question on Ball Joints
Ok, I have been working on the ball joints on my truck all day and Ive gotten one done lol. I ws originally told by a mechanic I was going to have to get a press to get them in and out.... oh how I wish lol. However the Ball joints are pinned in and attatched to a mushroom head on the truck and the new ones bolt in. When I asked another mechanic he told me I would have to grind the mushroom heads off and drill through the pins to knock them out.
So heres my question.... is there an easier way to do this? I know the mushroom heads needs to grinded and drilled to make the holes for the bolts but the pin is the difficult part... it took almost 3 hours, 2 drill bits, and 2 grinding plates to get 1 ball joint in... is there an easier way to get the pin out?
I also have this in a pdf with photos
Replacing Ball Joints – 2nd Gen Ram 1500 4x4 (94-01)
READ THE ENTIRE DOCUMENT THROUGH BEFORE STARTING.
The night before, soak all of the nuts, bolts, and the ball joints themselves with Seafoam Deep Creep or PB
You’ll need some specialty tools to replace the upper and lower ball joints on a 2nd Generation Ram:
1. Ball joint/U-joint service kit – this can be purchased/rented at the parts store (this one is from Advance
2. Gear puller kit (not necessary, but is handy for removing tie-rod end from knuckle)
3. 1 and 11/16” socket, 1 and 1/8th inch socket, 3/8 inch Allen-head socket
4. Air compressor and impact wrench (again, not necessary but extremely useful in replacing axle nut and
lower ball joint nut)
5. One of these or a very big screwdriver:
6. 4-foot section of pipe
Aside from the special tools, you’ll also need an assortment of standard tools
1. Big Friggin’ Hammer (3-4 lb. mini-sledgehammer)
2. Needlenose pliers for cotterpin removal
3. 6 point sockets: ¾ inch; 13/16 inch; 7/8 inch
4. 12 point socket: 9/16 inch
5. Ball-peen (or other) hammer
6. ½ inch and ¾ inch breaker bars (¾ inch bar not necessary if using compressor and impact wrench)
7. Ratchets in same sizes as breakers
You’re now ready to begin – if you have all of the proper tools, the job can be completed in 3 – 4 hours.
1. Loosen lugnuts, but do not remove.
2. Jack up vehicle by the axle and place jack stand under axle. Remove lugnuts, then remove wheel.
3. If not using a compressor and impact wrench, disconnect drag link from pitman arm to avoid damage to
steering box seals.
* * Yes, my trackbar is shot – that’s a future write up ;-)
4. Remove axle nut with 1 and 11/16 inch socket with either the impact wrench or the ¾ inch breaker bar
and 4-foot pipe.
5. Remove brake caliper using the 3/8 inch allen-head socket – set the caliper on the lower control arm or
tie it up out of the way with wire or coat hanger. ** Take care not to damage the brake hose **
6. Remove brake rotor
7. Loosen the three 12-point bolts holding in the hub bearing using the 9/16 inch socket. Do not remove
the bolts yet – you only want the bolts out about ½ inch. Using the ball peen hammer, carefully bang on
the three bolts to unseat the hub bearing. Repeat process until hub bearing is removable.
8. Remove the axle shaft. Support the shaft with one hand while pulling it out with the other:
9. Disconnect tie rod end from knuckle with socket (13/16 inch – passenger side; 7/8 driver side) and gear
puller. Support tie rod on spare jack stand or bungee cord it to the coil spring.
10. Remove cotter pin and loosen nut on upper ball joint (7/8 inch socket)
11. Loosen nut on lower ball joint (1 and 1/8 inch socket)
12. Break knuckle free by persuading it with the BFH.
13. Remove nuts and boots from ball joints. Remove knuckle.
14. Assemble ball joint tool on upper ball joint using the appropriate spacers and snug it up – don’t tighten
yet. Smack ear around joint (see second pic below) with BFH to loosen joint. Crank tool until
resistance is encountered. Smack with BFH, crank, repeat until ball joint is free.
Rod goes thru upper
ball joint hole
15. Install lower ball joint using proper spacers (threaded rod will go thru hole for upper ball joint)
16. Install upper ball joint using the angled spacer underneath (short side faces the in; fat side faces out) and
the appropriate spacers on top. The angled spacer insures proper alignment when pressing the joint in
17. Install zerk fittings and add a little grease to the joints (they’ll only need a pump; two at most).
18. Position knuckle and install nuts on ball joints. Place jack under knuckle and raise jack to properly seat
19. Snug up the nuts, then torque to spec (consult manual – mine were 80 ft/lbs upper; 75 ft/lbs lower).
Install new cotter pin on upper ball joint.
20. Reinstall axle shaft, hub bearing, rotor, caliper, axle nut, and tie rod. Remember the cotter pins
(preferably new ones, but the old ones can be used if they’re in good shape).
21. Now, go do the other side ☺
Werm, you're right on track for a 4WD but this guy has a 2WD. The only way to the those rivets out is to cut off the heads and know out what's left and it usually requires a fair bit of drilling. If you're going through bits, I'd suggest ditching your current bits and get some cobalt bits.
Yea I had to do a bit of drilling but I learned that on the lower ball joints once you drill through the center of the rivit into the pin with a 1/2" bit you can actually knock the rivets off the frame. Then if you drill half way through the pin you can punch it out. On the tup one once you get the rivets off the ball joint just comes off with a soft hit.
I had a Dewalt 1/2" drill but what I did was I had an old set of bit and I drilled through the rivet into the pin with a small but, opened it up with a bigger but, then drilled the 1/2" through. It was alot easier then trying to drill the 1/2" all the way by its self. Plus it was easier for me to make sure the hole was center cause I only had a smaller punch to make the divet to drill into.
But I feel accomplished lol. Now when I get some more money I gotta go get new tire rod front ends and some new tires and an alignment, but the squeak is gone!!!! I might post a walk through so no one has to go in blind lol
Well if anyone searches for ball joint replacement, they can see the 4wd way. :)
Thanks for the writeup. I'm pretty well versed in tractors and small engines but I don't think I've done a ball joint since 1983, then it was just the one. Never on a 4 X 4.
Can you send me your PDF file? I plan on tackling this project soon.
Holy Crap I did my left front upper and lower Ball joints mind you my truck is 4x4 and from Michigan what a PITA. Took me 6 hours I have all the tools but rusted like a mofo. I seriously damaged the press (big C clamp press) but its done now. If you are not experienced in this i would let a friend do it. BTW the harbor freight big socket set saved me!
Attempting to take by driver side hub off a 1998 4x4, nut and three bolts are off, the hub won't budge. I put the three bolts back in and threaded them in all but 10mm or so. Then hammered on the heads of the bolts to try and break the hub loose...no luck....any suggestions?
I need to replace the ball joints on my 1996..but after reading this forum I am not sure I am ready to tackle it..anyway...awesome post there wermbang...I am also a fellow PACKER FAN...SB XLV Champs BABY!!!
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