Make A Ball Joint Tool

By: Alan Vaesa

Items Needed

(A) (1) 3/4″ cap

(B) (1) 3/4″ x 6″ pipe

(C) (1) 1 1/2″ to 3/4″ bushing

(D) (1) 1 1/2″ coupling (one solid piece)(not a union)

(E) (1) 1 1/2″ x 4″ pipe

(F) (1) 1 1/2″ x 3″ pipe

All of this is standard water pipe that can be purchased at Home Depot, Lowes or the like.

NOT needing a pipe wrench or a vice:

Thread (A) on to (B)

Thread (B) into (C)

Thread (C) into (D)

(Should look like a cookie cutter of sorts and stand on its own)

Thread (E) upper or (F) lower onto (D) depending on if your doing the top or the bottom

Piece (B) is the “handle”

NOTE: You must install the bottom ball joint FIRST, as you must unthread the handle, pass it through the hole for the upper ball joint and rethread back together to install the lower ball joint(it sounds complicated but its really not)

How to remove the Steering knuckle:

1 – Remove tire

2 – Remove hub

3 – Remove rotor/wheel bearings

4 – Remove 5 spindle bolts

5 – Tap/beat/whale/demolish a 2×4 with a hammer to remove the spindle, in a “star” formation (it will eventually come off but, you may be less one wife/girlfriend (esp if you do this late at night)

6 – Remove axle through hole in steering knuckle

7 – Remove both bolts on both ball joints ((if equip) or loosen “pinch” bolt and or snap ring on top ball joint)

8 – With hammer (bigger/heavier the better but it can be done any size hammer) hit on the top of the bottom ball joint stud.

WATCH YOUR FEET – THE SPINDLE IS HEAVY

9 – Once the spindle is removed

10 – Remove ball joints by hammering them out in the direction the stud is pointing (hammer on the opposite side of the stud)

11 – Remove rust from steering knuckle and paint (color of your choice)

12 – Install ball joints using method mentioned above into steering knuckle

13 – Hold steering knuckle in place and place studs through holds in TTB

14 – Thread nuts on to stud (15/16″ as I recall)

15 This is where you will realize how your “camber/caster” bushing work and where they are located

Reverse install the rest:

Axle

Spindle

Wheel bearing

Rotor

Hub

Tire

NOTE : This a good time to also replace your;

  • Wheel bearings (4 total (2per side))

  • Rotor (2 total)

  • Spindle axle bearing (its tiny and its on the inside of the spindle)(2 total)

  • Slinger boot (is the metal and rubber disc on the axle shaft)(2 total)

  • Change from auto hubs to manual hubs (night and day difference)

  • Place a thin layer of axle/wheel bearing grease between the spindle and steering knuckle so that next time you do this it will come off a heck of a lot easier

Go to Autozone for all the parts, they have a “NO Hassle” lifetime warranty on the ball joints (= trust me on that one (and stick them to it if you have to replace them again)

DON’T forget to torque all bolts to manufactures spec’s

DON’T forget to pump grease into the ball joints once your done VIA the zerk (grease) fittings that are provided with the new ball joints.

And check your outer and inner tie-rods and Drag-link too (great time to do all this)

Air tools can help some but, I have done mine many a times with out them

FRIENDS… esp if they are mechanically inclined are a major BONUS