GM Camaro/Firebird 1993-1998 Repair Guide

Lower Ball Joint

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INSPECTION



See Figure 1

This procedure requires the use of a dial indicator. Before performing this inspection, make sure the wheel bearings and control arm bushings are in good condition.

  1. Raise the vehicle, then place suitable jackstands under both lower control arms, as close as possible to each ball stud.
  2.  

The vehicle must be stable and NOT rock on the jackstands.

  1. Wipe the ball joints clean and inspect the seals for cuts and/or tears. If any are found, the lower ball joint MUST be replaced.
  2.  
  3. Position a dial indicator against the wheel rim.
  4.  
  5. Pry between the lower control arm and the steering knuckle while reading the dial indicator. Vertical deflection on the dial indicator should not exceed 0.046875 in. (1.19mm). If this specification is exceeded, the lower ball joint must be replaced.
  6.  



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Fig. Fig. 1: Check the lower ball joint for excessive vertical deflection

  1. Anytime the ball joint is disconnected from the steering knuckle, check for looseness, or if the ball joint can be rotated in its socket with you fingers. If either of these conditions exist, replace the upper ball joint.
  2.  
  3. After the inspection is completed, remove the jackstands, then carefully lower the vehicle.
  4.  

REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



See Figures 2, 3, 4 and 5

To prevent component damage, an on-car ball joint press, such as Kent-Moore tool J-9519-23 should be used.

  1. Raise and safely support the vehicle with jackstands under the frame.
  2.  
  3. Remove the wheel and tire assembly.
  4.  
  5. Position a floor jack under the shock mounting location on the lower control arm for support.
  6.  


CAUTION
The jack must remain in place for the entire duration of the procedure to hold the spring and lower control arm in proper position.

  1. Remove and discard the lower ball joint cotter pin, then loosen the lower ball joint nut.
  2.  



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Fig. Fig. 2: Remove and discard the lower ball joint cotter pin



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Fig. Fig. 3: Remove the lower ball joint castellated nut

  1. Separate the lower ball joint from the steering knuckle using J 39549 or an equivalent separator.
  2.  



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Fig. Fig. 4: Lower ball joint once it is separated from the steering knuckle

  1. Press the lower ball joint out of the lower control arm using tools J 9519-7, J 9519-18 and 9518-23.
  2.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 5: Lower ball joint replacement requires the use of special tools

To install:
  1. Position a new lower ball joint into the lower control arm, and press in using tools J 9519-7, J 9519-18 and 9518-23. The ball joint must firmly press into the lower control arm. If it doesn't the lower control arm must be replaced.
  2.  
  3. Attach the ball joint (stud) to the steering knuckle.
  4.  
  5. Hand-start the lower control arm nut, then tighten to 81 ft. lbs. (110 Nm). Continue to tighten the nut just until the cotter pin holes align, then install a new pin. NEVER back off the nut to align the holes.
  6.  
  7. Remove the floor jack from under the control arm shock absorber mounting location.
  8.  
  9. Install the tire and wheel assembly, then carefully lower the vehicle.
  10.  
  11. Take the vehicle to a reputable repair shop to have the alignment checked.
  12.  

 
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