How do you guys separate the balljoint without using a sledg - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 02-15-2005, 12:14 AM   #1
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Default How do you guys separate the balljoint without using a sledg

Hey guys, I finally found the high speed front end vibration I've been having, after replacing the axles, hubs, tie rod ends, and ball joints (which were not the problem). One of my $15 made in China rotors had a warped HAT from the dealer overtorquing the wheels. This caused 1/4" runout when I had the car jacked up and spun the tires in drive!!! However, because I am STUPID I installed one new CV axle and one junkyard axle when I thought CV'* might be the problem. Well guess what, the supposedly 39k mile junkyard CV axle binds when you turn the wheel to that side (right side). I JUST got the car aligned AGAIN today, 2nd time in a couple weeks, and I made sure that the alignment is dead nuts on, I was yelling at the tech the whole time to get it right. I have to separate the lower balljoint from the knuckle AGAIN to take the CV axle out and reinstall the original one. I have been using a big pipe against the control arm and a sledge to separate the arm. What are you guys using that is less violent? I really do not want to jar the alignment, this car never ever holds an alignment to my very discriminating satisfaction, so I'd like to enjoy the current one while it lasts. I'm afraid to use a pickle fork tie rod/ball joint tool out of fear of splitting the grease boot.
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Old 02-15-2005, 07:53 AM   #2
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The pickle fork does usually tear up the grease boot. There are other typs of separators out there. Check here: http://www.bonnevilleclub.com/forum/...ic.php?t=28182
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Old 02-15-2005, 02:55 PM   #3
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Well Geez, a pipe and a sledge make the pickle fork sound downright sophisticated. Yeah, the lever-type tool definitely seems like a better idea. I had to do my recent balljoint splitting with my 'ol fork before I could get one, now I have to buy a lot of other stuff before I can get the OTC lever-tool I'm lusting after.

And, by the way, I DO use a sledge with my pickle fork. Try turning the wheel to get better access. I have better luck coming in with the fork from the front. Turn the fork a couple of different ways. There is one way that the edges will bear only on metal and not cut the grease boot. Anyway, I usually only have to hit it hard one or two times with the four pound sledge to pop it. You could whang on one all day with a one or two pound hammer, and all you would do is make noise and sweat.
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Old 02-15-2005, 07:41 PM   #4
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Default Bigger hammer!

A bigger hammer is not always the right approach - Fords being the exception :-)
Anyway, my method, which is really an ol' timers method learned at a GMC dealership is to loosen the ball joint nut about 1/4 inch, then place a hammer "head" against the opposite side of the shaft collar as a backer, and 3-4 sharp hits on the collar with even a 2 pound hammer should pop it loose. There'* something about the physics of having the backer in place which creates the ideal compression (for lack of a better word) in which the ball joint shaft wants to come loose.
I've been using this method for 35 years and haven't found one yet that doesn't want to come loose fairly easily.
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Old 02-15-2005, 09:17 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice, Jeff. I will try it next time. Maybe I can save the $65 for that OTC lever tool after all. Hey, I just realized, you are still using 4 pounds worth of hammer, albeit more gracefully.
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