To check the lower ball joint for wear, jack up the lower suspension arm, after removing all excess play from the other suspension parts (wheel bearings, tie rods, etc.). The bottom of the tire should not move more than 5mm when the tire is pushed and pulled inward and outward. The tire should not move more than 2.3mm up and down. If the play is greater than these figures, replace the ball joint. The upper ball joint should be replaced if a distinct looseness is felt when turning the ball joint stud with the steering knuckle removed.
REMOVAL & INSTALLATION
- Raise the front of the truck and remove the wheel and tire.
- Support the front suspension crossmember with jackstands.
- Position a floor jack under the lower control arm and raise the control arm until the spring bumper is off the frame.
- Disconnect the flexible brake hose.
- Disconnect the tie rod end from the steering knuckle using a puller.
- Using a suitable puller remove the ball joint from the steering knuckle.
- Remove the ball joint from the lower arm.
- From this position the upper ball joint may also be removed in a similar manner. Removal and installation will be easier if the lower is removed first.
- Install the new ball joints and reassemble the steering components. Due to the fact that the shock absorber is not removed in this procedure the coil spring may be positioned with the jack and no compressor is necessary.
Be sure to grease the new ball joints before using the vehicle.
- Tighten the upper ball joint nuts to 15-22 ft. lbs., the lower to 22-29 ft. lbs. Tighten the steering knuckle to upper joint to 65-94 ft. lbs; the knuckle to the lower joint to 87-123 ft. lbs. Bleed the brakes before driving the truck.
See Figures 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
- Raise the vehicle and support it with jackstands.
- Remove the front wheel.
- Support the lower control arm with a floor jack and remove the steering knuckle.
- Loosen the mounting bolts and remove the lower ball joint from the lower control arm. On 4WD models, remove the cotter pin and then remove the mounting nut.
- Reach up and unbolt the upper ball joint from the upper control arm.
- Install the upper ball joint and tighten the bolts to 20 ft. lbs. (26 Nm) on 2WD models; 25 ft. lbs. 33 Nm) on 4WD models.
- On 2WD models, install the lower ball joint and tighten the bolts to 51 ft. lbs. (69 Nm). On 4WD models, install the lower ball joint, tighten the nut to 105 ft. lbs. (142 Nm) and install a new cotter pin.
- Install the steering knuckle. Install the wheels and lower the truck.
Be sure to grease the ball joints before moving the vehicle.