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Old 07-10-2013, 08:01 AM   #1
ilarson007
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Default (Not your typical) Remove Front Ball Joints?

So, I've seen all the threads talking about how to take the ball joints out, but I have a kind of different issue. So, I already have the steering knuckles out of the car, with the ball joints on them. I want to replace the ball joints because the threads got messed up when I pushed on them with a Pitmann Puller to remove them. So, if I loosen the nut on the steering knuckle that holds in the ball joint, how hard is it to get them out of there?

Thanks.
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Old 07-10-2013, 08:13 AM   #2
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Remove the pinchbolt completly from the knuckle. If the balljoints aren't corroded in place, they should come out fairly easy. (2002 in FW, IN probably corroded) Usually you will fight corrosion to get them out. Penetrating oils and some heat may help. There are also puller tools developed to aid in the removal of those ball joints, from various vendors. TiC might still have some of Sniper's tools or there are some replicants that came afterwards.
I would avoid wedging anything into the slot, have cracked a few knuckles doing that. When the balljoints are out, clean the pockets up really well and coat in anti-size during reassembly.
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Old 07-10-2013, 08:53 AM   #3
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Think a propane torch will do the trick? I wish I would have found a different write-up that didn't use a puller to remove them, because the actual joint is still in good shape. I guess the other option is to see if I can get the threads on the end cleaned up enough to get the nuts back on.
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Old 07-10-2013, 10:41 AM   #4
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I had the same issue - probably followed the same write up! Once the threads are messed up, you can't get the usual pulling tool on even if you had one.

I used brute force. Remove the bolt and find something that will fit into the gap and contact the bottom of the ball joint. Hit it with a big hammer until the joint starts to come out. There is a slight lip on the ball joint that will start to raise up from the knuckle as it comes out. Wedge the gap in the knuckle open with a small, fat screw driver hammered in and use a variety of pry bars to start working that lip further out. It's hard to describe, but a combination of blows from underneath through the gap and wedging and prying eventually got it out.

FYI, for my second use, I ground the point off the pitman arm bolt and then kept a bolt in the threaded section of the ball joint. No damage that time.
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Old 07-10-2013, 01:25 PM   #5
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If you have access to a mig welder and random material hanging around, you always have option of welding the threaded end to a piece of stock and wailing on the stock with a bfh from the top side.
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Old 07-10-2013, 02:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leecea View Post
I had the same issue - probably followed the same write up! Once the threads are messed up, you can't get the usual pulling tool on even if you had one.

I used brute force. Remove the bolt and find something that will fit into the gap and contact the bottom of the ball joint. Hit it with a big hammer until the joint starts to come out. There is a slight lip on the ball joint that will start to raise up from the knuckle as it comes out. Wedge the gap in the knuckle open with a small, fat screw driver hammered in and use a variety of pry bars to start working that lip further out. It's hard to describe, but a combination of blows from underneath through the gap and wedging and prying eventually got it out.

FYI, for my second use, I ground the point off the pitman arm bolt and then kept a bolt in the threaded section of the ball joint. No damage that time.
For your reference, if you ever have to do this again, you can use some home depot parts to make a ball joint puller:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mechie3(IIC)
Badwheel borrowed mine last and gave me an M12 die to keep. His were messed up so he used the die to chase the threads to get the tool on.



Real deal ended up different than the CAD due to parts I had laying around that required less machining.

I think I'm going to go this route, because one guy on IIC said he actually had the steering knuckle break when trying to pry it open.
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Old 07-10-2013, 03:24 PM   #7
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He cant use any of the threaded ball joint puller variations due to the threads on his joints being mangled, which is why he's replacing them anyway.
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Old 07-10-2013, 04:47 PM   #8
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Install the knuckle in a vise, clamping the knuckle where the strut would be attached, with the ball-joint facing up or out.

Use a small chisel to spread the knuckle pinch-joint (with the bolt removed). Start slowly in steps when spreading the pinch-joint. Use liberal amounts of penetrating oil.

Use a large Vise-Grips and a hammer to start rotating the ball-joint and the hammer to hit the V-G upwards / outwards to start the removal process. Continue to rotate and hit up / out. You will continue to use penetrating oil, and may continue spreading the pinch-joint as needed.
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Old 07-10-2013, 06:13 PM   #9
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I might be able to get the threads cleaned up with a die. Looking to see if I can get a die tonight.
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Old 07-11-2013, 07:01 AM   #10
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So. Now I have a new problem. So we got all the bearings pressed in and what not, and were getting ready to install the knuckles back into the car. So, the threads on the ball joints were a little messed up, but the joints themselves were still good, so we cleaned up the threads with a die and started reinstalling.

Well, when I go to tighten the nut on the ball joint, it did not go far enough to get a cotter pin through. So, we tried jacking up the control arm. It didn't fall down into place. So I took the impact to it. It stripped the threads. But it stripped the threads in such a way that there are good threads lower than the nut (as looking at the ball joint installed in the car). So, the nut can't make it back onto the good threads to get off the ball joint. Idk what to do now. It's stuck in the control arm.
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Old 07-11-2013, 10:39 AM   #11
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Try a nut splitter.

If that does not work, then cut the nut off with a dremel/cut off wheel type tool.

You should have never needed to use an impact tool to set the ball joint onto the control arm. Something is not right with that.

When you do get it off you should replace the ball joint as its probably a big mess now.
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Old 07-11-2013, 01:22 PM   #12
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This ^^

I wouldn't have even considered using an impact on threads that you booged that bad.
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Old 07-12-2013, 10:13 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikelok View Post
Try a nut splitter.

If that does not work, then cut the nut off with a dremel/cut off wheel type tool.

You should have never needed to use an impact tool to set the ball joint onto the control arm. Something is not right with that.

When you do get it off you should replace the ball joint as its probably a big mess now.
Well. They are stuck in there. Currently trying to separate ball joint from knuckle. Not going well. Lol
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Old 07-12-2013, 11:48 PM   #14
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This is seriously starting to piss me the **** off. How the **** is this not coming out? It won't come out of the control arm nor the ****ing steering knuckle.

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Old 07-13-2013, 01:19 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilarson007 View Post
This is seriously starting to piss me the **** off. How the **** is this not coming out? It won't come out of the control arm nor the ****ing steering knuckle.
You took the bolt out right? that ball joint is toast, I'm sure the impact went to 27'# to torque it. Go buy a pickle fork or hit the a arm with a hammer by the taper. Take the bolt out, get a welder and weld a piece material to it and wail with bfh. I've had more issues snapping retaining bolts then getting the bj out.
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Old 07-13-2013, 08:46 AM   #16
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What's not shown: application of heat and use of a railroad spike to help spread the pinch and loosen the "rust crown", a large screwdriver does the same... Liberal usage of PB blaster (or any other pen-oil)

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Old 07-13-2013, 08:51 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilarson007 View Post
This is seriously starting to piss me the **** off. How the **** is this not coming out? It won't come out of the control arm nor the ****ing steering knuckle.



Ahhh yes, the dredded ball joint removal...

It looks like you have the strut to knuckle bolts removed, re-install them, doesn't have to be super tight but to it...

Then, apply downward pressure on the control arm with a prybar, between the knuckle and LCA and whack the lower control arm with a BFH right over the ball joint... I would consider putting a nail or some wire through the hole on the end of the ball joint as the LCA will pop off and things could go swinging... I usually reinstall the nut partly, but it's not an option here..

I've seen it take 15 whacks, but I don't think I've seen it take more...

Profit.. .
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Old 07-13-2013, 09:06 AM   #18
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I've always had luck with a proper ball joint puller type of tool. You can borrow or rent them from many auto parts stores if you don't have one.

You can also use some wood and put it on the upper/outermost edge (lip) of the control arm and smack it down with a 3lb. sledge (the knuckle needs to be connected to the strut for this to work). Not recommended with aluminum arms.

On occasion, I've used this last method to remove the ball joint from the knuckle. Just keep the ball joint nut snug up against the control arm.


The combination of these methods sometimes does the trick.

Then (hopefully) you can get the knuckle off and then the real fun begins by getting the ball joint out of it.

I hope you can picture what I'm trying to describe.

Good luck
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Old 07-13-2013, 10:30 AM   #19
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Heh. The first time I did ball joints on my WRX was a nightmare. I removed the knuckles from the car, and put them in a vice. I removed the pinch bolt, however, I couldn't get the ball joints out of their housing in the knuckles. So, I ended up hammering the actual stud out of the joint housing. Yes, I actually hammered the stud so hard and popped it out of it's housing. I then crushed the housing with big ass pliers, and then it came out of the knuckle quite easily. It was unreal. Just awful.
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Old 07-13-2013, 06:53 PM   #20
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So. This is my luck. My neighbor came over with bfh and smacked it 10-15 times and they came out. Then he used his oxy-aceteline torch to get the ball joints out of the steering knuckle.

But now, the ball joints are not going back into the control arms. I can't get them far enough to get the nut on it.

If I put that nut on as far as it goes, so you think it will hold until I get it to the alignment shop so they can get that ball joint set in all the way?
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Old 07-13-2013, 07:30 PM   #21
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Definitely don't do that. You need to angle the joint right so it slides in. The hole and stud is tapered so it should slide in but the joint will be tight to turn so it may take some effort to get them lined up
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Old 07-13-2013, 08:33 PM   #22
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I mean. It looks straight up and down to me. The new ball joints even have less taper than the old ones (as in they should be easier to get in because it starts further back.
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Old 07-13-2013, 11:54 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilarson007 View Post
I mean. It looks straight up and down to me. The new ball joints even have less taper than the old ones (as in they should be easier to get in because it starts further back.
The taper should be identical between old and new or it will never seat correctly. The have made revisions to the "head" but the taper can't change or the LCA will need to change too. Sounds like you've got the wrong ones.
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Old 07-14-2013, 02:41 AM   #24
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Something is wrong.

It should not be difficult to seat the ball joint into the control arm. There should be resistance, but not needing an impact tool, or breaker bar.

If you can't seat it with a standard ratchet/wrench, then something is wrong. Stop and figure it out first.
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Old 07-14-2013, 10:34 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikelok View Post
Something is wrong.

It should not be difficult to seat the ball joint into the control arm. There should be resistance, but not needing an impact tool, or breaker bar.

If you can't seat it with a standard ratchet/wrench, then something is wrong. Stop and figure it out first.
Right, and that's why I am asking, because I don't know what could be wrong. Both the old ball joints and these new ones have done this now (tried reinstalling with old ball joints before I screwed them up and replaced them).

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonnyV2889 View Post
The taper should be identical between old and new or it will never seat correctly. The have made revisions to the "head" but the taper can't change or the LCA will need to change too. Sounds like you've got the wrong ones.
I got them directly from Subaru, so unless they gave me the wrong parts. The way the taper is changed is in such a way that it should be easier to get them in. My dad's neighbor looked at them, and he's been doing it for... Well he's been wrenching since before I was born, and he didn't say anything about the different taper affecting it.
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