Chevy Truck 4wd Front Axle Ball Joint Replacement Instructions

The following instructions are according to GM specs, and include the use of special tools available from General Motors.

The special tools are -

J-9519-10 - "C" Clamp (not just a simple "C" Clamp)

J-23454 - 1

J-23454-4 - Sleeve - (Can be fabricated from 2-3/8" O.D. steel tubing with a minimum of 2-1/16" I.D., cut 2-1/2" long.)

J-23447 - Spanner (Wrench)

J-6382-3

 

Steering Knuckle Removal K10, K20 (With Ball Joints) -

1. Remove the automatic locking hub, hub-and-disc assembly, and spindle components.
2. Remove the steering arm.
3. Remove the cotter pin from the upper ball joint castle nut.
4. Remove the retaining nuts from the upper and lower ball sockets.
5. Remove the knuckle assembly from the yoke by inserting a suitable wedge shaped tool between the lower ball stud and the yoke and tapping on the tool to release the knuckle assembly. Repeat as required at the upper ball stud location.

Ball Joint Service -

NOTICE: Do not remove the yolk upper ball stud adjusting sleeve unless new ball studs are being installed. If it is necessary to loosen the sleeve to remove the knuckle, do not loosen it more than a few threads using Spanner J-23447. The non-hardened threads in the yoke can be easily damaged by the hardened threads in the adjusting sleeve if caution is not used during knuckle removal.

- On the LH knuckle, it is necessary to remove the steering arm before servicing the upper ball joint. Remove the lower ball joint snap ring before beginning.
Lower ball joint must be removed before any service can be performed on the upper ball joint.

1. Remove the lower ball joint using tools J-9519-10 and J-23454-1, and sleeve J23454-4 or equivalent.
If tool J-23454-4 is not available a suitable tool can be fabricated from 2 - 3/8" O.D. steel tubing with a minimum of 2 - 1/16" I.D., cut 2 - 1/2" long.

2. Remove the upper ball joint using tools J-9519-10,  J-23445-1, and sleeve J23454-4 or equivalent.

3. Install lower ball joint into knuckle. Make sure that the lower ball joint (the one without the cotter pin hole in the stud end) is straight. Press the stud into the knuckle until properly seated using tools J-9519-10, J-23454-2, and J-23454-4 or equivalent, and install snap ring.

4. Install upper ball joint into knuckle. Press the stud into the knuckle until properly seated using tools J-9519-10, J-23454-2, and J-23454-4 or equivalent.

Installation - (*See note)

1. Position the knuckle and sockets to the yoke. Install new nuts finger tight to the upper (the nut with the cotter pin slot) and lower ball socket studs.

2. Push up on the knuckle (to keep the ball socket from turning in the knuckle) while tightening the lower socket retaining nut. PARTIALLY torque the lower nut to 30 ft. lbs.

3. Torque the yoke upper ball stud adjusting sleeve to 50 ft. lbs. using Spanner J-23447.

4. Torque the upper ball socket nut to 100 ft. lbs. After torquing the nut, do not loosen to install cotter pin, apply additional torque, if necessary, to align hole in stud with slot in nut. Install cotter pin.

5. Apply FINAL torque to lower nut, 70 ft. lbs.

6. If the tie rod and steering arm were removed:
a. Assemble the steering arm using the three stud adapters and three new self locking nuts. Torque the nuts to 90 ft. lbs.

b. Assemble the tie rod to the knuckle arm. Torque the tie rod nuts to 45 ft. lbs, and install cotter pins.

*Note: Always use fasteners of the same grade as the original ones. Using inferior fasteners can result in premature parts failure. Using inferior fasteners can result in unsafe conditions, and hazardous part failures. Never substitute lower quality fasteners. Always torque fasteners to specifications.


Ball Joint Adjustment -

Front axle ball joint adjustment is generally necessary only when there is excessive play in steering, irregular wear on tires, or persistent loosening of the tie rod is observed.

1. Raise the vehicle on a hoist then place jack stands just inside of the front springs.

2. disconnect connecting rod and tie rod to allow independent movement of each steering knuckle.

3. Apply a fish scale to the tie rod mounting hole in the steering knuckle arm. With the knuckle assembly in the straight ahead position, determine the right angle pull required to keep the knuckle turning after the initial break away. This pull should not exceed 25 lbs., for each knuckle assembly, in either direction.
 

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5-20-03

2003 Charles D. Smith