How To Replace Front Ball Joints

Author: Bill Baginski (billb)

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I replaced my lower ball joints (there are no uppers) this morning. It took about 2 hours and wasn't very difficult.
  1. Order your new ones and have them on hand. I bought mine from for about $55 each. There is no left and right. They are both the same.
  2. Jack up the car and remove the wheel.
  3. Remove the "pinch bolt". This bolt sqeezes the knuckle around the ball joint stud and holds the ball joint stud in place. You have to completely remove the bolt.
  4. Using a 3 lb. hammer and about an 8 inch long block of wood (I used a piece of old 2x4) knock the lower control arm down until the ball joint stud breaks loose. When it breaks loose, the stud will only pull out of the sleeve about an inch. It won't come all the way out yet.
  5. Remove the 3 bolts that hold the ball joint to the lower control arm.
  6. Here's the most difficult part. Wrestle that old ball joint assembly out. You'll have to push down hard on the lower control arm and pull out those 3 mounting bolts. Then you'll have to push the control arm down again to get the ball joint assembly out. It takes a fair effort to push the control arm down and pull out the bolts and ball joint assembly.
  7. Now you are ready to wrestle the new ball joint back in. Basically, its the same process. Push down hard on the control arm until you can get the ball joint mounting flange back into the control arm and the stud at least part way back into its mounting sleeve.
  8. After you get the ball joint back in position, reinstall the 3 mounting bolts. More wrestling to get those bolts back in.
  9. Tighten up the mounting bolts (80-102 ft-lbs/108-138 N-m).
  10. Now to reinsert the pinch bolt. The ball joint stud must be in the exact correct depth, or the bolt won't go in. There's a groove in the ball joint stud that has to line up with the pinch bolt. The bolt then locks the stud in the correct position. Try to work the ball joint up or down by pushing down or pulling up on the control arm. When the stud is in the right spot, the pinch bolt will slide right in.
  11. Tighten the pinch bolt (33-44 ft-lbs/45-59 N-m).
  12. Double check all bolts to make sure they're tight.
  13. Put the wheel back on and you're done.

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