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Just did a semi-emergency ball joint replacement WITHOUT ...

Guest Anonymous

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Guest Anonymous

taking either the front end or brakes apart - proceedure is below if anyone's interested:

No suspension / brake system disassembly ball joint replacement – total time for one side should be about 2-2.5 hours (hand tools only, no air tools):


1. Jack up front end and place jack stands to leave working room around the lower control arm.

2. Remove wheel

3. Loosen nut on tie rod at end of steering arm but do not remove

4. Drill out ball joint rivets from bottom side - WEAR GOGGLES!!! (works best to drill small pilot hole first, then drill through the rivet head ONLY with a larger drill bit, then cut the rivet head off with a cold chisel, being careful NOT to gouge up the control arm. If the rivet head is drilled out properly, it should come off easily with the chisel)

5. Drill up through each rivet shank with a drill slightly smaller than the rivet (this permits the rivet to collapse inward as it’s driven out with a punch)

6. Drive the rivets out with a punch or drift (the upper part of the rivet will stay in the ball joint flange, so the ball joint and its rivets are actually removed together)

7. Pry the ball joint away from the control arm to get access to the steering arm to strut bolts.

8. Cut the safety wire that runs through the steering arm to strut bolts and remove the wire, then remove the bolts.

9. Separate the tie rod end from the steering arm (works best if you have a tie rod end puller so you don’t tear up the seal)

10. Remove the steering arm

11. Remove the ball joint nut from the steering arm and drive out the ball joint stud (when I replaced an original ball joint on my ’69, the nut was so badly rusted that I had to drill the ball joint stud out of the middle of the castle nut).


1. Insert the ball joint stud into the steering arm and tighten (make sure the cotter pin hole is aligned with the long slot in the mounting face – it’s almost impossible to insert the cotter pin otherwise); install cotter pin.

2. Install the steering arm to the bottom of the strut, insert bolts and tighten bolts finger tight.

3. Insert tie rod end stud into the end of the steering arm and thread nut on finger tight

4. Tighten steering arm to strut bolts to recommended torque and safety wire them (do NOT reuse the old safety wire - it’s a good idea to use Locktite as well).

5. Insert ball joint housing into hole in control arm, install bolts & nuts and tighten to recommended torque

6. Tighten tie rod end nut and install new cotter pin

7. Reinstall wheel, remove jack stands and put car back on ground (don’t forget to torque the lug nuts).

8. Get alignment checked as soon as possible

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