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Old 12-01-2010, 07:33 PM   #1
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Ball Joint Replacement

Just a fairly general question, but is this a job capable of doing in my driveway, with my hayne's manual, lol .... or should i bring her to a shop to get it done (im usually pretty good with repairs and such, as i've pretty much rebuilt/replaced almost everything you can possibly think of on my Z28, but im not familiar at all with this job)

also, if i was to bring her to a shop, any ball-park estimates on how much this would cost?
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Old 12-01-2010, 10:25 PM   #2
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Re: Ball Joint Replacement

I've done this twice in my garage on my 4th gen (I'm sure the 3rd gen's ball joints are not much different). It is not hard, but may take a while the first time so give yourself the weekend. Took me 9 hours my first time. Second time, 45 minutes. I rented/borrowed a ball joint press from O'Reilly's. A shop would probably charge you an hour or two of labor, so depending on shop rate 75-200 bucks.
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Old 12-01-2010, 11:06 PM   #3
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Re: Ball Joint Replacement

Ive got the small (12ton) shop press from HF.With that it takes about 1 minute to press the balljoint out.A coil spring compressor also helps.Neither is necessary.
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Old 12-01-2010, 11:11 PM   #4
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Re: Ball Joint Replacement

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Originally Posted by Z28cross-fire View Post
I've done this twice in my garage on my 4th gen (I'm sure the 3rd gen's ball joints are not much different). It is not hard, but may take a while the first time so give yourself the weekend. Took me 9 hours my first time. Second time, 45 minutes. I rented/borrowed a ball joint press from O'Reilly's. A shop would probably charge you an hour or two of labor, so depending on shop rate 75-200 bucks.

If u have never done it , its worth paying up to 200 BUCKS..TRUSST ME.

i did a bunch on my truck and my wifes 3rd gen..drove me NUTS !!!!!!
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Old 12-02-2010, 07:35 AM   #5
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Re: Ball Joint Replacement

Ball joints were the easy part, I just replaced the control arm bushings on my 86 firebird. anyways the driver side spring is kicking my **** and the spring compressor is making me a nervous wreck cause it likes to slide off the coil and pop loose. any one got any advice? The compressor was rented from autozone, and it has to hooks on one side and a fork looking piece on the other.

Last edited by 86jjk656; 12-02-2010 at 07:37 AM. Reason: omitted info
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:00 AM   #6
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Re: Ball Joint Replacement

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If u have never done it , its worth paying up to 200 BUCKS..TRUSST ME.
I had never done it before and it didn't scare me, just took 9 hours the first time Everyone's different though.

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anyways the driver side spring is kicking my **** and the spring compressor is making me a nervous wreck cause it likes to slide off the coil and pop loose
This happened to me too so I used a small hose or copper pipe to put the ball joint bolt and the press rod/bolt in so they would stay aligned. If it's never been replaced it's probably stuck there could and will break free at some point. Mine sounded like a shotgun when it finally gave.
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:20 AM   #7
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Re: Ball Joint Replacement

The problem im having is with the spring compressor, and reinstalation of the coil springs. Maybe im just being a wus but good lord that fork thing just slips off with the slightest bump. although putting some rubber hose between the fork and coil may be the ticket! ill try that today
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:26 AM   #8
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Re: Ball Joint Replacement

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Originally Posted by 84 1LE View Post
Ive got the small (12ton) shop press from HF.With that it takes about 1 minute to press the balljoint out.A coil spring compressor also helps.Neither is necessary.
I didnt think i was gonna need one but its impossible to reinstall springs without one, unless you know something i dont.. Im all ears..
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:56 AM   #9
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Re: Ball Joint Replacement

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Originally Posted by 86jjk656 View Post
I didnt think i was gonna need one but its impossible to reinstall springs without one, unless you know something i dont.. Im all ears..

i did it with out a spring press !!!!! but i recomend to use aproper one because with a regular or none..its a PITA !!!!! big time..lol
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:02 AM   #10
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Re: Ball Joint Replacement

I tried to install the driver side coil without the spring compressed and i lacked the leverage or strength to pop that bad boy on to the control arm. is that how you did it?
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:06 AM   #11
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Re: Ball Joint Replacement

yep, u stick a jack under the C arm..stick the spring in the top ( make shure it sits correct ) then use a big iron bar and force in the C arm, then jack it up remain to check for correct seating.
Then bolt on the spindle and the rest.
But the best bet is to get the correct spring compressor, u can rent it at autozone or such...it is the one with the plate on the bottom,,not the one with the 4 hooks..!!!!!
Again, next time i have to do it ..i go pay some one..lol
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:52 AM   #12
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Re: Ball Joint Replacement

The hardest part about the balljoints is tearing down the rest of the wheel to get to them (knuckle, strut, caliper, etc); that's what you'll spend the most time on. Once it's just you and the balljoint it's pretty easy. Yes you should thread an "internal spring compressor" through the spring as a safety precaution (while your jack is under the control arm), but there's no need to remove the control arm from the car (unless you're also doing control arm bushings like the other guys). And that anti-sway-bar end link is probably rusted up solid (and would have to be cut off) so you probably just want to buy a new one beforehand, return it if you don't use it.

After you use the balljoint press to remove the old joint, make sure the hole in the control arm hasn't turned into an oval; it's got to be a perfect circle, if it's not, the control arm has to be replaced. And of course be sure to press the new one in straight (so you don't ruin the hole).
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:10 PM   #13
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Re: Ball Joint Replacement

thanks daredevil1, now where did i leave that tanker bar........
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Old 12-02-2010, 01:09 PM   #14
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Re: Ball Joint Replacement

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Originally Posted by 86jjk656 View Post
I didnt think i was gonna need one but its impossible to reinstall springs without one, unless you know something i dont.. Im all ears..
Mine is an internal spring compressor.Internal just means the compressor fits within the coils.Mine also has four hooks, 2short,2 long.There is also an external type which i would'nt recommend.

Make sure you center the hooked arms on the coils.Not sure how the "fork" attaches, but on mine the longer hooks go on the coil farther away, since the coils are not level.The key is to keep the compressor centered within the coils.If its angled, it will slip off when compressed.
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Old 12-02-2010, 01:09 PM   #15
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Re: Ball Joint Replacement

Ha got it in, now all i need to do put in the new trac bar/tie rods, sway bar links, tires then turn it around and pull out the rear diff replace an axle all the rear bushings, drop the fuel tank and trouble shoot the sending unit and re gear the bad boy, re-assemble then completely redo the exaust and ill be track ready! whew, good thing rome wasnt built in a day...

Oh i used a cut up piece of rubber hose between the coils and the fork thing. Everything was centered it was just that the fork thing would rotate itself down the coil releasing the spring and threatining my fingers or jaw. Once i tightneed it down with the rubber i gave it a few taps with a framming hammer to make sure it was secure.. This is why we brainstorm! probably not the best solution but it got me moving forward with this project

Last edited by 86jjk656; 12-02-2010 at 01:13 PM. Reason: omitted info
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Old 04-21-2013, 03:13 PM   #16
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Re: Ball Joint Replacement

Might need ball joints on my 89 Firebird and the job looks pretty intimidating. However, I got a quote for $615 from a shop to do it for me. If it really is going to be that much I'd rather just rent the press and take my chances. Anybody paid to have this done? What did you get charged?
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Old 04-21-2013, 06:24 PM   #17
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Re: Ball Joint Replacement

You don't need to remove the springs to do balljoints. Just pull the tires off, take the brake calipers off, rotors/ bearings off, remove the outer tie rods from the knuckle, use a jack to support the LCA, separate the ball joint from the knuckle, press it out and the new one in, and then just put everything back together with fresh grease and new cotter pins.

My factory springs wouldn't come out unless you helped them with a pry bar with the a-arm all the way down. If you are putting them in I'd use the internal spring compressor with 4 hooks from Advanced Auto Parts. The AZ/ O'Reilly's one with the plate and 2 hooks SUCKED, it wouldn't sit level and didn't look like a safe design at all, and with the amount you have to compress the spring to get it in things could end badly. This thread is a good guide: http://www.thirdgen.org/techboard/su...y-install.html (EASY AND SAFE WAY TO INSTALL FRONT COIL SPRINGS)

If your a-arm bushings are shot you might as well do those while you're in there as the only extra step is removing/ installing the coil springs... then just take the arm to a shop with a press and have the ball joints and bushings pressed in/ out for a few bucks. If not, I'd leave the springs in since they are kind of a pain and pretty nerve wracking.
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Old 04-21-2013, 07:27 PM   #18
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Re: Ball Joint Replacement

Do it yourself, you'll appreciate even more from not being ripped off of $615.Its not too difficult.
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Old 04-21-2013, 07:27 PM
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