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Replacing upper and lower ball joints

This is a discussion on Replacing upper and lower ball joints within the General Help forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; Hello guys. I have to do my shocks on my car soon. I'm going to take the car back to ...

  1. #1
    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    Replacing upper and lower ball joints

    Hello guys. I have to do my shocks on my car soon. I'm going to take the car back to OEM height. I'm buying monroe shocks since the car is a DD. I need to order new springs and shock mounts. I noticed the ball joint covers are bad and I believe one of ball joints itself is bad. I was doing some research and I can buy the ball joints separate. The upper ball joints don't seem to be hard to install. I just grind off the old studs and remove. The lower ball joints are pressed. I don't have the means to take them out. If i'm taking the lower and upper arms out I will like to replace the bushings if needed. The bushings look like they are a pain to get out if there is a way to do it.

    So I was looking into maybe buying the whole arms with the bushings and ball joints installed. Of course this cost more money but it's easier to do. I only use my car for DD so I don't really need any aftermarket parts for the track. I looked at UMI parts and they are nice but its alittle pricy for me at the moment. I can do it but I will have to wait before i can buy everything. Any other options as far as buying the arms new? at least the lower arms? Anyone besides the dealers make the OEM arms? If I don't have any other options then i will have to go with UMI. Thanks guys.

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    Experienced Old Fart jfl330's Avatar
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    I had Decarbon (stock) shocks and Eibach Sportline springs up until recently, worst possible ride you can imagine. I put in BMR springs and KYB Gas-A-Just shocks and could not be happier. Slightly lower than stock, but nothing rubs anymore and ride is terrific. I don't think the KYB's are much more than the Monroes, but are better. Twin tube design.

    While changing springs and shocks, my 116K mile bushing and ball joints looked fine. They are pretty durable animals. If you really want to change the bushings, go with MOOG or some other stock replacement, not poly for a DD. They need to be pressed in and out once lower arm is removed. I have a 12 ton press you are welcome to use. Perhaps get a set of boneyard lower arms, clean them up, paint them, put new bushings on them, then swap.

    Jon

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    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfl330 View Post
    I had Decarbon (stock) shocks and Eibach Sportline springs up until recently, worst possible ride you can imagine. I put in BMR springs and KYB Gas-A-Just shocks and could not be happier. Slightly lower than stock, but nothing rubs anymore and ride is terrific. I don't think the KYB's are much more than the Monroes, but are better. Twin tube design.

    While changing springs and shocks, my 116K mile bushing and ball joints looked fine. They are pretty durable animals. If you really want to change the bushings, go with MOOG or some other stock replacement, not poly for a DD. They need to be pressed in and out once lower arm is removed. I have a 12 ton press you are welcome to use. Perhaps get a set of boneyard lower arms, clean them up, paint them, put new bushings on them, then swap.

    Jon
    Thanks Jon. Didn't realized you are from tampa. I appreciated the 12 ton press offer. I have a friend that's a mechanic and he has one. I like the idea of buying used arms and swap them out. So you like the KYB's? How long you had them? I heard the KYB front shocks tend to leak. I have eibach front lowering springs and they suck. The ride is too low for as I hear the frotn bumper scraping in some ditches. I think i had BMR's on the rear and i didn't like the height. I was scraping alot with speed bumps.
    I bought OEM height springs for the back from autozone and put some monroe's in the rear. The rear got alot better. I just hear and feel the front hitting bad. I know the shocks are over due to be changed.

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    You could buy a small press for your garage and be much further ahead than buying the full lower control arms. Even better option is to rent the ball joint removal tool from a parts store. Just a big C-clamp thing with various adapters to press out the stock joint and install the new one. Auto Zone and others have the free "loan a tool" service as well.

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    Experienced Old Fart jfl330's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pajeff02 View Post
    You could buy a small press for your garage and be much further ahead than buying the full lower control arms. Even better option is to rent the ball joint removal tool from a parts store. Just a big C-clamp thing with various adapters to press out the stock joint and install the new one. Auto Zone and others have the free "loan a tool" service as well.
    Good suggestion, I used Autozone's spring compressor and pickle fork a few times lately.

    Jon

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    Electrical Engineer KMdef9's Avatar
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    I agree, buying the setup with the ball joints pressed in would make it much easier on person who's never done that before. I've replaced my upper and lower ball joints on both sides, twice, on my Jeep. It really wasn't too difficult, you can rent the press kit from the local autoparts store. I just had an extra hand helping while setting up the the big c-clamp for pressing the bearing in and out. Just need to make sure the tool and the proper adapters are lined up when pressing the new one in. Also, DONT GO CHEAP ON THE BALL JOINTS. That's why I had to replace them again, I bought cheap Chinese ball joints that stiffened my steering right from the get go and wouldn't take grease. Ended up with Moog's and they're 10x better.

    As far as shocks go, I was looking into Monroe as well (fro the Jeep once again) and 1 person out of 20 on the Jeep sites I frequent recommended Monroes, everyone else said to go KYB or Rancho. I ended up going with the Ranchos, they're offering a similar deal as Monroe, which is a $50 mail in rebate. Monroe was $40. That's when you buy four though.

    Amazon is your friend for parts too. They link you to the rebate for both Rancho and Monroe.

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    Experienced Old Fart jfl330's Avatar
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    '02 35th SS LE SLP#1084

    Quote Originally Posted by JayTA98 View Post
    Thanks Jon. Didn't realized you are from tampa. I appreciated the 12 ton press offer. I have a friend that's a mechanic and he has one. I like the idea of buying used arms and swap them out. So you like the KYB's? How long you had them? I heard the KYB front shocks tend to leak. I have eibach front lowering springs and they suck. The ride is too low for as I hear the frotn bumper scraping in some ditches. I think i had BMR's on the rear and i didn't like the height. I was scraping alot with speed bumps.
    I bought OEM height springs for the back from autozone and put some monroe's in the rear. The rear got alot better. I just hear and feel the front hitting bad. I know the shocks are over due to be changed.
    I've put ~ 500 miles on the KYB's and am very happy with them, lifetime warranty on them. The BMR springs ride great and perfect height for me. Plus, $212.50 plus tax out the door for new BMR's picked up from themm here in Tampa (cash price).

    Jon

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    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies guys. i didn't knew you can rent the press to remove the ball joints from the arm in the autoparts store. I might look into the KYB or monroes. Can I get moog ball joint at the local auto parts? I don't really want these eibach springs but I like the look of the front lowered. I might try BMR's. As far as OEM height any brand of spring will do? I know these cars don't ride comfortable but I'm trying to make it the best it could be.

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    I ordered Moog upper ball joints for our Trans Am from Advance Auto Parts' website.

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    Experienced Old Fart jfl330's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pajeff02 View Post
    I ordered Moog upper ball joints for our Trans Am from Advance Auto Parts' website.
    Try discount codes BIG30, BIG35, ccabin when checking out for discounts when you pick up at the store.

    Jon

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    expensive tires az gt eater's Avatar
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    I replaced shocks, ball joints, tie rod ends and bushings last year, and I ran into a problem while doing this. I was able to work through it easily, but you may want some info to help you out. I replaced upper and lower ball joints. I had 110 k on the car and the ball joints were so loose that I could twirl them around with my finger. I pounded the old ones out with a small sledge hammer and a block of wood without problem. The problem I ran into was when I took the lower arms and my new joints to the machine shop. They were too big for them to press in. The shop said that pressing these in would more than likely split the stamped arms. I miked out the new joints, and miked out every ball joint I could find from the dealership, aoutozone, etc. I pulled my hair out trying to find a ball joint that would press in. All the ball joints I found were too big. I believe that all the ball joints out there are to be used after the a arm socket has been wallered out from the ball joint failing, and that replacing the ball joints are not designed to be a maintenance item like I was performing. The ball joints themselves are ribbed to hold in place, and the a arm socket is smooth. So, I took a cylinder hone for a volkswagon that a friend had laying around, and honed the socket itself until I had a hole that would accept the ball joints. Once I reached the threshold that the machine shop wanted, I took everything in, and I was golden.

  12. #12
    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfl330 View Post
    Try discount codes BIG30, BIG35, ccabin when checking out for discounts when you pick up at the store.

    Jon
    Thanks I will try those.

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    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by az gt eater View Post
    I replaced shocks, ball joints, tie rod ends and bushings last year, and I ran into a problem while doing this. I was able to work through it easily, but you may want some info to help you out. I replaced upper and lower ball joints. I had 110 k on the car and the ball joints were so loose that I could twirl them around with my finger. I pounded the old ones out with a small sledge hammer and a block of wood without problem. The problem I ran into was when I took the lower arms and my new joints to the machine shop. They were too big for them to press in. The shop said that pressing these in would more than likely split the stamped arms. I miked out the new joints, and miked out every ball joint I could find from the dealership, aoutozone, etc. I pulled my hair out trying to find a ball joint that would press in. All the ball joints I found were too big. I believe that all the ball joints out there are to be used after the a arm socket has been wallered out from the ball joint failing, and that replacing the ball joints are not designed to be a maintenance item like I was performing. The ball joints themselves are ribbed to hold in place, and the a arm socket is smooth. So, I took a cylinder hone for a volkswagon that a friend had laying around, and honed the socket itself until I had a hole that would accept the ball joints. Once I reached the threshold that the machine shop wanted, I took everything in, and I was golden.
    Thanks for the info Az.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jfl330 View Post
    Try discount codes BIG30, BIG35, ccabin when checking out for discounts when you pick up at the store.

    Jon
    Could have used those codes about a month and a half ago... the upper joints were around $70 each if I recall.

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    Electrical Engineer KMdef9's Avatar
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    Autoparts stores wanted $65 plus shipping.

    Amazon was $45 shipped.

    (For my Jeep)

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    ʢ ൧ ൨ ൩ ൪ ൫ ൬ ൭ ൮Ր Ց Ւ Փ Smittro's Avatar
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    Lower ball joints from moog are part number K6145T

    I have brand new lower ball joints and front/rear monroe shocks still laying in the shop for the camaro

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