GM Malibu/Cutlass 1997-2000

Lower Ball Joint

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INSPECTION



  1. Raise and safely support the vehicle on jackstands. Allow the suspension to hang free.
  2.  
  3. Grasp the tire at the top and the bottom and move the top of the tire in and out.
  4.  
  5. Check for any horizontal movement of the steering knuckle relative to the front lower control arm. If any movement is detected, replace the ball joint.
  6.  
  7. 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.
  8.  

REMOVAL & INSTALLATION





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Fig. Remove the cotter pin from the lower ball joint . . .



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Fig. . . . then, using a wrench, loosen and remove the ball joint retaining nut



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Fig. Use a suitable prytool to remove the lower ball joint/control arm from the steering knuckle



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Fig. The factory ball joint is mounted to the lower control arm with three rivets. They must be drilled out in order to remove the ball joint

  1. Raise and safely support the vehicle.
  2.  
  3. Remove the tire and wheel assembly.
  4.  


NOTE
Care must be exercised to prevent the axle shaft joints from being over-extended. 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.

  1. Disconnect the stabilizer link from the control arm.
  2.  
  3. Remove the cotter pin and nut from the ball joint.
  4.  
  5. Separate the ball joint from the steering knuckle using an appropriate tool.
  6.  
  7. Drill out the 3 rivets retaining ball joint to the lower control arm. Use an 1 / 8 in. (3mm) drill bit to make a pilot hole through the rivets. Finish drilling rivets with a 1 / 2 in. (13mm) drill bit.
  8.  
  9. Remove the ball joint from the control arm.
  10.  

To install:



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Fig. Replacement ball joints are mounted with three retaining bolts

  1. Install ball joint into the control arm.
  2.  
  3. Install 3 new bolts and nuts (supplied with new ball joint) and tighten.
  4.  
  5. Tighten the ball joint nut to 41 ft. lbs. (55 Nm) and install a new cotter pin. If necessary to align the cotter pin holes, you can tighten the nut up to 50 ft. lbs. (65 Nm). NEVER loosen a nut to install a cotter pin.
  6.  
  7. Connect the stabilizer link to stabilizer bar and tighten the nut to 13 ft. lbs. (17 Nm).
  8.  
  9. Install tire and wheel assembly.
  10.  
  11. Lower the vehicle.
  12.  
  13. Have the front wheel alignment checked and adjusted, if necessary.
  14.  

 
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