Dismiss Notice

Welcome To CK5!

Registering is free and easy! Hope to see you on the forums soon.

Score a FREE t-shirt and membership sticker when you sign up for a Premium Membership and choose the recurring plan.

Replacing Ball Joints on 87 Blazer

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by JaymzLD, Jun 17, 2003.

  1. JaymzLD

    JaymzLD Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Posts:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO/Laramie, WY
    I need to replace my front axle ball joints on my 1987 Blazer to pass the safety inspection. I NEED to replace the right lower ball joint, but do you think I should replace all of them in the process? What kind of tools are needed for a job like this? Im sorta new to working on cars and want to improve my skills which is why I bought the Blazer since its easy to wrench on. Anyway, should I replace all of them and what kind of tools are needed? I will probably replace all of them, but want some more info before I do. Thanks.
     
  2. 89GMCSuburban

    89GMCSuburban 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2001
    Posts:
    3,005
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Thornton, CO
    Do them all, you're going to need to have the axleshafts out to do it anyway, might as well get it all over with.
    Tools would be a ball joint press, big hammers, large (1", 1 1/8" or so) wrenches, spanner wrench (or a 1" wide file), Pickle forks, snap ring pliers, 4 prong hub socket...
    Getting them out is probably gonna be a lot of fun. Soak the hell out of them with PB Blaster penetrating oil. Dis-assemble the ends of the axle down to the bare knuckle, including removing tie rod. Remove lower ball joint nut, loosen upper ball joint nut and even it out with top of ball joint stud. Use pickle fork and hammers to beat the knuckle off the axle. (may take a while) Once off, (Driver's side, you need to remove the steering arm to use the ball joint press) remove snap ring from bottom of lower ball joint. Press out with the press. Press out the upper ball joint. Get new ball joints, (Grease upper with fitting then remove fitting and replace with the plug). Install lower ball joint first. Once presssed flush, install snap ring. Press in upper ball joint. With spanner wrench, remove adjuster nut from the axle (In the threads where the upper ball joint mounts) replace with new. Install knuckle and use adjuster nut to dial in pre-load. Once dialed in tighten upper and lower ball joints to torque rating in manual. Re-assemble. Take for an alignment as soon as you're done.
    Just do one side at a time to keep it easy, so if you mess up, you can just look at the other side. Good luck! Took me a whole day to do this with air tools... /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  3. 89GMCSuburban

    89GMCSuburban 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2001
    Posts:
    3,005
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Thornton, CO
    BTW, get the joints from Auto Zone. They sell the Dana Perfect Circle joints, worth the extra cash. Make sure they mark the boxes on which is the upper and lower. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  4. Zeus33rd

    Zeus33rd Smarter than you GMOTM Winner

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2002
    Posts:
    7,324
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Grass Valley, CA
    You don't need to use a press or pickle fork or anything except a hammer to get the knuckle off the housing. Remove both the upper and lower nuts, take a big ass hammer and smack the $hit out of the top of the upper ball joint. With a big enuff hammer, most of the time the knuckle will fall right out onto the ground with one good whack. It doesnt matter if you mushroom the top of the ball joint with the hammer- You're gonna replace it anyways. So don't be bashful- Hit it as hard as you can. It wouldn't hurt to hit it with some WD-40 or PB Blaster though. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif

    He's also gonna need the special ball joint socket to get the adjusting sleeve out of the ear on the housing. You can use a screw driver or chisel to turn it out, but you'll need the ball joint socket to set up the new one properly.

    I agree with buying your ball joints at autozone- Dana/Perfect Circle parts, and they come with a good intruction sheet with torque specs.

    Hehe- Not to show off or anything, But I can do ball joints in 3 hours max, w/air tools. From start to finish. Thats complete and driving down the road in 3 hours. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/k5.gif
     
  5. foxman

    foxman 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2001
    Posts:
    251
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Detroit MI
    just wonering, if you don't dial in the pre load what will happen? I installed 4 new ones a month ago, and used the old sleves. /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif everything seems alright though.

    Thanx
    jeremy
     
  6. BlazerGuy

    BlazerGuy 3/4 ton status

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2000
    Posts:
    9,206
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    abcde
    You will also need the big hub socket to remove the hubs, you can get it at any good parts store. Also while your in there I would go ahead and replace the axleshaft u-joints.
     
  7. Nikk

    Nikk Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2002
    Posts:
    34
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Lacrosse, WI
    All great info from above. I just wanted to add that I made my own ball joint sleeve tool by welding some tubing of the right diameter to an old socket, and then ground out the areas that need to be removed to create the notches. I've used it twice so far and it has held up great. Just remember if you start making your own stuff start adding extra time to what ever your doing. This job isnt hard in my book but it can be time consuming depending on what you run into and your experiance. I too used to Dana/perfect circle and have had no problems since. Also, they were a little cheaper than moog, and like said above the instructions had alot of info in them. Good luck and if you have problems were here for ya /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  8. Zeus33rd

    Zeus33rd Smarter than you GMOTM Winner

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2002
    Posts:
    7,324
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Grass Valley, CA
    [ QUOTE ]
    just wonering, if you don't dial in the pre load what will happen? I installed 4 new ones a month ago, and used the old sleves. /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif everything seems alright though.

    Thanx
    jeremy

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Why did you use the old sleeves? New ball joints come with new sleeves, so there's no reason not to use them. What would happen? I would think it would shorten the life of the ball joint considerably.
     
  9. rampage

    rampage 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Posts:
    2,260
    Likes Received:
    72
    Location:
    Humboldt/Pacifica, CA
    You can also make that socket with a deep socket, 13/16 I think. /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif
     
  10. Triaged

    Triaged 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2001
    Posts:
    3,808
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    CA (LA/OC area)
    Special tools:

    1-5/16" socket. I have only seen them in 3/4" drive so you will need an adapter if you do not have a 3/4" drive ratchet/torque wrench.

    Hub Socket

    4 prong spanner socket for the adjuster. I made mine out of a deep impact socket and my die grinder. Took me about a hour to make including driving to home depot to buy a cheep socket. Alot better than the hour I spent calling parts stores asking for it!

    If you don't want to mess w/ removing and replacing the ball joints in the knuckles you can take them to a shop and have them press them in/out for you.
     
  11. foxman

    foxman 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2001
    Posts:
    251
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Detroit MI
    [ QUOTE ]
    Why did you use the old sleeves? New ball joints come with new sleeves, so there's no reason not to use them. What would happen? I would think it would shorten the life of the ball joint considerably.

    [/ QUOTE ]


    I couldn't find a tool to get the old sleves out and nobody from my area had ever heard of such a tool in any of the tool stores. Even the auto parts store I work at where I got the ball joints had no such tool, so I figured that not changing the old one wouldn't hurt it, seeing as I could find no vissable dammage. I hope Ithat you can't over-tightnen these things cause I troques them dowm pretty good.
    /forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif /forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif
     
  12. 89GMCSuburban

    89GMCSuburban 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2001
    Posts:
    3,005
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Thornton, CO
    You can overtighten them...they strip fairly easily, I hear. /forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif /forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif You'd be able to tell though, so I think you're ok.
    Instead of buying a 3/4" adapter, just go buy a huge 1 5/16" closed end...probably be cheaper, and that's what I used.
     
  13. POWERMAD

    POWERMAD 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2001
    Posts:
    3,466
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Oregon
    Not that it matters but they do sell 1/2" drive sockets that go to 1 1/2".
    Cornwell is where I got mine.
     
  14. pfloydmaster

    pfloydmaster 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2002
    Posts:
    156
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Grottoes, Virginia
    [ QUOTE ]
    I couldn't find a tool to get the old sleves out

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Try this:

    Ball joint socket

    /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  15. Triaged

    Triaged 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2001
    Posts:
    3,808
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    CA (LA/OC area)
    Where is Executioner when you need him. He only posts every few months now. Go and search through his posts on ball joint preload. You will find alot of good info if you dig for it.

    You need to have the preload set correctly or you will wear the joints out in short order.
     
  16. Zeus33rd

    Zeus33rd Smarter than you GMOTM Winner

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2002
    Posts:
    7,324
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Grass Valley, CA
    All the torque specs and procedures for settingbthe pre-load are listed on the intruction sheet that comes with the Dana/Perfect Circle stuff from Autozone. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  17. Executioner

    Executioner 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2000
    Posts:
    1,530
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Temp. Ft. Walton Beach Fl. home=Tucson, Az.
    Hello Dan, yo the man !
    But if he can't find the tool,, and the Auto parts
    stores don't know of it , then it just does not exsist ?
    Looks like its a Snap-On Tool.
     
  18. Triaged

    Triaged 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2001
    Posts:
    3,808
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    CA (LA/OC area)
    I thought this one would catch your eye.

    I looked at mine the other day. I used a 11/16" deep impact socket. I then ground it away till I had 4 prongs sticking up that would fit into the adjuster. The inside of the socket wouldn't clear the ball joint stud (but the OD was fine) so I just ground it till it fit. If you can find the tool by all means buy it. If no one knows what you mean when you say "spanner socket" just walk out the door/hang up the phone right then.
     

Share This Page