1997 Saturn SL1 Ball joint installation

Tiny
STEADYHAND
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 SATURN SL1
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 137,000 MILES
Recently I installed the lower control arms on my 97 Saturn SL1. When I put them on, I screwed the castle nut down all the way and installed the cotter pins. I noticed the next day the castle nuts had worked there way up and were touching the cotter pins. When this happens, the car seems kind of sluggish. If I tighten them down, the steering feels stiffer but the problem with that is every time I hit a bump the steering wheel jerks real hard.

Is the castle nut suppose to stay down all the way or do I screw them down just enough to slide the cotter pins through?

When there not screwed down all the way, the car is sluggish and acts like it wants to pull in either direction.

I need to ensure I have those installed correctly.

Any ideas what might be going on would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Sunday, February 28th, 2010 AT 7:36 PM

6 Replies

Tiny
BLUELIGHTNIN6
  • EXPERT
Here are the correct replacement steps


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/261618_Noname_1808.jpg



http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/261618_Noname2_578.jpg



http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/261618_Noname3_224.jpg



FIG. 1


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/261618_Graphic_364.jpg

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Sunday, February 28th, 2010 AT 7:41 PM
Tiny
STEADYHAND
  • MEMBER
The problem I'm having right now is that the castle nut for the lower ball joint can not be tightened to 55ft lbs before the cotter pin can be installed. In fact, it doesn't go to 10ft lbs before I can put it in. I can tighten it down by finger and slide the pin through. A torque wrench isn't even needed.

Do I need to just screw the nut down until I can put the pin through and leave it at that or is it suppose to be tightened down and stay at 55ft lbs?
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Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010 AT 5:21 PM
Tiny
BLUELIGHTNIN6
  • EXPERT
You need to tighten it to at LEAST specs of 55 ft lbs. Afterwards, you can tighten it up more if needed until the pin can be installed.
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Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010 AT 5:25 PM
Tiny
STEADYHAND
  • MEMBER
For some reason it is not going that tight. The threads look good. It's just that the hole for the cottern pin is high enough that I can tighten down the nut by hand and put the pin through. These are new lower control arms. Is there some reason it is not going that tight? I got to be missing something.
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Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010 AT 5:28 PM
Tiny
BLUELIGHTNIN6
  • EXPERT
Hard to say without being in person. You certain you was given the correct part at store? Match up part numbers on new and old ones
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Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010 AT 5:32 PM
Tiny
STEADYHAND
  • MEMBER
According to autozone, the part numbers are correct. They also fit perfectly. The only difference is the castle nut is too easy to tighten down and is really lose if I just put it on enough to put the pin through.

If it has to be down to 55ft lb the only thing I can do is tighten down the castle nut and top it off with a locking nut since there is room above the castle nut.

Otherwise, 55lb tightens the castle nut all the way down and pulls up hard on the lower ball joint.
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Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010 AT 6:15 PM

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