GM Full-Size Trucks 1988-1998 Repair Information

Lower Ball Joint

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REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



Rivet/Bolted Type

See Figures 1, 2 and 3

Special tool J-36202, or its equivalent, is necessary for this procedure.

  1. Raise and support the front end on jackstands.
  2.  



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Fig. Fig. 1: Remove the tie rod end nut



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Fig. Fig. 2: Disconnect the tie rod end from the steering knuckle using a ball joint separator

  1. Remove the wheel.
  2.  
  3. Remove the splash shield from the knuckle.
  4.  
  5. Disconnect the inner tie rod end from the relay rod using a ball joint separator.
  6.  
  7. Remove the axle shaft.
  8.  
  9. Remove the caliper assembly and wire it out of the way.
  10.  
  11. Remove the cotter pin and the nut from the lower control arm ball joint.
  12.  
  13. Seperate the lower control arm from the knuckle and remove the knuckle from the vehicle.
  14.  
  15. Using a 1 / 8 in. drill bit, drill a pilot hole through each ball joint rivet.
  16.  
  17. Drill out the rivets with a 1 / 2 in. drill bit. Punch out any remaining rivet material.
  18.  
  19. Remove the cotter pin and nut from the ball stud.
  20.  
  21. Support the lower control arm with a floor jack.
  22.  
  23. Matchmark both torsion bar adjustment bolt positions. This will aid in installation.
  24.  
  25. Using tool J-36202, increase the tension on the adjusting arm.
  26.  
  27. Remove the adjustment bolt and retaining plate.
  28.  
  29. Move the tool aside.
  30.  
  31. Slide the torsion bars forward.
  32.  
  33. Using a screw-type forcing tool, separate the ball joint from the knuckle.
  34.  

To install:
  1. Installation is the reverse of removal, but please note the following important steps.
  2.  

Service replacement ball joints come with nuts and bolts to replace the rivets.

  1. Install the bolts and nuts. Tighten the nuts to 45 ft. lbs. (61 Nm).
  2.  

The bolts are inserted from the bottom.

  1. Start the ball stud into the knuckle. Make sure it is squarely seated. Install the ball stud nut and pull the ball stud into the knuckle with the nut. Don't final-torque the nut yet.
  2.  
  3. Using tool J-36202, increase tension on both torsion bars.
  4.  
  5. Install the adjustment retainer plate and bolt on both torsion bars.
  6.  
  7. Set the adjustment bolt to the marked position.
  8.  
  9. Release the tension on the torsion bar until the load is taken up by the adjustment bolt and remove the tool.
  10.  
  11. Connect the inner tie rod end at the steering relay rod. Tighten the nut to 35 ft. lbs. (47 Nm).
  12.  



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Fig. Fig. 3: Installing the lower ball joint-K-Series

  1. Install the wheel.
  2.  
  3. Lower the truck. Once the weight of the truck is on the wheels perform the Z height adjustment procedure in this section.
  4.  
  5. Tighten the ball stud nut to 94 ft. lbs. (128 Nm).
  6.  

Pressed-in Type

See Figures 4 and 5

  1. Raise and support the front end on jackstands.
  2.  
  3. Remove the wheel assembly.
  4.  
  5. Support the control arm with a floor jack.
  6.  
  7. Remove the halfshaft (drive axle).
  8.  
  9. Remove the caliper assembly and wire it out of the way.
  10.  
  11. Remove the cotter pin and the nut from the lower control arm ball joint.
  12.  
  13. Use a suitable tool to separate the ball joint from the knuckle.
  14.  
  15. Seperate the lower control arm from the knuckle and remove the knuckle from the vehicle.
  16.  
  17. Using the tools (or their equivalents) shown in the accompanying illustration, remove the ball joint.
  18.  



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Fig. Fig. 4: Removing the lower ball joint-pressed-in type

To install:
  1. Installation is the reverse of removal, but please note the following important steps.
  2.  
  3. Apply a 1 / 4 inch (6mm) bead of Loctite® 680 evenly to the serration's on the ball joint prior to installation.
  4.  
  5. When installing the ball joint, make sure the grease fitting is facing forward and press the ball joint into the control arm using the tools (or their equivalents) shown in the accompanying illustration.
  6.  
  7. Tighten the ball joint stud nut to 84 ft. lbs. (115 Nm) on 1995 models and 94 ft. lbs. (128 Nm) on 1996-98 models. Install a new cotter pin.
  8.  



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Fig. Fig. 5: Installing the lower ball joint-pressed-in type

 
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