GM Camaro/Firebird 1993-1998 Repair Guide

Upper 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. Position a dial indicator against the wheel rim.
  2.  
  3. Grab the wheel and push in on the bottom of the tire while pulling out at the top. Read the gauge. Horizontal deflection on the dial indicator should not exceed 0.125 in. (3.18mm). If this reading exceeds that specification, you must replace the upper ball joint.
  4.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: Check the upper ball joint deflection using a dial indicator

  1. Anytime the upper 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, 5 and 6

  1. Raise and safely support the vehicle, then remove the wheel and tire assembly.
  2.  
  3. Position a floor jack under the shock mounting location on the lower control arm for support.
  4.  


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 the cotter pin and loosen, then remove the ball stud nut. Discard the cotter pin.
  2.  
  3. Support the steering knuckle with jackstands.
  4.  
  5. Separate the ball joint from the upper control arm using tool J 39549 or equivalent separator tool.
  6.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 2: Separate the upper ball joint (stud) and knuckle

  1. With the upper control arm still in the raised position, use a 1 / 8 in. (3.175mm) bit to drill the four rivets about 0.25 in. (6mm) deep. Now use a 1 / 2 in. (12.7mm) bit to drill off the rivet heads.
  2.  



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Fig. Fig. 3: Drill out the rivets using a 1/8 in. bit ...



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Fig. Fig. 4: ... then drill the rivet heads out using a 1/2 in. bit

  1. Use a small drift to punch out the rivets, then remove upper ball joint from the lower control arm.
  2.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 5: Remove the upper ball joint (stud) from the control arm

To install:
  1. Position the new upper ball joint, and secure using the nuts and bolts supplied with the kit. Make sure to follow the specifications given in the replacement kit.
  2.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 6: Position the new upper ball joint (stud) in the control arm and secure with the replacement bolts

  1. Remove the jackstand from under the knuckle and connect the ball joint to the steering knuckle.
  2.  
  3. Hand-start the nut, then tighten to 39 ft. lbs. (53 Nm). Advance the nut to align the nearest cotter pin hole. NEVER back off the nut to align a hole! Install a new cotter pin.
  4.  
  5. Remove the floor jack from under the lower control arm shock mounting point.
  6.  
  7. Install the wheel and tire assembly, then carefully lower the vehicle.
  8.  

 
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