GM Full Size Vans 1987-1997 Repair Guide

Lower Ball Joint

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INSPECTION



See Figure 1



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Fig. Fig. 1: Inspecting the lower ball joint

  1. Support the weight of the control arm at the wheel hub.
  2.  
  3. Wipe the ball joints clean and check the seals for cuts or tears. If a seal is damaged the ball joint MUST be replaced.
  4.  
  5. Measure the distance between the tip of the ball joint stud and the grease fitting below the ball joint.
  6.  
  7. Move the support to the control arm and allow the hub to hang free. Measure the distance again. If the variation between the two measurements exceeds 3 / 32 in. (2.4mm) the ball joint should be replaced.
  8.  

REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



See Figures 2, 3 and 4

  1. Raise and support the front end on jackstands.
  2.  
  3. Support the lower control arm with a floor jack.
  4.  
  5. Remove the wheel.
  6.  
  7. Remove the lower stud cotter pin and loosen, but do not remove, the stud nut.
  8.  



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Fig. Fig. 2: Disconnecting the lower ball joint



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Fig. Fig. 3: Removing the lower ball joint



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Fig. Fig. 4: Installing the lower ball joint

  1. Loosen the ball joint with a forcing-type ball joint tool. It may be necessary to remove the brake caliper and wire it to the frame to gain enough clearance.
  2.  
  3. When the stud is loose, remove the tool and ball stud nut.
  4.  
  5. Install a spring compressor on the coil spring for safety.
  6.  
  7. Pull the brake disc and knuckle assembly up and off the ball stud and support the upper arm with a block of wood.
  8.  
  9. Remove the ball joint from the control arm with a ball joint fork or other suitable tool.
  10.  

To install:
  1. Start the new ball joint into the control arm. Position the bleed vent in the rubber boot facing inward.
  2.  
  3. Turn the screw until the ball joint is seated in the control arm.
  4.  
  5. Lower the upper arm and match the steering knuckle to the lower ball stud.
  6.  
  7. Install the brake caliper, if removed.
  8.  
  9. On 1987-95 models, install the ball stud nut and tighten it to 90 ft. lbs. (122 Nm), plus the additional torque necessary to align the cotter pin hole. Do not exceed 130 ft. lbs. (176 Nm) or back the nut off to align the holes with the pin.
  10.  
  11. On 1996-97 models, install the ball stud nut and tighten it to 94 ft. lbs. (128 Nm).
  12.  
  13. Install a new lube fitting and lubricate the new joint.
  14.  
  15. Install the tire and wheel.
  16.  
  17. Lower the van.
  18.  

 
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