Upper ball joints

miron

Original poster
Member
Dec 29, 2011
56
So my truck fails PA safety inspection due to bad upper ball joints. Is this something I cn feel comfortable doing myself or am I better off taking to a shop?
 

miron

Original poster
Member
Dec 29, 2011
56
miron said:
So my truck fails PA safety inspection due to bad upper ball joints. Is this something I cn feel comfortable doing myself or am I better off taking to a shop?

Just checked Pep Boys, and it's $500 to have both sides replaced.
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
Unless we knew you personally and saw your tool collection, and discussed your specific experience, it would be very hard to predict. Many, many of us have done our own using borrowed or rented ball joint press kits, but it is VERY OFTEN a frustrating and exasperating job if the ball joint kit you get doesn't have the specific sizes necessary. The larger (23?) piece kits have the best chance of having the right sizes. Run a search here and at trailvoy and you'll find threads discussing the process - with pictures.

$500 is a HUGE motivator to DIY, but it's useful to check your local parts stores for kit rentals and if they are complete or if somebody's ripped off or lost some of the parts. Having a second vehicle available for parts runs is also useful.
 

redleg6

Member
Apr 10, 2012
686
I see slight irony in the city from your profile...I just don't understand why some locales place emphasis on something like the ball joints and others don't seem to care at all about safety inspections.

I hope you can come up with a less expensive resolution.
 

miron

Original poster
Member
Dec 29, 2011
56
Thanks for closing the dupe thread Roadie. Still getting used to the multitude of forums here at GMT. As to my ability, I am pretty confident I can do it given the right tools, circumstances and weather. I would have to rent the required tools as I have just the standard home mechanic tool box. I have replaced all four shocks, brakes, rotors, front hubs (need done again) and swaybar links so I am familiar with the front end of the truck. I'm just a little uncomfortable in the complexity of the job and my ability to ensure everything is just right (i.e. ball joints in correctly) prior to re-assembly. My Hanes book is good but I'm not sure it covers all of the possible "what-ifs" if you know what I mean. I was unable to locate any step-by-step procedures here in GMT. If you know where I can obtain one, it would be appreciated. This is just another reason I love living in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania! But I guess it is better to correct now then to wait for total failure.
 

miron

Original poster
Member
Dec 29, 2011
56
As always Roadie, you're a life saver and my hero! Thanks! Looks less difficult then I thought. Now I just need a little warmer weather to get started.
 

miron

Original poster
Member
Dec 29, 2011
56
Thanks has been given to Hypnotoad. I want some of your Google-fu Sensi! I searched and found nothing but nothing!
 

jimmyjam

Member
Nov 18, 2011
1,634
i highly recommend a decent torque wrench for pushing out the bjs
 

rmsg0040

Member
Dec 10, 2011
285
Just did last week.

Tips

Cut the stud of the ball joint with angle grinder > 1 Less cup to use when pressing out

Lubrication

Impact gun makes things go faster

4WD > remove the axle nut and when you swing the steering knuckle out, tap the cv axle in at same time with a hammer pushing it through the hub otherwise risk separation at the tripot

Just gotta figure what cups to use, no right or wrong

Pressed down and out, then pull up and in

IMAG0902_zpsabb70cfe.jpg

IMAG0901_zps3a611d92.jpg
 

miron

Original poster
Member
Dec 29, 2011
56
As usual, plenty of outstanding suggestions! I love this place! It's snowing pretty good and I have no garage so it will be a few days before I can start. I will definately document my progress as a first-timer and share with the group. It never fails that I screw something up and hopfully keep someone from making the same mistake.

I have two new hubs so while I have everything apart I'm just going to replace those as well. Does it make sense to replace the dust shields or should I just wirebrush them really well? :undecided:
 

miron

Original poster
Member
Dec 29, 2011
56
Jimmyjam,
Could you please explain what you mean by, "...torque wrench for pushing out the bjs".

Thanks
 

jimmyjam

Member
Nov 18, 2011
1,634
miron said:
Jimmyjam,
Could you please explain what you mean by, "...torque wrench for pushing out the bjs".
sorry i mistyped. i meant impact wrench.
turning this c clamp by hand is very labor intensive. using an impact removes 90% of the labor
9310d1347828747-how-replace-front-wheel-hubs-upper-ball-joints-img_1822.jpg
 

miron

Original poster
Member
Dec 29, 2011
56
Got it! Whew! I was confused for a second there. Hopfully the autoparts store rents impact wrenches as well.
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
I'd change dust shields only if they're losing material to corrosion.

Impact tools require an air compressor, and aren't rented out typically. You can get into the air tool collecting business for cheaper if you have a Harbor Freight store close by. There are electric impact drivers, but good ones are upwards of $150. For your first time, if you're not into the "buy a tool and have it forever" habit (yet), you can substitute sweat for $$ and just use your normal 1/2" socket set to drive the c-clamp.

But in the long run, an advanced DIY mechanic MUST get into the tool acquisition mindset. Then you can be the rental source for your less-well-endowed friends and collect lots of beer for the rental fees. In my case, that's a good thing because beer is a currency my wife can't spend. :biggrin:
 

miron

Original poster
Member
Dec 29, 2011
56
Roadie the Sage... wow! I like the part about, "...a currency my wife can't spend". I have quite a collection of manual tools but nothing air driven. An investment looking into. Curious how big/small a compressor (PSI output) I would need to drive the tools.
 

jimmyjam

Member
Nov 18, 2011
1,634
I'd recommend a 20gal tank at a minimum. You'll be running around 90psi to your impact. CFM is the spec you need to consider, which is how much air it moves, which determines how quickly it will recover air pressure

I bought a harbor freight $50 electric impact for working away from my garage... smoked it after around 5 uses, trying to remove a rusted bolt from my trailer. luckily i purchased the warranty as I expected I would destroy it eventually. sometimes there is no suitable replacement for a 2' breaker bar...
 

JB100

Member
Oct 31, 2012
20
A HUGE BFH and a can of PB Blaster will work wonders on most bolts and stuck things! :smile:
 

miron

Original poster
Member
Dec 29, 2011
56
Alright (sigh), job is done! Many lessons learned. first and formost, smoeone needs to engineer a BJ removal/installation kit with pieces that interlock. I spent more time getting everything lined up (sleeves/clamp/endcaps) to either remove/install than anything else. Just when you think it's right, something shifts and all the pieces fall to the ground. I cussed the mfr more than once. And I found an impact wrench was not needed. Removal was simple. Installation was a little rough but a cheater bar made it simpler. I figured while I had it apart I might as well replace the hubs as well. I started with the pass side which went relatively smooth with the exception of the kit. Everything went in straight the first time. All of the nuts and bolts came off with relative ease (yessss). When I pulled the pass hub off I found very little lubrication remained. In the "how to" it directed to remove the caliper then the bracket. I just took it off as one assembly and hung it with small bungies from the frame to get it out of the way. I like that the new hubs came with all of the required clips for the ABS wire. Nice time saver. Just rip the old buggers out. Anyway, the pass side BJ came out and went in perfect. When I removed the old, it was pretty obvious the needed replacing. Massive play. So worn that I could wiggle it in it's full range of motion with no effort. New ones were quite the opposite. Reassembley was a relative snap. Then on to the drivers side. Started off well with disassembly. Then the BJ removal. Hint- make sure you drape something over the fender to save paint when using the BJ tool. The only real issue I had was with the driver's BJ installation. I was getting ready to find a furnace and melt that kit to slg, but I kept my cool till I got it right. About halfway through install I noticed is was crooked, so I popped it out and re-installed correctly. Zirk fittings went in perfect and greasing was a snap. The old OEM BJs did not have a zirk. Must be lubed and seald at factory. So all in all it was a learning experience, every works as designed, and I'm sore as hell from rolling around on the ground. I notice the difference. Another note, Pep Boys wanted $500 to replace both. All things considered, I did it for less than $75, some scrapes, wasted explatives, sore muscles, and two Diet Mountain Dews. I amaze myself sometimes but couldn't have done it without all of you. Thanks!
 

rmsg0040

Member
Dec 10, 2011
285
miron said:
Alright (sigh), job is done! Many lessons learned. first and formost, smoeone needs to engineer a BJ removal/installation kit with pieces that interlock. I spent more time getting everything lined up (sleeves/clamp/endcaps) to either remove/install than anything else. Just when you think it's right, something shifts and all the pieces fall to the ground. I cussed the mfr more than once. And I found an impact wrench was not needed. Removal was simple. Installation was a little rough but a cheater bar made it simpler. I figured while I had it apart I might as well replace the hubs as well. I started with the pass side which went relatively smooth with the exception of the kit. Everything went in straight the first time. All of the nuts and bolts came off with relative ease (yessss). When I pulled the pass hub off I found very little lubrication remained. In the "how to" it directed to remove the caliper then the bracket. I just took it off as one assembly and hung it with small bungies from the frame to get it out of the way. I like that the new hubs came with all of the required clips for the ABS wire. Nice time saver. Just rip the old buggers out. Anyway, the pass side BJ came out and went in perfect. When I removed the old, it was pretty obvious the needed replacing. Massive play. So worn that I could wiggle it in it's full range of motion with no effort. New ones were quite the opposite. Reassembley was a relative snap. Then on to the drivers side. Started off well with disassembly. Then the BJ removal. Hint- make sure you drape something over the fender to save paint when using the BJ tool. The only real issue I had was with the driver's BJ installation. I was getting ready to find a furnace and melt that kit to slg, but I kept my cool till I got it right. About halfway through install I noticed is was crooked, so I popped it out and re-installed correctly. Zirk fittings went in perfect and greasing was a snap. The old OEM BJs did not have a zirk. Must be lubed and seald at factory. So all in all it was a learning experience, every works as designed, and I'm sore as hell from rolling around on the ground. I notice the difference. Another note, Pep Boys wanted $500 to replace both. All things considered, I did it for less than $75, some scrapes, wasted explatives, sore muscles, and two Diet Mountain Dews. I amaze myself sometimes but couldn't have done it without all of you. Thanks!


Snap on has a ball joint kit that has interlocking pieces, unless your a professional or can snag 1 for cheap its not worrth it
 

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