upper and lower ball joint replacement 1997 chevy k1500

Discussion in 'Chevy C/K Truck Forum' started by karroe, Jul 22, 2011.

  1. karroe

    karroe New Member

    I need to replace the upper and lower ball joints for my chevy 1500 4x4. The problem is, I don't have the money to get it done at a shop, and frankly I have no clue how to replace them. Could anyone give me a step-by-step guide? If it makes a difference, it is the front passenger side. Or do you think it would be easier to replace the control arms? If you feel that is the case, can you tell me how to do that then? Thanks!
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2011
  2. silveradotrailblazer

    silveradotrailblazer Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    Welcome to the club. The factory balljoints are riveted on. Not a big deal. I like to cut a "X" with a die grinder in the rivet and them chisel off with a air chisel. If you don't have a air chisel then you can use a hammer and chisel, just takes longer and harder. You can also use just a grinder to grind off the rivet. Everyone has there favorite way. The new b/joints just bolt-in.
  3. stephan

    stephan Rockstar 4 Years 5000 Posts

    When it comes to getting the ball joint tapers out of the steering knuckles, loosen the nuts, back them off a couple turns but don't take all the way off. Then hit the knucke where the BJ goes through it with the largest hammer you can accurately swing in there. This will shock them to release. The other option is a pickle fork but if you've never done this before you aren't likely to have one so go with the hammer method. There's really no benefit to replacing the entire control arms unless yours are bent, or rusted really bad. The amount of work is about the same, & you still have to break the ball joint tapers loose from the steering knuckles.
  4. Ethan

    Ethan Rockstar 100 Posts

    Guess I'll cover the lower ball joints. The lower ball joints are going to be a pain, a really big pain. First, you need to support the lower control arm with a jack stand, and put the weight of the truck on the jack stand, so find the flattest spot on the lower control arm, and then lower the truck onto the jack stand at that spot.

    Then you loosen the bolt on the steering knuckle, just a tad, then you smack the side of the nuckle like Stephen said with the upper ball joints. When it comes loose, move the steering knuckle out of the way. Now, you're going to need a ball joint press for this, there's really no other way to do this if you don't have one. You can either get a really big hammer, and smash the lower ball joint out of the control arm, or you can press it out with a ball joint press.

    Pressing them back in is the hardest part by far, it always gives me problems, especially if your press is cheap, and it doesn't press straight. Get you're ball joint press, find the fittings that will fit on the outer edge of the ball joints base, not the inner plate, the outside rim, and find a fitting that will fit over the top of the control arm, that also allows room for the ball joint to come up through, and just press it is AS STRAIGHT AS POSSIBLE! If you're off just by a little bit, then you'll have to go through the painful process of smacking the control arm, while pressing at the same time, in a attempt to straighten it and get it to sit flush with the control arm.

    I recommend you have a shop do the lowers if you've never done it yourself, it's more trouble than it's worth if you've never done them on these trucks before.
  5. ChevyFan

    ChevyFan The Sheriff Staff Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Did you get your question answered?
  6. 59diesel

    59diesel New Member

    This last post is veryyyy accurate....if you have no idea how, might be better to pay and have it done...if not and you wanna tackle it yourself, GET a ball joint press, they sell em at Northern Tool pretty reasonable with adapters to fit domestic cars n trucks........top ones are easy......and to add to the bottom ones, you have to be careful and put the weight of the truck on that A-arm as stated above, because it is DANGEROUS, you DO NOT want the coil spring to come out, it is under extreme pressure and can cause fatal injuries if it does.........also, get you a Haynes or Chilton manual, they have step by step instructions...
  7. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

  8. Revredneck

    Revredneck Rockstar 100 Posts

    You're mistaken on this procedure. The Chevy 4X4 lower ball joints are riveted into the control arm, and real bear to get out! Sorry to have to say it, but your procedure here is for a 2 wheel drive.
    Good Luck and God Bless.
  9. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    I just went outside and looked at me 1995 silverado 4x4. The uppers were riveted in from the factory. I had to remove the rivets and the new ball joints came with bolts. The lowers are pressed in. So Revredneck you may be right! some chevys may have come that way. I am looking at something completely different then what you have posted. on My 2002 silverado 2 wheel drive the lowers are riveted in. I drilled the rivets out with a carbide drill bit.
  10. Tagerman

    Tagerman Member

    depends on year, my 1993 K1500 has riveted in on top and bottom and you are right, you can also compress the spring and take the whole arm to a shop and have them press the ball joint in if you are hard out for money most of them will press it real quick for next to nothing. Oh and word to the wise, buy a good ball joint its worth the extra to get a nice part, I still go to the Chevrolet dealer and buy my ball joints and other parts where failure can be dangerous. As an A.S.E. mechanic I can preach all day on the importance of factory parts

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