Astro, Safari 1997-2005

Upper Ball Joints

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Removal & Installation



  1. Before servicing the vehicle, refer to the Precautions Section.
    NOTE
    The following procedure requires the use of a ball joint separator tool such as J-23742 and J-9519-E ball joint remover and installer set.

  2.  
  3. Raise and support the front of the vehicle safely by placing stands securely under the lower control arms. Because the vehicle's weight is used to relieve spring tension on the upper control arm, the stands must be positioned between the spring seats and the lower control arm ball joints for maximum leverage.
    CAUTION
    With components unbolted, the stand is holding the lower control arm in place against the coil spring. Make sure the stand is firmly positioned and cannot move, or personal injury could result.

  4.  
  5. Remove tire and wheel assembly.
  6.  
  7. Remove brake caliper and support it from the vehicle using a coat hanger or wire. Make sure the brake line is not stretched or damaged and that the caliper's weight is not supported by the line.
  8.  
  9. Remove cotter pin and retaining nut from the upper ball joint.
  10.  
  11. Remove anti-lock brake sensor wire bracket, if equipped.
  12.  
  13. Remove upper ball joint from the steering knuckle using tool J-23742 and pull the steering knuckle free of the ball joint.
    NOTE
    After separating the steering knuckle from the upper ball joint, be sure to support the steering knuckle/hub assembly to prevent damaging the brake hose.



    Click image to see an enlarged view

    Fig. Use a ball joint separator tool to drive the upper ball joint from the steering knuckle

  14.  
  15. Remove the riveted upper ball joint from the upper control arm as follows:
    1. Drill a 1 / 8 in. (3mm) hole, about 1 / 4 in. (6mm) deep into each rivet.
    2.  
    3. Then use a 1 / 2 in. (13mm) drill bit, to drill off the rivet heads.
    4.  
    5. Using a pin punch and the hammer, drive out the rivets in order to free the upper ball joint from the upper control arm assembly, then remove the upper ball joint.

      Click image to see an enlarged view

      Fig. Drill a small guide hole into each ball joint rivet



      Click image to see an enlarged view

      Fig. Then drill off the rivet heads



      Click image to see an enlarged view

      Fig. Punch the rivets out and remove the ball joint

    6.  

  16.  
  17. Clean and inspect the steering knuckle hole. Replace the steering knuckle if the hole is out of round.
  18.  

To install:

  1. Install ball joint in the upper control arm.
  2.  
  3. Install ball joint retaining nuts and bolts. Position the bolts threaded upward from under the control arm. Tighten the ball joint retainers to 22 ft. lbs. (30 Nm).
  4.  
  5. Install anti-lock brake sensor wire bracket, if removed.

    Click image to see an enlarged view

    Fig. Service ball joints are bolted to the control arm

  6.  
  7. Install ball joint to the knuckle. Make sure the joint is seated, then install the stud nut and tighten to 61 ft. lbs. (83 Nm). Insert a new cotter pin.
    NOTE
    When installing the cotter pin, never loosen the castle nut to expose the cotter pin hole.

  8.  
  9. Thread the grease fitting into the ball joint. Use a grease gun to lubricate the upper ball joint until grease appears at the seal.
  10.  
  11. Install brake caliper.
  12.  
  13. Install tire and wheel assembly.
  14.  
  15. Check and adjust the front end alignment, as necessary.
  16.  

 
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