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Old 05-20-2007, 11:18 PM   #1
Turn in Concepts
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Default TiC's notes on ball joints

Well, today Tony and I threw the new KCA313 on the wife's outback. Why? Because we can, and given the way she drives will get a benefit from them.

In doing so we thought we'd share some thoughts. We ran into a number of issues today, that we have in the past, and thought the community as a whole could benefit.

First off - if you live anywhere that uses salt on the roads in the winter, and you have an appreciable amount of miles on your car then this is going to suck. For example, we're in Ohio, and the Outback in this example has 80K miles on it. All of them daily driven year round.

Tip number 1

There's a retainer bolt that tensions the knuckle around the ball joint housing. This bolt is notorious for breaking, and ruining your afternoon. With this in mind we took a very careful approach to removing it.
Step 1) Spray with PB Blast and let sit for a good long while.
Step 2) Try it. If it does not break loose with a decent amount of effort then stop right there.
Step 3) Get a punch and a BFH. In our case the BFH was a 3lb mini sledge.
Step 4) Take punch, find the end of the bolt that is not the head put punch on it, and smack it a few times really hard.
Step 5) Try bolt again.
Step 6) If still frozen then stop.
Step 7) Get your torch and heat it up. Please be careful of teh CV boot and ball joint boot (if you plan on reusing it).
Step 8) While still hot give it another good smack with the punch and hammer.

Repeat these steps as necessary, and I do hope they help you.

Once you have the bolt out inspect it. If overly rusty, eroded (one of ours had a nice notch eroded into it) or mangled then replace it. Period.

When reinstalling said bolt use anti-seize on it. Even if you don't plan on it you may need to pull it out again one day.

Tip number 2

We're not quite sure how nhluhr did it, but he was able to pull the ball joint out of the knuckle by wedging between the control arm and the knuckle with a breaker bar. While worth a shot it did not work in our case.

My idea to make a ball joint extraction tool did not work either so that one's dead, and since it is I won't bother to elaborate on it here.

How we did get it out. Well, since the kit consists of new ball joints we said screw it, and mangle them. We separated the control arm from the ball joint. Detached the caliper (and hung it safely from the spring), removed the backing plate (which did not go back on, and I honestly should have done long ago), removed the grease cover for the ball joint, took a really heavey duty bearing puller, tightened it on the lip of the ball joint (really tight), and beat the hell out of it with the BFH.

I know this doesn't seem like much of a tip here, but I do have this to offer. Once you have the ball joint removed from the knuckle clean out as much rust as you can using something (we used a scotchbrite pad) and apply a liberal amount of antiseize in there. While you may never have to pull the ball joint again do not limit yourself in the future by lack of foresight.

Quite honestly, if anyone out there has any tips on removing the ball joint when it may be rusted into place please post them up here.
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Old 05-20-2007, 11:32 PM   #2
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That doesn't sounds like much fun

Fortunately no salt here (snow packed/icy roads- yeah plenty of those )

The only tip -that may only work for non-salt areas- is to have someone pry (prybar or largish screwdriver) carefully on the seam of the knuckle where the ball joint resides, while the other taps (smacks ) the end of the control arm. I've changed out several sets of control arms and it's worked really well, but again no rust.

Did you have any troubles w/ the tie rod ends?

Did you measure the WL balljoint vs oe- I have brand new shiny oe one I can measure to compare.

Mike
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Old 05-20-2007, 11:34 PM   #3
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I guess I will never install this part then, coming from massachusetts, sounds like I would rather have someone else install these for me to save myself busted knuckles and frustration.
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Old 05-21-2007, 12:06 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGSKYWRX View Post
That doesn't sounds like much fun

Fortunately no salt here (snow packed/icy roads- yeah plenty of those )

The only tip -that may only work for non-salt areas- is to have someone pry (prybar or largish screwdriver) carefully on the seam of the knuckle where the ball joint resides, while the other taps (smacks ) the end of the control arm. I've changed out several sets of control arms and it's worked really well, but again no rust.

Did you have any troubles w/ the tie rod ends?

Did you measure the WL balljoint vs oe- I have brand new shiny oe one I can measure to compare.

Mike
No trouble at all with the tie rod ends (in our case).

They are 10mm. I went digging and found that we did have 2 new ones in box. We also have 2 on some alum control arms, and another 2 on some spare front knuckles we have here.
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Old 05-21-2007, 12:13 AM   #5
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good to hear on that thanks- 10mm it is then
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Old 05-21-2007, 01:04 PM   #6
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i changed ball joints when i swapped out steering racks last month

i used nhluhr method for separating the hub long thin bar worked quit well

i had no where near the trouble you seemed to have and my hubs had 175K miles on them

i have also gone to the local auto parts store and rented the "ball joint separating tool"
put it on the end of my impact hammer .. one bzzt and it came right off

i have really been looking at the KCA313.. the recommended height for tein HAs on my GC is almost 2.5" below stock height.. a 40mm version would probably be better suited for me

$175 seems steep though when factory ball joints are $15 and tie rods $30

Last edited by Jaxx; 05-21-2007 at 01:10 PM.
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Old 05-21-2007, 03:54 PM   #7
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if you are planing on doing this, i would start shooting PB blaster on that bolt at least a week before hand. and just keep shooting it ever day. this seems to help out when working on old cars.

Shane
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Old 05-21-2007, 05:32 PM   #8
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im waiting to hear how it performs ; )
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Old 05-21-2007, 06:43 PM   #9
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Yeah mine was relatively new and had not seen salt yet at the time. I have had extreme difficulty yanking BJ's out in the past (on my 2002 WRX, for example).
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Old 05-21-2007, 06:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaxx View Post
i have really been looking at the KCA313.. the recommended height for tein HAs on my GC is almost 2.5" below stock height.. a 40mm version would probably be better suited for me
If you are going by TEIN's rideheight recommendations then ignore them, They are always WAAAAY too low.

Quote:
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$175 seems steep though when factory ball joints are $15 and tie rods $30
Are you serious?
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Old 05-21-2007, 09:13 PM   #11
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I paid a little less than 100 at the dealership for joints and tie rods. This seems worth it to me.

cheers

garrett
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Old 05-21-2007, 09:38 PM   #12
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tie rod ends from the dealer (I'm not talking full retail either- subaruparts.com prices) are $40 a pop, ball joints $30 a pop- that's closer to $140

$175 doesn't seem that bad at all, not sure what the 6gun kit is running, but I think it's quite a bit more yet
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Old 05-21-2007, 09:53 PM   #13
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We had an opportunity to install two 6gun updated kits on our sti and wrx today. 3/4 ball joints were a painas expected. One we had antiseized last year when replacing the wheel bearing and it popped right out. Goes to show how well that stuff works. We got better at knocking the ball joints out with the bearing puller technique. Attaching it then literally smacking the hell out of it works very well.

Tony
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Old 05-22-2007, 01:56 AM   #14
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Where's the write-up on the 6Gun update kit? Nhluhr?
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Old 05-22-2007, 09:17 AM   #15
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Quote:
Once you have the bolt out inspect it. If overly rusty, eroded (one of ours had a nice notch eroded into it) or mangled then replace it. Period.
Does anybody have the part number to that bolt? I figured I'd order two just in case. Also, do you have any pictures of you guys removing the ball joints with the bearing puller technique?
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Old 05-22-2007, 11:31 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Flaroc01 View Post
Does anybody have the part number to that bolt? I figured I'd order two just in case. Also, do you have any pictures of you guys removing the ball joints with the bearing puller technique?
No pics, but here's how we did it.

rip boot off old ball joint.
get clamping bearing puller/separater (like you would used get the inner race off the hub during a wheel bearing change)
clamp it into the ridge of the ball joint. Tight.
beat the crap out of it.
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Old 05-22-2007, 12:47 PM   #17
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[quote=Jaxx;18141655
$175 seems steep though when factory ball joints are $15 and tie rods $30[/quote]

I only paid $158 and had them shipped in 3 days. Not much more than OEM. And in my case I needed new Tie rods as the brakes had melted them anyway.
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Old 05-22-2007, 03:13 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flaroc01 View Post
Does anybody have the part number to that bolt?
015610452 <--- part number for that bolt that secures the balljoint to the hub/upright
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Old 05-29-2007, 02:24 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turn in Concepts View Post
Quite honestly, if anyone out there has any tips on removing the ball joint when it may be rusted into place please post them up here.
About a year ago they had a 5' pry bar on sale for $7 at Canadian Tire. I knew one day it would come in handy, so I bought it and stuck it in the basement.

Last week, removing my ball joints (putting in Alu. control arms) it REALLY paid for itself!

I live in Ontario (canada) where they use more salt on the roads all winter than anywhere else I've ever seen - there is no way anything short of a BFPB (Big **** Pry Bar) was getting it out!

When I get my KCA313 (soon), it will be easier this time since I did like you and cleaned it up in the hole while the ball joint was out.
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Old 08-14-2007, 04:28 PM   #20
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Going to be installing the KCA313 kit later this week! Going to start PB blasting the rears today I think... hopefully they are not too bad.

I had one front ball joint out last week - it was one of the ones I had out before when doing the aluminum control arms. It was easy to pop out this time! Though, the cone shaped adapter thing you need for the alu. arms was stuck pretty good to the BJ - hopefully that does not prove too tough to pop off. I figure I can always use the 12 ton press in a clever way if I need to...

Man, can't wait for the next auto-x next weekend, and the track the week after! Will have changed to the KCA313, as well as full group-n bushings in the rear lateral links and trailing arms, and wider track width sedan lateral links (on a wagon). Should be fun.
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Old 11-20-2007, 02:00 PM   #21
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after reading this thread, and answering a question in another re:ball joint removal, I'm thinking a combination of this + nhluhr's technique would probably work well.

I'm thinking this - First PB blast the bolt as well as the socket that the ball joint goes into starting way in advance.

Leave the bottom of the balljoint attached to the control arm, but remove the retaining bolt that holds the balljoint into the knuckle.

hammer some sort of wedge into the slit in the knuckle to open it up a little bit to give it a little more room to slide out.

Use the prybar technique to pop the knuckle up and off the ball joint.

The one I did the other day was a PITA but I was able to get it out by using the wedge to open the knuckle a bit and then hammering it out with a thin screwdriver. But the entire top of the ball joint, where it goes into the knuckle was completely encrusted with rust to the point where it was no longer hourglass shaped.

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Old 07-05-2008, 05:51 PM   #22
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i used a floor jack to jack up the rotor so the ball joint cleared fine. problem is i can't get the ball joint to line back up into the control arm. i did loose up the 14mm bolt and used a ball joint separator.

how does anyone get the control arm to line back up?

Thanks,
Sid
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Old 07-05-2008, 05:55 PM   #23
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Not sure I understand the problem. The control arm's pretty much on a fixed plane, it's the knuckle you move around to mount the balljoint up.
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Old 07-05-2008, 05:59 PM   #24
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maybe loosen the strut mounting bolts so you can pivot the spindle some?
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Old 07-05-2008, 08:18 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sidwin View Post
i used a floor jack to jack up the rotor so the ball joint cleared fine. problem is i can't get the ball joint to line back up into the control arm. i did loose up the 14mm bolt and used a ball joint separator.

how does anyone get the control arm to line back up?

Thanks,
Sid
Muscle and lots of it. That part is a pain.
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