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Lower Ball Joint Removal Prob

PFloydNVa

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Hoping someone has encountered this problem. After determining my ball joints on the front driver had either gone bad or near to on a 2003 Explorer XLT, I attempted replacing. Got the loaner tool and was able to get the upper off and replaced. However, I'm stumped with trying to get the lower off. First problem I ran into, I can't get the screw thread from the ball joint through the steering knuckle to release no matter what I try. Pickle bar and everything else under the sun, but it won't budge. Then attempted to press the ball joint out of the control arm and remove the steering knuckle to work on getting the screw thread released. Can't get the ball joint to release from the control arm either and last attempt started malforming the housing :eek:. I've sprayed enough penetration oil to kill a moose over the last two days and I've let it soak overnight, but to no avail. I'm at my wits end on this. Short of buying a new control arm and cutting the ball joint off to salvage the steering knuckle, I'm not sure what else to try.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
 



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swshawaii

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IIRC, the UCA pinch bolt must be free from the spindle before the lower ball joint stud can be separated. The stud is a tapered
seat, and requires a lot of force to separate from the knuckle. If a pickle fork or ball joint separator doesn't work, lift the front
supported by a jack stand under the LCA forward "hook", loosen the stud about 1/4" and hit the nut with a BFH. Should "POP"!

http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=188225
 






Number4

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Big hammer. Haven't looked at the front lowers, are they like the rears?

Also, disconnect the battery, don't want any airbags to deploy.
 






PFloydNVa

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Thanks for the inputs. Unfortunately, I've already been down this road, but do appreciate the thought on the air bags; hadn't considered that one :). Gonna bang on it one more time tomorrow and if I can't get it to budge, I'll cut the SOB out :D.

Thanks again
 






Number4

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swshawaii

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I purchased this before working on any of my chassis.
Any metal surface (any part that was stuck during removal) got a coating of this: 80078.

http://www.permatex.com/products-2/...ti-seize/permatex-anti-seize-lubricant-detail

Within reason of course.
Always thought a very thin coat of anti seize on clean lower ball joint tapered seats was a good idea, until I read the BITOG thread linked below. My concern was having the stud spin before reaching the required torque, or stud rotation in the knuckle even after being tightened to the recommended torque. Gen 3 torque spec is 129 ft/lbs, and Gen 2 is 98 ft/lbs.

Anti-Seize on Ball Joint Tapered Stud?
http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2960272
 






PFloydNVa

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Thanks, I sorta questioned it since everything else I read/saw noted that I should clean the penetrating oil off before installing the new ball joint. Unfortunately it's raining out this way today, so it'll be another day before I get back into this.
 






Mikerider

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I had this problem with mine this weekend. I drove the ball joint out of the arm with the knuckle still attached. Remove the snap ring then use a 2 jaw puller to push the bj out from the top ( a BFH may be needed to help) then use the jaw puller or bj too to removethe old bj from the knuckle.

Also heat is your friend apply a blowtorch to heat the knuckle. Aluminum expands much quicker than steel
 






PFloydNVa

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Thanks. I've got some of the tools you mentioned, but of course with it still installed on the vehicle, I wasn't able to get a decent grip/set onto the top of the ball joint, so it started to malform the housing. Wish I had an acetylene torch; that's on my next Christmas list :). Not sure if a butane torch would do the trick or not, but thanks for the thought as I was just going to cut it off if some more hammering didn't release it.
 






Number4

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The end of the threaded portion of the ball joint should have a hex, use a wrench on it to keep the ball joint from spinning. Put it on evenly and the extra (if you used too much) will squeeze out.
 






Mikerider

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Thanks. I've got some of the tools you mentioned, but of course with it still installed on the vehicle, I wasn't able to get a decent grip/set onto the top of the ball joint, so it started to malform the housing. Wish I had an acetylene torch; that's on my next Christmas list :). Not sure if a butane torch would do the trick or not, but thanks for the thought as I was just going to cut it off if some more hammering didn't release it.

a butane torch is all you want. all you need to do is heat the aluminum Knuckle till hits hot too the touch then proceed to hammer, make sure to have the LCA on a jack stand then drive the knuckle downward.

also remove the hub and CV for more room.
 






PFloydNVa

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Thanks all, given me some thoughts I hadn't considered. Rain predicted again today, but I'll give some of your thoughts a try if I can get out there to work on it again.
 






Number4

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Do not apply a torch to your aluminum suspension parts. The aluminum is already forged and heat treated. If you re heat the aluminum, you can change its temper and make it brittle. Aluminum cracks and breaks, unlike its predecessors steel and cast iron which simply tend to bend.

Edit: as far as the anti seize is concerned, you only apply a thin coating, this will not impact it's seating capability. The ball joints as I said should have a hex tip, which is used to keep the stud from spinning. If yours doesn't have this, get a better quality that does.
As far as torque is concerned, you are greasing the taperd shaft portion of the ball joint, NOT the threads. Using any kind of lubricant on threads reduces the resistance to torque and requires less. Around 35 to 45% when using anti seize.
But again, only when applied to threads.
 






Mikerider

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Do not apply a torch to your aluminum suspension parts. The aluminum is already forged and heat treated. If you re heat the aluminum, you can change its temper and make it brittle. Aluminum cracks and breaks, unlike its predecessors steel and cast iron which simply tend to bend.
.

Localized 200 degree F heat will have no effect on the heat treatment. The grain structure will not change for t6 or t5 cast aluminum, it takes around 400 degrees C to work harden the knuckle and cause embrittlement local to the heated area.

Anyway op good luck and if you need a new knuckle I have my stock ones sitting around after my aviator brake swap.
 






rb142

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Just keep pounding. It may take 40 or 50 hits with a big hammer before it comes loose, but eventually it will come loose. And you need to use a big hammer -- at least 2-3 lbs. A small hammer doesn't have the same effect.

Unless you have just the right adapter for your press, the best way to get the old ball joint out of the LCA is to just pound it out with the big hammer. Press the new one in.

There should be absolutely nothing applied to tapered joints -- that includes anti-sieze.
 






PFloydNVa

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Thanks all. Took a break with the weather but hoping to get back out there today. Bought a torch yesterday and yes, I've been whacking it with a 3lb sledgehammer. Hopefully some heat will expand it just enough to allow it to pop. Question, if you don't mind. I took the rotor off while attempting to use the pullers/presses, so short of the weight of the knuckle itself, there really isn't any other weight to speak of. Should I attach it back on to try to give it some more weight as I'm banging on the ball joint/knuckle? I've got the knuckle tied to the spring on the strut to keep it from falling and short of the brake line, I've removed the wiring for the antilock brake sensor.
 






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