How to replace lower ball joints?

Discussion in 'General Chevy & GM Tech Questions' started by Jcloud, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. Jcloud

    Jcloud Rockstar

    Hi I was planning on replacing my lower ball joints so I would like to know how to replace them. I have a 1998 silverado K1500 Z71. I just want to know step by step. Thanks for the help
  2. silveradotrailblazer

    silveradotrailblazer Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    Do you have hand tools or air tools?
  3. Springthing

    Springthing Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Jcloud- If you don't mind I think this would be a great post to make in the How-To section once you are done. Take pictures as you go along and post a thread with how things went. I think it would help a lot of people in the future wanting to do the very same thing. :)

    I've no help to offer you but hopefully you'll have have a good enough response here to get you through it!
  4. Pats1pab1

    Pats1pab1 Rockstar 4 Years 500 Posts

  5. 38racn

    38racn Member

    The first step is to buy a Haynes or Chilton's repair manual. Step by step detailed instructions. You'll find yourself using it in the future for every problem you encounter. Might be just me but if I'm doing all this work, I'd replace both upper and lower. Good news is there's nothing complicated about it. Just hard work.
  6. Jcloud

    Jcloud Rockstar

    Alright I will try to get some pics up and step by step. But I hear that upper ball joints are a pain in the butt on my model vehicle (98) but I may go ahead and replace them. But the shop where I took it to said I just needed lower so I don't know. And my friend does have a chilton and we have the same model truck and the steps to do the lower ball joints didn't have the right process it seemed like
  7. trapperdon

    trapperdon Rockstar 100 Posts

    from expirience i can tell you the first thing you need to do is determine if the old ones have
    nut & bolts holding them on, or if they are pressed on at factory with industrial rivet pins...
    i had one side was bolted and other had pins, and to get the pins out you have to drill thru the middle
    of them and punch em out with a chisle.... i ended up spending 4 hours and burning up the motor
    on an electric angle grinder to get em off !!
    was very frustrating ( pissed off ) but once i got em out then the new ones bolt right into the hole thats left.

    if you do the lowers you should replace the uppers; just cause you dont see wear & tear doesnt mean that
    it isnt already weak and waiting to break due to new and more powerful forces from the new one next to it...
    if its an independent front suspension 4wd i would check out the drive shafts while you got it apart....
  8. Ben3171

    Ben3171 New Member

    My lower ball joint are pressed in by the factory. They aren't riveted or bolted in. I have tried everything short of heating the lower control arm with a torch. I have tried to use a ball joint press and ended up bending the c shape press. Do I need to cut it out with a torch? I think if I tried to do that it would only make things worse for me. I thought about taking a Zip disk to the ball joint. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  9. poncho62

    poncho62 Active Member 2 Years 100 Posts

    Those trucks have 2 styles of control arms....forged and welded, with different parts numbers on the ball joints

    [​IMG]Welded arm

    [​IMG] Forged arm

    They are pressed in...You dont need a press to do it, the weight of the truck will press it in for you. Put the ball joint in place. take a short piece of pipe the right diameter between it and a floor jack and lift the whole thing up just a bit...tap the "A" arm around the joint and it will slip in. A bit of grease around the hole helps.
  10. jmcover

    jmcover Rockstar

    I have the stamped lower arms and one LBJ pressed right in, the other took an hour. They can be a PITA.

    As for the UBJ, I'd highly recommend getting a new UCA with the new BJ already installed. That gives you a really simple approach, and you get new UCA bushings to boot!

    Another reason to do the upper is that you need an alignment anyway, and you've already done a bunch of the complimentary labor. If any of your steering linkage (and especially the idler arms ) need some love, now is a great time!

    Good luck

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