Sunday, February 19, 2012

Honey, We need more jackstands!

Saturday started out nice and sunny so it was a good time to replace the balljoints in the neighbors S-10 pickup. Balljoints aren't the most pleasant job in the world to do but very manageable if you have the right tools and a good place to do them. Tools needed for this job are (2) floor jacks, (2) jackstands, a balljoint press (you can rent them for free at autozone), a set of assorted metric wrenches, a metric socket set with a big breaker bar, a set of allen wrenches, some side cutters, pliers, and a lug nut wrench. Tools that will make it a ton easier are a compressor with an impact gun, and a rivet gun with a chisel set and a flat set. 

 Here we are again with a bunch of duralast parts. I found this pretty amusing. They were bought at the same autozone and we had 2 upper and 2 lower balljoints. The funny thing was that although they were all duralast parts, I had 2 made in Mexico, 1 in the USA and 1 in China. Comparing all the parts, the one made in the USA was by far the best quality and the one made in China was the worst. The ones hecho en Mexico were the middle of the road. I think I would of made them check their boxes and tried to get all the ones made in USA.
 So I brought home 2 sets of 3 ton jackstands on Friday and Dixie asked why we needed so many jackstands. I told her to go out in the garage and she would understand why we have so many jackstands. I put Ed up on jackstands to get it ready for my annual trip to St. George. I dumped the tranny fluid while it was warm so it would hopefully get all the crap out of the trans with it. That's for another post though.
 So the first thing to do after jacking the truck up and removing the wheel is to remove the brake caliper and wire it up and out of the way with a coat hanger or safety wire. Next get a floor jack and put it under the lower control arm. This is very important because if you remove the lower ball joint without supporting the lower control arm the spring will most likely come out and hurt you.
 Next remove the cotter pins and nuts from the balljoints. Remove the tie rod nut also and remove the tie rod and separate the balljoints. I find this easiest by putting my rivet gun on the end of the stud and giving it a little tap. They come right out and save the boots if you need to reuse them like I did with the tie rod end. If you don't have a rivet gun you can use a pickle fork and a sledge hammer.
 Next you want to remove the steering knuckle completely from the truck. It will give you lots of room to work. If your doing only 1 balljoint you will have to work around the knuckle and try to make sure you don't damage the opposite ball joint. Here the knuckle is out and on the ground.
 Here is the rivet gun I use. If your going to buy one, I would get a RIVET GUN, not an AIR HAMMER. There is a difference. Air hammers hit very fast and light. Rivet guns hit slower and a lot harder. I have my flat set here to hit the tie rod and ball joints out.
 For some dumb reason, I never got a picture of the balljoint press. It's basically a big c clamp with a few different adapters for your balljoints. It's pretty easy to use and I wouldn't attempt to do this without that. On an S-10, the lower balljoints are pressed in and the uppers are riveted from the factory if they have not been changed before. If they have they are just bolted in. In this picture I have removed the lower balljoint and cleaned it up for the new one.
 Before I installed the lower joint, I decided to remove the upper one so I didn't get crap in the new balljoint. Here is my gun with the chisel set in it. It makes very short work for removing the rivets in the upper balljoints. If you don't have this, you can drill them out and that will work just as good as long as you can drill it on center. After the rivets are chiseled, just hit the joint out and pitch it.
Here is the upper control arm cleaned and prepped for the new balljoint.
 You just have to bolt the upper one in and put the grease Zerk in.
Here's the grease Zerk installed and ready.
 I had a bear of a time getting the lower balljoint in. The press would cock the joint and I ended up using the press a little, then hitting one side with my rivet gun, using the press and so on. After doing this back and forth I finally got it to seat fully. Both sides were like this and I guess it's better to be really tight then too loose. They make an oversize balljoint if your A-Arms are worn, but if your balljoints are original, You shouldn't need the oversized ones.
Due to my lack of picture taking, This is all I have of the pictures. The rest of the job is just the reverse of the things you took off. Install the knuckle and tie rod The upper balljoint and tie rod torque is 61 foot pounds and the lower balljoint nut is 83 foot pounds. Make sure that you don't loosen the nuts if the cotter pin holes don't line up. Tighten it until it does. Install the cotter pins and the caliper. Before you put the wheel on, make sure you grease the new balljoints and it's also a good time to grease the rest of the front end. Install teh wheel and the do the other side if needed. All 4 joints took me about 5 hours to do which isn't too bad. I only had to yell "Party On" a few times during this job!  The next post will be back to bugs. I have a list of things to do on my bug before this years mini indy race in St. George. That's next weeks project though.

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