Instructables

Replacing Lower Ball joints, 94 Chevy 1500

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Please understand the risks of working on a car. If you hurt or car, yourself, your pets, your children, or your property, i can take no responsibility as I am not there to school you on proper car maintenance.


This instructable is on how to replace the lower ball joints on a '94 Chevy 1500.  Some of the small details will be omitted like:  How to jack up a vehicle, or Remove the tire… If you don’t possess these simple skills, this job may not be for you.  It’s not uncommon to get some cuts and bruises while working on a car. However, some components like coil springs, Macpherson struts, and a falling car can kill you!   Be safe and do your best to use the right tool for the job!

 
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zeron-792 years ago
its helping me out alot, ive got my top ones out (lots o drilling) and i was looking at the bottom wondering how the hell i do this.
eugeneb43 years ago
I've been looking all over for something that explains how to pull this ball joint. Isn't there a clip or something I have to remove before using the press?
I did mine. 1985 c2500 P/U 3/4 ton. The ball join separator was too small so I put the castle nut on loosely and use a jack to separate the ball joint from the spindle assembly. I smacked it a few time with a 4lb hammer and it popped lose. The upper control arm had allot of slack in it, like 1/8 inch or so so I tried to put an upper control arm bushing on and it was a nightmare to do. I ended up getting the whole upper control arm because it was just too hard to get the bushings back on and I couldn't find anything that showed me the trick to do it. I replaced the outer tie rod end while I was at it and when i put the wheel back on it was a whole 2 inches out. I marked the old tie rod end with paint and measured the difference and set the new tie rod end to match. i need to make find an instructable on how to replace that upper control arm bushing for the future
Very well done instructional, i came here looking for a refresher on doing ball joints, i dont really do many in the heavy equipment field and yours is very good.
Mikey D4 years ago
Hey Designed,

I learned a trick for removing ball joints, tie rod ends etc...  I know it sounds brutal but if you loosen the nut that holds the taper in place, take a sizable hammer (large ball peen or hand sledge) and wack the outside of the female taper (it usually takes 2-4 wacks), that taper will pop loose and you will not damage the boot with the pickle fork. 

Of course if you are replacing the joint it does not matter, but if you will be reinstalling the old one it is important.  This is quite the time saver and I heartely reccomend it.

Mikey
automd Mikey D4 years ago
Thanks for the suggestion mikey. I am planning on replacing the lower ball joints of my chevy and this would surely come in handy. I hope that I get it right the first time though.
designedforhell (author)  Mikey D4 years ago

I have used the hammering  method before, if your in a pinch yes it will work, but it doesn’t work all the time! Really old cars, big trucks, or rust and you will be beating on the ball joint all day and do nothing but putting dings all over the control arm. The press is only $40 USD and you can use it for breaks and universal joints as well, to me its money well spent.

The first time I did the ball joints on this truck years ago, I easily hammered one side out and when the other just wouldn’t hammer out… I got a press as a loner tool from  autozone ($120.00 deposit).

Too funny.

I've been teaching auto shop for 10 years now and have pressed out too many to remember.  I learnd the hammer trick not too long ago and have been overjoyed.  I've a 1 ton chevy that I will be replacing the front end suspension on and am now looking foward to trying it.

Different strokes.

Have a safe one!

Mikey
seanm29a4 years ago
Nice job.

I just wanted to add that in Canada at least many parts stores will lend out specialty tools like ball-joint presses for free.
Also, I second Mikey D's method of preserving the ball joint boots if you're re-using them.  I've found that putting a little downward pressure on the control arm while you're hammering helps too.
designedforhell (author)  seanm29a4 years ago
also, I used to start the ball joint in the hole, put a jack stand under the bottom of the ball joint and hammer down on the control arm to reinstall. It worked...
Why would you hammer them in? Stick them through and tighten the nut...
That seems like it could easily mess up the taper of the steering knuckle.
designedforhell (author)  seanm29a4 years ago
I'm talking about ball joints, not tie rod ends... Ball joints absolutely have to be pressed or hammered in like in the instructable,
Ohhhh, I misunderstood.  I thought you were talking about hammering the ball joint back into the steering knuckle after they had been installed in the control arm already. 
designedforhell (author)  seanm29a4 years ago

Ah yes, I had a 73’ Nova I did the ball joints on years ago, at the end I had used a 3’ 10lbs (0.9144m 4.5 kg) sledgehammer and ended up with a smaller lumpier version of what used to be ball joints.

NachoMahma4 years ago
.  Excellent iBle.
lemonie4 years ago
It's good to see a practical job well documented, I'm sure this will be helpful to people.

L