Tech help: Replacing Gen1 ball joints?

Discussion in 'RT/10 and GTS Discussions' started by obaa996, Jan 4, 2007.

  1. obaa996

    obaa996 Enthusiast

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    I'm trying to replace the passenger side rear ball joints on my Gen1, and am looking for some advice on how the suspension is disassembled.
    I've pulled the driveshaft and popped the lower control arm free of the ball joint. The lower ball joint is still attached to the knuckle. Per the shop manual, it is not serviceable, apart from replacing the entire knuckle; however, the ball joint is listed as a separate part in the parts catalog, and I have seen references to it as a separate part in the archive. How does the ball joint come out? Is it pressed into place, or screwed in? If screwed in, which way does it need to be turned to be removed (when viewed from the bottom/grease fitting side)?
    I'd also like to replace the upper ball joint while I'm in there, but I can't even get the nut off; the stub axle prevents me from using either my u-joint or wobble extension on the socket. Do I need to disassemble the hub to get sufficient clearance? It seems that if I can remove the lower ball joint, I can slip my extension through the opening to remove the nut. I'll then be stuck with the issue of how to remove the upper ball joint from the control arm; I'd guess it comes off the same way as the lower joint.
    If you guys have any hands-on advice, I'd love to hear it.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Tom F&L GoR

    Tom F&L GoR Viper Owner

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    Perhaps worst case is you could purchase the lower ball joint now (since you are replacing it anyway) and having a fresh one in your hands would tell you how it's installed.
     
  3. obaa996

    obaa996 Enthusiast

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    Okay, I did some more poking around, and think I understand what needs to happen.
    I popped the lower control arm off the ball joint with a pitman arm puller. To pop the upper arm, it looks like I need to pull out the stub axle as well as the halfshaft. I'll then be able to remove the nut with an impact and apporpriate ujoints. I may then be able to pop off the arm using the pitman arm puller again (it may fit); if not, there is a special tool which basically wedges and expands against the lower half of the knuckle to pop off the control arm.
    The upper ball joint unscrews from the control arm, again using a special tool. I may try pulling the arm out and using a vise to turn the ball joint.
    The lower ball joint looks to be a trickier deal. It is a pressed-in ball joint. Per the service manual, it is not serviceable, and the knuckle needs to replaced. However, the parts manual lists a valid part number (4643209), and I can even find a price for it ($56.45), although I don't know if it can actually be purchased. The local NAPA does not have a cross-reference for this part. I found an old post in the archives (actually, one of yours Tom) stating:
    "Lower pressed-in ball joints are part number 4848 174. Upper ball joints are the common Ram van/pickup piece (that I can't find the number for right now.) Thanks, Janni."
    Is this the correct replacement lower joint? NAPA can't cross-reference that number either, so I don't know where to find the joint.
    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  4. Tom F&L GoR

    Tom F&L GoR Viper Owner

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    I was saving future info and got that from Janni Cone. Their proximity to tom Sessions means he might know as well. They used up a few ball joints while racing their Gen II. Might want to get hold of her or Tom.
     
  5. obaa996

    obaa996 Enthusiast

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    Thanks Tom,
    I'll try to contact them and see if they have any further info.
    I managed to remove the rear knuckle from the car. There's a parts place near me that has some pressed-in ball joints for a '94 Dakota in stock. I remember reading that a bunch of the front suspension pieces interchanged with the Dakota, so perhaps I'll be lucky with the ball joint.
     
  6. Randy Blaylock

    Randy Blaylock Enthusiast

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    I recently replaced the rear lower ball joints on my GenII road race car. I got lucky in that a large pitman arm puller worked for both upper and lower ball joints (and toe link) to remove the knuckle in it's entirety. I was able to loosen and remove the nuts without using an impact since in theory, and hopefully practice, the studs should be fairly snug in the bore of the knuckle. I did strip everything down to the bare knuckle containing the lower ball joint.

    I got the ball joints and dust boots from Snakeoyl, and Cam at Maltby Motorsports here in Woodinville WA installed the new ball joints. I was going to fabricate up some kind of tool to use in a press, but Cam said he already had something set up to do the job. FWIW, if memory serves, the ball joints are identical front to rear, uppers and lowers. Of course I can't speak to GenI stuff.
     
  7. obaa996

    obaa996 Enthusiast

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    Hey thanks!
    Okay, so it looks like the ball joints are definitely obtainable/replaceable. I'm still going to try and order the joints from Dodge, though it looks like I can get them from SnakeOyl if Dodge doesn't want to sell them. I actually only need to replace the boots, but if I'm this far down the path.....
    I'm using a giant C-clamp type device to press out the joints; I don't have access to a shop press. Should work fine though, as my friend has used to replace joints on big trucks (he works for the hwy dept).
     
  8. 99 R/T 10

    99 R/T 10 Enthusiast

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    Check with Chuck Tator or JonB too. Their prices and experience will be invaluable. Post up with prices and pictures of the job after it's completion :2tu:
     

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