Chevrolet Blazer/Jimmy 1969-1982 Repair Guide

Ball Joints

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Service procedures for the four wheel drive front drive axle are in .

INSPECTION



Excessive ball joint wear will usually show up as wear on the inside of the front tires. Don't jump to conclusions; front end misalignment can give the same symptom.

Upper Ball Joint
1969-71 MODELS
  1. Raise and support the truck so that the control arms hang free.
  2.  
  3. Remove the wheel.
  4.  
  5. Support the lower control arm with a jackstand and disconnect the upper ball stud from the steering knuckle. Observe the Caution under Front Spring Removal and Installation.
  6.  
  7. Reinstall the nut on the ball stud and measure the torque required to rotate the stud. If the torque is not within 1-10 ft. lbs., replace the ball joint.
  8.  
  9. If no defects are evident, connect the steering knuckle to the upper stud and tighten the nut to 50 ft. lbs. Tighten further to install the cotter pin, but don't exceed 90 ft. lbs.
  10.  

1972-82 MODELS
  1. Perform Steps 1-2 of the 1969-71 inspection procedure.
  2.  
  3. The upper ball joint is spring-loaded in its socket. If it has any perceptible lateral shake or can be twisted in its socket, it should be replaced.
  4.  

Lower Ball Joint


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Fig. Fig. 1 If the play between the tip of the ball joint stud and the tip of the grease fitting exceeds 3/32 inch the ball joint should be replaced

The lower ball joint gets the most wear due to the distribution of suspension load.

  1. Support the weight of the control arm at the bottom of the tire.
  2.  
  3. Measure the distance between the tip of the ball joint stud and the tip of the grease fitting below the ball joint.
  4.  
  5. Move the support to the control arm and allow the wheel and tire to hang free. Measure the distance again. If the variation between the two measurements exceeds 3 / 32 inch the ball joint should be replaced.
  6.  

This is the manufacturer's recommended wear limit. Your state inspection regulations may disagree.

REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



Observe the Caution under Front Spring Removal and Installation when working with ball joints.

Lower Ball Joint
  1. Raise and support the truck. Support the lower control arm with a floor jack.
  2.  
  3. Remove the tire and wheel.
  4.  
  5. Remove the lower stud cotter pin and loosen, but do not remove, the stud nut.
  6.  
  7. Loosen the ball joint stud with a ball joint stud removal tool. It may be necessary to remove the brake caliper and wire it to the frame to gain enough clearance. Do not let the caliper hang by the hose.
  8.  
  9. When the stud is loose, remove the tool and ball stud nut.
  10.  
  11. Pull the brake disc and knuckle assembly up and off the ball stud and support the upper arm with a block of wood.
  12.  
  13. Remove the ball joint from the control arm with a ball joint removal tool. It must be pressed out.
  14.  

To install:

  1. Start the new ball joint into the control arm. Position the bleed vent in the rubber boot facing inward.
  2.  
  3. Seat the ball joint in the control arm. It must be pressed in.
  4.  
  5. Lower the upper arm and match the steering knuckle to the lower ball stud.
  6.  
  7. Install the brake caliper, if removed.
  8.  
  9. Install the ball stud nut and torque it to 90 ft. lbs. plus the additional torque necessary to align the cotter pin hole. Do not exceed 130 ft. lbs. or back the nut off to align the holes with the pin.
  10.  
  11. Install a new lube fitting and lubricate the new joint.
  12.  
  13. Install the tire and wheel.
  14.  
  15. Lower the truck.
  16.  

Upper Ball Joint
  1. Raise and support the truck.
  2.  
  3. Support the lower control arm with a floor jack.
  4.  
  5. Remove the cotter pin from the upper ball stud and loosen, but do not remove, the stud nut.
  6.  
  7. Using a ball joint stud removal tool, loosen the ball stud in the steering knuckle. When the stud is loose, remove the tool and the stud nut. It will be necessary to remove the brake caliper and wire it to the frame to gain clearance. Do not allow the caliper to hang by the hose.
  8.  
  9. Drill out the rivets. Remove the ball joint assembly.
  10.  

To install:

  1. Install the service ball joint, using the nuts supplied. Tighten the nuts to 45 ft. lbs.
  2.  
  3. Tighten the ball stud nut to 50 ft. lbs. plus the additional torque required to align the cotter pin. Do not exceed 90 ft. lbs. and never back the nut off to align the pin.
  4.  
  5. Install a new cotter pin.
  6.  
  7. Install a new lube fitting and lubricate the new joint.
  8.  
  9. If removed, install the brake caliper.
  10.  
  11. Install the wheel and tire and lower the truck.
  12.  

 
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