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  1. #1
    Newbie nascarguy320's Avatar
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    Default How to replace ball joints

    I need to replace the lower ball joints in my 97 4x4 Tahoe, what is involved in it and how long and the big thing is what tools too do i need for this.
    97 Tahoe 2Dr 4x4
    285/70/17 Toyo A/T's
    Flowmaster muffler
    1.5 Tbar crank.

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    Warranty Killer! DRAGGIN95's Avatar
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    You need a grinder and an air hammer, or it can be done with just an air hammer, there are 4 rivet's that hold the lower BJ on a 4wd, use a grinder and cut an x in the head's of the rivet's, and then use an air hammer with a chisel tip and cut the rivet head's off. Then use the air hammer again with a punch bit and drive the rivet's out. The new BJ is held in with bolt's that replace the rivet's.
    95 CC stepside with a 408 stroker LS motor from Texas Speed and built 4L80E
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    Fightin' Texas Aggie am92's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DRAGGIN95 View Post
    You need a grinder and an air hammer, or it can be done with just an air hammer, there are 4 rivet's that hold the lower BJ on a 4wd, use a grinder and cut an x in the head's of the rivet's, and then use an air hammer with a chisel tip and cut the rivet head's off. Then use the air hammer again with a punch bit and drive the rivet's out. The new BJ is held in with bolt's that replace the rivet's.
    That is how you do the uppers, the lowers are press in. To replace those you'll need to rent a ball joint press from an auto parts store so you can press the old one out and the new one in. Good luck and let us know if you have any more questions
    -Andrew

    2012 Silverado 4x4 - Stock...
    1998 ECSB Z71 "Elsie" - RIP 8/30/13 - 3" Body Lift, 14 bolt sf, shorty headers, jegs offroad mid-pipe, magnaflow duals with h-pipe, Scorpion 1.6 Roller Rockers, Vette Servo, Sonnax billet 4th servo, custom built rear bumper, 2 10" subs under back seat
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    Nowadays Chrome is ugly, black is cool, rubber band tires are the bestest, facebook is gospel, "custom" is adding a spoiler, and all gun owners are all rednecks.

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    I'm Awesome dirtridinz71's Avatar
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    You will need a pickle fork also a 36mm socket to remove the cv axle nut. The cv axle needs to be removed, doing this you may have to undo the shock or the sway bar links.
    1992 GMC Z71
    SAS with 8" lift - 1.5" Body lift
    Ford D60 front axle - 10.25" Sterling rear axle - 5.38 gears
    Shortened 10" to a 108" wheelbase
    38.5x15x15 Boggers
    350 TBI, cam, intake, chip
    Realtree APG Camo wrap


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    I'm Awesome Swims350's Avatar
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    so factory lowers that bolt in are riveted in from factory just like uppers?

    If not then if you got press in ones you need the big ball joint press or big hammer and alot of time.

    If they've been changed and bolt in you just need wrenches or sockets to fit them.

    You also need pickle fork or a good hammer to knock them loose from the spindles, pliers to get the cotter pins out, wrenches or sockets to fit the ball joint nuts, jack, maybe caliper bolt socket or wrench as well.

    Honestly though if I were you and the lowers are shot I'd change the uppers and all 4 tie rod ends then get it aligned. The other ball joints take as much abuse as the lowers and same could be said for tie rods. I just ordered all mine from rockauto for under a hundred shipped.

    you guys beat me to it, but why remove the cv shaft? I changed my knuckle without removing it, does it just get in the way of the press or something?


    Chris

    88 K1500 RCSB still under construction.

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    I'm Awesome dirtridinz71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swims350 View Post
    so factory lowers that bolt in are riveted in from factory just like uppers?
    Yes.

    Honestly though if I were you and the lowers are shot I'd change the uppers and all 4 tie rod ends then get it aligned. The other ball joints take as much abuse as the lowers and same could be said for tie rods. I just ordered all mine from rockauto for under a hundred shipped.
    Very good advise, nothing worse then having an allignment done and a month down the road having more front end components fail needing more $$$ for another allignment. Also dont forget about the pitman and idler arms. From my experience it is worth the extra money to get lifetime warrenty parts (moog, raybestos). The do last longer and only a one time cost, espeically when running larger tires.

    you guys beat me to it, but why remove the cv shaft? I changed my knuckle without removing it, does it just get in the way of the press or something?
    I've never been able to change the lowers on my 92 (bolt in ones) with the CV axle in place, not enough clearance for the balljoint to raise up out of the knuckle without hitting axle.
    1992 GMC Z71
    SAS with 8" lift - 1.5" Body lift
    Ford D60 front axle - 10.25" Sterling rear axle - 5.38 gears
    Shortened 10" to a 108" wheelbase
    38.5x15x15 Boggers
    350 TBI, cam, intake, chip
    Realtree APG Camo wrap


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    I'm Awesome Swims350's Avatar
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    good advice, my ball joints are on the way, so I'll know what to look for now.


    Chris

    88 K1500 RCSB still under construction.

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    Newbie nascarguy320's Avatar
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    Is it a good idea to pull the front axles out with the hubs as one unit or do it as two and how hard are the lowers with the t-bars still in the arms. plus thanks guys for all the info on this, I will let you all know how it works out after this weekend,need to get parts this week..
    97 Tahoe 2Dr 4x4
    285/70/17 Toyo A/T's
    Flowmaster muffler
    1.5 Tbar crank.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nascarguy320 View Post
    Is it a good idea to pull the front axles out with the hubs as one unit or do it as two and how hard are the lowers with the t-bars still in the arms. plus thanks guys for all the info on this, I will let you all know how it works out after this weekend,need to get parts this week..
    You just loosen and remove the CV nut (the 36mm one) and the 3 bolts holding the unit hub in place and it comes right off the knuckle leaving the CV shaft attached to the center section.

    I never unloaded my T-bars and it didn't present a problem as I recall. Just put the jack stand under the arm and beat the knuckle downwards and hit the boss around the taper to get it to come off the balljoint. Then press the balljoint out, provided you have the later stamped arms or forged lowers.

    JasonPayneMemorial
    1997 K1500 ECSB L31/80e/241/D60f/C14FF
    2006 Dodge 2500 QCLB 600CTD/G56/271/AAM9.25/AAM11.5

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    I'm Awesome dirtridinz71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nascarguy320 View Post
    Is it a good idea to pull the front axles out with the hubs as one unit or do it as two and how hard are the lowers with the t-bars still in the arms. plus thanks guys for all the info on this, I will let you all know how it works out after this weekend,need to get parts this week..
    I have found it easier to leave the hub in place and just remove the cv axle. If the hub is original they can be a pain to remove from the knuckle. Easier to wigle the cv axle out, even easier to remove if you don't have a front skid plate. No need for unloading t-bars.
    1992 GMC Z71
    SAS with 8" lift - 1.5" Body lift
    Ford D60 front axle - 10.25" Sterling rear axle - 5.38 gears
    Shortened 10" to a 108" wheelbase
    38.5x15x15 Boggers
    350 TBI, cam, intake, chip
    Realtree APG Camo wrap


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