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  #1  
Old 04-12-2009, 09:09 AM
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Ball Joint Replacement 101 - lots of pics

Start by jacking up the vehicle and putting a jack stand under the frame, then remove the wheel/tire.



At this point I like to go ahead and remove the brake caliper. You will need a 3/8" allen wrench to remove the caliper bolts. Use an wire coat hanger to tie the caliper inside the wheel well, so its not hanging by the brake hose.



Using an allen wrench, remove the 6 small blots that hold the hub together. These are an odd size - 9/64" maybe? With the bolts off, the outter hub can be removed. You should be looking at this after removing the outter hub:



In the picture above, I am pointing to the internal lock ring that holds the hub in the rotor/hub. Use a small pic to remove it. Take your time, it can be a pain.

Next, use snap ring pliers to remove the snap ring on the end of the axle shaft.



Now the hub is ready to be pulled out. I like to screw in two of the allen head bolts, and use them as a handle.



Now you should be looking at this:

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Old 04-12-2009, 09:16 AM
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Now, use a 4 prong axle socket to remove the outter spindle lock nut.



Next, use a small pic to remove the spindle lock ring. It can be a pain sometimes too.



Use the 4 prong axle socket again to remove the inner spindle lock nut.



The rotor assemble is now ready to be removed. Note: the outter wheel bearing is now free to fall out of the rotor/hub assemble. So be mindful of that when you are removing the rotor. You don't want old grease on your driveway. Notice the flat spot on this rotor - looks like the wheel came off at some ponit in time.....

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Last edited by gte901m : 04-12-2009 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 04-12-2009, 09:27 AM
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Ok, now you should be looking at this:



Remove the 6 nuts hold the brake backing plate on. You may need to spray them with penetration lube, mine were pretty rusty.

Also remove this single bolt holding the backing plate to the knuckle.



Now the backing plate can be removed. Its probably going to be rusted on there, so keep working with it. When mine came off, the spindle came off with it too. No big deal.



Now pull the axle shaft out. If you actually have oil in your front diff, it may run out. If you jack up the vehicle enough to one side, you may keep it all in the other side. If not, you need to drain the oil. I had a pan ready in case any ran out - but it didn't



Now pull the cotter pin on the tie rod end, and then remove the nut.



Use a hammer and strike the knuckle as shown below. You may be tempted to hit the tie rod end on top of the threads - if you do that you will damage it. My TRE is shot, and needs replacement.

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Old 04-12-2009, 09:34 AM
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Now pull the cotter pin on the upper ball joint. There is probably a lot of dirt and grim up there, I used a small screw driver to clean it up a little.



Then remove the nut. It takes a large wrench.




Next, loosen the lower ball joint nut, but do not remove it completely.



Now comes the fun part . Luckily, I plan on replacing both ball joints, so I don't care if I tear them up. I used a pickle fork, and a small sledge to seperate the knuckle from the axle housing. The reason you leave the lower ball joint nut on is so when the knuckle breaks free, it doesn't fall on your toes.



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Old 04-12-2009, 09:40 AM
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Now put the knuckle on your work bench, and remove the lower ball joint snap ring.



A snap ring is not used on the upper ball joint, but I cleaned this area to aid in the removal of the ball joint.



Now use a ball joint tool to press out the lower ball joint. I set mine up like this, and clamped it in a vise to press it out. I also used a long cheater bar.



With the lower ball joint out, set up the press for the upper ball joint, and repeat.



Inspect the turn stop bolt, mine was bent, so I replaced it with a grade 8 bolt and nut. I also ran a tap through it to clean out all the dirt.



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Old 04-12-2009, 09:46 AM
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Now its time to press the new ball joints back in. Its best to use the ball joint tool to do this, but I am lazy, and used a press . If using a press, press the lower in first.



Now press in the upper ball joint. This is where you have to be careful - you can bend the knuckle if your not careful.



Now put the snap ring on the lower ball joint.



You will need this special tool next - I got mine from Napa.



Go back to the axle housing and remove the old split ring washer in the upper ball joint hole.

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  #7  
Old 04-12-2009, 09:50 AM
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Screw in the new split ring washer in the upper ball joint hole. Install the knuckel assembly back onto the axle housing.



Use a floor rack to put a little pressure under the knuckle, to ensure that the ball joints are seated. Tighten the lower ball joint to 75 ft-lbs.




Now use the special tool again and tighten the upper ball joint split ring thing to 50 ft-lbs.



Now you can finally tighten the upper ball joint castle nut to 100 ft-lbs.



Install a new cotter pin in the upper ball joint castle nut.

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Old 04-12-2009, 10:08 AM
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Now its time to seperate the spidle from the backing plate. Yours may not be stuck together, but mine was. I put the spindle a block of wood, and used a hammer and driver to knock them apart.



Use a pilot bearing puller to remove the spindle bearing that is inside the spindle.





This is where the spindle bearing lives, after cleaning out the old grease.



Now press in the new spindle bearing. Mine was already greased up, if yours is not, you need to grease it before you press it in.



This is what it looks like installed.

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Old 04-12-2009, 10:12 AM
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Now its time to replace the axle shaft seals on the knuckle end. I put the axle in a vise for this - so I could take pics. They just slide off.



Don't forget the plastic bushing thing.



Clean it up, and install the new bushing and seals (2 seals).



Now slide the axle back in the housing.



I like to put a little grease on the seal lip, so it will seal better.

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Old 04-12-2009, 10:15 AM
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Now install the spindle. I like to put the slot in the threads at the 12 o'clock position.



Now install the backing plate. Make sure you position it right, if not your caliper will be in the wrong position.



Install the 6 retaining nuts, I replaced mine because the originals were too rusted. Don't forget the bolt that secures the backing plate to the knuckle.

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Old 04-12-2009, 10:20 AM
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Now its time to put new bearings in your rotor. I'm replacing my rotors, if you are reusing yours, your will need to remove the old seal, bearings, and bearing races.

First, install the bearing races in the rotor. I used an old bearing race that is slightly small to help me press them in. You can also tap them in with a punch and hammer. Just be careful not to nick them.





Now, grease up your inner wheel bearing and install it in the rotor. I don't have pics of me greasing it up - I need a third hand to take pics.



Now install the seal.



Notice the "layout" coating on the rotors - to prevent rust while they are on the shelf. Use brake parts cleaner and a clean paper towel to get this stuff off.



Almost off, keep scrubbing!
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Old 04-12-2009, 10:26 AM
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Install the rotor on the spindle.



Now grease up the outter wheel bearing, and install in the rotor.



Use a spindle socket to tighten the inner lock ring. The inner lock nut has a small nipple on it - make sure this is facing out. Spin the rotor while doing this, and torque to 50 ft-lbs to "set the bearings". Then loosen the lock nut 1/6 of a turn.



Now install the lock ring. The nipple on the inner nut will need to line up with one of the holes in this lock ring. This is trial and error. If it doesn't line up first try, remove it and loosen or tighten the inner lcok nut to reposition the nipple.



With the lock ring lined up, install the outter lock nut, and torque to 50 ft-lbs.



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Old 04-12-2009, 10:30 AM
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Now slide the hub assembly back in.



Install the lock ring to hold the hub in.



Install the snap ring on the axle stub shaft.



Install the outter hub assemble and the 6 allen head bolts.



Don't forget to install the tie rod end on the knuckle. Use a new cotter pin.

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Old 04-12-2009, 10:32 AM
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Now its time for new brake pads. I'm trying out the EMC yellow stuff pads. Install the anti sqeak pads on the back of the pads.



Install them in the caliper, and install on the rotor. Tighten the caliper bolts.



Bolt your wheel back on, and your finished with one side.

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Old 04-12-2009, 10:36 AM
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A few comments:

You will need several special tools for this:
A spindle socket
A ball joint split ring socket
a ball joint press tool
a press helps
large wrenches for the ball joint nuts
torque wrenches
pilot bearing puller

Also, you may have noticed, but I have chevy 3/4 ton calipers and brake hoses (new). You may need to replace yours while your at it.

I bought my rotors, bearings, ball joints, and seals, from BJs. The ebc brake pads are from summit racing, and the calipers and brake hoses are from the local mc parts store.

Hope this helps someone out.
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Last edited by gte901m : 04-12-2009 at 10:41 AM.
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Old 04-12-2009, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 82 Widetrac
When I got to the passenger side I could not for the life of me get the spindle off. What would you guys do with something like this

Well, this is the 4th time I have changed ball joints on a dana 44, and have had trouble getting the spindle off before. I actually had trouble with the passenger side spindle on this build. When all else fails, I thread the two spindle lock nuts onto the spindle (at the very end) and hit them with a hammer. You will damage the lock nuts, but as long as you don't hit the threads, the spindle will be ok. Alternate hitting different sides, and it should work its way free. Its just rusted in there. Using a rubber dead blow hammer would be best. You can buy new spindle lock nuts, or pick up a set next time you are at the junk yard. If you do damage the spindle, you can buy a new one - I believe BJs and Parts Mike sell them. The lock nuts are cheaper. Hope this helps.

Anyone else have any other ideas?
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Old 04-12-2009, 04:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowShoe
Excellent writeup...very proffessional...I will be replaceing mine soon based on your photo's and instructions.

You made this look easy...

Thanks for sharing this with all of us....

Its not too bad if you have all the right tools. If you don't have trouble with getting the spindle off, you could do both sides in about 5-6hrs.

Also, don't forget to check your axle u-joints while you have them out. My passenger side joint had play in it, and needed to be replaced.
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