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Old 12-15-2009, 01:11 AM   #1 (permalink)
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On Sunday I was trying to replace the front bearing hub.
I watched the demo video from Youtube several times, making sure
I understand every detail. However, when I came to take the
ball joint out of the socket, it's sooooooo tight.

I rented several tools first from autozone. I used the pitman arm puller
to force the stud out. But the stud sits there so tightly, and even I sprayed
the penetrating catalyst several times, still no progress. Then I guess
maybe the strut and spring in suspension exert force on it. So I begged
my friend to take me a ride to autozone to rent the suspension tool kit.
But the kit is not easy to use when the spring is still in the car. So I
took another hour to figure out a way to use the tool to compress the spring.
Still the ball joint won't come out. I have to continue to force it.
When I was almost desperate, I heard a big "Bang" and the ball joint
pop out. It must be rust or something that binds it so tightly.

I used a long pry bar to press the lower control arm down to bottom.
Still there is not enough room for the ball joint to completely come out.
It seems at the same time I have to raise the whole steering knuckle
to get the ball joint out. Do I need to pull the whole strut+spring out
for this job?

It was getting darker so I have to put everything back in place.
The BAD news is when I put the nut to the ball joint stud and tight it down.
I found the thread on the stud was crossed. It was so frustrating.
When I turn the nut, the stud will turn with it. I tried to use the
impact wrench to force it in, but the ground clearance is not high enough
to use the impact wrench. I just barely put the nut on.

Can anyone give me some suggestions on this horrible project?

Thanks a lot!!
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Old 12-15-2009, 01:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
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QUOTE (2004 Sable GS OHV 95k @ Dec 15 2009, 02:11 AM)
Quote:
On Sunday I was trying to replace the front bearing hub.
I watched the demo video from Youtube several times, making sure
I understand every detail. However, when I came to take the
ball joint out of the socket, it's sooooooo tight.

I rented several tools first from autozone. I used the pitman arm puller
to force the stud out. But the stud sits there so tightly, and even I sprayed
the penetrating catalyst several times, still no progress. Then I guess
maybe the strut and spring in suspension exert force on it. So I begged
my friend to take me a ride to autozone to rent the suspension tool kit.
But the kit is not easy to use when the spring is still in the car. So I
took another hour to figure out a way to use the tool to compress the spring.
Still the ball joint won't come out. I have to continue to force it.
When I was almost desperate, I heard a big "Bang" and the ball joint
pop out. It must be rust or something that binds it so tightly.

I used a long pry bar to press the lower control arm down to bottom.
Still there is not enough room for the ball joint to completely come out.
It seems at the same time I have to raise the whole steering knuckle
to get the ball joint out. Do I need to pull the whole strut+spring out
for this job?

It was getting darker so I have to put everything back in place.
The BAD news is when I put the nut to the ball joint stud and tight it down.
I found the thread on the stud was crossed. It was so frustrating.
When I turn the nut, the stud will turn with it. I tried to use the
impact wrench to force it in, but the ground clearance is not high enough
to use the impact wrench. I just barely put the nut on.

Can anyone give me some suggestions on this horrible project?

Thanks a lot!![/b]

From what I understand, the balljoint is not seated correctly in the lower control arm.

If you have another jack while the car is jacked up, place the jack under the lower control arm and put some tension on the LCA (raise the jack so the spring compresses a little, but not so much that the entire car is lifted, that would not be good). This should seat the balljoint correctly, and prevent it from turning like it is while you are trying to tighten it.

I THINK this is what you are describing. If not, please elaborate. Pics help as well.

Good luck
-DC
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Old 12-15-2009, 01:33 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Also, air tools help a ton!
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Old 12-15-2009, 07:05 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Your balljoint is now scrap because of the cross-threading so buy a new one. When you get back to work on the car, cut the nut and pin off the balljoint with a torch or a grinder, remove a sway bar link to get the clearance you needed to clear the control arm in the first place and remove the axle and old balljoint from the steering knuckle. Install the new balljoint with a balljoint press and replace the axle.

Good luck, Popeye
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Old 12-15-2009, 08:45 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Easier but a little more money; go to a dealer and buy a new knuckle and a new balll joint nut. The new knuckle comes with a ball joint installed.
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Old 12-15-2009, 11:04 AM   #6 (permalink)
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If your ball joint thread is crossed, you need another ball joint. They are cheap judging from the prices on rockauto. Seems like there is a c-clip preventing it from falling out. Get that c-clip out, then just pound the ball joint out using a big hammer (a puller can also work). This will actually help you since alignment is easy after the balljoint comes out.
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Old 12-18-2009, 03:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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QUOTE (Damon @ Dec 15 2009, 03:33 AM)
Quote:
QUOTE (2004 Sable GS OHV 95k @ Dec 15 2009, 02:11 AM)
Quote:
On Sunday I was trying to replace the front bearing hub.
I watched the demo video from Youtube several times, making sure
I understand every detail. However, when I came to take the
ball joint out of the socket, it's sooooooo tight.

I rented several tools first from autozone. I used the pitman arm puller
to force the stud out. But the stud sits there so tightly, and even I sprayed
the penetrating catalyst several times, still no progress. Then I guess
maybe the strut and spring in suspension exert force on it. So I begged
my friend to take me a ride to autozone to rent the suspension tool kit.
But the kit is not easy to use when the spring is still in the car. So I
took another hour to figure out a way to use the tool to compress the spring.
Still the ball joint won't come out. I have to continue to force it.
When I was almost desperate, I heard a big "Bang" and the ball joint
pop out. It must be rust or something that binds it so tightly.

I used a long pry bar to press the lower control arm down to bottom.
Still there is not enough room for the ball joint to completely come out.
It seems at the same time I have to raise the whole steering knuckle
to get the ball joint out. Do I need to pull the whole strut+spring out
for this job?

It was getting darker so I have to put everything back in place.
The BAD news is when I put the nut to the ball joint stud and tight it down.
I found the thread on the stud was crossed. It was so frustrating.
When I turn the nut, the stud will turn with it. I tried to use the
impact wrench to force it in, but the ground clearance is not high enough
to use the impact wrench. I just barely put the nut on.

Can anyone give me some suggestions on this horrible project?

Thanks a lot!![/b]

From what I understand, the balljoint is not seated correctly in the lower control arm.

If you have another jack while the car is jacked up, place the jack under the lower control arm and put some tension on the LCA (raise the jack so the spring compresses a little, but not so much that the entire car is lifted, that would not be good). This should seat the balljoint correctly, and prevent it from turning like it is while you are trying to tighten it.

I THINK this is what you are describing. If not, please elaborate. Pics help as well.

Good luck
-DC
[/b][/quote]

Maybe my description is not clear.
As you know, the ball joint sits into the hole in the lower control arm(LCA) very tightly.
I removed the 18mm nut first, and used the pitman tool to pop the stud out of its socket.
My goodness, this is quite a pain and challenging, since I worried if I'm going to break
the pitman clamp, the ball joint stud, or the rachet wrench. Finally, I heard a loud "pong"
and the joint was separated. But it really scared me.

Now the problem is, even though the joint is free from the hole, there is not enough cleance
to completely pull it out from the hole on the LCA. I used a pry bar to push LCA down to the bottom,
but still the cleance is not long enough for the stud to be pulled out. I did a search in this forum
and some people loosen the two bolts on the subframe so it can be taken off. I checked the
subframe under my car, it seems the whole subframe was mounted to the chassis with quite
a few big bolts. Do they mean the two bolts that mount the LCA to the subframe?

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Old 12-18-2009, 03:13 PM   #8 (permalink)
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In several demo videos, I saw the people, including professional mechanics,
used the U-shape wedge with handle to force into the space between the ball joint
and the LCA. I actually rented this tool form autozone. But there is no doubt that
this wedge will definitely destroy the rubber seal of the joint. How can they
do the mechanic work in this careless way?

QUOTE (Damon @ Dec 15 2009, 03:33 AM)
Quote:
Also, air tools help a ton![/b]
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Old 12-18-2009, 04:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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There is another way of removing the ball joint from the control arm besides using a pickle fork. With the rotor still on the wheel put a jack under it and jack it slowly. As it raises take a hammer and gently tap the control arm off. Obviously watch you don't damage the threads on the ball joint. If your ball joint threads are damaged it may be possible to use a small triangular file to try to fix them. Also check the nut for damage.
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Old 12-18-2009, 06:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
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hi,

using the 'pickle fork' to separate the balljoint from the control arm will
destroy the rubber boot, not a problem if the balljoint is bad and will need replacement.

OTC Tools 6297 Ball Joint Separator will not damage a good ball joint boot.

if your joint is good, you should be able to dress up the threads with a good file.

If I understand the problem you now have, you can't get enough clearance to
lift the balljoint up and out of the LCA (lower control arm).

with rotor attached to hub, lug nuts hand tight,
place floor jack just under the bottom of the rotor,
lift jack an inch or so as you gently push down on the LCA
with prybar or longer pipe.

This should give you enough clearance to move the balljoint stud
off of the LCA.

regards
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