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123 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)

So, I looked everywhere for some kind of instruction on replacing 2nd gen ball joints. Couldn't find any. Mitchell, Chilton, the forums, and other helpful resources had nothing. Mainly, I wanted a list of tools. It's kind of a pain to drag loads of tools from work, but whatev. Here's some info that might help some other folk trying to tackle a job I was quoted >$600 for.

First, gather tools

3/8" allen wrench or socket
1 3/4" socket
1 5/16" socket
1 1/8" socket
13/16" Socket
14mm 12pt Socket
8mm socket
10mm Wrench
1/2" impact wrench
Air Hammer (many other tools may work)
Torque Wrench
OTC 7249 Ball Joint Press
Snap Ring Pliers
Penetrating Oil
Lock Tight (I used medium strength)
High Quality Grease

Next, pull the wheels, calipers and cotter pins from the upper ball joints, axle shafts and outer tie-rods. Hang the caliper so as not to have tension on the brake line. Applying penetrating oil on the axle nut, tie-rod end threads and ball joint threads will allow for easy removal later.

Remove the tie-rod bolt and get creative dropping the tie-rod end from the knuckle. I used an air hammer on the knuckle and a prybar on the tie-rod. BE SURE NOT TO DAMAGE TIE-ROD END THREADS!

Use the 1 3/4" socket and air-hammer to remove the axle nut.

Spray the axle shaft splines with penetrating oil.

Remove the wheel speed sensor and set it aside.

Use the 14mm 12pt socket to remove the knuckle bolts on the back of the knuckle.

Pop the rotor/bearing off and slide out the axle. The front ales come out pretty easy.

Remove the top ball joint castle nut with the 1 1/8" socket and the lower ball joint lock nut with the 1 5/16" socket. I used a swivel and an impact wrench.

Knock the ball joints loose from the axle. I just used the air hammer, but it will destroy the old ball joints.

The upper ball joint sleeve may pop out. Some kits come with new ones, but mine didn't. I just reused it.

Pull the knuckle off and remove the snap-ring from the lower ball-joint.

Remove the lower ball joint. Use the ball joint press, and receiver tube. BE SURE TO LUBE THE THREADS ON THE PRESS. I used anti-seize.

Then, remove the upper ball joint. Uppers are easy.

Clean out the ball joint shoulder recesses for proper seating.

I installed XRF ball joints. XRF Chassis | Automotive and Heavy Duty Chassis Parts | Ball Joints

Remove the rubber boots to prevent damage during install.

Install the upper ball joint first.

Next, install the lower. I made a installation and receiver tube out of a fence post. OTC as well as many other companies make kits with all kinds of tubes you can use with the OTC press.

Install the zirc fittings that came with the ball joints. Use the 90deg on the upper and clock it toward the front of the truck. Install the new snap ring and replace the boots.

Guide the ball joints into their axle tube holes. I zipped down the nuts with an impact. Couldn't find torques, but I know that you start somewhere like 30ft lbs for the upper, then 150ft lbs on the bottom, then 70ft lbs for the upper and clockwise to line-up the cotter hole.

Grease the new ball joints well.

Install the axle (make sure not to get dirt on the splines), and rotor/bearing. This is the hardest part. I used a 1/4" extension to line up the shims, backing plate and holes. It will take some finesse. Use lock tight on the knuckle bolts. Again, no torques. I just reefed them down.

Install the tie-rod ends and install new cotter pins to the ball joints, tie rods and axle nut.

Replace the brakes and you are done!

Hope this is useful.

Any torque updates would be great.

123 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
:worthy: I hope this ends up in the tech section or something. Great write up. :hail:

I do have one question though. When removing and reinstalling the axel do you simply just slide it out and then slide it back in?
Yah, pretty much. You have to jocky the axle shaft around a bit to match the splines. It should slide in all the way until the u-joint touches the tube. Once it's put together, there will be clearance. Make sure to avoid getting crap in the diff. My axle tube was full of sand. I used an old tire bar to scrape out all I could CAREFULLY.
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