upper/lower ball joint replacement ?? - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old Jan 2nd, 02, 03:33 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 80

Upper/lower ball joint replacement. Is this something I can do in my garage as a novice? Is there a press I can rent at a rent-all shop & if so, what is it called?

I tried this once before & could'nt get the new lower ball joint back in.

What is the difference in difficulty replacing the upper vs. the lower ball joints?

Thanks in advance for the help! This is a great outlet for Camaro questions. I am glad I found it.


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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old Jan 2nd, 02, 04:17 PM
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Location: Austin, TX
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You can get the upper ball joints in yourself...they bolt right on!

As for the lowers, I don't think I would want to risk distorting the arms by pressing them in myself. The cost of a rented press might well pay for installation of both lower ball joints. Almost any machine shop can do this with ease and less chance of mistakes!

Just my $.02

See my '68 RS/ZZ4 at http://www.100megsfree.com/choptop/camaro.html

[This message has been edited by choptop (edited 01-02-2002).]
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old Jan 2nd, 02, 04:43 PM
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As choptop said, the uppers are easy, the lowers are a bit harder. The uppers are a bolt in after you remove the old ones. If they are still the original uppers, they will be riveted in, so you will have to grind/cut the rivets to remove them. Then the new one just bolts in.

The lowers are a pressed in deal, and best left to a professional. Most shops will only charge $10 to $15 for doing each arm, so it is well worth it IMO. The amount you will save in aggravation will more than make up for it!

Good luck,
Bill C.

Bill C.
Colorado Springs, CO

68 Camaro... someday!
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old Jan 3rd, 02, 07:17 AM
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I disagree with the above replies about leaving the lowers to someone else.Snap-On sells an in-car lower joint press(real pricey)so I'm sure you can rent or buy a cheaper one.I built one from an old axle tube,some flat plate,and lengths of threaded rod.Whack the old joint out with a hammer,place the new joint in position.The press is positioned with the tube portion on top of the control arm,giving the new joint somewhere to go,the threaded rod extending to below the a-frame and the plate resting below the a-frame.A bottle jack rests on the plate and is used to press the new joint in.I know this is hard to describe in text like this,but I've used it a few times and it works OK,plus it was FREE(my favorite kind of tool)!You can do this yourself,there's a first time for everything.Do enough of this stuff and soon you'll no longer be a novice!By the way,when I do uppers on the car,I chisel off three of the four rivets BEFORE I break the ball joint loose from the spindle.This gives a much more stable platform for working,versus the a-frame flapping in the breaze while you're trying to chisel off rivets.Chisel off three,break ball joint loose from spindle with pickle fork,chisel off last rivet,ball joint is in your hand.Good luck,let us know how you do!I have no way of posting a picture of my home-made press,but my e-mail is: [email protected] Let me know if I can be of any help,maybe I can snail-mail you a sketch or some photos.


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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old Jan 3rd, 02, 05:01 PM
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Location: Arroyo Grande/SLO, ca usa
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Even though Harbor Freight sells a ball joint press kit for $39.99 on sale, I'd opt for a floor press for the bottom ball joints, just for the added ease of force.
Every once and a while Harbor Freight has their 12-ton shop press on sale for $89.95. To go with it you will need to cutoff two sizes of the proper diameter pipe to match the same size as the lower ball joint. The smaller diameter pipe (or I've used a rigid conduit coupling before) to press the ball joint down from the top. And, the larger pipe to press it in from the bottom without damaging the inner bottom of the ball joint or area where the zirc fitting goes.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old Jan 4th, 02, 04:39 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 80

I appreciate the input. I am thinking maybe I should just have someone press the lower ball joints in for me but I am not giving up just yet. However, If I have someone press in the joints, won't I have to remove the lower control arm? Car obviously won't drive. That does'nt sound good. Any ideas?
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old Jan 4th, 02, 06:09 AM
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If you are going to the trouble of replacing the ball joints, I'd seriously consider replacing the bushings in the control arms, it makes a world of difference. Which means of course that you have to remove the arms and probably have them pressed out/in also. In that case, you might as well have them press the ball joints in...

Peter, I do agree that you can do it yourself, but if this is a one-time deal, I don't think it's worth the trouble to make the press or rent one. Sounds like you do it quite a bit, so it would be worth it in that case.

Bill C.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old Jan 4th, 02, 08:58 AM
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I know kz1000ltd took his control arms to the mechanic down the street and had him press the lower ball joints on. Cost him like 5 bucks a piece! If it's a one time deal I'd definitely just take it someplace rather than buy or rent some expensive equipment.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old Jan 6th, 02, 06:04 AM
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Anderson, S.C. USA
Posts: 28

It's not really that difficult to change either upper or lower. Just make sure you are careful about the spring. I went to Advance Auto Parts and rented the press for FREE and changed out my lower ball joint. In less than an hour I was driving again.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old Jan 6th, 02, 08:20 AM
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Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 288

Sgrouse, Like many others have stated earlier in the post... Let someone else replace the lowers! You'll need to go somwhere like Advanced and borrow a spring compessor to disassemble to control arms. I paid a $53.00 deposit for the tool, which I still haven't returned. And loaned to several folks to do their front ends. Thought that I would get my money's worth and use up the tool before I returned it anyway.

Also take BC's advice and replace the bushings as well... You won't regret doing it and you wont have to tear the whole thing apart again to do it later

Good luck and be safe doing this task!

1967 Prostreet Camaro
BBC TH 400 w/4,500 stall 4:56 gears,narrowed and tubbed...
Momma's new toy

[This message has been edited by 67 Prostreet (edited 01-06-2002).]
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