The lower ball joint should be replaced when play becomes excessive. An effective way to determine ball joint play is to raise the vehicle until the wheel is just a couple of inches off the ground and the ball joint is unloaded (meaning you can't raise directly under the ball joint). Place a long bar under the tire and move the wheel and tire assembly up and down. Keep one hand on top of the tire while you are doing this. If there is over 1 / 4 in. of play at the top of the tire, the ball joint is probably bad. This is assuming that the wheel bearings are in good shape and properly adjusted. As a double check on this, have someone watch the ball joint while you move the tire up and down with the bar. If you can see considerable play, besides feeling play at the top of the wheel, the ball joint needs replacing.
REMOVAL & INSTALLATION
See Figures 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
- Raise and safely support the vehicle.
- Remove the wheel assembly.
- Loosen the lower ball joint-to-traverse link securing bolts/nuts.
- Remove the ball joint cotter pin and castle nut.
- Remove the lower ball joint-to-traverse link securing bolts/nuts.
- Using the Ball Joint Remover tool HT72520000 or equivalent, separate the ball joint from the steering knuckle.