Dodge Omni/Horizon/Rampage 1978-1989 Repair Guide

Ball Joints

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INSPECTION



  1. Raise and support the vehicle.
  2.  
  3. With the suspension fully extended (at full travel) clamp a dial indicator to the lower control arm with the plunger indexed against the steering knuckle leg.
  4.  
  5. Zero the dial indicator.
  6.  



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Fig. Fig. 1 With the suspension fully extended (at full travel) clamp a dial indicator to the lower control arm with the plunger indexed against the steering knuckle leg

  1. Use a stout bar to pry on the top of the ball joint housing-to-lower control arm bolt with the bar tip under the steering knuckle leg.
  2.  
  3. Measure the axial travel of the steering knuckle leg in relation to the control arm by raising and lowering the steering knuckle as in the previous step.
  4.  
  5. If the travel is more than 0.05 in. (1.25mm), the ball joint should be replaced.
  6.  

REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



1978 Models

The lower ball joints are permanently lubricated, operate with no free-play, and are riveted in place. The rivets must be drilled out and replaced with special bolts.


WARNING
To avoid damage to the control arm surface adjacent to the ball joint during drilling, the use of a center punch and a drill press are strongly recommended.

  1. Remove the lower control arm.
  2.  
  3. Position the assembly with the ball joint up.
  4.  
  5. Center punch the rivets on the ball joint housing side.
  6.  
  7. Using a drill press with a 1 / 4 in. (6mm) bit, drill out the center of the rivet.
  8.  
  9. Using a 1 / 2 in. (13mm) bit, drill the center of the rivet until the bit makes contact with the ball joint housing.
  10.  
  11. Using a 3 / 8 in. (9mm) bit, drill the center of the rivet. Remove the remainder of the rivet with a punch.
  12.  

To install:

  1. Position the new ball joint on the control arm and tighten the bolts to 60 ft. lbs. (81 Nm).
  2.  
  3. Install the control arm and tighten the ball joint clamp bolt to 50 ft. lbs. (68 Nm); the pivot bolt to 105 ft. lbs. (142 Nm) and the strut stub to 70 ft. lbs. (95 Nm).
  4.  

1979-80 Models

The ball joint housing is bolted to the lower control arm with the joint stud retained in the steering knuckle by a clamp bolt.

  1. Raise and support the car.
  2.  
  3. Remove the steering knuckle-to-ball joint stud clamp bolt and separate the stud from the knuckle leg.
  4.  



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Fig. Fig. 2 Using a wrench and a socket, loosen the steering knuckle-to-ball joint stud clamp bolts ...



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Fig. Fig. 3 ... then remove the steering nut and clamp bolt from the vehicle

  1. Remove the 2 bolts holding the ball joint housing to the lower control arm.
  2.  



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Fig. Fig. 4 Separate the stud from the knuckle leg



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Fig. Fig. 5 Lubricate the ball joint retaining bolts to ease removal



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Fig. Fig. 6 Remove the 2 bolts holding the ball joint housing to the lower control arm

  1. Pry the ball joint arm from the control arm.
  2.  



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Fig. Fig. 7 Pry the ball joint arm from the control arm

  1. Remove the ball joint housing.
  2.  



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Fig. Fig. 8 Remove the ball joint housing

To install:

  1. Install a new ball joint housing to the control arm. Tighten the retaining bolts to 60 ft. lbs. (81 Nm).
  2.  



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Fig. Fig. 9 During installation be sure to tighten the ball joint housing retainers using a torque wrench

  1. Install the ball joint stud in the steering knuckle. Tighten the clamp bolt to 50 ft.