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I am ordering my quick stuts this week to take advantage of the rebate. However after reading and watching tutorials all week it seems as if the ball joints may get damaged during the install. I don't want to rent a press to replace these. Will the ball joints need to be replaced or is there a way to install these quick struts without seperating the ball joint?
 

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You don't need to separate the ball joint from the Lower Control Arm, but it does make it somewhat easier to get enough clearance to remove the strut tube.

Another option, though, is to use spring compressors that stretch from one of the top coils on the spring to the bottom of the spring perch, which will compress the spring and strut piston, further reducing the clearance needed.

If you do separate the ball joints, do it with a pittman arm puller instead of a pickle fork, and you'll be fine. The pittman arm puller won't damage the ball joint.

JR
 

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QUOTE (godspunk32 @ May 12 2009, 03:58 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=724613
You don't need to separate the ball joint from the Lower Control Arm, but it does make it somewhat easier to get enough clearance to remove the strut tube.

Another option, though, is to use spring compressors that stretch from one of the top coils on the spring to the bottom of the spring perch, which will compress the spring and strut piston, further reducing the clearance needed.

If you do separate the ball joints, do it with a pittman arm puller instead of a pickle fork, and you'll be fine. The pittman arm puller won't damage the ball joint.

JR[/b]
Thanks JR,

I am right around 50,000 miles do you think that the ball joints may already need to be replaced?
 

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I've heard of them lasting 100k miles, and I've heard of them lasting 10k miles. It all depends on your car and driving style. It couldn't hurt, but the real test will be examining them, both visually (look for a ripped boot) and via the 12/6 test. Jack up the front end of the car, put your hands at 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock and push/pull back and forth. If the tire moves back and forth, the ball joints are shot. You can do the same test for tie rods at 3 and 9.

JR
 

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To change your ball joints it's much easier to get them out if you drop the subframe (AKA engine cradle). Otherwise you will need to compress the springs, or push down the lower control arm, and that's really really hard.

You can drop the subframe quite a lot, and it will give you the clearance you need.

Make sure you do it properly though (i.e. supported with stands, and lift both sides evenly). If you disconnect the steering gear (inside the car) you'll have more clearance, but you probably don't need to.

Easiest way is to take the pressure off of both screws that hold it (both sides), i.e. lift the car slightly via the subframe (both side of it, use two stands). Then remove the screw and put it back about 3-4 turns. Do both sides. Then slowly lower the subframe (using a jack) until you have the clearance you need, or until it's hanging on the screws.

Same idea for putting it back - lift one side and hand tighten the screws, then back out one turn, and then lift the other side, this time hand tight all the way, then back to the first one, lift and wrench tight, and then back again, and wrench tight.

The reason for the back and forth is to make sure it's even - if you just lift one side and wrench tight when you go to pick up the other side it will be skewed. The official way is to use two jacks, and lift both sides at the same time.

I should really put this in the wiki.

PS. I one time had to use a 5 ton puller (looks like a claw) plus a pickle fork with a 5lb hammer to separate the ball joint from the control arm. The thing went BANG when it finally separated. (Put the nut back on the ball joint, and put the bolt of the puller inside the middle of the nut.)
 
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