Volvo Coupes/Sedans/Wagons 1970-1989 Repair Guide

Lower Ball Joint

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INSPECTION



140 Series, 164 Models and 1800 Series

See Figures 1 and 2

If the lower ball joint is worn, measurement (A) taken from the ball stud to the cover of the ball joint will exceed to the maximum allowable length. The check is made with the vehicle standing on the ground, wheels pointing straight ahead.



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Fig. Fig. 1: Measure the spring type lower ball joint's maximum allowable length within the confines of dimension "A"



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Fig. Fig. 2: Measure the non-spring type lower ball joint's maximum allowable length within the confines of dimension "A"

Two types of lower ball joints have been used on late model Volvos; only one uses a pressure spring inside. The maximum allowable length of the spring type ball joint is 4.5 in. (114mm) for the 140 series and 164, and 4.4 in. (112mm) for the 1800 series. The maximum allowable length for the non-spring type ball joint is 3.91 in. (99mm) for the 140 series and 164 model, and 3.76 in. (96mm) for the 1800 series.

240 and 260 Series (1980 and Later Models)

To check the lower ball joints, place a jack under the lower control arm as close to the wheel as possible. Raise the jack just enough to bring the tire clear of the ground and check ball joint play with the loaded weight of the car on the jack. Check the play with a tire iron or some suitable pry bar but be careful not to damage the rubber dust cover. Maximum allowable play is 0.118 in. (3mm).

REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



140 and 160 Series
  1. Remove the hub cap and loosen the lug nuts two or three turns.
  2.  
  3. Jack up the front of the vehicle and place jackstands beneath the front jacking points. Remove the wheel.
  4.  
  5. Remove the brake lines from their bracket at the stabilizer bolt. Remove the cotter pin and stud nut, and press the steering rod ball stud from the steering knuckle.
  6.  
  7. Remove the cotter pins and loosen but do not remove the nuts for both the upper and lower ball joints. Tap with a hammer until the ball joints loosen from the spindle. Place a jack beneath the lower control arm and raise it to unload the control arm. Remove the ball joint nuts.
  8.  
  9. Remove the steering knuckle with the front brakes still connected to the brake lines. In order not to stretch the brake lines, place the brake unit on a milk crate or other stand.
  10.  
  11. Press the lower ball joint out of the lower control arm with a press tool and sleeve.
  12.  
  13. Make sure that the rubber cover of the new ball joint is filled with multipurpose grease. Bend the pin end to the side, and make sure that the grease forces its way out.
  14.  

To install:
  1. Press the lower ball joint into its control arm with a press tool, sleeve and drift. Make sure that the ball joint is not loose in the control arm.
  2.  
  3. Position the steering knuckle and brake unit assembly between the upper and lower control arms and tighten the ball joint stud nuts to the upper ball joint to 60-70 ft. lbs. (81-95 Nm), and for the lower ball joint to 75-90 ft. lbs. (102-122 Nm). If the pins rotate during tightening, clamp them firmly with a screw vise.
  4.  
  5. Install the steering rod ball stud into the steering knuckle and tighten the stud nut. Lower the jack slightly and, with the front wheels pointing straight ahead, attach the brake lines to their bracket at the stabilizer bolt.
  6.  
  7. Install the wheel. Remove the jackstands and lower the vehicle. Tighten the lug nuts to 85-90 ft. lbs. (115-122 Nm), then install the hub cap.
  8.  

1800 Series

See Figures 3 and 4

  1. Remove the hub cap and loosen the lug nuts two or three turns.
  2.  
  3. Jack up the front of the car and place jackstands under the lower control arms. Remove the wheel.
  4.  
  5. Remove the four nuts (6) and bolts (8) which retain the ball joint to the lower control arm. Remove the cotter pin and ball stud nut which secure the steering knuckle to the ball joint.
  6.  



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Fig. Fig. 3: Detailed view of the lower ball joint-1800 series



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Fig. Fig. 4: Detailed view of the front suspension-1800 series

  1. Disconnect and plug the brake hoses at their retainer. Remove the ball joint from the steering knuckle by lightly tapping its attachment with a hammer.
  2.  
  3. Make sure that the rubber cover of the new ball joint is filled with multipurpose grease.
  4.  

To install:
  1. Place the ball joint, sealing washers (circlip), and sleeve into position on the steering knuckle and install the ball stud nut. Tighten the nut to 35-40 ft. lbs. (48-54 Nm).
  2.  
  3. Place the ball joint and steering knuckle assembly into position on the lower control arm and install the four retaining nuts and bolts.
  4.  
  5. Unplug and connect the brake hoses. Bleed the brake system.
  6.  
  7. Install the wheel and tire assembly. Remove the jackstands and lower the vehicle. Tighten the lug nuts to 85-90 ft. lbs. (115-122 Nm), then install the hub cap.
  8.  

1975-85 240 and 260 Series

CAUTION
The use of the correct special tools or their equivalent is REQUIRED for this procedure. To remove the spring, a coil spring compressor must be used. Under no circumstances should you attempt to lower and disassemble the strut assembly without the proper spring compressor. Serious injury could result. Spring compressors can be rented from many repair and supply shops.

  1. Remove the hub cap and loosen the lug nuts two or three turns.
  2.  
  3. Firmly apply the parking brake and place blocks in back of the rear wheels.
  4.  
  5. Install the spring compressor on the spring directly beneath the upper mount. Make sure that at least 3 coils of the spring are between the tool attachment points. Tighten the tool and compress the spring.
  6.  
  7. Jack up the front of the car at the center of the front crossmember. When the wheels are 2-3 in. (50-75mm) off the ground, the car is high enough. Place jackstands beneath the front jacking points. Remove the floor jack from the crossmember, and reposition it beneath the lower control arm to provide support at the outer end. Remove the wheel.
  8.  
  9. Using a ball joint puller, disconnect the steering rod from the steering arm.
  10.  
  11. Disconnect the stabilizer bar at the upper link.
  12.  
  13. Remove the bolt holding the brake line bracket to the fender well.
  14.  
  15. Open the hood and remove the cover from the top of the strut assembly upper mount. Mark the position of the upper mounts relative to their holes.
  16.  
  17. While keeping the strut from turning, loosen and remove the nut for the upper strut mount.
  18.  
  19. Before lowering the strut assembly, wire or tie the strut to some stationary component (or use a holding fixture such as Volvo No. 5045) to prevent the strut from traveling down too far and damaging the hydraulic brake lines. Lower the jack supporting the lower arm and allow the strut to tilt out at about a 60° angle. At this angle, the top of the strut assembly should just protrude past the wheel well, allowing removal of the strut components from the top. Take great care to control the descent of the strut and prevent damage to the fender.
  20.  
  21. Lift off the spring seat, rubber bumper, and the shock absorber protector. Remove the coil spring and compressor assembly from the strut.
  22.  
  23. While keeping the strut outer tube from turning, remove the upper shock absorber retaining nut.
  24.  
  25. Pull the shock absorber unit out of the outer tube (casing).
  26.  

On some models, gas type shock absorbers are used. A special tool (such as Volvo No. 5173 or similar) must be used to remove and install the unit.

  1. Loosen the ball joint retaining nut, located inside the shock absorber tube. Grasp the outer tube at the weld (with a pair of locking pliers or a pipe wrench) and loosen the nut with a 19mm socket and a long extension, until the joint bracket comes loose.
  2.  
  3. Using a drift and hammer, loosen the cone-shaped part of the ball joint from the strut assembly.
  4.  
  5. Coat the inside of the 19mm socket with petroleum jelly or bearing grease. (The grease will keep the nut within the socket after loosening.) Remove the ball joint retaining nut.
  6.  
  7. Wire the top of the strut assembly to the tower, and allow the strut to hang vertically. Disconnect the ball joint from the bottom of the strut assembly. Take care not to damage the brake hoses. Then disconnect the ball joint from the lower control arm.
  8.  

To install:
  1. Attach the new ball joint to the lower control arm.
  2.  

Make sure the new ball joint stud is free of grease, or the stud could be tightened too far into the cone making the rubber bellows stick to the strut.

  1. Remove the wire and lift the strut assembly into position. Install the ball joint nut, and tighten to 30-50 ft. lbs. (41-68 Nm). Stop the outer tube from turning by holding it at the weld.
  2.  
  3. Install the shock absorber and retaining nut. Tighten to 30-50 ft. lbs. (41-68 Nm). Pull the shock absorber shaft to its uppermost position.
  4.  
  5. Position the spring and compressor on the strut assembly. Make sure the spring end is properly aligned with the lower mount.
  6.  

Make sure that the compressor bolts face as they did during removal.

  1. Install the rubber bumper and the shock absorber protector. Position the spring seat on the spring, making sure it is aligned with the spring.
  2.  
  3. Carefully lift and guide the strut assembly into its upper attachment in the spring tower. Connect the stabilizer bar to the stabilizer link.
  4.  
  5. Guide the shock absorber spindle into the upper attachment and raise the jack beneath the lower control arm. Install the washer and nut on top of the shock absorber spindle. Position the upper mount according to marks made during removal. Tighten the upper mounting bolts. The smaller outer nuts should be tightened to 15-25 ft. lbs. (20-34 Nm). The large center nut should be tightened to 90-100 ft. lbs. (115-122 Nm).
  6.  
  7. Install the cover.
  8.  
  9. Attach the brake line bracket to its mount. Make sure that the brake lines sit properly in their mounts. Tighten the nut holding the stabilizer bar to the link. Connect the steering rod at the steering arm.
  10.  
  11. Release the coil spring compressor and install the wheel and tire assembly. Remove the jackstands and lower the car. Bounce the suspension a few times and then road test.
  12.  

240 and 260 Series (1986 and Later Models)
  1. Jack up the front of the car and install jackstands beneath the front jacking attachments.
  2.  
  3. Remove the wheel.
  4.  
  5. Reach in between the spring coils and loosen the lower shock absorber retaining nut two or three turns. On cars built after 1978, this is NOT necessary as the shock absorber does not rest against the ball joint mount.
  6.  
  7. Remove the four bolts (12mm) retaining the ball joint seat to the bottom of the strut.
  8.  
  9. Remove the three nuts (19mm) retaining the ball joint to the lower control arm.
  10.  
  11. Place the ball joint and attachment assembly in a vise and remove the 19mm nut from the ball joint stud. Then drive out the old ball joint.
  12.  

To install:
  1. Install the new ball joint in the attachment and tighten the stud nut to 35-50 ft. lbs. (47-68 Nm).
  2.  

On 1979 and later models with power steering, the ball joints are different for the left and right side. Compared to previous years, the ball joint is 0.393 in. (10mm) forward in the control rod attachment. It is therefore most important that these ball joints are installed on the correct side.

  1. Attach the ball joint assembly to the strut. Always use new locking bolts or washers. Tighten to 15-20 ft. lbs. (20-27 Nm).
  2.  
  3. Attach the ball joint assembly to the control arm. Tighten to 70-95 ft. lbs. (95-129 Nm).
  4.  
  5. Tighten the shock absorber retaining nut if it had been loosened. Install the wheel. Lower the car and road test.
  6.  

700 Series
  1. Jack up the front end of the car, support on stands and remove the wheel.
  2.  
  3. Remove the bolt connecting the anti-roll bar (sway bar) link to the control arm.
  4.  
  5. Remove the cotter pin for the ball joint stud, and remove the nut.
  6.  
  7. Using a ball joint puller, press out the ball joint from the control arm. Make sure the puller is located directly in line with the stud, and that the rubber grease boot is not damaged by the puller.
  8.  
  9. Remove the bolts holding the ball joint to the spring strut. Press the control arm down and remove the ball joint.
  10.  

To install:
  1. Always use new bolts and coat all threads with a liquid thread sealer. Torque bolts to 22 ft. lb. (30 Nm), checking that the bolt heads sit flat on the ball joint, then tighten an additional 90° of rotation.
  2.  
  3. Install the nut holding the control arm ball joint stud and tighten to 44 ft. lbs. (60 Nm). Always use a new cotter pin on the ball joint stud.
  4.  
  5. Install the anti-roll bar link.
  6.  
  7. Install the wheel and lower the car to the ground.
  8.  

 
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