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Upper Ball Joint Maintenance. | Replacing OEM sealed joints with rebootable, greasable units.

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Upper Ball Joint Maintenance

Typically, a pickle fork is used to separate ball joints from the steering knuckle/spindle on any car. Unfortunately, the combination of a pickle fork, a heavy hammer and too many blows can destroy the dust boot around the ball joint. This isn't a problem on older vehicles. (GM is one manufacturer that offers replacement dust boots for these cars and trucks.) However, original-equipment upper ball joints on many newer cars such as the current Camaro are sealed, which means that they're unserviceable. If you should tear the upper OEM dust boot, then the entire ball joint must be replaced.

If you should tear the upper OEM dust boot, then the entire ball joint must be replaced.

Name Brands.

For steering and brake parts in particular, it usually pays to use name-brand replacement parts. Cheaply made offshore components sometimes use lower-grade materials to keep costs down, and safety-related parts aren't an area worth compromising. Best of all, these components can even cost less at the auto parts store than purchasing OE-part-numbered items from the dealership. Everything you need to replace an upper ball joint should be supplied in any self-respecting kit. The Step photos show highlights of how it's done.

Photo Guide:

upper ball joint maintenance upper control arm removal Remove the upper control arm following the service manuals instructions. Once the arm is off, you can either drill out the factory rivets that hold the ball joint in place or simply grind the rivets heads off on a bench grinder. When the heads are ground off, then knock the rivets out with a punch and the old ball joint will fall off.
new ball joint install Insert the new ball joint from the top of the control arm then install the new dust boot into the retainer from the bottom. Some dust boots for late-model GMs have the words "Mount Inboard" on the top. Align the boot so the words face away from the wheel. (This aftermarket ball joint has a replaceable boot unlike the sealed unit it replaces.)
upper ball joint maintenance Install the supplied fasteners from the bottom up (lock nuts on top). Torque the nuts to the manufacturers specifications (12-14 lb.-ft. for this late-model Camaro application).
upper-ball-joint-maintenance ball-joint-grease-fitting-install Install the grease fitting on the topside of the ball joint. The OEM ball joint is sealed, which means it never requires grease. The replacement piece does so use quality chassis grease. Aside from reinstalling the steering knuckle, youre done. To complete the assembly, simply follow the remaining steps in a factory service manual.
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