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'94 4x4- How hard is it to replace upper and lower ball joints?

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Old 03-30-2005, 05:35 PM   #1
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'94 4x4- How hard is it to replace upper and lower ball joints?

My lower ball joint on the driver side is almost toast. And the passenger upper ball joint is all most shot also. I was going to replace both upper and lower ball joints on both sides. How hard is it to do this. I've torn apart the front end before but never replaced the ball joints. Also are there any parts that are better than others or after market parts. I believe they can be purchaced with zerc fittings but is there anything stronger or better out there. Any info or thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks!
410 Where you at???




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Old 03-30-2005, 05:37 PM   #2
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you need a c-frame press, snap ring plyers and a ball pein hammer

it aint hard

Get everything off the spindle. then i would recommend removing the spindle, which probably isnt completely necessary but i did it for good measure...

Pull the snap ring off the top ball joint. Take the camber adjuster off the top ball joint. from there take the castle nut off the bottom balljoint. then start hitting the crap out of the bottom ball joint (you might want to take the axle out first), the knuckles should just fall right off. But sometimes that sucker gets rusted on there (esspecially if they are stock) so it might take a while... i DO not recommend putting the c-frame on the balljoint while the knuckle is on the arm. It will not remove it, it will shadder the ball joint and send peices of metal FLYING. just hit it with a hammer, REALLY GOOD!

Take your c-frame press and press them bastards out. You will need some kinda table vice here, or a big foot one of the two.

when you reassemble it, you have to tighten the bottom joint first to make sure your alighnment sets properly
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Old 03-30-2005, 05:38 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Creager
you need a c-frame press, snap ring plyers and a ball pein hammer

it aint hard
Thanks for the reply. What are is a C-frame press?? I have snap ring pliers and a hammer. What would be a good time estimate for completing both sides?




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Old 03-30-2005, 05:39 PM   #4
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Yep, that's all you need. I'd recommend bringing the steering knuckles to a machine shop and getting the joints pressed out, new ones pressed in. Pressing them out took the longest for me, though I didn't have a vise back then either.




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Old 03-30-2005, 05:40 PM   #5
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goto harbor frieght.com...

you can get one for 20 bucks there

or napa rents them for free, $250 deposit

Quote:
Yep, that's all you need. I'd recommend bringing the steering knuckles to a machine shop and getting the joints pressed out, new ones pressed in. Pressing them out took the longest for me, though I didn't have a vise back then either.
my first time doing them it took me about an hour and a half to press them in and out.

you will need a 3 foot long cheater bar. a floor-jack handle works pretty good.

Estimate of time... 4-6 hours of straight work if you have never done it.

as far as brands... AutoFab makes a cone ball joint ment for jumping sand dunes, but if your not doing that then the regular greezable kind work just fine.,..
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Old 03-30-2005, 06:16 PM   #6
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they got you covered for the most part.
You will need a BFH to get the knuckle to seperate from the beam
Mark your camber shims BEFORE you loosen the pinch bolt, this will save you an alignment.


OH I love ball joints.
Use MOOG replacements ONLY (my opinion)
Takes 2 hours per side your first time
Also takes a couple brain farts to figure out how to press them out and then the new ones in, you have to do it in the right order or your jacked, also I have found when you rent the ball joint press MAKE Sure they give yout he round adapters or cups (usually a seperate box) I have found a square piece of steel plate about 5" x 5" is VERY handy.




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Old 03-30-2005, 06:18 PM   #7
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oh and when you tighten the castle nut on the lower, once you are all done, you will want to put wight on the knuckle from below (drop the truck onto ta jack stand sitting on the knuckle, this will keep the pin from rotating, also DO NOT overtighten then or you will be SCREWED, ask me how I know........(It can wallow out the lower mount attached to the beam = expensive repair machining or new beam)




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Old 03-30-2005, 06:23 PM   #8
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Thanks people this is the info I was looking for. My buddy who owns a shop said he would supervise and that I could borrow his tools.

So MOOG is manufacture I want! Thanks again, and if you think of any thing else please drop a note.

Now I need to look in my Chiltons and figure out what a castle nut is???




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Old 03-30-2005, 06:42 PM   #9
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Castle nut is a nut that a cotter pin goes through so it cant come off, like your steering tie rods

the lower ball joint is held on with ione, the upper uses a camber shim, the upper uses a snap ring so the camber shim cannot come out compltely (safety)

Most important thing is take your time, use Moog greaseable joints, and mark the camber shims against the beam so you can put them back exatxly as they were. Also if you have to completely remove the knuckle you will have to disconnec the Tie rod, dont turn the tie rod or your toe will be off.

If you do remove the knuckle from the truck (drop the tie rod) and easy way to do this is to put another nut on the tie rod end, (not a nut you want to re-use) and smakc the crap out of it with a hammer, they are pretty frozen if you have never had them off or its been a while.
Decide if you want to remove the knuckle to work on it (press out the joints, in the new ones away from the truck, on a bench or whatever) before you take it off the beam, because otherwise dropping the tie rod is a PITA when the knuckle is loose,

Make sense or did I confuse you.
Basically to make it easier to press out the old press in the new you want to remove the knuckle from the truck, so you have to seperate the steering tie rod, do this before you take it all aprt so you can smack the sucker loose while the knuckle is still mounted.

Phew like I said I love ball joints. Fight those suckers all day long....but once you do them a few times and learn the tricks they are cake.

You will want a breaker bar to use with the press kit too

Oh and start soaking everything with PB blaster or liquid wrnch whatever now.
Great time to service your wheel bearings and brake pads so you might want to pick up some ATF, some grease seals, and moly bearing lube. The ATF is for soaking the hubs while they are off.

Fill the hubs with ATF as soon as you take them off, then click them in and out about 100 times each while full of ATF (releases dirt) then drip dry them before re-install.

The brake calipers, here's how I service the brakes.
CLEAN the grooves the caliper slide pins go into, clean them to bare metal
Same on the caliper side.
CLEAN the slide pins (if theyu are worn get new ones, like $20 for 4)
use your pinky and coat the knuckle and caliper with a little bearing grease.
Coat the slide pin with a little bearing grease.
Install the slide pins, make sure you have the anti rattle clip on the bottom of the rear brake pad.

I routinely service my hubs, wheel bearings and brakes about 4 times a year, takes all of 45 min per side now and with 35" tires and a locker I have never had a failed anything up front (knocking on wood)




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Old 03-30-2005, 06:53 PM   #10
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Thanks Jamie, so how many cases of beer do I owe you now?????




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Old 03-30-2005, 09:37 PM   #11
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Yes, I second the MOOG for Any Front End Needs... They are the Best!!




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Old 03-30-2005, 09:44 PM   #12
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hell yes MOOG all the way. Lifetime warranty.

i myself took the spindles in separately to Fleet Farm and had them order the balljoints and press them in.....only 30 bucks plus they can do the warranty work if need be instead of me going to carquest/MOOG instead.




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Old 03-31-2005, 12:45 AM   #13
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to add to good ideas while you do ball joints, replace your radius arm and axle pivot bushings. help kill a lotta squeek

Quote:
Also takes a couple brain farts to figure out how to press them out and then the new ones in, you have to do it in the right order or your jacked,
also what 410 was talking about, You have to be careful of the order you press the ball joints in and out... heres how it goes

when you are removing the ball joints... obviously you need to press the top one out first. Without taking the top one out, you will not have enough room to press the bottom one out. simple

When you put them back togeather, it will save you some frustration to remember to press the top ball joint in first. Since you have to use the hole for the bottom ball joint to fit the press on the knuckle.

Then when you go to put the knuckle back on the beam, make sure you get the bottom tightend up first. Haynes manual claims if you dont abide by that, you will be plauged with bad alighnment forever!

Quote:
oh and when you tighten the castle nut on the lower, once you are all done, you will want to put wight on the knuckle from below (drop the truck onto ta jack stand sitting on the knuckle, this will keep the pin from rotating,
and when you get to this part you will be madly confused. But its simple, the Ball joint stud spins inside its little housing making it difficult to turn the (castle) nut. putting weight on the balljoint (by the way 410 described) gives it better manners.

ball joints are fun, they make you feel like you are doing massive, hard to do work haha
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Old 03-31-2005, 09:50 AM   #14
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yeah anytime yo9u have to rent a tool you are doing a big project, even if its a flare tool to flare 1 piece of aluminum tubing

Although I cant figure out why after doing about 14 sets of ball joints I havent just bought the $80 press and adapters kit.......so I still feel important? I dunno....




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Old 05-19-2005, 01:07 PM   #15
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Ok guys thanks for all your help. I finally got everything finished up.

I replaced the following:

upper and lower ball joints (both sides)
all 3 u joints (was told if one is bad the other two should be replaced)
inner and outer bearing (both sides)
spindle needle bearings
seals
outer driverside axle shaft (the eye was oblonged from the bad u joint)
drivers side spindle (the retaining washer had spun all the way around it)
brake pads

I think thats about it. I had a shop press out the u joints and ball joints and press new ones in. Got the axle shaft and spindle from a pick and pull.

I couldn't have done it without your guy's help. In fact I wouldn't have attempted it with out your guys help. Thanks again. And hope to see you at Moab!!!!!




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Old 05-19-2005, 03:44 PM   #16
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Did you encounter any problems with the u-joints or need any special tools?
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Old 05-19-2005, 08:37 PM   #17
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For U-Joints you need the same tool as you do for Ball Joints; a C-Frame press.




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Old 05-20-2005, 05:07 AM   #18
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Acutally a u-joints can be done without a ball joint press (aka the "c" joint press). You can remove them and install them with just a vice and a hammer and a chisle. I would try to explain it but I would loose alot of folks. But if I must I can.




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Old 05-20-2005, 10:39 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EMG7895
Did you encounter any problems with the u-joints or need any special tools?
I did buy two pickle forks, one for the tie rods and the other for the ball joints. As far as removing and installing the ujoints I had my buddy do it at his shop. I don't have a big enough vice.




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Old 05-27-2005, 01:57 PM   #20
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Oh and one problem I had was the passenger side axle sliding out of the pumpkin. Was told the easy fix is to install a spring in the yoke. Goliath said a spring from an old thermostat works great. Installed it and will post after Moab on how it works.




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