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Old 02-05-2020, 04:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
davester
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Canada
Posts: 4,441

Replaced the lower ball joint and wheel hub on my truck

Just did one side, as I don't work particularly fast. Rockauto has/had Timken hubs on sale for under $100 as a closeout special, and mine were making some noise, and Moog K6693 lower ball joints, as the boot on one of them had split and they were of unknown age.

There are lots of videos on how to do the job, just wanted to post some tips from me doing it.

I did it the "home" way, in that instead of removing the torsion bar, etc.. as described in the full service manual, I just put a jackstand under the LCA, and just removed enough to get the job done.

You can replace the lower ball joint without disconnecting the upper ball joint or tie rod. Doing it this way sucks. There was barely enough clearance to get the original stud out of the knuckle [needed to pry on it a bit] (installing it on the new Moog one wasn't a problem as the threaded part was shorter), and the UCA & knuckle also just barely gave me enough room to get my ball joint press in place to remove and installed the ball joints with a wrench [there was no room for a ratchet/socket or use an impact on it]. Doing the upper ball joint or replacing the UCA at the same time would make the job a lot more straightforward.


It's possible to get a bit more clearance, by jacking the frame of the truck up, so the LCA will drop down a bit relative to the frame. I didn't do this, as I didn't want to risk it possibly slipping on the jackstand, and dealing with that train wreck.


And a tip for installing the ball joint. You need to make sure the location of the grease fitting is facing the correct way, but it can be a juggling act getting all the parts of the ball joint press tool in place properly, and it can be easy for the ball joint to be rotated while doing this, and you can't see where it's pointing with the tool in place. I used a yellow paint marker to put a mark on the outside edge of the ball joint socket, just by where the spacer for the ball joint press goes, and it was easy to get it aligned properly with the tool in place.

Fortunately, I had coated the splines of the axles with anti-seize compound, so they came out pretty easily. When I removed them from my parts truck (when I upgrade my truck to 4wd), I had to make a press to get them out...

I think I'll get some upper ball joints before doing the other side, so it'll be an easier job to do, and the upper ones have about 100k km on them. They still seem good, but they are likely nearer the end of their life than the beginning....

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2004 GMC Sierra 3500 C&C, added 4WD, 6.0L gas, Extended Cab, SLE, Transgo 4L80e-HD2 kit installed
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