Changing the upper ball joints

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Mystery Machine
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Joined: Fri Dec 08, 2006 12:06 pm
Location: Bristol (UK)

Changing the upper ball joints

Postby Mystery Machine » Thu Feb 28, 2008 3:37 pm

Changing the upper ball joints is fairly straight forward in principal (if you are confident at simple to moderate jobs on a vehicle?) Here is a 'rundown' of what you need to do.

When I get time, I'll try and produce a more detailed guide, but hopefully this will help for now?

:arrow: Jack up the front of the car and support it on axle stands
:arrow: Remove the front wheels and you'll see the three bolts on top of the upper wishbone/suspension arm (red circle)
:arrow: Directly below this is the ball joint itself and at the bottom is a 'castleated' nut (green circle)
:arrow: You need to remove the split-pin from the nut (straighten the 'legs' then pull it through from the side with the round 'loop')
:arrow: 24mm spanner, undo the castleated nut most of the way (so that it is half hanging off)
:arrow: Two methods to undo the taper on the ball joint: 1) repeatedly smack the knuckle between the nut and the rubber boot VERY HARD. This will eventually break the joint in the taper and the knuckle will drop down. 2) Use a ball jont seperator like the one shown below. This is driven between the knuckle and the area with the rubber boot by hitting it hard with a hammer to break the joint in the taper. The 'hit it with a hammer' technique is a bit more primitive, yet works VERY well if you hit the same point HARD every time. The ball joint seperator works well but WILL rip the rubber boot apart, so you WILL need to replace it with a new ball joint! The choice is yours?
:arrow: Once the knuckle has dropped away from the ball joint (but saved from dropping too far by the nut you left on) you can undo the three bolts on the top of the wishbone (red circle) then remove the big nut on the bottom (green circle)
:arrow: Now wiggle the ball joint out and you are half way there!!


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Ball joint seperator:
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:arrow: Before wiggling in the new ball joint, make a note of the hole in the threaded part of the taper (the part you put the castleated nut on)
:arrow: Fit the new ball joint in place
:arrow: Gently tighten the three bolts into place to hold the ball joint, then relocate the knuckle and do up the castleated nut finger tight.
:arrow: Tighten the three top bolts properly then tighten the castleated nut
:arrow: Now look for the hole in taper of the ball joint pin through the grooves in the castleated nut. If you can't see it, try and tighten the nut more & more until the hole appears
:arrow: Once the hole is lined up with some of the grooves in the nut, insert a NEW split pin through and bend the legs back to stop it from dropping out
:arrow: Refit the wheel and put the car back on the ground - JOB DONE!!

Sounds complicated, but it isn't at all!!

BTW - this guide is for the UPPER ball joints - if you need to change the lower ones then it is a bit more work!
L300 Mystery Machine (High Altitude Edition 8-) )
L300 MudMonkey ($400 bargain banger!! :!: )


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