GM Full-Size Trucks 1980-1987 Repair Guide

Ball Joints (4-Wheel Drive)

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REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



See Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4



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Fig. Fig. 1: Removing the steering arm nuts, 4WD models. Replace the nuts with new ones when installing.



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Fig. Fig. 2: Removing the ball socket retaining nuts on the 4X4 model



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Fig. Fig. 3: Pressing the lower ball joint out of the knuckle



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Fig. Fig. 4: Lower ball joint removal, 4X4 models

All Except K30 Series

The steering knuckle pivot ball joints may need replacement when there is excessive steering play, hard steering, irregular tire wear (especially on the inner edge), or persistent tie rod loosening.

This procedure requires the removal of the steering knuckle before the ball joints can be removed. K30 models with kingpins have their own knuckle removal procedure later in this Section.

  1. Support the front axle on jackstands.
  2.  
  3. Remove the axle shaft as detailed earlier.
  4.  
  5. Remove the steering linkage. The best method is to use a tie rod end puller.
  6.  
  7. If you remove the steering arm from the top of the knuckle, the nuts cannot be reused.
  8.  
  9. Remove the cotter pin and ball joint stud nuts.
  10.  
  11. Remove the knuckle from the housing yoke by forcing a wedge between the lower ball stud and the yoke, then between the upper ball stud and the yoke.
  12.  


WARNING
If you have to loosen the upper ball stud adjusting sleeve to remove the knuckle, don't loosen it more than two threads. The soft threads in the yoke are easily damaged.

  1. Remove the lower ball joint snapring. Press the lower ball joint out first.
  2.  
  3. Press out the upper ball joint and unscrew the adjusting sleeve. A spanner wrench is required for the sleeve.
  4.  
  5. Press the new lower ball joint into the knuckle and install the snapring. The lower joint doesn't have a cotter pin hole.
  6.  
  7. Press the upper ball joint into the knuckle.
  8.  
  9. Position the knuckle to the yoke. Install new stud nuts finger tight.
  10.  
  11. Push up on the knuckle and tighten the lower nut to 70 ft. lbs.
  12.  
  13. Using a spanner wrench, install and torque the upper ball stud adjusting sleeve to 100 ft. lbs. and install the cotter pin. Don't loosen the castellated nut, but make it tighter to line up the cotter pin hole.
  14.  
  15. Replace the steering arm, using new nuts and tightening to 90 ft. lbs.
  16.  
  17. Check the knuckle turning torque with a spring scale hooked to the tie rod hole in the steering arm. With the knuckle straight ahead, measure the right angle pull to keep the knuckle turning after initial breakaway, in both directions. The pull should be 25 lbs. or less.
  18.  
  19. Replace the axle shaft and other components. Tighten the steering linkage nuts to 45 ft. lbs.
  20.  

 
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