Front suspension arm ball joint easy removal

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Front suspension arm ball joint easy removal

Post by mekatrig »

I thought I would post a couple of pics to save the excessive use of force, cursing and multiple cuts & bruises suffered by many members over the years when trying to get the last inch of the suspension arm (wishbone) lower ball joint out.

If you've reached the point in the first photo, the lower ball joint is not rusted in place or seized, it's free and ready to drop out on its own.

The reason the last bit of ball joint pin is so difficult to remove is because when it is tapped down that far the front suspension strut splays outwards, away from the car, this puts immense pressure on the ball joint pin, preventing it from dropping that final inch.
No need for banging with sledgehammers, driving pickle forks in the joint or levering with giant crowbars, you just need to ease the pressure and it will fall out on its own.

Spray it with wd40 tap it back in and out a few times to ensure it is moving freely up to the sticking point then follow these steps.

Before you start.

1.) Support the car well on blocks, keep axle stands and jacks well away from the work area, in pic 1 I've put blocks under the jacking points.

2.) Lock the front brakes on, you do not want the discs to spin. A piece of 2x4 jammed on the brake pedal held in place by pulling the driver's seat forwards is my method.

3.) The link arm (the long thin bar behind the strut) helps to push out the strut so undoing it relieves some of the pressure. I've just undone the lower bolt.

4.) Strap the strut, to stop it splaying out when you drop the suspension arm see pic 2. I am using 2 webbing straps here. Whatever you use make sure it is strong enough to do the job.
To get the pin out Pic 3.

1.) Give the pin a final spray with some WD40, you want it as slippery as possible.

2.) Put a trolly jack at 90 degrees to the wheel hub, you need to jack up the strut from under the disc (which is why you have locked the front brakes on) making sure the crown is not protruding under the ball joint and stopping it falling out.
Jack up the strut until the car is just lifting off the blocks (this is as high above the wishbone as you can get the hub), then let it slightly back down onto the blocks, so you've got the coil spring as compressed as you can without the weight of the rest of the car resting on the jack as well.

3.) Take a lever, (in pic 3 you see I am using a standard 3-foot crowbar not a giant scaffolding pole) and placing one end on the ground gently lever the hub in as I am doing. The trolly jack will roll inwards with the hub as you lever it in. It only needs to move half an inch or so to release the pressure on the pin which will drop out on its own. See pic 4

4.) With the pin out of the way, you can lower the jack.
Ball joint is now free.JPG
Note: You can see I hadn't removed the tie rod ball joint as I wasn't going to let the strut splay out and rip the drive shaft out of the gearbox dumping my oil. You may want to remove yours, it will give you more play and allow you to easily move the shaft forwards to push that tricky front wishbone bolt up past it. As a safety precaution make absolutely sure your straps are secure and put a drip pan under the gearbox.

The car was prepped and sitting out for a few days in the rain as the parts arrived late hence the rust on the brake disc.

I hope this helps
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Nov' 2004 206cc 1600. 5spd manual. 82600 miles (Jan 2018).
Wifes runabout & our summer fun car. Does about 5000 miles a year

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