Inspect the ball joint stud dust seal (boot) for grease leaks, detachment, tearing or other damage.
Raise and support the vehicle on jackstands so that the suspension control arms hang and the wheels are off of the ground. Use a floor jack to support the lower control arm, then attempt to wobble the wheel in a vertical motion by holding the top of the tire with one hand and the bottom of the tire with the other. If any movement is felt, have an assistant wobble the wheel while you look for movement between the lower control arm and the spindle; the spindle and arm should not move independently of each other. If there is movement, replace the lower ball joint.
If the ball joint appears fine, check the front wheel bearings, then repeat this test to ensure the ball joint is in good condition.
REMOVAL & INSTALLATION
Sidekick, Tracker, Sidekick Sport and X-90 Models
See Figures 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
- Loosen all of the front wheel lug nuts 1 / 2 turn.
- Apply the parking brake, block the rear wheels, then raise and safely support the front of the vehicle on jackstands.
- Remove the front wheel.
- Position a hydraulic floor jack beneath the lower control arm, then raise the floor jack until it supports the lower control arm.
- On 4-wheel drive models, remove the wheel hub, as described later in this section.
- Detach the tie rod end from the steering knuckle arm.
- Secure the bottom of the coil spring to the lower control arm with a chain. This will prevent the spring from accidentally dislodging form the control arm and possibly causing personal injury.
- Withdraw the lower ball joint castle nut cotter pin, then remove the castle nut.
- Detach the lower ball joint from the steering knuckle by tapping its end with a mallet, or by using a ball joint separator tool.
- While slowly raising the floor jack, pull outward on the spindle/knuckle assembly to detach it from the ball joint stud. Support the spindle/knuckle assembly aside.
- Lower the control arm to relieve the spring pressure and unbolt the ball joint from the control arm.
- Position the new ball joint on the control arm. Install the bolts and tighten the nuts to 51-75 ft. lbs. (70-10 Nm).
During installation ensure that the coil spring is properly positioned on its lower and upper seats.
- Raise the floor jack enough to allow the spindle/knuckle assembly to clear the ball joint stud.
- While slowly lowering the floor jack, position the spindle/knuckle assembly onto the lower ball joint stud.
- Install and tighten the ball joint castle nut to 33-50 ft. lbs. (45-70 Nm). Insert a new cotter pin through the castle nut and ball joint stud holes, then bend the cotter pin ends over. If none of the castle nut grooves are aligned with the hole in the ball joint stud hole, continue tightening the castle nut until one of the grooves is aligned with the stud hole, then install the cotter pin.
- Remove the chain securing the coil spring to the lower control arm.
- Attach the tie rod end to the steering knuckle arm, then tighten the tie rod end castle nut to 22-39 ft. lbs. (30-55 Nm). Insert a new cotter pin through the castle nut and tie rod end stud holes, then bend the cotter pin ends over. If none of the castle nut grooves are aligned with the hole in the tie rod end stud hole, continue tightening the castle nut until one of the grooves is aligned with the stud hole, then install the cotter pin.
- On 4-wheel drive models, install the hub.
- Lower the floor jack and remove it from beneath the lower control arm.
- Install the front wheel.
- Lower the vehicle and remove the rear wheel blocks.
- Tighten all of the front wheel lug nuts.