having time to get it aligned before my trip to the meet. The alignment is fine, just the steering wheel is a little off.

Went to another shop from the same chain that I had used before. It's further away but have had excellent service in the past. Got the Saab aligned, no prob, not late, no BS.

It's hard to find good shops.
 
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#14
Well, after removing the driver's side knuckle, I can tell I also need new inner / outer tie rods, and the upper ball joint. And since I'm now right at the axle housing that's leaking, I should take care of that now, too. With parts off, I can tell the joints / items that have excessive play.

All that'll be left untouched when I'm done will be the pitman & the stabilizer (sway) links / bushings.

That lower BJ looks like it's gonna be a bear to get out.
If it weren't for the fact that I'd have to disconnect / remove the torsion bars, *this* is the control arm (lower) that warrants a straight replacement, IMO. I may still look at doing that while I'm pricing out the addn'l pieces I mentioned above.

It's funny...with the Envoy, I went in thinking I'd redo the entire front suspension, and while it was a fair bit of work, I took pride in the result (rightfully so - it turned out well). I'm effectively doing the same thing with the Sierra (but unplanned, this time.) Hopefully, I'll have warm fuzzies once she's back on the road as well.

Off to look for some more suspension pieces!
 
#15
I have grown to absolutely hate the multi-link steering systems which gives lots of places for things to get loose. I have found it odd that they used a R&P in the 2wd version of this truck and multi-link in the 4x4.
 
#16
I think that GM woke up with the GMT900 because they made the 2WD and 4WD models both have the same front suspension and steering at that point. Coil over shock and R&P on my 07. So much easier.
 
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#17
Spent yesterday trying to get the lower joint pressed out / beat out. Would not budge, and after deforming two (!) receiving tubes & the 'top hat' of the joint, I'm about to give in and order the LCA assembly (which I hate doing b/c of the torsion arms, the bushing preload adjustments, etc.)

Looked to ensure there were no welds / crimps / rivets holding the joint in - even removed the boot to make sure there was no 'internal' circlip, etc. Only the 1500 is suppose to use rivets / crimps, anyway. Reviewed every vid & thread I could on removing them.

Unless someone's got some advice on something I might have missed, I'm gonna break down and order them (and get the sway links while I'm at it). Taking a day off from this will let me get some other stuff done & get my mind off of this. I can start working on the axle seal, as well.


Quoting Mooseman:
"I have grown to absolutely hate the multi-link steering systems which gives lots of places for things to get loose. I have found it odd that they used a R&P in the 2wd version of this truck and multi-link in the 4x4."

See, and here I think the opposite - from a perspective of 'needed work / cost to replace'. I think I'd rather go after individual subcomponents, than replace an entire rack. And the Sierra does give you some room to work, unlike the Envoy. Maybe I'd think differently, if I had experience with a 1500 with the R&P. For now, I'm not 'unhappy' with my recirculating ball. For now...LOL
 
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#18
See, and here I think the opposite - from a perspective of 'needed work / cost to replace'. I think I'd rather go after individual subcomponents, than replace an entire rack. And the Sierra does give you some room to work, unlike the Envoy. Maybe I'd think differently, if I had experience with a 1500 with the R&P. For now, I'm not 'unhappy' with my recirculating ball. For now...LOL
Difficulty of R&P replacement depends on individual vehicles. GMT360/370 are probably one of the worst but I still consider it cheaper than having to continually replace inner tie-rods, idler arms, center links and Pitman arms and getting alignments each time. Going from several S series to 360/370, I found it much better. I replaced the R&P in my old `02 at about 250k km and only because it was leaking.

Back on topic... Save yourself some aggravation, order the arms. Enjoy the new suspension. :biggrin:
 
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#19
I placed the order. Just over $300 US shipped for 2 new arms / sway links / bushings.

Worst of it is that I have to wait until Sept 10 for delivery (unless I want to pay another $300 to get it here tomorrow), and I was planning on being in Hershey, PA next week for an RV show. At least it's being sent via FedEx, and I should be able to intercept / have it held at my local office until I get back. But that means the truck is going to be down another two weeks. Sigh...

I dunno what's more frustrating -- looking at the truck in my garage, or watching the TV today (SCOTUS hearings). And I realize I forgot to order the two new dust caps for my hubs. Crap!
 

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