Jeep Wagoneer/Commando/Cherokee 1957-1983 Repair Information

Open Type Steering Knuckle Ball Joints



1972-73 Jeepster/Commando and 1974-83 Wagoneer, Cherokee, and J-Series Truck

Throughout this procedure, where a ball stud is either removed or installed, a hydraulic press or a two-jawed gear puller can be used and, if at all possible, should be used to make the job easier. However, it is possible to complete the job using a mallet, drift and a large socket the same size as the ball studs.

  1. Replacement of the ball joints, or ball stud, as they will be called from here on, requires the removal of the steering knuckle. To remove the steering knuckle, first remove the wheel, brake drum, and hub as an assembly. Remove the brake assembly from the spindle. Position the brake assembly on the front axle in a convenient place. Remove the snapring from the axle shaft.
  3. Remove the spindle and bearing assembly. It may be necessary to tap the spindle with a soft mallet to disengage it from the steering knuckle.
  5. Slide the axle shaft out through the steering knuckle.
  7. Disconnect the steering rods from the knuckle arm.
  9. Remove the lower ball stud nut.
  11. Remove the cotter pin from the upper stud. Loosen the upper stud until the top edge of the nut is flush with the top end of the stud.
  13. Use a lead hammer to unseat the upper and lower studs from the yoke. Remove the upper nut and the knuckle assembly.
  15. Remove the ball stud seat from the upper hole in the axle yoke. It is threaded in the hole. There are special wrenches available for removing the seat.
  17. Securely clamp the knuckle assembly in a vise with the upper ball stud pointed down.
  19. Using a large socket or drift, of approximately the same size as the ball stud, and a mallet, drive the lower stud out of the knuckle.
  21. Place the socket on the bottom surface of the upper ball stud. Place the drift through the hole where the lower ball stud was and place it on the socket. Drive the upper ball stud out of the knuckle with a mallet.
  23. Before installing the lower ball stud, run the lower ball stud nut onto the stud just far enough so the head of the stud is flush with the top edge of the nut.
  25. Invert the knuckle in the vise. Position the lower ball stud in the knuckle with the nut in place. Place the same size socket over the nut and drive the ball stud into place with the drift and mallet.
  27. Use the same procedure for installing the upper ball stud. The drift will not be needed to install the upper ball stud.
  29. Install the upper ball stud seat into the axle yoke. Use a new one if the old one shows evidence of wear. The top of the seat should be flush with the top of the yoke.
  31. Install the knuckle assembly onto the axle yoke. Install the lower stud nut. Tighten it to 70-90 ft. lb.
  33. Install the upper stud nut and tighten it to 100 ft. lb. Install the cotter pin. If the cotter pin holes do not align, tighten the nut until the pin can be installed. Do not loosen the nut to align the holes.
  35. Install the axle shaft, spindle and bearing assembly, and brake assembly. Connect the steering rods. Install the drum and hub, and wheel assembly. Adjust the wheel bearings. Check the turning angle. Adjust the stop screw to permit the proper turning angle of 31º.