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Front suspension bottom Ball Joint removal - Suspension/Brakes/Wheels/Hubs/Steering/Geo - The Lotus Forums Jump to content
stevem

Front suspension bottom Ball Joint removal

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Hi Guys

Does anyone know the correct procedure to remove the bottom ball joint - I have a 10 tonne press but before I start want to make sure I don't stuff it up. Also I have a bolt which goes through the lower wishbone arm that's seized to the inside of the bush sleeve and won't budge. Turning the bolt turns the bush too and access to drift it out is non-existent. Any tricks to get it out ?

The ball joint and bolt are cicled in red below.

post-5938-127028060034.jpg

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Hi, I recently had exactly the same problems with the same bits.

I presume you can only press out the lower balljoint after you have removed the bolt?

Because the is not enough room to drift it out from behind, I tried prising it from the front and I also tried cutting off the head and then drifting it from the front. For mine, neither worked!! too corroded.

Also, heating the thing up just melted the bush and nothing more.

In the end, I cut away the corner of the chassis holding it - I was disposing of the chassis anyway.

I suppose the whole thing could be drilled out if you have large enough drills? Had to do this with the long rear stud.

Oh, dont forget the WD40 or plusgas, although I couldnt really get it at the right spot.

I removed the balljoint using my bearing press. You need to carefully support the wishbone whilst doing this otherwise the soft metal will be damaged. The sides are not parallel so resting it against the forceplates isn't really secure enough. I found that an old wheel bearing outer worked well. If you dont have any, take a trip to your local garage - they will have loads for exactly this kind of job. BTW, it took alot of tonnage!

Oh and dont do what I did on putting the new balljoint back - I got the rubberboot caught between the support(large socket) and the wishbone and tore it! New Balljoint.

And dont hit it with a hammer - deforms the ball and, yep, new balljoint. Use the press.

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This might be a shot in the dark, but I know years ago, one trick I used to use on stubborn bolts was to use some aerosol carburator cleaner. It seems to be thinner than WD-40 which allows it to get into tighter spots. It would usually work for me when nothing else would. Use the little pipe that comes with it, and use liberally, go have a couple smokes, eat lunch or something to give it some time to work.

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Jobs buggereed now !

Off-side ARB bush, when I was pushing it into the lower link wasn't supported well enough and it bent out of shape. I now need a new lower wishbone which won't be cheap. I don't think the old one can be repaired.

it looks like teh car is off the road for a week or three now, sat up on ramps in the front garden. So much for an easter weekend job.wallbash.gif

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Bad luck Steve. Which bit bent out of shape? Can you supply a pic - may not be scrap.

Does that mean you managed to get the bolt out then?

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You are right about it not being scrap, I may have saved it. Thanks for the inspiration.

I used the 10 tonne press as a vice to firmly hold the wishbone and then used a 'Stanley Fubar' to gently bend the bad bit back into shape. It took a bit of force but it ended up back where it was, with just a slight kink at the edge. Everything lines up OK, the centre line through the bushes is as good as it was and I may get a way with it. I'll have a go at tidying it up some more in the morning.

Here's a photo after I bent it back into shape, the circled area shows the area that was damaged. I still need to change the ball-joint and get the new bushes in, then a new coat of POR paint.

This is the drivers side wishbone, the passenger side is still on the car due to the stuck bolt and will be attacked with an angle grinder and hacksaw tomorrow.

post-5938-127029615264.jpg

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Difficult to tell from the photo but if it all lines up and is straight...

When I replaced my ARB bush, I did it in my vice. The side of the vice against the wishbone was lined with lead sheet to help prevent damage.

The bush went in with LOTS of lube, a washer and a medium sized socket. I also pre-warmed the bush in hot water first.

I got mine in with a large washer (one of the old ones from the top of the damper mount - thick and didn't bend) but Andy C says to use a small diameter one. I tried both but only succeeded with the big one. Make sure its pushed in the RIGHT way! This is from the front, thus preventing the use of a bearing press unfortunately. I bent the handle of my vice applying the amount of pressure required!

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Well the job's done.

The stuck bolt came out with some persuasion after attacking it with an angle grinder, and the lower ball joints finally came out after a few good blows with a very big hammer. After cleaning all the bits, 2 coats of paint and a set of new bushes and ball joints it all went back together without too much fuss. Every bolt, stud and nut had a good smear of Moly grease to help prevent things bonding together in the future.

The ride height was 20mm too low at the first attempt, but after struggling with spring compressors I raised it 30mm to allow for some bedding in. I have all the shocks set at 1 and will drive with them soft for a few days until the springs have bedded in. It feels very different, the steering seems lighter and a lot of the rattles have over by a 'professional' before venturing out on a long trip.

So new bushes, balljoints,springs and Protech shocks all round, lets see how long they last.

Thanks guys for offering advice, Roger and Simon in particular. It's good to have someone to bounce ideas off when things get tough. Cheers.cheers.gif

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I'm going to do my bushes and ball joints, why can't you use a ball joint removal tool? does it not fit?

Thanks

Chris

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Hi Chris

The bottom ball joint is a press fit and has splines all around the outside of the tapered body which grip into the wishbone's mounting hole. Have a look at the exploded diagram earlier in the thread and you will see it on there.

When you start yell out if I can help or share any tips with you. Good luck.

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Here is the pic of ARB bush refitting.

For some reason, I used a large nut here but infact, it needs a much deeper push - a large socket does the job. Lots of grease needed, there seem to be pressure relief holes drilled into the bush 'tunnel', presumably for exactly this.

DSCN1790.jpg

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It must be front suspension season! Did mine yesterday with lots of help from Felix, Chris (internets) & Chris (wookie). Oh, and Trevor popped over to point and gloat at some stage. All front bushes and joints are now new.

Those balljoints need a press and careful support. Just when you think you've pressed too much, they'll give way with an alimighty bang. If you put an old socket over the balljoint stud, either the whole joint will come out as required or the ball itself will punch through the bottom of the joint, in which case you then have a good surface to press on. And the ARB bushes? Spawn of the devil. Incredible how much pressure you need to push them in!

Had the same problem with a lower arm bush - bolt seized to the sleeve. Eventually cut it off the car with a hacksaw and plenty of expletives. Apart from that, not a bad job - and a world of difference in handling.

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Simon, the reason you needed such a lot of force to get the ARB bush in is the size of the pate. If you used a smaller plate the bush would be forced into a tighter cone, and so go in easier, as it was, yours was almost normal shape, so that's a lot of force required to compress the big bump.

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Is there any chance the lower ball joint will come out with the lower arm still attached to the car or is it a take it out and use a press only job.

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I've never known one come out without significant pressure. You could try, but I reckon you'd be wasting a few hours!

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Got it out. Pressed the ball out through the bottom after drilling the bottom to make it easier. Then cut most of the way through the side of the bit thats left with a hacksaw in 2 places 20 degrees apart . Punched the segment in a bit , squrt of penetrating oil and pressed the rest out. I took the idea from the bushing removal methods. Only question now is do I need a press to put it back in in which case yep ive wasted my time!!!

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:unworthy:

Not sure you'll get it in though! You're only minutes away from removing the arm...

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:unworthy:

Not sure you'll get it in though! You're only minutes away from removing the arm...

For the moment I was trying to avoid doing that as some of the threads on hear say thats full of problems as well. I suppose I cant moan on a1988 car but everything I look at is knackered. Started out as replace the brake system and now starts to look like suspension rebuild as well.

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There's a slim chance ( very slim ) that you could put the new ball joint in as far as you can and then let the weight of the car sit on it. That might be enough to seat the splined/tapered bit into the wishbone hole. If it' goes almost all the way in, taking it for a short slow drive on a bumpy road might hammer it home. ( did that once on a GT6 years ago, ) If that fails you'll have to remove the wishbone and press it in.

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Yep, that's right. But the weight of the car acts to pull the splines of the ball joint in tighter, otherwise on a bumpy road there' would be a risk of the ball joint popping out. The top of the ball joint is being held upwards by the hub as the weight of the car sits on the suspension pulling the lower wishbone down, and hence pulling the balljoint splines tighter into the big hole. The only time the ball joint could drop downwards and pop out would be when up on a jack or if the weel come off the road for some reason. ( car goes up, wheel hangs down )

I might be completely wrong, but give it some deep thought and see what you come up with. It's like one of those puzzles that looks different from every angle.

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My thought wasto try sticking the joint in the freezer and heating the end of the wishbone. Im not and expert in how low and high you need to freeze and heat to gain enough of a difference to put it in but might give it a go.

Removed the other side in 20 minutes which made up for the 2 hours mucking about taking the drivers side off :thumbsup:

Edited by mdw

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Yep, that's right. But the weight of the car acts to pull the splines of the ball joint in tighter, otherwise on a bumpy road there' would be a risk of the ball joint popping out. The top of the ball joint is being held upwards by the hub as the weight of the car sits on the suspension pulling the lower wishbone down, and hence pulling the balljoint splines tighter into the big hole. The only time the ball joint could drop downwards and pop out would be when up on a jack or if the weel come off the road for some reason. ( car goes up, wheel hangs down )

I might be completely wrong, but give it some deep thought and see what you come up with. It's like one of those puzzles that looks different from every angle.

True, hadn't thought about it that way (wheel on) I'd only considered wheel off.

I think mine went in with a press reading around 10 tons, so the 1/3 ton of the car does seem likely to do it.

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