Ball joints removal and installation

Tiny
DAYTON41799
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 CHEVROLET SUBURBAN
  • 5.7L
  • V8
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 300,000 MILES
How can I remove and install lower ball joints without a ball joints press?
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Monday, May 20th, 2019 AT 2:29 PM

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Tiny
KASEKENNY
  • MECHANIC
  • 18,907 POSTS
Hi Dayton,

Unfortunately, you can get them out with just a ball peen hammer but, installing them requires a press. There is no safe way to install the ball joint back in without the press. The pressure is so great that trying to hammer them in will just damage them.

Obviously, I don't know what parts stores are around you but many of them have tool rentals. Here is a link to one of the major franchises in the US:

https://www.autozone.com/tools-and-equipment/loan-a-tools/steering-and-suspension-loaner-rental-tools

Sorry to give you bad news but I just can't recommend using anything other than the proper tool for this one.
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Monday, May 20th, 2019 AT 4:15 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • MECHANIC
  • 33,661 POSTS
Hi KASEKENNY1. Someone else was just grumping about an auto parts store wanting to charge $150.00 to borrow a tool and he wasn't happy about that. I pointed out that around my city, they charge what the tool costs, then you get a full refund when you take it back. If you decide to keep the tool, you can still take it back, then they'll order you a brand new one.

You're right about needing the press. You can't be a carpenter if you don't want to use a hammer, and you can't be a doctor if you don't want to buy a stethoscope. I've already gotten pressed-in ball joints out by supporting the control arm, then whaling on it with a big hammer, but that only works when the hole is already stretched, or it causes the hole to become stretched. Either way, the few times I did that, I always ended up tack-welding the new ball joints in to keep them from falling out. Pounding on them might have been okay on my own cars before I bought the tool, but I'd never do that on a customer's car. I don't want my name mentioned when the car comes back with a loose ball joint. The suspension system is a safety system, and this is one time we want to do it right.

By the way, Harbor Freight Tools is one of many places you can but the press with the most-needed plates and cups, at a decent price, then you'll have it the next time you need it.
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Thursday, May 23rd, 2019 AT 9:54 PM

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