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!
Step 1: Some Tools Required
The tools shown below are all you should need...if you don’t run into any problems. Inevitably, you will run into a problem, or you might like to use other tools to get the job done faster. In addition to what you see here, I also had to use a 24” Breaker bar, a propane torch (good for stubborn Nuts/bolts) and a ratchet set to speed things along.
Step 2: Getting Down to It
When lifting your vehicle, give yourself plenty of room. The ball joint press will require a little more than a foot under the control arm. I HIGHLY recommend the use of jack stands for this job, because there is a lot of pushing, pulling, and hammering.
Most cars I’ve done this to didn’t require the removal of the tie rod end or upper control arm unless i was replacing the upper ball joint as well. On this one, the upper ball joints are new so all I removed where the brakes.
Step 3: Ball Joint Removal 1
1. Remove the cotter pin and ball joint nut.
2. Using the ball joint separator and a large hammer, separate the hub assembly from the lower control arm.
3. I used a cargo strap to hold the upper control arm, rotor, and hub assembly out of the way while working on the ball joint.
Step 4: The Workout!
1. Use plenty of penetrating lubricant, if necessary heat with a propane torch for a little over a minute. Let cool to the touch and spray again.
2. Setup the ball joint press as instructed depending on the type of press your using. I got mine at harbor freight for about $40.
3. The ball joint come up through the lower control arm. You will have to use the ball joint press to push the ball joint down and out into the lower cup of the press as shown. If the ball joint starts to come out crooked this will make your job a lot harder! Rotate the press to the other side to correct this. You will have to use a pry bar to hold the press in the opposite position.Note: The ball joint will come out with a LOUD pop and some things may fall to the ground… No fear, the only thing you broke is the ball joints grip! There is also a rubber boot the goes on top of the ball joint to hold grease. mine was damaged when removing the ball joint but a new one comes with the new ball jont.
Step 5: The Reinstall
If you can afford it, you will want to reinstall quality new parts so you only have to do the job once. I recommend Moog brand on all front end parts. If you don’t have that kind of coin, use nothing less than parts with life time warranties. This job cost me nothing because the last time I opted to pay the $5 extra saving me $60 this day!
1. Lightly tap the new joint in so it holds itself up and isn’t crooked.
2. Flip the press plate and receiver (Cup) on the press so it is the reverse of the removal position for re-installation. Instructions should be included with the press.
3. As with removal, if the ball joint becomes crooked rotate the press to the other side of the arm using a pry-bar to straighten.
Step 6: The End
Last, reinstall everything in reverse order from removal.
Tighten your ball joint nut as far as you can (within reason) and install the new cotter pin.
Grease your new ball joints generously. I used about 20 pumps each, however that depends on the type of grease gun you’re using. If you skip this step you can look forward to do this all over again soon!
I also installed new brake pads while I was at it. They are also under warranty and were free!