See Figure 1
The lower front suspension ball joints operate with no free play. The ball joint housing is pressed into the lower control arm with the joint stud retained in the steering knuckle with a (clamp) bolt.
With the weight of the vehicle resting on the ground, grasp the ball joint grease fitting with the fingers, and attempt to move it. If the ball joint is worn, the grease fitting will move easily. If movement is noted, replacement of the ball joint is necessary.
For the Premier, replace the ball joint if the protective rubber boot is damaged, or the ball stud is loose or damaged.
REMOVAL & INSTALLATION
Except Premier and 1988-91 Dynasty
See Figures 2, 3 and 4
- Remove the lower control arm from the vehicle as described later in this section.
- Pry off the ball joint grease seal.
- Position a receiving cup, special tool C-4699-2 or equivalent, to support the lower control arm while pressing the old ball joint out of the lower control arm.
- Install the Remover/Installer Special tool (C-4699-1 or equivalent) over the ball joint stud and against the ball joint upper housing.
- Using and arbor press, push against the upper housing, to remove the ball joint from the arm.
- By hand, position the ball joint housing into the ball joint bore of the lower control arm. Be sure the ball joint assembly is not cocked in the bore of the control arm, which could cause binding of the ball joint assembly.
- Position the assembly in a press with the special tool C-4699-2 or equivalent supporting the control arm.
- Install the special tool C-4699-1 or equivalent over the ball joint stud and down on the lower body of the ball joint assembly.
- Carefully align all of the ball joint components, then install it (using an arbor press) until the housing ledge stops against the control arm cavity down flange.
- To install a new seal, support the ball joint housing with tool C-4699-1 and place a new seal over the stud, against the housing.
- With a 1 1 / 2 in. (38mm) socket, press the seal onto the ball joint housing until it is squarely seated against the top surface of the control arm.
On these models, the ball joints are welded to the lower control arms. This necessitates replacement of the entire lower control arm assembly. Do not attempt to replace ball joints that are welded to the control arm; replacement control arms are equipped with a new ball joint.Premier
See Figures 5 and 6
The ball joint assemblies on Premier models are pre-installed on a bracket, which in turn is mounted onto the lower control arm. No special tools are needed for this procedure.
- Disconnect the negative battery cable. Raise and safely support vehicle.
- Remove the wheel and tire assemblies.
- Wrap a heavy shop cloth or towel around the halfshaft outer boot to protect it.
- Loosen but do not remove the stabilizer bar inner bracket retaining bolts at the engine cradle. Remove the stabilizer bar outer bracket nuts at the suspension arm and remove the bracket. Note that the outer bracket nuts and bolts also fasten the ball joint to the suspension arm.
- Remove the ball joint pinch bolt from the suspension knuckle. Loosen but do not remove the nuts and bolts at the bushings that attach the suspension arm to the engine cradle.
- Disengage the ball joint stud from the suspension knuckle and remove the plastic washer from the stud. Remove the ball joint from the suspension arm by removing the bolts and tapping upward on it with a brass hammer.
- Install the replacement ball joint assembly to the suspension arm. Crimp the sleeves, but do not tighten the nuts yet. Install a new plastic washer on the stud.
- Install the lower control arm onto the knuckle. When installing the pinch bolt that holds the ball joint stud to the knuckle, make sure the bolt aligns with the groove in the stud. Tighten the pinch bolt nut to 77 ft. lbs. (105 Nm).
- Remove the ball joint retaining nuts and position the stabilizer bar to the lower control arm. Position the outer bracket on the stabilizer bar and install the ball joint/stabilizer bracket retaining nuts on the retaining bolts.
Do not tighten the retaining nuts at this time.
- Do not tighten the stabilizer bar nuts or bolts until the vehicle is lowered and the tires are supporting the weight of the vehicle.
- Remove the shop cloth or towel from around the driveshaft outer rubber boot.
- Install the wheel(s). Tighten the lug nuts as tight as possible with the wheels off of the ground.
Lower the vehicle until some weight is taken up by the tires, then tighten the lug nuts to the specified torque:
- Steel wheels-63 ft. lbs. (85 Nm).
- Aluminum wheels-90 ft. lbs. (122 Nm).
- Lower the vehicle completely. Tighten the suspension arm-to-engine cradle nuts and bolts to 103 ft. lbs. (140 Nm), the stabilizer outer bracket nuts to 60 ft. lbs. (81 Nm), and the stabilizer bar inner bracket nuts to 21 ft. lbs. (29 Nm).
- Have a front end alignment performed on the vehicle.