To check if ball joint replacement is required, raise and safely support the vehicle clear of the floor and try to rock the wheel up and down. If any play is felt, have an assistant rock the wheel while observing the front suspension lower arm ball joint at the bottom of the steering knuckle. If any movement is seen, the ball joint should be replaced. If not, any wheel play indicates wheel bearing wear.
Removal & Installation
- Raise and safely support the front of the vehicle securely on jackstands.
- Remove the front wheel.
- Remove the lower ball joint cotter pin and discard it.
- Loosen the lower ball joint nut until it contacts the outboard CV-joint.
- While pulling down on the lower control arm, strike the steering knuckle where the ball joint stud is with a brass or other soft hammer until the ball joint separates from the knuckle.
- Remove the lower ball joint nut.
- Using a suitable prybar, carefully pry the lower control arm down and separate the lower ball joint from the steering knuckle.
- Remove the three ball joint-to-control arm nuts and discard them.
Remove the ball joint from the control arm.
- The installation is the reverse of removal, but please note the following important steps.
- When installing the ball joint to the control arm, use new nuts and tighten them to 56-80 ft. lbs. (76-109 Nm) on 1993-98 vehicles. On 1999-00 vehicles, tighten them to 54-65 ft. lbs. (74-88 Nm).
- When installing the lower ball joint in the knuckle, tighten the nut to 52-64 ft. lbs. (71-86 Nm). Continue tightening the nut until a new cotter pin can be inserted through the hole in the stud and install the new cotter pin.
- When installing the lug nuts, tighten them to 72-87 ft. lbs. (98-118 Nm).