Ball joints are part of the steering system on most vehicles. Ball joints consist of two major parts, a hardened metal ball mounted into a grease-filled socket. When installed on the upper and lower suspension control arms of your vehicle, they allow the front wheels to be turned in either direction, as well as allowing up and down movement over bumps. Over time ball joints will wear, necessitating their removal from the vehicle with a ball joint press.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Ball joint press kit (available for rental at auto parts stores)
- Wrench set
- Penetrating oil
Thread the forcing screw from the ball joint press kit into the threaded end of the “C” clamp a few turns by hand. Make sure the hex end of the forcing screw is on the outside, or bottom, of the clamp.
Select a receiving tube from ball joint press kit that will fit over the top of the ball joint you wish to remove. Make sure the bottom edge of the receiving tube rests squarely on the suspension control arm and fits loosely around the ball joint.
Hold the receiving tube onto the top of the ball joint. Position the “C” clamp over the ball joint, making sure the top of the clamp rests on the top of the receiving tube.
Tighten the forcing screw by hand in a clockwise direction until it comes in contact with the bottom of the ball joint on the underside of the suspension control arm.
Place a wrench on the hex nut on the forcing screw and turn it in a clockwise direction until the ball joint is pushed, or pressed, out of its mounting hole in the control arm. Unscrew the “C” clamp and remove it from the control arm.
Clean the control arm mounting hole with a rag. Spray a thin coat of penetrating oil onto the inside edges of the hole. Slide the bottom end of the ball joint, which is usually the larger end, into the mounting hole from the top of the control arm as far as it will go by hand.
Select a receiving cup from the ball joint press kit that will slip over the top of the ball joint and rest on the outer lip of the ball joint. Select one of the flat, circular removal adaptors from the kit that will fit snugly on the bottom ball joint mounting hole in the control arm.
Hold the receiving cup and removal adaptor into position. Position the “C” clamp over the ball joint, making sure the top of the clamp rests on the top of the receiving tube.
Tighten the forcing screw by hand until it makes contact with the bottom of the removal adaptor. Tighten the hex nut on the clamp with a wrench in a clockwise direction until the ball joint is fully seated in the mounting hole.
Remove the clamp from the ball joint and control arm by rotating the forcing screw in a counterclockwise direction.
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