1998 Chevrolet Venture How to change ball joint

Tiny
BULLDOGG64
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 CHEVROLET VENTURE
  • 3.4L
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 200,000 MILES
I need to know exactly how to change the lower ball joint. I know the ball joint is bad. I have been a shade tree mechanic for 10 years I just have never come across a ball joint that is bolted on by the time I get the answer I will probably have it figured out.
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Friday, December 20th, 2013 AT 12:29 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
That's actually one of the hardest designs to change unless it has been done once already, then it's one of the easiest. No one ever explained to the engineers at GM that ball joints wear out and need to be replaced some times, so to save money, they riveted them to the control arms. You'll need an air hammer to get those rivets out. We normally use the air hammer to shear the rivet heads off, then use a punch with the air hammer to push the rivets out. You can also remove the heads with an angle grinder, but the body of the rivet expands when it is set in place, and you'll be pounding all day by hand and never get them to budge. Be sure to have the control arm supported well so the air hammer doesn't just shake it around and not do anything.

The new ball joint will come with hardened bolts and nuts. That makes installation a lot easier. If you spray a little Spray White Lube, (that's a Chrysler product), or any other lithium-based grease on the threads AFTER the nuts are tightened, that will reduce the rust buildup and make removal a lot easier next time.

Be sure to have the vehicle aligned to reduce tire wear whenever a suspension part is replaced.
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Friday, December 20th, 2013 AT 12:58 PM
Tiny
BULLDOGG64
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It has been done before. My issue is do I need to pull hub assembly off or anything else to help get the nut off the top of ball joint shaft? I have lubed it up and bent 2 wrenches trying to get it off. I am almost ready to just cut it off lol.
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Friday, December 20th, 2013 AT 1:21 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
That nut shouldn't be that terribly tight. There is a cotter pin through it that can be somewhat hidden, but I don't even bother trying to remove it. I just shear them off by loosening the nut.

The hub and axle bearing normally do not need to be removed unless the cv joint is in the way. Even then, usually all you have to do is remove the axle nut, then push the half shaft in against its spring pressure about an inch.

Regardless if you remove anything involving that axle nut, don't loosen it until the vehicle is jacked up off the ground, and don't allow any weight to be on it until it is torqued to specs, which is pretty high on GMs. If there's any weight on it when the nut is loose, the bearing will instantly become noisy. Almost all car brands call for a minimum of 180 foot pounds on that nut, and a lot of GMs call for 240 foot pounds.

Gotta run out of town to help with a Ford. I'll check back later tonight to see how you made out.
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Friday, December 20th, 2013 AT 1:32 PM
Tiny
BULLDOGG64
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Still working on it everything is being a pain right now I will update you to let you know what happens. So far I have 3 bent wrenches luckily they have a lifetime warranty. But I did finally get the nut to break loose now I am trying to get it to come out.
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Friday, December 20th, 2013 AT 5:23 PM
Tiny
BULLDOGG64
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I got it done finally I wound up pulling off the hub assembly which made it easier to get to. Now since I have everything apart anyways I am checking everything else out because I think the cv axle is bad as well.
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Friday, December 20th, 2013 AT 8:37 PM

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