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Ball Joint - disassemble U-Joint

lonestar

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Its time to replace ball joints, I've searched and everything I have found follows the standard Haynes procedure of removing spindle and half shaft. It appears the main reason is there not enough vertical travel with half shaft installed for ball joints to clear Beam when removing knuckle. If so, I would think the spindle should slide off the half shaft splines with the knuckle....

Anyone think it would be possible to disassemble the u-joints with half-shaft in place, basically removing knuckle back to u-joint? Not looking forward to possible re-packing wheel bearing, spindle bearing and re-fill diff fluid due to contamination.
 


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DeRocha

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Its time to replace ball joints, I've searched and everything I have found follows the standard Haynes procedure of removing spindle and half shaft. It appears the main reason is there not enough vertical travel with half shaft installed for ball joints to clear Beam when removing knuckle. If so, I would think the spindle should slide off the half shaft splines with the knuckle....

Anyone think it would be possible to disassemble the u-joints with half-shaft in place, basically removing knuckle back to u-joint? Not looking forward to possible re-packing wheel bearing, spindle bearing and re-fill diff fluid due to contamination.

I have replaced U-joints and Ball joints several time in 1st gen explorers and IMO it would be Extremely difficult (if at all possible) to replace U-joints on a half-shaft/stub axle still in the vehicle. There is just not enough room to articulate the axle while trying to use a U-joint press, while trying to keep things aligned. If your goal is to replace your ball joints then you need to bite the bullet and follow the procedure in the manual.
 




lonestar

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Just the guy I was hoping to hear from, lots a great write ups BTW...

Your probably right on having room for the u-joint/ball joint press. I was thinking maybe some large C-clamp able to reach over the Beam to the U-Joint. This was going to be my first attempt, I guess I'll let you know how it goes. If all fails, I'll resort to the proven precedure.

Don't you have to refill front diff after half-shafts are removed? I don't see that anywhere.
 




DeRocha

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Just the guy I was hoping to hear from, lots a great write ups BTW...

Your probably right on having room for the u-joint/ball joint press. I was thinking maybe some large C-clamp able to reach over the Beam to the U-Joint. This was going to be my first attempt, I guess I'll let you know how it goes. If all fails, I'll resort to the proven precedure.

Don't you have to refill front diff after half-shafts are removed? I don't see that anywhere.

Yes you will need to refill the front diff (but usually not much gear oil is lost). The gear oil in the diff is only as high a the fill plug. Keeping the TTB level will slow/stop any leaking. BTW I broke a 6 ton ball joint press while trying to remove U-joints. As such I would only use a "C" clamp designed for removing U-joints and Ball joints.
 




lonestar

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WELL, I ALMOST had it. Thought I was going to make it with half-shaf in place... if it had about 1/2" more clearance the Ball Joints would have cleared, twist and turned U-joints to get more clearance, but it's just not there...

Remove spindle and shaft, and I was on my way in about 15 min...
 




Tethy

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C clamps

I used 2 6inch c clamps for my U-joints. Only broke 1. Not bad for cheap harbor freight tools.
 




Tony H

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Do one side at a time.. Just jack that side up higher then the other side and the fluid will not leak.
 




lonestar

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Now I have a mysterious alignment issue that seemed to just show-up.

After replacing balljoints everything seemed fine (I know alignment is recommended). After a week of driving I all of a sudden noticed alignment was screwy and when I got to work the passenger tire was extremely cambered. Got it home and sure enough it was wobbly, I'm thinking what the hell.

So I take the wheel off and my bearings are loose (both sides). Repeat procedure, Torque to 30 ft-lbs, back up 1/4, torque to 15in-lbs (hand tight with 2 3/8" socket), remount wheel and it's loose. So I repeat procedure and turn nut to the next keyed position, although it eneded up being like 20 ft-lbs. Would that point to worn bearings, should they be replaced?

Well, my bearings don't wobble anymore, but now my alignment is way off, pasenger tire is towed way out.
 




lonestar

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Well Crap, my extreme camber is back, and I haven't drove it anywhere, just in and out drive. Didn't even bother to investigate, driving my other truck....

How I tighten bearings, move truck in/out drive and everything look good, then I move it next day and tire camber over? Puzzled.... It's like maybe the whole spindle is loose....
 




DeRocha

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How did the bearings look when you removed them? Members with similiar symptoms have pointed to worn/broken wheel bearings. I am surprised they aren't making any weird noises..

BTW the best way to uniformly install the hub lock nut is to rotate/spin the rotor while slowly tightening the hub nut.
 




lonestar

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ALthough I didn't clean and repack, the bearings looked good, nothing appeared worn or damaged, maybe a little rust browning stain on races. No noise and wheel spins freely. I don't see how the tapered bearings would be loose when tightened spindle nut to 20 ft-lbs. I did spin rotor slowly as I tightend nut, it's as if bearing is 'settling', and spindle nut loosening, but nut remains tight. I haven't checked since it happened again, maybe this weekend, but last check the tire probably camber wobbled 1/2" before retightening bearing. I had a slight negative camper before doing ball joints, I was hoping ball joints and camber bushing adjustment would help this problem, not make it worse.

Any other possibilities? Pivot or Radius arm bushings? Wouldn't think they would affect camber that much.
 




DeRocha

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If you lift the tire off the ground and push/pull the tire with hands at 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock the tire should have NO movement. Any movement would indicate worn/loose bearings (movement above 1/8" is excessive). Did the key go in ok?
 




lonestar

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Thats the weird part, it seemed the tow play (3 & 6 oclock) was ok, but camber play (12 & 6 oclock) was loose, like ball joints. Maybe the tie-rod hid any tow play as I only lifted one tire.

I'm just bewildered as to why/how tapered bearings with good appearance would allow so much play, I'm thinking tapered fit. Unless allowed to run dry, I would think they would almost last forever, machinery runs 24/7 for years on same bearings, trucks run million miles, maybe that's my 'wishful' thinking.

At 220K, probably wouldn't hurt to replace bearings, along with Radius, Pivot and Sway Bar bushings, Tie Rod Ends (outers have been changed)......... Springs..... Hell, might as well rebuild it all...... Still runs good....
 




DeRocha

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Thats the weird part, it seemed the tow play (3 & 6 oclock) was ok, but camber play (12 & 6 oclock) was loose, like ball joints. Maybe the tie-rod hid any tow play as I only lifted one tire.

I'm just bewildered as to why/how tapered bearings with good appearance would allow so much play, I'm thinking tapered fit. Unless allowed to run dry, I would think they would almost last forever, machinery runs 24/7 for years on same bearings, trucks run million miles, maybe that's my 'wishful' thinking.

At 220K, probably wouldn't hurt to replace bearings, along with Radius, Pivot and Sway Bar bushings, Tie Rod Ends (outers have been changed)......... Springs..... Hell, might as well rebuild it all...... Still runs good....

If the wheel has play @ 12 & 6 it typically indicates worn ball joints. After you tighten the wheel bearing nut how does the play feel?
 




lonestar

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That's what I was thinking, but I just replaced ball joints. Tightened bearing nut from 15 in-lbs to the next keyed postion (20 ft-lbs) and everything was tight, and camber looked good, moved it back and forth about 10-15 ft and still looked good. Sat over the weekend, moved it in/out of drive and now the negative camber is back, atleast 2-3*. Passenger tire seems both negaitve cambered and towed way out. It's like the whole suspension geometry has changed.

Camber // \\ (driver side not as bad)
Tow !! //

Guess I try to look at a little this weekend.
 




lonestar

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I'm an idiot....

Spent half the morning at 2 AutoZones trying to get 4 wheel bearings, came home, lifted her up and wheel was tight.:scratch: So I drove it around block, got out and wheel was cambered out, thinking maybe it just had to work loose. Drove home and camber looked good again. Raised it up and it was tight. :confused::frustrate::banghead::fire: SO I started kicking the tire, literally.:hammer: Then I noticed the wheel started getting loose, ah, so I wasn't crazy. :crazy: But I still couldn't figure out what the heck was going on. That's when I noticed it, apparently I had forgotten to torque upper pinch bolt and camber bushing was twisting and would start sliding up and down. Repositioned bushing, tightened pinch bolt and all seems good.:D

Well atleast I figured it out before I took my bearings all apart.

Think they'll be OK @ 20ft-lbs? I see many really torque them down to run 33's.
 




JohnJ

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I torqued mine to 80 ft lbs. and it didn't crack anything....
The pinch bolts, of course, not the bearings.
 




lonestar

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ON the Wheel Bearings?

Sorry, should have specified 20ft-lbs on the bearings, instead of 15 in-lbs.
Torqued pinched bolt to 40.ft-lbs
 




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