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Ball Joint Question??????

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by mollyman, Oct 13, 2006.

  1. mollyman

    mollyman 1/2 ton status

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    I've got a corp. 10blt in the front of my 81 sub. I've got it pulled out and am going over it cleaning it up. I was wondering how important the ball joints are overall. Mine are in good shape they were kept lubed and the rubber boots seem okay. But I was wondering if it is worth it to just go ahead and replace all of them? Could I just take the axle to a shop and tell to replace all of them or what. I am in no way tech skilled enough (yet) to try and mess with them. And by ball joints I mean the one in the pitman arm and on both ends of the draglink, both ends of the tie rod and in the ends of the axle housing. Any advise would be great!!!!!!!!!!!! THANKS :confused:
     
  2. vortec

    vortec 1/2 ton status

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    i'd consider them pretty dang important. once they get loose, stuff gets dangerous. but, if they are in great shape, i wouldn't say it's worth the hassle to swap them. just my opinion, though.
     
  3. mollyman

    mollyman 1/2 ton status

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    any other opinions out there
     
  4. Leper

    Leper 1/2 ton status

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    Replace them! They need it. Any time I am doing axle work I dont gamble with ball joints or wheel bearings. One of those "while your there" kinda things.
     
  5. dremu

    dremu Officious Thread Derailer Premium Member

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    Just as a clarification, the draglink ends are called, surprisingly, drag link ends, and the tie rod ends ... see it coming? ... are tie rod ends =))

    The ball joints proper are just the ones in the ends of the axle housing.

    I'd at least do the ones in the axle, i.e. the ball joints, as you gotta tear the ends down to get to them, and they require a press or funky tools to install.

    The DLE/TRE's can be replaced in a driveway (though you may require an alignment afterwards, depending on your ability to count threads) so those are easier, and if they are tight now, could be left to later without requiring so much work.

    -- A
     
  6. divorced

    divorced 3/4 ton status

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    And some visual assistance, ball joints go here...






    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Rolled

    Rolled 1/2 ton status

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    I would replace it all. I have never torn apart a front axle housing and not found a bad part.

    I just redid my k20 last week. As I suspected, I found the usual worn parts. 1 axle ujoint was bad, 1 ball joint was bad, 1 tie rod end was bad... The rest of the parts were still good but I changed them as well...

    TREs and DLEs can be replaced easily but ball joints require more work to get to. if you are taking the hub off for any reason you should consider replacing the ball joints. You need a ball joint press (got ine for $40) a ball joint sleeve spanner (maybe), a fish scale, a spindle nut spanner, pickle forks (maybe) and a torque wrench.


    If it is your DD, replace them all and be done with it. All old GMs need these parts replaced. Like I said, I have never pulled one apart without finding a few parts that are VERY worn. I figure i have another 20 years before I have to do it again so its worth the effort...
     
  8. mollyman

    mollyman 1/2 ton status

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    Thanks for the pictures. I can use all the help I can get. But does anybody no what I would be getting into $$$ wise if I just through the whole axle in the back of my truck and took it to a shop?????
     
  9. sandy78

    sandy78 Registered Member

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    I don't know what a shop will charge, but if you have a stout 1/2" impact wrench, then you can "rent" a tool at Autozone (they charge you for it, then let you return it after you use it). When I bought joints they were something like $20-25 each, so that is $80-100 in parts --super cheap for what they do. Oh -- you will need to by a funky driver tool for the taper inserts in the top ears -$10, and you will need a torque wrench. It's really like most suspension work--if you can get mean and aren't afraid to get dirty, then it's a piece of cake.
     
  10. divorced

    divorced 3/4 ton status

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    I'm not sure what a shop would charge, and it would vary be region, so your best bet would be to call around and ask them. The most difficult part would be removing the ball joints from the knuckles and installing the new ones. You could do all the work yourself and bring just the knuckles to the shop and have them swap the ball joints, it shouldn't cost too much this way.
     

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