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I took the 1997 K1500 Burb (127K miles) in for an oil change at a local tire/suspension shop because of a "special". They pointed out that I needed upper and lower ball joint replacement on the right and lower on the left. I about choked when I saw a quote for $897.

First, while I don't necessarily distrust their diagnosis, I question the price. I've changed ball joints on smaller vehicles in the past, but not on a heavy 4x4 like this Suburban. Is it worth trying myself? Do I need to a obtain a joint splitter?

I haven't pulled the front tires myself yet, but is there a way to know which type of ball joints to get? I see bolt on and press type on the parts pages. I also see two different sizes for the arms (45.79mm and 47.89mm), welded vs forged vs stamped. Hopefully this can be determined by VIN.

Help is greatly appreciated.
 

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Have they been replaced before? I tried doing the drivers side ball joints on my '98, and gave up. At the factory, the ball joints are riveted in, and you have to drill out the rivets on the upper ball joints. Replacements are just bolted in, so they aren't as difficult. I just didn't have the tools and patience to drill the rivets out.
 

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Cheap Parts though !!!

I took the 1997 K1500 Burb (127K miles) in for an oil change at a local tire/suspension shop because of a "special". They pointed out that I needed upper and lower ball joint replacement on the right and lower on the left. I about choked when I saw a quote for $897.

First, while I don't necessarily distrust their diagnosis, I question the price. I've changed ball joints on smaller vehicles in the past, but not on a heavy 4x4 like this Suburban. Is it worth trying myself? Do I need to a obtain a joint splitter?

I haven't pulled the front tires myself yet, but is there a way to know which type of ball joints to get? I see bolt on and press type on the parts pages. I also see two different sizes for the arms (45.79mm and 47.89mm), welded vs forged vs stamped. Hopefully this can be determined by VIN.

Help is greatly appreciated.

What's really sad that the ball joints are relatively cheap... It's the labor that is the killer.
I'd look at the tie rod ends as well, while you are there....
 

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I took the 1997 K1500 Burb (127K miles) in for an oil change at a local tire/suspension shop because of a "special". They pointed out that I needed upper and lower ball joint replacement on the right and lower on the left. I about choked when I saw a quote for $897.

First, while I don't necessarily distrust their diagnosis, I question the price. I've changed ball joints on smaller vehicles in the past, but not on a heavy 4x4 like this Suburban. Is it worth trying myself? Do I need to a obtain a joint splitter?

I haven't pulled the front tires myself yet, but is there a way to know which type of ball joints to get? I see bolt on and press type on the parts pages. I also see two different sizes for the arms (45.79mm and 47.89mm), welded vs forged vs stamped. Hopefully this can be determined by VIN.

Help is greatly appreciated.
Back in the 70:s when I was young I had a very old Simca Aronde. One day the gear box went kaputt and I had to decide to pay approx 4 times what I paid for the car to get a new one installed at a shop, or do the work myself. At that time I had practically no mechanical experience of my own. I had a good friend though, who new a lot 'bout cars and he found an outside abandoned service site that was considered good enough. We bought a second hand gear box and headed for the chosen service site. On our way there I got cold feet and said: "Maybe we should leave it to the garage guys?", whereupon he calmly answered: "If they can do the job, why couldn't we?". We spent the evening and a good deal of the night under the Aronde, but before dawn the Aronde had a new gear box and I a valuable experience. Since then I've allways tried to do the job myself. A good workshop manual, a good place to be, plenty of time, some decent tools and a couple of beers and the job is often better done by yourself than the shop. Plus you get to know your car more and more.

I'd say go for it yourself and good luck! :great:
 

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you dont necessarrily have to have a ball joint splitter, when i put my lift in i had to seperate my upper and lower ball joints, you just gotta grease it up real good, put a jack under the joint and apply pressure upward with the jack, then take a hammer and beat on the top of the joint until it seperates, i dont really recomend this method as it took me about 20 minutes of beating each joint to get it free, this is just a last resort if you need it
 

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If you go rent a couple tools from your local Autozone, the job becomes fairly easy. You can rent the ball joint fork, and the lower ball joint C-clamp remover/installer for free. If the upper ball joints are original from the factory, they're probably riveted in, so you're going to have to drill them out. A drill bit slightly smaller than the size of the replacement bolt, a can of WD-40 or other lubricant/milling fluid to keep the bit cool, and a cold chisel to knock the heads off the rivets... It should then pop right up. The bottom one will have to be pressed in and out with the C-Clamp type tool
 

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wow, old thread with new life.
 
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