- Raise and safely support the vehicle on jackstands. Allow the suspension to hang freely.
- Grasp the tire at the top and bottom and move the top of the tire in and out.
- Observe for any horizontal movement of the steering knuckle relative to the front lower control arm. If any movement is detected, the ball joint is in need of replacement. Verify the movement is not from wheel bearing wear, tie rod wear, or the upper strut mount.
- 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.
REMOVAL & INSTALLATION
See Figure 1
- Raise and safely support the vehicle.
- Place jackstands under the frame.
- Lower the car slightly so the weight rests on the jackstands and not the control arm.
- Remove the front tire and wheel assembly.
Be careful to avoid over-extending the axle shaft joints. When either end of the shaft is disconnected, over-extension of the joint could result in separation of internal components and possible joint failure. Failure to observe this can result in interior joint or boot damage and possible joint failure.
- If a silicone (gray) boot is used on the inboard axle joint, install boot seal protector J-33162 or equivalent. If a thermoplastic (black) boot is used, no protector is necessary.
- Remove the cotter pin from the ball joint castellated nut. Discard the pin.
- Remove the castellated nut and disconnect the ball joint from the steering knuckle using ball joint separator J-34505, J-29330, or equivalent.
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.
- 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 head of the rivets with a 1 /2 in. (13mm) drill bit. Do NOT drill completely through the control arm.
Be careful not to damage the drive axle boot when drilling out the ball joint rivets.
- Unfasten the nut attaching the link to the stabilizer shaft.
- Remove the ball joint from the steering knuckle and control arm.
- Position the ball joint in the control arm.
- Install the three ball joint bolts and nuts as shown on the instruction sheet in the ball joint kit, then tighten the bolts to specifications.
- Position the ball joint stud through the steering knuckle.
- Fasten the ball joint-to-steering knuckle nut to 41-50 ft. lbs. (56-68 Nm).
- Install a new cotter pin to the ball joint castellated nut.
- If installed, remove the boot protector.
- 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.
- Install the front tire and wheel assembly and hand-tighten the lug nuts.
- Carefully lower the vehicle, then tighten the wheel lug nuts to 103 ft. lbs. (140 Nm).
The front end alignment should be checked and adjusted whenever the strut assemblies are removed.