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balljoints

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by blueblazes, Jan 14, 2001.

  1. blueblazes

    blueblazes Registered Member

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    Hello all,
    I have recently taken upon myself the job of replacing my upper and lower balljoints. After a day of cold (Michigan), rusty, and stubborn disassembly, I am almost ready to take the steering knuckles in to the local shop and have the new parts pressed in. I now have some questions about reassembly, especially about greasing everything. I have the entire hub apart, drive shafts pulled out, and a bunch of parts on my garage floor that look like they need some sort of lubrication. Please write back with any tips, tricks, or comments. Thanks.
     
  2. yeild2me

    yeild2me 1/2 ton status

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    yeah, i would like a little info on this too. i am doing this tommorrow. hey blue, did you have any problems i should be aware of before i start? i have done these on cars before and i have taken my front axle apart,but i have never done the ball joints though. any foresight would be nice...thanks

    AIRBORNE!!
     
  3. 90K5

    90K5 1/2 ton status

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    I need to do this too...

    90K5

    See my truck at <A target="_blank" HREF=http://albums.photopoint.com/j/Albumindex?u=1329584&a=9886502>http://albums.photopoint.com/j/Albumindex?u=1329584&a=9886502</A>
     
  4. blueblazes

    blueblazes Registered Member

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    Before you start, make sure you have large wrenches, a pipe to add leverage, a large hammer for persuasion, a pickle fork, and a lot of time. From my experience, the job wouldn't be so bad if the parts would just come apart when unbolted. But what seems to happen is after you get the rusty old nuts off, you spend another 30 minutes beating the hell out of the part before it decides to come loose. I might seem disgruntled, but at the least I'm saving $400 (Tuffy estimate minus $200 for parts). Good luck.
     
  5. Cavalry

    Cavalry 1/2 ton status

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    If you want to do everything yourself Harbor Freight has a ball joint tool kit ( for pressing them in and out)for like $34 Works as good as the $130 ones the Parts houses have. If you have everything out you might as well lube your spindle bearings and check your u joints for wear. Its no fun taking it apart 3KMI from now


    Luke
    84 K5
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    Pickle fork is for when all else has failed. The thing it's best for is tearing perfectly good boots. When you need to pop the tie rods off the best way to do it is take the nut of and with about a 2lb hammer give the end of the knuckle (not the rod end but what it passes through) a good pop and it will usualy come off. Don't be shy about it...one good pop is all it usualy takes. Sometimes taking a crow bar and putting some tension in the direction it needs to go when you give the nuckle a smack will be needed. 95% of the time this does the trick and you can leave the pickle fork rusting in the bottom of the tool box where it belongs.
    Now as for the joints. If you dont have the press that one of the other post mentioned then yeah take it to a shop and have them press it. Also have the shop toss some new U-Joints in while your at it. Now you have paid more in labor at the machine shop than the $30 press from Harbor cost and BTW it works great. Another thing to check before heading to the shop is the condition of the roller bearings in the middle of the spindle. If they are damaged then haul them with you and have them pressed in also.
    Now lets get to the "while your at it" portion of the post. Inner axle seals. Yours are 12 years old and you just dragged the shaft splines across them. Well you got a delema and it comes down to "Do you feel lucky?". 80% of the work to replace those seals is done when you pulled those shafts. The last 20% is pull the cover and pull the carrier. Do you feel lucky enough that those seals are going to be ok and save you from having to pull this all down to replace a couple of $10 seals and a $10 Gasket and service that long over due diff? If you do feel luck be very carefull not to drag the splines through the crud in the axle tube when you install them. Any dirt gets on the end of that shaft as it goes in dumps directy into the carrier bearings.
    Well I have $hit luck and I would be pulling the diff and replacing them. Pay close attention to the shims and what side they were on and make absolutly sure they go back where they came out. It will take some prying to get it out and some perrswaysiong with a rubber mallet it get it back in. once it goes in most of the way the bearing caps will pull it in the rest. While you at it you can take a broom handle, wrap a rag aound the end and clean those fithy axle tubes out so you don't push that dirt into the carrier bearings when you reassemble. Brake cleaner is what to use to clean out the housing. It's also good to clean the seal surface where the cover goes to get it oil free for the best seal.
    My weekly Seal speil is next.
    BUY GOOD MADE IN THE USA SEALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NAPA Sells real DANA seals but DANA is getting cheap on us also and you want to open the package and make sure on the part it says MADE IN THE USA. If it says China, Hong Kong, Japan, Guada Maula, Indonesia, Hencho En Mexico or any other 3rd world country don't buy them. The rubber products from most countries just plain SUCK! they will last 1/4 of what the real deal will.
    Ohh yeah just to rub it in.....It was just shy of 60deg here today as I replaced my fuel pump on the driveway and welded up some new seat brackets in a t-shirt [​IMG] Sorry it had to be done. Being an exmichigander it is an imparative to rub in the better weather where I now live (Atlanta). What have you got on the ground now? 40 inches?
    Have fun!

    Diging it in the dirt with my K5's
    Grim-Reaper
    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://grimsk5s.coloradok5.com/>http://grimsk5s.coloradok5.com/</A>
     
  7. JimmyDie6.2

    JimmyDie6.2 1/2 ton status

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    while we're on the subject, is there a complete kit available to redo the whole front seals, ball joints, etc.? If so what is it and how much. By the way, whats a t-shirt, OH YA, that summer clothing thing....................................js
     
  8. 90K5

    90K5 1/2 ton status

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    I was going to start replacing them tonight, but I lost my Haynes manual, actually I think I threw it away when I cleaned out the garage [sad] all the parts stores are closed and I need another upper balljoint. Now I gotta find another time to do it...

    90K5

    See my truck at <A target="_blank" HREF=http://albums.photopoint.com/j/Albumindex?u=1329584&a=9886502>http://albums.photopoint.com/j/Albumindex?u=1329584&a=9886502</A>
     
  9. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    Never ran accross a kit but I have gone through 3 front axles (both my trucks and helped a bud on his). NAPA seems to be the only place to find the DANA seals. They are a little more expensive then other places but when you get down to only needing to do it once evey 10-20 years if you use good parts then it makes it worth it. Bearings I like Timken and Autozone can get them. Ball joints I been buying at Advanced. They sell TRW and MOOG. Both are good brands and a bit cheaper there than NAPA. Tie Rod ends I buy wherever I can get a lifetime warranty. Autozone has been the place of late. For all the seals your looking about $100 at NAPA. That includes the inner axle seals, the flange seal on the axle shaft to the back of the spindle (thats the one that must be good to keep crud out of the inner bearing) inner small seal back there, hub to spindle seal and a diff gasket. Remember this is going to last for a long while with good parts and it's a all day job so well worth the best quality seals.
    Ball joints for all 4 will set you back a little over $100. $14 each for U-Joints, 3 quarts of gear oil.
    Also VERY IMPORTANT! Haynes has the wrong torq spec for the spindle to the knuckle bolts (6) it list 25ftlb. 40-45lb is more like it. This is a job that you really want to have a manual for. There is a couple sequences for setting preload on the ball joints and the wheel bearings. I have done it several times now and I still go step by step with a manual.
    Ohh and that special tool for the ball joint...you know those cheap sockets you got from that family member that doesn't understand good sockets cost a lot more than $20. Well you can cut one of those up to make that tool [​IMG]

    Diging it in the dirt with my K5's
    Grim-Reaper
    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://grimsk5s.coloradok5.com/>http://grimsk5s.coloradok5.com/</A>
     
  10. MICHIGAN BLAZER

    MICHIGAN BLAZER 1/2 ton status

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    Hey blue blazes.....a little off subject....but where in michigan are you from.....I'm from middleville( 1/2 way between Grand Rapids & Kalamazoo). If I'd of known we coulda had a ball joint party!! ha ha(okay i think i would have to be REALLY drunk to have fun at that party!)

    <font color=red>MICHIGAN BLAZER
    <font color=green>89 Fullsize Blazer
    87 Cherokee
    65 IH Scout
     
  11. ftn96

    ftn96 1/2 ton status

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    Blueblazes, everyone has kinda hinted around what your post had asked. While Grim-reapers advise is right on, you need to take all those parts you have on the floor and clean them all up real good with brake or carb cleaner, and lay out some old towel that is clean, you may even wanna sweep the garage up a little. Get your self some hi-temp wheel bearing grease. After you clean those tubes out, make sure the axles are dry when your putting them back in as to avoid having them pick up whatever dirt you didn't get outta there. Grim had a post from awhile back that said something about cutting some PVC pipe in half and sticking it in the tube to protect the splines on the axles from the dirt. After you get those in, next will be the spindle, go with grims advise here too. Make sure you put a good amount of grease on that outter axle before you put the spindle on, after that, you have the hub and wheel bearings. MAke sure you pack those bearing real good with grease, you can put some grease in a zip lock baggie with the bearing and massge it real good. After that, take the back side of the hub and pack it full of grease. Then when you slide the hub (with the bearings) onto the spindle you will get a good size clump of grease that gets displaced. Looks sorta like a limp Di*k. Then you get to preload and torque the bearings. The reason for this hub packing, is that when ever your out wheeling and you get into some muddy water that comes up over the wheels, the grease thats inside the hub will keep the nasty ol water from getting to the bearings. MAke sure you clean "ALL" the excess grease off the rotor before you replace the brakes. That stuff stinks to high heaven not to mention its not good for the brakes. After that your about ready to go.
    Also, when you put the lock outs back in, you wanna make sur ethey are nice and clean and then lightly apply some grease to them. Dont over do it, they dont need all that much grease.

    Just remember "clean" then "grease". Packing the wheel bearings is the messiest parts of the whole job. At least in my opinion, and probably the most important.

    Will work for parts, beer and sex.
    90 Jimi,350/700R4/241/10bolts/3.73's/33's/4"
    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://mccordhouse.freeservers.com>http://mccordhouse.freeservers.com</A>
     
  12. 90K5

    90K5 1/2 ton status

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    Do you have to take the steering arm off to do this? I was looking in my manual and it says I have to...so I was thinking i might as well get a raised steering arm.

    90K5

    See my truck at <A target="_blank" HREF=http://albums.photopoint.com/j/Albumindex?u=1329584&a=9886502>http://albums.photopoint.com/j/Albumindex?u=1329584&a=9886502</A>

    <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1>Edited by 90K5 on 01/15/01 11:36 AM (server time).</FONT></P>
     
  13. Executioner

    Executioner 1/2 ton status

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    All are good post, but I fell they all left out the most important part.
    Upper Ball Joint Pre_load.
    Since no one said it I assume you'll know it.
    Good luck
     
  14. tom

    tom 1/2 ton status

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    One other thought. Some of the ball joints have a zerk grease fitting in the center that comes real close to the u-joint. You can't grease the joint after the axle shaft is installed, so give it a good shot before putting the shafts in. Better yet, you can get ball joints with the grease fitting at the outer edge of the ball joint. This type is greasable after assembly. I'd go with the greasable joints if possble. Also, to pack wheel bearings I like to use a small grease gun with a needle fitting. Just poke the needle between the bearing rollers and shoot it full. Go around the bearing, sticking the needle into each slot until the whole thing is packed solid.
     
  15. JimmyDie6.2

    JimmyDie6.2 1/2 ton status

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    super posts thanks guys for all the info. especially the haynes misprint. with my luck I would be the guy the whole front end fell out on because the torque spec was wrong..........js
     

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