- Raise and safely support the vehicle on jackstands. Allow the suspension to hang free.
- Grasp the tire at the top and the bottom and move the top of the tire in and out.
- Check for any horizontal movement of the steering knuckle relative to the front lower control arm. If any movement is detected, replace the lower ball joint.
- 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
- Disconnect the negative battery cable.
- Raise and safely support the vehicle with jackstands.
- Remove the front wheel and tire assembly.
- Unfasten the retaining bolts, then remove the ball joint heat shield.
- Remove and discard the lower ball joint cotter pin.
- Remove the ball joint nut.
- Loosen, but do NOT remove, the stabilizer shaft bushing assembly bolts.
- Separate the ball joint from the strut/knuckle assembly using ball joint/tie rod puller J-35917 or equivalent.
Do NOT damage the halfshaft boots when drilling out the ball joint rivets.
- Drill out the rivets retaining the ball joint to the knuckle strut assembly and remove the ball joint from the knuckle. Use a 1 / 8 in. drill bit. Refer to the instructions in the ball joint replacement kit.
- Position the lower ball joint in the strut/knuckle assembly.
- Install the four ball joint bolts and nuts, as shown in the ball joint kit and tighten to specifications.
- Install the ball joint-to-lower control arm. Install a new ball joint-to-lower control arm nut.
- Tighten the stabilizer shaft bolts to 35 ft. lbs. (48 Nm).
- For 1988-91 vehicles, tighten the ball joint-to-lower control arm nut 15 ft. lbs. (20 Nm) plus at least an additional 90° (1 1 / 2 flats), plus enough to align the cotter pin hole. Do NOT overtighten.
- For 1992-96 vehicles, tighten the lower ball joint nut to 63 ft. lbs. (85 Nm). Tighten to align the next slot in the nut with the cotter pin hole in the stud. Do NOT tighten more than 60º(1 flat) to align with the hole.
- Install a new cotter pin.
- Position the ball joint heat shield and secure with the retaining bolts. Tighten to 62 inch lbs. (7 Nm).
- Install the front wheel and tire assembly, then carefully lower the vehicle.
- Connect the negative battery cable and check for proper suspension operation.