S10 Pickup, Sonoma 2000-2004

Upper Ball Joints

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Removal & Installation




NOTE
The following procedure requires the use of a ball joint separator tool such as J-23742 and J-9519-E ball joint remover and installer set.

  1. Raise and support the front of the vehicle safely by placing stands securely under the lower control arms. Because the vehicle's weight is used to relieve spring tension on the upper control arm, the stands must be positioned between the spring seats and the lower control arm ball joints for maximum leverage.
    CAUTION
    With components unbolted, the stand is holding the lower control arm in place against the coil spring. Make sure the stand is firmly positioned and cannot move, or personal injury could result.

  2.  
  3. Remove or disconnect the following:
    NOTE
    After separating the steering knuckle from the upper ball joint, be sure to support the steering knuckle/hub assembly to prevent damaging the brake hose.



    Tire and wheel assembly
     
    Brake caliper and support it from the vehicle using a coat hanger or wire. Make sure the brake line is not stretched or damaged and that the caliper's weight is not supported by the line.
     
    Cotter pin and retaining nut from the upper ball joint
     
    Anti-lock brake sensor wire bracket, if equipped
     
    Upper ball joint from the steering knuckle using tool J-23742 and pull the steering knuckle free of the ball joint

    Click image to see an enlarged view

    Fig. Use a ball joint separator tool to drive the upper ball joint from the steering knuckle

     

  4.  
  5. Remove the riveted upper ball joint from the upper control arm as follows:
    1. Drill a 1 / 8 in. (3mm) hole, about 1 / 4 in. (6mm) deep into each rivet.
    2.  
    3. Then use a 1 / 2 in. (13mm) drill bit, to drill off the rivet heads.
    4.  
    5. Using a pin punch and the hammer, drive out the rivets in order to free the upper ball joint from the upper control arm assembly, then remove the upper ball joint.

      Click image to see an enlarged view

      Fig. Drill a small guide hole into each ball joint rivet



      Click image to see an enlarged view

      Fig. Then drill off the rivet heads



      Click image to see an enlarged view

      Fig. Punch the rivets out and remove the ball joint

    6.  

  6.  
  7. Clean and inspect the steering knuckle hole. Replace the steering knuckle if the hole is out of round.
  8.  

To install:

  1. Install or connect the following:
    NOTE
    When installing the cotter pin, never loosen the castle nut to expose the cotter pin hole.



    Ball joint in the upper control arm
     
    Ball joint retaining nuts and bolts. Position the bolts threaded upward from under the control arm. Tighten the ball joint retainers to 17 ft. lbs. (23 Nm).
     
    Anti-lock brake sensor wire bracket, if removed

    Click image to see an enlarged view

    Fig. Service ball joints are bolted to the control arm

     
    Ball joint to the knuckle. Make sure the joint is seated, then install the stud nut and tighten to 61 ft. lbs. (83 Nm). Insert a new cotter pin.
     



    Thread the grease fitting into the ball joint. Use a grease gun to lubricate the upper ball joint until grease appears at the seal.
     
    Brake caliper
     
    Tire and wheel assembly
     

  2.  
  3. Check and adjust the front end alignment, as necessary.
  4.  

On 4WD vehicles both the upper and lower ball joints are removed in the same manner. Once the joint is separated from the steering knuckle the rivets are drilled and punched to free the joint from the control arm. Service joints are bolted into position with the retaining bolts threaded upward from beneath the control arm. In this manner, the joint is replaced in an almost identical fashion to the upper joints on 2WD vehicles.

  1. Remove or disconnect the following:

    Tire and wheel assembly
     
    Wheel speed sensor wiring connector from the upper control arm, if removing the upper ball joint
     
    Cotter pin from the ball joint, then loosen the retaining nut
     

  2.  
  3. Position a suitable ball joint separator tool such as J-36607, then carefully loosen the joint in the steering knuckle. Remove the tool and the retaining nut, then separate the joint from the knuckle.
    NOTE
    After separating the steering knuckle from the upper ball joint, be sure to support the steering knuckle/hub assembly to prevent damaging the brake hose.

  4.  
  5. Remove the riveted ball joint from the control arm:
    1. Drill a 1 / 8 in. (3mm) hole, about 1 / 4 in. (6mm) deep into each rivet.
    2.  
    3. Then use a 1 / 2 in. (13mm) drill bit, to drill off the rivet heads.
    4.  
    5. Using a pin punch and the hammer, drive out the rivets in order to free the ball joint from the control arm assembly, then remove the ball joint.
    6.  

  6.  

To install:

  1. Install or connect the following:
    NOTE
    When installing the cotter pin, never loosen the castle nut to expose the cotter pin hole, but DO NOT tighten more than an additional 1 / 6 turn.



    Ball joint in the control arm
     
    Ball joint retaining nuts and bolts. Position the bolts threaded upward from under the control arm. Tighten the ball joint retainers to 17 ft. lbs. (23 Nm).
     
    Ball joint to the knuckle. Make sure the joint is seated, tighten the lower nut to 79 ft. lbs. (108 Nm) and the upper nut to 61 ft. lbs. (83 Nm). Install a new cotter pin.
     

  2.  
  3. Use a grease gun to lubricate the upper ball joint.

    Wheel speed sensor wiring connector to the upper control arm, if the upper ball joint was removed
     
    Tire and wheel assembly
     

  4.  
  5. Check and adjust the front end alignment, as necessary.

    Click image to see an enlarged view

    Fig. The replacement ball joint comes with nuts and bolts for installation

  6.  

 
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