GM Cavalier/Sunbird/Skyhawk/Firenza 1982-1994

Lower Ball Joint

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INSPECTION



  1. Raise and safely support the vehicles on jackstands. Allow the suspension to hang free.
  2.  
  3. Grasp the tire at the top and the bottom and move the top of the tire in and out.
  4.  
  5. Observe for any horizontal movement of the steering knuckle relative to the front lower control arm. If any movement is detected, replace the ball joint.
  6.  
  7. If the ball stud is disconnected from the steering knuckle and any looseness is detected, or if the ball stud can be twisted in its socket using finger pressure, replace the ball joint.
  8.  

REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



1982-87 Vehicles

See Figure 1

  1. Loosen the wheel nuts, raise the car, and remove the wheel.
  2.  
  3. Use a 1 / 8 in. (3mm) drill bit to drill a hole through the center of each of the three ball joint rivets.
  4.  
  5. Use a 1 / 2 in. (13mm) drill bit to drill completely through the rivet.
  6.  
  7. Use a hammer and punch to remove the rivets. Drive them out from the bottom.
  8.  
  9. Use the special tool J29330 or a ball joint removal tool to separate the ball joint from the steering knuckle, as shown in the accompanying figure. Don't forget to remove and discard the cotter pin.
  10.  
  11. Disconnect the stabilizer bar from the lower control arm, then remove the ball joint.
  12.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: Ball joint removal and installation - 1982-87 vehicles

To install:
  1. Install the new ball joint into the control arm with the three bolts supplied as shown and tighten to 50 ft. lbs. (68 Nm).
  2.  
  3. Installation of the remaining components is in the reverse order of removal.
  4.  
  5. Tighten the castellated nut on the ball joint to 55 ft. lbs. (75 Nm) and use a new cotter pin.
  6.  
  7. Have a reputable repair shop check the toe setting and adjust, if necessary.
  8.  

1988-94 Vehicles

See Figures 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6

  1. Raise and support the vehicle safely.
  2.  
  3. Place jack stands under the suspension support.
  4.  
  5. Lower the car slightly so the weight of the car rests on the suspension supports and not the control arms.
  6.  
  7. Remove the tire and wheel assembly.
  8.  


WARNING
Use care to prevent damage from over extension of the drive shaft joints. When either end of the shaft is disconnected, over extension of the joint could result in separation of the internal components and possible joint failure. The steering knuckle should be supported and drive axle joint protectors should be used.

  1. Install a drive axle joint protective cover (modified), such as J-34754 or equivalent.
  2.  
  3. Remove the cotter pin from the ball joint castellated nut. Discard the pin.
  4.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

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

  1. Remove the castellated nut and disconnect the ball joint from the steering knuckle using ball joint separator J-34505, J-29330, or equivalent.
  2.  

Be sure to use on the recommended tool for separating the ball joint from the knuckle. Failure to use the proper tool may cause damage to the ball joint and seal.

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 3: Unfasten the ball joint retaining nut



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Fig. Fig. 4: The recommended procedure for disconnecting the ball joint from the steering knuckle is to use a suitable ball joint separator

  1. Drill out the three rivets retaining the ball joint to the lower control arm. Use a 1 / 8 in. (3mm) drill bit to make a pilot hole through the rivets. Finish drilling the rivets with a 1 / 2 in. (13mm) drill bit.
  2.  

Be careful not to damage the drive axle boot when drilling out the ball joint rivets.

  1. Loosen the stabilizer shaft bushing assembly nut.
  2.  
  3. Remove the ball joint from the steering knuckle and control arm.
  4.  

To install:
  1. Piston the ball joint in the control arm.
  2.  
  3. Install the three ball joint bolts and nuts as shown on the instructions sheet in the ball joint kit, then tighten the bolts to specifications.
  4.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 5: Attach a new ball joint using the three bolts and nuts

  1. Position the ball joint stud through the steering knuckle.
  2.  
  3. Install the ball joint nut. Tighten the stabilizer shaft bushing clamp nuts to 15-22 ft. lbs. (20-30 Nm).
  4.  
  5. Fasten the ball joint-to-steering knuckle nut to 55 ft. lbs. (75 Nm), plus a 60° rotation. Do NOT loosen the nut at any time during installation.
  6.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 6: Position the ball joint stud through the steering knuckle, then fasten the retaining nut and install a new cotter pin

  1. Install a new cotter pin to the ball joint castellated nut.
  2.  
  3. If installed, remove the boot protector.
  4.  
  5. Fasten the nut attaching the stabilizer link to the stabilizer shaft. Tighten to 22 ft. lbs. (30 Nm), then slightly raise the vehicle and remove the jackstands from under the suspension.
  6.  
  7. Install the front tire and wheel assembly and hand-tighten the lug nuts.
  8.  
  9. Carefully lower the vehicle, then tighten the wheel lug nuts to 103 ft. lbs. (140 Nm).
  10.  

The front end alignment should be checked and adjusted.

 
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