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Ball joint time, what else?

Black Dynomite

Well-Known Member
Joined
October 5, 2009
Messages
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City, State
Wellington, New Zealand
Year, Model & Trim Level
2005 Ltd 4.6L
So the front upper ball joint needs replacing, and as parts are real expensive here, it cheaper for me to import from the US. So I decide, I might replace all front ball joints. I am going to also do the front sway bar bushings.


Truck has approx 100K miles, I've had her since about 50k. I do all the engine maintenance but the running gear has never really been touched apart from tyre changes.

Anything else worth doing while Im at it?
 



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So the front upper ball joint needs replacing, and as parts are real expensive here, it cheaper for me to import from the US. So I decide, I might replace all front ball joints. I am going to also do the front sway bar bushings.


Truck has approx 100K miles, I've had her since about 50k. I do all the engine maintenance but the running gear has never really been touched apart from tyre changes.

Anything else worth doing while Im at it?
@Black Dynomite
I would check the condition of the control arm bushings (where they mount to the frame). If you are doing ball joints anyway, the best check, unless hunks of rubber are obviously hanging out, is to disconnect the ball joint stud from the steering knuckle, and physical move the control arm up and down. Resistance against movement should be felt if the rubber-to-metal bond is intact. If the arm
swings freely up and down, it is time to replace bushings or arm already containing them. This process is easiest on the uppers. The lowers involve releasing spring tension as well as shock absorber mount, sway bar mounting, and ball joint from knuckle.

If funding the job is not a big problem, it really wouldn't hurt to replace the wheel hubs and bearings while the whole works is torn apart. 100K is pretty good mileage for wheel bearings. imp
 






The uppers are a real PITA to press the ball joints out. I just did mine last Sunday. Wish i would have spent the extra 10 bucks a side and just got the whole upper arm at rock auto. Then you get your bushings replaced as well.
 






The uppers are a real PITA to press the ball joints out. I just did mine last Sunday. Wish i would have spent the extra 10 bucks a side and just got the whole upper arm at rock auto. Then you get your bushings replaced as well.


What makes the upper any different than the lower?
Took about three hours total to do upper and lower on both sides, along with tie rod ends on both sides. That includes getting everything out to do the job and putting it all away. Took it for alignment after, and it was only .03 out on toe. Never would have noticed it, but I wanted to check it and make it correct.
 






There is a little lip on the outside of the upper arm. When you are pressing them out, its a PITA to keep the press straight. I ended up moving it a couple mills, then taking everything apart to make sure that the damn press wasn't on top of the ball joint, then started all over again. The other side is flat, so back together is no problem at all.
 






I used the ball joint kit and didn't have any problems at all. It does take the right combination though. My uppers slid right out, and the lowers were a little harder, but still came out easily.
 












@imp Left rear bearing needs replacing, what are the pros and cons of just a bearing replacement versus doing the hub?
 






@imp Left rear bearing needs replacing, what are the pros and cons of just a bearing replacement versus doing the hub?
@Black Dynomite
I did mine, both sides, although only one side was bad, by replacing only the bearings. So, I cannot really can't say much about the whole knuckle assembly. We're talking Gen 3 with independent suspension, right?

Rear has a different setup than front. Front has a bearing assembly fully contained in the hub assembly, which is attached to the
steering knuckle via a thick flange with three big bolts, the flange containing a bore for the bearings' outer races, in the case of roller bearings, or the entire bearing assembly, if ball bearing; both are available, ball being cheaper, and nowhere near as durable. IOW, The bearing alone cannot be replaced, as it is swaged in place within the mounting flange. I could see no way of pressing the hub which is the I.D. shaft for the bearing out.

Rear has a simpler set-up, in that the hub with it's wheel flange and 5 wheel lugs must be pulled out of the bearing first. This can be done on the truck. Then, the entire knuckle must be removed, and the old bearing pressed out of the knuckle. Assembly is the reverse steps. The knuckle is not too difficult to get out of the truck. Tricky part is prressing old bearing out, and new bearing in. Suitable pressing bushings are needed. Some have claimed to easily have hammered them in and out. Mine was tight as hell. I used 3/4" drive sockets of appropriate OD to do the pressing, since I have a bunch of them. More or less count on needing a press; this allows for good support of the knuckle from underneath. Clamping it in a vise and hammering can cause damage, and I can tell you, no way mine could have been hammered out. If you choose to do the job yourself, lacking a press, a good suspension shop should be willing to do the pressing job for reasonable cost, if you bring them the knuckle, new bearing, and hub. Good luck! imp
 






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