To remove the LOWER ball joints, you'll need a ball joint press, It looks like a giant
C clamp with various sized bushings to fit various sized joints -
The tool loans out from AutoZone for 100 bucks. Use it for up to 90 days and return
To remove the UPPER ball joints, if they've never been changed, you'll need a grinder
and/or drill with some quailty bits and lubricant and a lot of patience. You have to remove
the rivets that hold the OEM ball joints up there. The replacements will have nuts and
bolts so you won't have to worry about grinding again. I don't have pics of that, sorry.
But in the brake pic below, you can see the heads of the four rivets, two on each side
of the zerk fitting on top of the upper ball joint. Those 4 rivets are what you'll need
to grind out/drill out.
To remove the brake calipers you'll need a 3/8 allen key. You can use a regular angled
allen wrench but it's simpler and a lot quicker to just buy the fitting as a 3/8 drive socket fitting.
It's only a couple of bucks, Dorman HELP product.
Removing the caliper bolt UPPER -
Removing the caliper bolt LOWER -
When you re-install the calipers, lubricate those bolts with some axle grease.
Hang the caliper out of the way on a piece of wire to get it out of your work area
and to avoid stressing the brake line.
Before re-installing the caliper, compress the wheel cylinder with a C clamp so that
you can get everything back onto the rotor, especially if you end up installing new pads.
Brake pads will lift out or fall out. Inspect and consider replacing them while you're
As long as you've got everything apart, repack your wheel bearings with 5 cents worth
of grease, or replace them for only a few dollars more. Replace the inner bearing seals
for a dollar each side. Replace the spindle washer and nut for two dollars per side.
While you're in there, inspect your brake pads and rotors.
As you remove the brakes, take the pads to a clean and safe spot away from your
work area to avoid getting grease and junk on them. Do the same with the disc rotors
and especially the bearings but in a different spot than the brake pads. The disc is
filled with grease, the bearings/nut/washer/dust cap are filled with grease. You don't
want them to gather grit from your work area (esp grinding those upper ball joint rivets)
and you don't want them to transfer their grease to the brake pads.
BEFORE YOU BREAK LOOSE either the top or bottom ball joint with your pickle fork,
place your floor jack under the lower control arm. Spring pressure will want to force
the lower control arm to drop really hard. Just place the jack under there with a half inch
or so of clearance so that when it does drop, it will be supported.
Installing the lower ball joint is sort of the reverse of removing it (duh).
Lightly grease the mating surfaces of the lower control arm and the ball joint.
You will need a LOT of torque to get them in. Given the option of my 32 inch
Harbor Freight breaker bar or my normal length Craftsman half inch ratchet
with a cheater pipe, I would have rather used the ratchet and cheater. Only because
if it broke, Sears is one mile away and easier to replace the tool if it broke.
The lower ball joint will seem like it's not going in straight. That's normal.
It will eventually seat where it's supposed to, even if it's a little cocked
on the way in.
Sockets to fit the ball joints (~19 and 24mm). Torque wrench. Grease gun. 5/16 socket to install the
new zerk fittings on your new joints. Wheel bearing grease. 1 1/16 inch socket to fit the spindle nut.
Aerosol brake cleaner to clean off the disc and pads after you've put everything back together.
Shop rags, degreaser, hand cleaner, jacks, jack stands, BFH, pry bar, scraper tool (big flat blade screwdriver)
to scrape off old and caked on grease/dirt around the ball joint mounts. Cordless drill with wire brush
to clean up the ball joint seats, especially the bottom one. Ibuprophen once you're finished. Front end alignment.
Digital camera and shapely assistant to document everything.