Help Changing Rear Lower Ball Joints - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 03-23-2007, 09:25 AM   #1
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Default Help Changing Rear Lower Ball Joints

My 1996 Se has been diagnosed as needing both rear ball joints. It has rear drum brakes...don't know if that makes a difference.

I have carefully reviewed everything I could from a Chilton'* 1996 GM service manual and then took a look at my car last night. I am a little confused on a couple of things. I did remove and replace both the cotter pins and castle nuts on the tie-rod and on the ball joint...the cotters are a pita to get out and the bolts were rusted so I thought I would get them all ready to pull when I have my act together.

1. I have a ball joint C-clamp press to press the old out and the new in, but it looks like the sway bar..the one that runs from the left wheel to the right wheel, mounts to a knuckle right over the top of the ball joint and prevents getting the C-clamp/press in place. Do I need to remove the sway bar?

2. The instructions talk about keeping a jack under the lower arm to keep the spring compressed how much tension is enough?

3. Some of the illustrations in the manual don't show the brake drum/wheel asby is that whole asby removed from the strut to gain room for the press?

If anyone has any information pleas let me know. If there are any posts with illustrations....I couldn't find them but I may have missed them let me know that too.

Thanks

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Old 03-23-2007, 09:32 AM   #2
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Default Re: Help Changing Rear Lower Ball Joints

1. If it'* in your way it'* only four bolts to remove. (thinks.......) I don't think I had to remove it.

2. Bad idea. Get spring compressors. AutoZone rents them.

3. No.


Make sure you get a good spring compressor. That is very important, I don't want to hear anything about a hospital visit. Other than that just keep the knuckle near the car to keep the brake line slacked. Simple as pie.
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Old 03-26-2007, 09:55 AM   #3
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Default Mission Accomplished Rear Ball Joints Successfully Replaced

I got the ball joints in this weekend. I left the sway bar connected to the knuckle at the wheel hub but disconnected the sway where it mounts to the rear of the car. I only un-bolted the side I was working on when I was working on it. It really helped having the sway bar out of the way..it gave me the clearance for the C-Clamp press I used to press the ball joints out. I got the C-Clamp press from Harbor Freight...maybe a GM tool would have fit, and I wouldn't have had to worry about the sway bar?

I used a floor jack to keep and vary the compression on the suspension spring. I couldn't get the spring compressor I rented from AutoZone to fit on the spring. I was very careful to fit a ridge of the saddle of the jack into the circular cut out of the lower suspension arm, it seemed to lock in pretty securely...but I was holding my breath and checking and re-checking it throughout the process..

All in All a rewarding Saturday..dirty & greasy....getting those cotter pins out is a PITA, on the passsanger side I actually had to use a drill.

Thanks for the input!!!

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Old 03-26-2007, 09:58 AM   #4
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Fit on the spring? The compressor for the rear should fit IN the spring.


Either way, Good work getting it done and not getting hurt.
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Old 03-26-2007, 10:00 AM   #5
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With the right pressure a good pair of cutters will grip and pull the cotter pin out. Although overall..cotters are a pain.
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Old 03-26-2007, 08:21 PM   #6
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Damemorder...

I guess that'* why I couldn't get the spring compressor to fit. I guess I would have had to inserted it through the hole in the lower control arm up through the spring? correct?
Oh well like they say.....send a boy to do a man'* job.... I am trainable though.

Thanks again for yor help..

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Old 03-27-2007, 04:05 PM   #7
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if you got the ball joint kit (SKU: 38355) at harbour frieght why didn't you just nab the spring compressors (SKU: 3980) they should have been on the same shelf and only cost like $10. use em once and they've paid for themselves. or for like a hundred you can get the hydrolic one... (SKU: 47890) friggin rocks.

on a side note. i know all the part numbers. i'm pathetic. i need a new job.
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Old 03-27-2007, 05:01 PM   #8
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I rented a pair from Autozone...my problem was that I didn't know how to use them.
I was trying to mount to the outside of the spring and now I understand that I should have come up inside of the spring. One advantage of using the floor jack was that I could drop and raise the wheel fairly easily and quickly. I just had to be very careful not to let it down too far or fast I founf that that could help me get the ball joints and the tie rod loose.

I probably will buy a set at Habror Freight...just because I like to have the tools that I might need at hand.
A couple of weeks ago I rented fom Autozone, a 34 mm socket , a 2 jaw puller and a tie rod/ball joint fork for changing out a front axle. I did buy the fork when I bought the ball joint change. I will no doubt buy the socket and a puller or 2 at Harbor Freight in the near future.

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Old 03-27-2007, 06:13 PM   #9
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o0o0 you're getting the pullers for the front. I remember this, The AutoZone computer is wrong.

These are for the front:



This is for the back:
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Old 03-27-2007, 06:59 PM   #10
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You are absolutely correct they did give me the top set...maybe wasn't entirely screwed up not being able to make them work. Which set do have/recommend?

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