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Author Topic: how to replace ball joints w/o a c-clamp  (Read 4604 times)

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Offline kingcrunch

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how to replace ball joints w/o a c-clamp
« on: October 20, 2009, 03:28:55 AM »
Hi,

finally the ball joints on my M880s D44 front axle are shot.
I already have the new parts but have no real clue how to replace them.

Into the blue i'd say i have to do the following:


- jack vehicle securely + remove wheel (obvious)
- remove brake caliper
- remove cotter pin +  big nut on axle shaft
- remove six bolts holding the hub onto the knuckle (what nut size? 3/8"?)
- remove hub + axle shaft

At this point i should have an empty knuckle (ok, the seal is still inside but can stay there, right? The axle shaft can pe worked through the seal carefully) attached to the steering linkage,
the drag link and the axle housing.

Next i'd remove the cotter pins and loosen the crown nuts on the ball joints.
Followed by removing the drag link and steering linkage.

Now the tricky part where i start swimming:
How do i remove the knuckle from the axle?

I'd place a block of wood on the knuckle and give it a solid whack with a club hammer.
On the other hand i've read that i shouldn't whack the knuckle with a hammer...

I have a ball joint separator similar to this one, but i don't know if it fits between the knuckle and axle housing...


Next thing that makes me swim is the actual replacing of the ball joints.

A c-clamp would be the nice way to press the old ones out and the new ball joints in and seat them
properly.
How can that be done without a c-clamp?

Buying a c-clamp kit is out of reach they sell for ~470$ over here and no one rents them... Friends dont have that kind of tool.
Sooo it's big hammers and blocks of wood.
But how's the procedure?


Reassembly is clear to me.
As far as i know, the lower ball joint gets 75ft/lbs, the upper 80 and the big nut.

If you could help me with the two mentioned steps i'd be very glad!
Please tell me in case i forgot something :)

Thanks a lot!

Alex

Check out my blog

1976 W200/M880 ex mil. 318/NV4500/NP203/D44/D60/EZ-EFI/HEI

Soon: 5-spd NV-45000 swap & factory AC!

Offline Gerhart

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Re: how to replace ball joints w/o a c-clamp
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2009, 05:46:37 AM »
Here's how I did mine, also without the workshop tools.

Removal is basically how you describe.
Make sure the axle is on a solid base. In my case, wood blocks and axle stands were not solid enough. I have used a piece of solid round bar steel of appr. 5" dia.
After this, my joints broke loose easily after hitting both joints (nuts on the threads) with a brass hammer.
This brass hammer was the only investment I made for this job. The brass will not damage the steel, so it can also be used for many other jobs.

Assembly can be done with the brass hammer and a piece of steel tubing on the opposite side of the knuckle. Ofcourse, the tube must be on the same ear as the joint you are assembling.
When the brass hammer is not heavy enough you can also use it as safety block between the joint and a bigger steel hammer.
A friend who holds the knuckle and other stuff while you operate the hammer, is also very useful.

Re-assembly: tighten lower joint to specs, place sleeve of upper joint (according torque specs) and torque upper nut.
For assembly & torquing of the upper sleeve, I canibalised a socket. The prongs were made with an angle grinder to fit the upper sleeve. Because the torque is not that high, this is a cheap and reliable way.
'77 W200 (former M880), 318, TF 727, NP 203, D44FBJ(F), D60(R), WIP: complete restoration
http://ramchargercentral.com/projects/lowlands-dodge/

Offline kingcrunch

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Re: how to replace ball joints w/o a c-clamp
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2009, 08:00:01 AM »
Hi Gerhart,

thanks for the info!
Did i get that right:
The ball joints can be punched (using a soft hammer, like the mentioned brass hammer or a rubber mallet) out and the new ones can be punched in (using the same soft hammer)?

I'm going to modify the socket for the sleeve tonight.
Probably i have to get the 3/8" socket for the six hub-bolts first before i start the repair.
Dunno if i start the repair tonight too...

Alex

Check out my blog

1976 W200/M880 ex mil. 318/NV4500/NP203/D44/D60/EZ-EFI/HEI

Soon: 5-spd NV-45000 swap & factory AC!

Offline KThaxton

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Re: how to replace ball joints w/o a c-clamp
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2009, 08:22:38 AM »
I have no clue how much shipping would be, but this one works great for the price. They are also great for u-joints.

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=38335
STOP PLATE TECTONICS!

You're absolutely correct, Kendall. My mistake  ;D

Online SuperBurban

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Re: how to replace ball joints w/o a c-clamp
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2009, 08:34:45 AM »
I have no clue how much shipping would be, but this one works great for the price. They are also great for u-joints.




Heres a better one to get, comes with the 4wd adapters, for a few $$$ more



http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=4065



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Offline KThaxton

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Re: how to replace ball joints w/o a c-clamp
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2009, 09:06:07 AM »
Cool, it must be new. I wish they had that when I bought mine.....I had to make one adapter to get my b-joints off. I have since bought their accessory adapter kit though.
STOP PLATE TECTONICS!

You're absolutely correct, Kendall. My mistake  ;D

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Re: how to replace ball joints w/o a c-clamp
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2009, 09:12:04 AM »
Cool, it must be new. I wish they had that when I bought mine.....I had to make one adapter to get my b-joints off. I have since bought their accessory adapter kit though.
Yea, me too. I've had my press for over ten years, and bought the accessory kit about four years ago.  I just saw it in the add got yesterday.
‘I Like My Guns Like Obama Likes His Voters: Undocumented’

Offline kingcrunch

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Re: how to replace ball joints w/o a c-clamp
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2009, 01:23:26 PM »
Hi,

thanks for the ads!
I'll get one of those soon.

But for now i'm at a dead stop.
Everything went fine (except the seal had to come out and got a dent... I hope it's reusable.)

Got everything disassembled to the point where the knuckle has to come off the axle housing.
It doesn't. The upper ball joint is loose, but the lower is a major pita.  >:(

This is what it looks like:





My ball joint separator doesn't work in this application, i have no fork or other tools for this...
How would you separate the two? What tool do i need in case nothing else works ?


Thanks a lot!

Alex

Check out my blog

1976 W200/M880 ex mil. 318/NV4500/NP203/D44/D60/EZ-EFI/HEI

Soon: 5-spd NV-45000 swap & factory AC!

Offline KThaxton

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Re: how to replace ball joints w/o a c-clamp
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2009, 02:55:11 PM »
Well, if you don't have a pickle fork, use a sledge hammer and beat the crap out of it.
STOP PLATE TECTONICS!

You're absolutely correct, Kendall. My mistake  ;D

Online SuperBurban

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Re: how to replace ball joints w/o a c-clamp
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2009, 02:59:37 PM »
I'v had luck with a solid bar about 1" dia. and about a foot long.  use it like a punch to pound on the lower stud, get it on the stud, and as vertical as possible, then beat with the biggest hammer. (at least a 3 pounder)


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Offline kingcrunch

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Re: how to replace ball joints w/o a c-clamp
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2009, 03:16:45 PM »
I've placed another hammer (2lbs) on the stud and gave it a few good whacks with a 4.5lbs hammer.
No reaction  :(

Check out my blog

1976 W200/M880 ex mil. 318/NV4500/NP203/D44/D60/EZ-EFI/HEI

Soon: 5-spd NV-45000 swap & factory AC!

Offline Gerhart

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Re: how to replace ball joints w/o a c-clamp
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2009, 05:37:31 AM »
Mine didn't move either untill I supported the axle with a piece of massive steel instead of the axle stand.
Most of your hits will be absorbed by the axle stand.
Try to support the ear instead of the axle tube.

If that doesn't work, you can try heating-up the ear a bit.
'77 W200 (former M880), 318, TF 727, NP 203, D44FBJ(F), D60(R), WIP: complete restoration
http://ramchargercentral.com/projects/lowlands-dodge/

Offline kingcrunch

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Re: how to replace ball joints w/o a c-clamp
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2009, 07:05:54 AM »
The hits felt pretty hefty. Doesn't sound like much energy is absorbed by the axles ear.
Anyways, i'll try that tonight.

No forks were available quick so i got one of these babies:



I hope i can modify it to fit my application... if not, it'll be usefull for something else.

Thanks a lot for your help guys!


Alex

Check out my blog

1976 W200/M880 ex mil. 318/NV4500/NP203/D44/D60/EZ-EFI/HEI

Soon: 5-spd NV-45000 swap & factory AC!

Offline kingcrunch

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Re: how to replace ball joints w/o a c-clamp
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2009, 03:43:55 PM »
Got it done!

This is the separator i used. I've ground down one side of it, to make it fit. Did work perfect,
tightened it and *bang* had the knuckle in my lap (don't try that at home. Hurts).



Removing the lower ball joint was pretty easy, removed the ring and punched it out with a 2lbs hammer.
The upper was a bit harder to get to but it went out as smooth as the lower ball joint.

They were both shot. The seals had given up, water entered and washed away the grease, leading to corrosion. The corroding balls ate up the plastic sleeve inside the ball joints leading to the initial problem.
The upper ball joint was reeaaally loose. Kinda scary how long that junk held up.

Take a look:






I'll see if i can do a writeup of the complete process on sunday...
I'll take it for a little offroad spin at a local gravel-pit on friday
Let's see, what breaks next. ;D


Thanks again for the help, appreciate it!


Alex

Check out my blog

1976 W200/M880 ex mil. 318/NV4500/NP203/D44/D60/EZ-EFI/HEI

Soon: 5-spd NV-45000 swap & factory AC!

 

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