How to: Replace front wheel hubs and upper ball joints.

Hypnotoad

Well-Known Member
Summary: How to replace upper ball joints and front wheel hub on a GMT360
Difficulty: 3 out of 5
Estimated Time: 1-1.5 hours per side
Part Numbers: Upper ball joint Moog k6664, Wheel hub Moog 513188
Cost: Ball Joint- $20-$100, Wheel Hub $100-$175 (depending on brand)
Tools Needed: Standard hand tools, 35mm axle nut, 24 piece ball joint service set, snap ring pliers, torque wrench and a grease gun. I'd also recommend a 1/2 inch socket set and breaker bar or impact wrench.

1) Pry off center cap. Remove axle nut with a 35mm socket. If you have an aftermarket axle shaft, it might be a 36mm nut instead.

2) Lift the vehicle in the air and support it with a jack stand.

3) Remove six 19mm lug nuts and set tire off to the side.

4) Remove the two 17mm caliper bolts and hang caliper so it's not hanging by it's brake hose. Set brake slides and pads aside.

View attachment 22859

5) Remove the two 18mm caliper bracket bolts and set aside caliper bracket.

View attachment 22860

6) Set the brake rotor aside.

7) Completely remove the 5 plastic clips that hold the ABS sensor cable and unplug it, unless your new hub didn't come with the clips. Let it hang to the ground.

View attachment 22862

8) Remove the two 10mm bolts that hold the brake hose to the knuckle.

View attachment 22863

9) Remove the three 18mm wheel hub bolts. You may have to turn the steering wheel from side to side to get at the bolts.

View attachment 22865

10) My hub came out pretty easy after a hit with a hammer. Most hubs I come across aren't that easy, yours may not be so easy.

11) This maybe isn't necessary, but I used a puller to get the hub off the axle shaft. It was available so I used it, and it came off super easy. You might be able to tap the axle shaft out with a hammer.

View attachment 22866

12) Once the axle shaft is out of the hub, remove the hub and dust shield from the knuckle. Also, clean the surfaces of the knuckle and dust shield of any rust or debris.

View attachment 22867

13) Remove the pinch bolt and nut (both are 15mm).

14) I wedged a screw driver to loosen up the upper control arms grip on the upper ball joint. Then, I was able to lightly tap up on the control arm to get it off the ball joint.

View attachment 22868

15) Remove the snap ring from the ball joint. I was able to tap it off with a screw driver and hammer.

View attachment 22869

16) Here is the setup I used to remove the old ball joint. I didn't use the pieces as they were intended, since I don't think that the correct pieces came in the ball joint kit. The old ball joint came out with ease regardless. You'll have to be creative.

View attachment 22853

17) This is the setup I used to install the new ball joint. The kit does have the correct pieces for the install unlike the removal.

View attachment 22854

18) Install the snap ring.

View attachment 22855

19) Push the ball joint and upper control arm together, I was able to maneuver it in place by hand.

View attachment 22856

20) Install the pinch bolt (30 ft lbs), grease zerk, and then grease the ball joint with a grease gun.

View attachment 22858

21) Reinstall the dust shield and install the new hub assembly. Be sure to route the ABS sensor wire through the shield. The 3 hub assembly bolts should be torqued to 77 ft lbs. To get the hub on entirely, I had to tighten the axle nut down a bit to pull the axle into the hub (I torqued it down all the way later).

22) Reinstall the two 10mm bolts that hold the brake hose.

23) Route the ABS sensor wire and clip it back into place. There are a total of 5 clips. Plug the connector back in to the harness.

24) Put the rotor back on and reinstall the caliper bracket and bolts (110 ft lbs), slides, pads, caliper and caliper bolts (31 ft lbs).

25) Reinstall the tire, torque to 100 ft lbs.

26) Lower vehicle and torque axle nut to 103 ft lbs.

27) Install center cap.
 

Attachments

Excellent write-up.

I posted this on the 'other' website but was told about this forum. Much better.....

I had ordered all the ball joints, tie rods and stabilizer links to do the front end since they were in desperate need of changing.

I have all the tools and read up on countless posts on how to change the ball joints. The press kit I have is this one ---> ATD-8696 - Deluxe Ball Joint Service Set - ATD Tools, Inc.. I've used it before on my other vehicles with no issues.

What I thought would end up being a straight forward day of work turned into a friggin' pain in the a**.

When I tried to press out the upper ball joint I couldn't for the life of me figure out how the hell to get the clamp to fit. I could not align the press cups properly because the drive screw hit the knuckle and not give me a straight position. I stared and fiddled with the damn thing for over an hour. I tried different cup configurations but could not get it to line up. I thought about orienting the clamp so that the drive screw presses down from above but it would then push on the threaded swivel portion of the ball joint and not stay straight. Even if I managed to get it out somehow I wasn't sure if I'd be able to press the new one back in. Either I'm stupid or completely missing something or the press kit I have is inadequate. I had finished a 12 hour night shift the night before and started this when I got home during the day. Maybe I was just too tired, who knows.

Anyway, I didn't want to lose anymore daylight messing around with this thing so I put it back together and just changed the tied rods and stabilizer links and bushings. If someone has any idea on how to configure the clamp or get it to fit your comments are welcome. I looked at the pictures in this thread but don't see any install/remove adapter on the top. Having rebuilt transmissions and engines back in the day I feel like an idiot having such difficulty with a stupid ball joint press. :hissyfit:

Now on to replacing the mode door actuator. Oh joy..................
 
OP
OP
Hypnotoad

Hypnotoad

Well-Known Member
I think the problem is that you have the wrong ball joint set. The setup I used is pictured exactly. The top of the ball joint stud actually went up into the hollow part of the threaded rod. If you have advance auto parts nearby, rent their 23 piece ball joint set. It has all the pieces.
 
I've never seen a press with the end of the screw being hollow. Unfortunately we don't have Autozone up here in Canada. Our selection of parts stores is actually pretty pathetic. I'll see if I can find a larger kit online somewhere. Is that 23 piece kit you're referring to from Alltrade Tools/Powerbuilt?
 
OP
OP
Hypnotoad

Hypnotoad

Well-Known Member
Homewrecker said:
I've never seen a press with the end of the screw being hollow. Unfortunately we don't have Autozone up here in Canada. Our selection of parts stores is actually pretty pathetic. I'll see if I can find a larger kit online somewhere. Is that 23 piece kit you're referring to from Alltrade Tools/Powerbuilt?
Yep, exactly.
 

xxfile

Member
Have used this tutorial to change hubs twice .. the second time was a year ago.... yup a shitty cheap one lasted almost exactly one year. when yanking on the wheel checking for play found almost a 1/2 inch of play in the upper BJ's.. soooo out they come along with the drivers side hub this sunday.... just gotta get me a BJ puller checking out the rental places soon.
 

xxfile

Member
Ball joint press i had didnt have a hollow shaft. Two pound hammer and big socket made for reasonably easy removal.
Press worked for install
3 1/2 hours for both uppers and one wheel bearing. Including a couple breaks. :smile:
 

miron

Well-Known Member
Hypnotoad,
Thanks for the outstanding How-To. Roadie provided me the link and I just want to ensure you get credit for your handy work. You make it look simple. I just hope it is! Relatively speaking anyway. Thanks again. :thumbsup:
 

rmsg0040

Well-Known Member
A little shortcut:

No need to remove hub assembly. Axle nut removed, swing steering knuckle out and tap the cv shaft in with a hammer at the same time.:thumbsup:
 

Mooseman

Moderator
Normally, no unless you replace some other parts like tie rods or lower A-arms. It's not a bad idea to do it regardless just to be sure everything else is good.
 

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