Things I learned while replacing ball joints

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Boots97

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I bought Acdelco upper control arms and replaced with TTX ball joints. When I drilled them out, I think I used 3 different sizes. Maybe 10 minutes total for each UCA. But I wonder if the old rivets were a better metal, mine drilled out like butter. I did use new cobalt bits/oil though.
I'm pretty sure mine were originals bc they were caked in mud and the boots were shredded and not holding grease anymore. I had to pick out the mud with a screwdriver and didn't realize the lower ball joints had zerk fittings on them until I did which leads me to believe that these haven't been serviced in years.
 

Boots97

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I haven't bought any of these loaded control arms yet, but you gotta figure they're not coming from the same vendors the original ones did 25-30 years ago. The originals were absolutely some hardcore rivets; I've drilled 'em out on the press. Not difficult that way but they were clearly strong material. These days? Whoever in China making them outta whatever they got.. even if they're "legit" AC Delco. They've farmed out operations long ago.

Richard
100% agree. I've never had much luck drilling rivets but I'm pretty sure mine were originals. These rivets did NOT want to go anywhere.
 

Boots97

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I haven't bought any of these loaded control arms yet, but you gotta figure they're not coming from the same vendors the original ones did 25-30 years ago. The originals were absolutely some hardcore rivets; I've drilled 'em out on the press. Not difficult that way but they were clearly strong material. These days? Whoever in China making them outta whatever they got.. even if they're "legit" AC Delco. They've farmed out operations long ago.

Richard

Reviving an old post of mine, but thought it might add to this...

Are a lot of GM parts made in Canada? I know my truck was made there and a lot of GMT400 pickups were made there for the Canadian and American markets. Also, I bought a GM branded exterior door handle and an engine oil cooler for a 96-02 Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana Van and they were both made in Canada. I'm wondering if those loaded UCA assemblies are made there too.

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HotWheelsBurban

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Probably a lot more stuff made up north than we realize. I've noticed on the '96-'97 underhood storage boxes, that they are made in Canada.
 

Boots97

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A chit load of parts were originally made in Canada. Still is, though not as much.

Maybe that's why they build pickups in Canada? I started a thread asking this question. My truck was made in Canada for the US market, but what was the need to bring trucks from Canada to the USA when we already had Pontiac MI and Fort Wayne IN building pickups?

 

Kens1990K2500

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Hi Everyone,

This post is rehashing a lot of the @SlimPickinz went through, but I wanted a separate post because I wanted to delve a little deeper without creating a long winded response.

I was originally planning to have all my bushings replaced at a local shop I go to. The service tech looked it over and tested the bushings with a 3ft prybar and he's 200 lbs. He told me that the bushings were a little dry rotted, but were still very stiff and all I really needed to do is replace ball joints if I wanted to.

So I went ahead and did just that. I bought Moog Upper Ball Joints and AC Delco lower ball joints from Rockauto. While doing this process, I learned a lot...

First off, I would HIGHLY recommend using an air chisel to chop off the rivets off the UCA. I drilled mine and broke several drill bits in the process and broke several chisels since I tried chipping them off by hand with a chisel and a BFH. It works, but you'll be at it for 2+ hours prying it out. Thankfully, I had a shop press so once the Upper Ball Joint was separated from the UCA, I just brought the UCA down to my basement and pressed the remaining chopped off rivet out of the holes.

When it comes to lower ball joints, AutoZone has 2 ball joint tools. One comes with a giant C clamp and a few cups and there's another set with a bunch of other sized cups. You'll need both sets. There's this one weird looking cup in the cups only set that looks like this.
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That one is used to press out the lower ball joint. It goes around the ledge of the lower ball joint and is cut out for you to see the ball joint pressing out. I punched the passenger side out with a BFH bc the tutorial on 1A Auto said to beat it out with a hammer. That works but you'll be at it FOREVER before it gives. This is FAR better.

Also, You'll need to press the lower ball joint in stages. When I installed the AC Delco Ball joints, they started to go in crooked. I popped the lower ball joint out snd readjusting the ball joint several times but to no luck. I tried impacting it on with my Milwaukee impact driver and it wasn't going anywhere. I went out and bought a Milwaukee Mid Tourque impact wrench to see if that would do any better at shoving the crooked ball joint in...it didn't. I then got pissed but regained my composure and fooled around with the ball joint press while tightening by hand with a 1/2 drive ratchet. Once I was patient and readjusted the placement of the ball joint press, it went in fine and I was relieved. That took me 2.5 days of work and it was finally over. Lubricating the ball joint body and LCA is not necessary either. The ball joint went in better when I didn't lube the LCA or ball joint body.

Lastly, I would HIGHLY recommend the Lock N Lube grease coupler. I bought a cheap Performax Grease Gun from Menards (Midwest hardware store chain) years ago and always DREADED greasing anything bc the stock coupler wouldn't grip on the zerk and would spread grease everywhere. The knurling was weak so I could hardly grip the coupler without using a pair of pliers. Eventually I said screw this and looked at grease gun couplers online. I found the Lock N Lube on Amazon for $33 and while it was pricey, it was well worth the money. SO much easier to use with the large lever and the coupler actually grips the zerk and gets grease in the zerk. Occasionally it won't work and will spread grease elsewhere, but it is FAR better than what I had and I wish I would've bought it years ago.

P.S. For my Missouri friends, If you live in central MO, Do y'all have a lot of dirt roads in that area? I'm from MN and I was pleasantly surprised how little rust this trucks suspension components had on it, but everything was covered in a 1/4 inch of caked on mud. I'm also assuming that my ball joints were original with the vehicle bc the boots were shredded and the lower ball joints had this green adhesive on them once I pulled them out.
I'm a big fan of Lock N Lube grease coupler, which another forum member kindly recommended.

Do you have a 2wd, or 4wd truck?
 
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