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Ball Joint Replacement

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15 replies to this topic

#1 rick


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Posted 20 November 2003 - 12:00 PM

Is there any easy way to do it? woud it be easy to do it at home or is it a job for a shop (special tools)? Thnxs.

#2 MaroonDuneDoom


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Posted 20 November 2003 - 01:27 PM

they make tools just for pulling ball joints. they look kinda like a gear puller. most auto parts stores will have one. i think they're less than $10. definitely get a tool or have someone do it. i ruined my ball joint using improper jerry-rig methods. it is very important for the ball joint to stay sealed so no dirt gets in and no grease gets out. best of luck

#3 archemitis


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Posted 20 November 2003 - 02:22 PM

a pickel fork is the easiest way to get the junk ones off. and you can just use the nut to pull the new one in.
i never had any luck with the ball joint tool.
a 4 pound hammer helps too.

#4 frag


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Posted 20 November 2003 - 03:54 PM

Beware of the pinch bolt. Often rust welded (water and salt can get in there at three different places). Mucho penetrating oil and heat may be needed. These bolts break easily if you apply too much pressure with a «breaker» bar...
I already had to drill thru two of them one on my Loyale and one on my Legacy. But maybe rust has thrown a curse on me.

#5 MilesFox


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Posted 20 November 2003 - 05:35 PM

you can also pop a ball joint by jacking up on the stud that pokes thru, jack it up till it loads the suspension a little, and tap the lower control arm with a hammer.

you can thread the nut on backward to protect the thread.

you can use a long bar or a 2x4 to push the lower control arm down away from the ball joint.

the top of the ball joint fits into the knuckle, clamped in by a 14mm bolt. you can remove that end first if you chose to do so

#6 bratman2


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Posted 20 November 2003 - 06:05 PM

I just did the left front one on my Brat this morning. Basically did it the way Miles Fox suggested. Used crc oil and beat the crap out of the lower arm till it poped loose. A friend suggested heat also if to much resistance to the jacking method but didn't have to go that far. Glenn Taylor.

#7 MilesFox


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Posted 20 November 2003 - 06:13 PM

that methos worked for me off the side of the road,and at the junk yard. i never had trouble doing it that way.

#8 frag


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Posted 20 November 2003 - 07:39 PM

Strange that you guys seems to have more trouble removing the stud or tail of the joint from the lower arm and less with the pinch bolt holding the ball of the joint. In my case, it's always the reverse. No problem with popping the tail or stud but mucho aggravation when the pinch bolt turn comes. Two times I had to drill thru the pinch bolt and replace with a longer bolts with lock nut.

#9 MilesFox


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Posted 22 November 2003 - 01:05 AM

i had trouble replacing the ball joint on my ride, it wouldnt come out of the knuckle. so i said F*' it and replaced the whole knuckle.

#10 Mendodave


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Posted 23 November 2003 - 12:09 PM

Hey there subies

I am having the devil of a time getting the blasted ball joint out of my steering knuckle....any tricks to this besides a BFH?

tried to make a puller but the bolt shaft turns, it is out about 4 mm, I am thinking of penetrating oil all over it and bash it back in, and then try to pull it out. Tried heat, screwdriver in the clamp slot, etc....

Brian, I did get my axle in!! thanks for the tips.

but that ball joint is fscked, and now i am not rolling.


#11 torxxx


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Posted 23 November 2003 - 02:37 PM

I go with the jacking the car up from the bottom of the stud. The easiest way to do any sort of removal on a soob is to soak ever bolt, nut and fastner with PB blaster or Liquid Wrench a day before you do it..

The pinch bolt should never be a problem to take of (well if you Anti-seized the top of the ball joint the last time you changed it..)

I've also used a big tuning fork and a BFH before to get one off.
Another way if the stud is really rusted in there, grab a sawzall cuz the stud flush with the bottom of the control arm and grab a drill and drill have b!tch outta there

Tools required:
Sticky greeniess
case of beer
both disturbed CD's

#12 Mendodave


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Posted 23 November 2003 - 03:07 PM

It was not the pinch bolt, that came out fine. the dad blessed stinking ball joint socket would not come out.

Sticky greenies, great tip!

anyway, i soaked it in penetrating oil before knocking off last night, and then went out there this am, 30 degrees! and heated the steering knuckle, tapped the ball joint back in a wee bit, pried it out, tapped in, etc. repeat 5 times, grab with the tool of tools, a big visegrip, and twist.

what a pain! I think I will wait a bit on the other side. but it is all done, much better steering, and no grinding axle.



#13 torxxx


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Posted 23 November 2003 - 03:11 PM

lol. yeah I did the same thing... After all the crap I went though to get my drivers side out, (2 years ago) I never did change the passenger side cuz I didnt feel like using every swear word in teh book......

get guys do a search for wrc2002 videos and wrc2001 videos in yahoo..

Gotta check out those videos.. They are awesome. They are like 12 meg downloads

#14 frag


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Posted 23 November 2003 - 03:14 PM

If i read you correctly, you have trouble removing not the stud (part of the joint that goes thru the lower arm ) but the head or ball of the joint (part that fits inside the knuckle).
All I can tell you is what I did when I had that same problem (once with my Loyale and once with the Legacy)
Beside what you're already doing,
1) find something heaftier than a screwdrive to open that part of the knuckle that holds the joint. I used something resembling a small crow bar.
2) take a metal chisel and use it with a medium size hammer to hit downward on the part of the joint that's already out of the knuckle.

In my case, it was a mixture of things like these that finally succeded.
Good luck?

#15 jdemaris


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Posted 23 November 2003 - 06:02 PM

I've had the same experience as Giles. I live in central New York State and I don't think you'll find rusiter Subarus anywhere else. My upper field is full of Loyale 4WD wagons that, more or less, broke in half they got so rusty. Since salt and rust is big issue, the biggest problem I have with removing ball joints is the clamp-bolt that holds the body of the ball joint in. Usually, the bolt will break if I don't heat it with a torch. When doing so, a lot of care must be used in order not to damage the driveshaft boot. I usually put a metal shield on it. Once the bolt is out, I hammer a small chisel into the opening that will spread the housing a bit.
As far as the other end goes, i.e. the tapered stud that is threaded, a small "puller" works fine. Note, although I called it a puller, it actually pushes the stud out. Pickle fork works fine to, but will damage the ball joint (which is usually not an issue). If it's really stuck, get the pickle fork jammed into it so there's tension on it, then, . . . either heat it a bit . . . or take two hammers and rap on both sides of the casting holding the stud . . .i.e. both hammers' aiming at each other. The shock will usually release it. I reassemble all parts with Never-Seize. Makes things much easier the next time.

My Subaru fleet: 12 4WD Loyales wagon in my field (1985-1993) along with an 88 Justy 4WD. I just junked two 84s with the pushrod engines. Also, on the road, an 87 4WD Loyale wagon automatic, a 92 Loyale 4WD wagon 5 speed, and an 89 4WD Justy. In my barn I have complete drivetrains from four 1985 Loyale 4WD wagons with the hi-low. I really miss having a wagon on the road with the hi-low. Snow gets deep coming up a steep hill, I have to slip the clutch to get going from a stop. Never had to do that with the dual-range.
Also have some full-size 4WDs; 83 diesel Blazer, 86 diesel Blazer, 87 diesel Suburban, 89 diesel Suburban, 69 Dodge Power-Wagon and a 94 AWD Astrovan. Hate to admit it, but the Subarus will go places the big vehicles won't when things are real slippery. Same goes for stopping. And . . . the Justy will go places the Loyale wagons won't.

#16 exister99


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Posted 02 September 2004 - 03:46 PM

I just took out two ball joints on my '84 with little hassle once I got the procedure down, so here is ball joint removal per exister99.

Warning! This procedure could be dangerous if you don't jack and chock your vehicle correctly or if you are strong enough to lift your Soob. Do not attempt this unless you are sure you can perform it safely. Your safety is your responsibility!

After getting the front end on jack stands and removing the front wheels:

1. Remove both pinch bolts.
2. Stick the nozzle of a penetrating fluid can into the pinch slot and spray generously.
3. Turn the steering wheel full right.
4. Using a hammer tap a 1/4" Craftsman cold chisel into the pinch slot until it bottoms out onto the current ball joint's head.
6. Turn the steering wheel back to center.
7. Carefully place a floorjack under the right rotor and jack up the wheel assembly to take weight off of the control arm and stabilizer bar. Make sure you don't lift the car off of the jack stands.
8. Tap down on the edges of the control arm with a hammer to break the ball joint loose from the steering knuckle.
9. Lever a short (12") pry bar between the steering knuckle and control arm with the head of the pry bar pointing to the front of the vehicle.
10. Stand up and place your right foot on the head of the pry bar and your hands under the lip at the top of the wheel well.
11. Close your eyes, make an ugly face and push down with your right foot for all you're worth.
12. Repeat steps 8 - 11 until the head pops out of the steering knuckle.
13. Repeat for left side turning wheel full left instead of full right.
14. To remove the ball joint from the control arm I use a jaw type ball joint remover. After trying in vain with various pullers, and unwilling to trash the boots with my pneumatic fork I finally succeeded with a Tie Rod/Ball Joint Lifter identical to this one:


This thing is definitely worth the price. It will pop a ball joint out in a matter of a few quick turns of a wrench and spare you the possible front end damage of the aforementioned "BFH"

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