How to replace ball joints

Discussion in 'Full Custom Suspension / Cages / Fab' started by nascarguy320, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. nascarguy320

    nascarguy320 Newbie

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    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.
     
  2. DRAGGIN95

    DRAGGIN95 Warranty Killer! Staff Member

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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.
     
  3. am92

    am92 Fightin' Texas Aggie

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    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
     
  4. dirtridinz71

    dirtridinz71 I'm Awesome

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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.
     
  5. Swims350

    Swims350 I'm Awesome

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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?
     
  6. dirtridinz71

    dirtridinz71 I'm Awesome

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    Yes.

    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.

    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.
     
  7. Swims350

    Swims350 I'm Awesome

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    good advice, my ball joints are on the way, so I'll know what to look for now.
     
  8. nascarguy320

    nascarguy320 Newbie

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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..
     
  9. bggrnchvy

    bggrnchvy Super Moderator Staff Member

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    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.
     
  10. dirtridinz71

    dirtridinz71 I'm Awesome

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    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.
     

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