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The Green Machine
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Discussion Starter #1
I replaced my ball joints last weekend and documented the procedure here:
Replacing Ball Joints – 2nd Gen Ram 1500 4x4 (94-01)

READ THE ENTIRE POST THROUGH BEFORE STARTING.

The night before, soak all of the nuts, bolts, and the ball joints themselves with Seafoam Deep Creep or PB Blaster.



You’ll need some specialty tools to replace the upper and lower ball joints on a 2nd Generation Ram:

1) Ball joint/U-joint service kit – this can be purchased/rented at the parts store (this one is from Advance Auto Parts)




2) Gear puller kit (not necessary, but is handy for removing tie-rod end from knuckle)

3)
1 and 11/16” socket, 1 and 1/8th inch socket, 3/8 inch Allen-head socket

4) Air compressor and impact wrench (again, not necessary but extremely useful in replacing axle nut and lower ball joint nut)

5) One of these tools or a very big screwdriver:



6) 4-foot section of pipe


Aside from the special tools, you'll also need an assortment of standard tools:

1) Big Friggin' Hammer (3-4 lb. mini-sledgehammer)

2) Needlenose pliers for cotterpin removal

3) 6-point sockets: 3/4 inch; 13/16 inch; 7/8 inch

4) 12-point socket: 9/16 inch

5) Ball-peen (or other) hammer

6) 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch breaker bars (3/4 inch bar not necessary if using compressor and impact wrench)

< continued below >

 

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The Green Machine
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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
You're now ready to begin - if you have all of the proper tools, the job can be completed in 3-4 hours.

1) Loosen lugnuts, but do not remove.

2) Jack up vehicle by the axle and place jack stand under axle. Remove lugnuts, then remove wheel.

3) If not using a compressor and impact wrench, disconnect drag link from pitman arm to avoid damage to steering box seals.


* * Yes, my trackbar is shot - that's a future write-up ;)


4) Remove axle nut with 1 and 11/16 inch socket with either the impact wrench or the 3/4 inch breaker bar and 4-foot pipe






5) Remove brake caliper using the 3/8 inch allen-head socket - set the caliper on the lower control arm or tie it up out of the way with wire or coat hanger. ** Take care not to damage the brake hose **

6) Remove brake rotor

7) Loosen the three 12-point bolts holding in the hub bearing using the 9/16 inch socket. Do not remove the bolts yet - you only want the bolts out about 1/2 inch. Using the ball peen hammer, carefully bang on the three bolts to unseat the hub bearing. Repeat process until hub bearing is removable.






< continued below >
 

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The Green Machine
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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
8) Remove the axle shaft. Support the shaft with one hand while pulling it out with the other:




9) Disconnect tie rod end from knuckle with socket (13/16 inch - passenger side; 7/8 inch - driver side) and gear puller. Support tie rod on spare jack stand or bungee cord it to the coil spring:




10) Remove cotter pin and loosen nut on upper ball joint (7/8 inch socket)

11) Loosen nut on lower ball joint (1 and 1/8 inch socket)

12) Break knuckle free by persuading it with the BFH:






13) Remove nuts from ball joints. Remove knuckle and boots:




14) Assemble ball joint tool on upper ball joint using the appropriate spacers and snug it up - don't tighten yet. Smack ear around joint (see second pic below) with BFH to loosen joint. Crank tool until resistance is encountered. Smack with BFH, crank, repeat until ball joint is free.








15) Repeat process on lower ball joint (note placement of threaded rod in empty upper ball joint hole):






< continued below >
 

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The Green Machine
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Discussion Starter #4
16) Install lower ball joint using proper spacers (again, rod will go thru empty hole for upper ball joint):




17) Install upper ball joint using the angled spacer underneath (short side faces in; fat side faces out) and the appropriate spacers on top. The angled spacer insures proper alignment when pressing the joint in place:




18) Install zerk fittings and add a little grease to the joints, if necessary (they'll only need a pump; two at most).



** Notice that the lower ball joints is raised slightly on the outside and flush on the inside - this is the proper placement.


19) Position knuckle and install nuts on ball joints. Place jack under knuckle and raise jack to properly seat the knuckle.




20) Snug up the nuts, then torque to spec (consult manual - mine were 80 ft/lbs upper; 75 ft/lbs lower). Install new cotter pin on upper ball joint.

21) Reinstall axle shaft, hub bearing, rotor, caliper, axle nut, and tie rod. Remember the cotter pins (preferably new ones, but the old ones can be used if they're in good shape).

22) Now, go do the other side :D
 

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The Green Machine
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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
This info can also be had in PDF format.

PM me with your email address and I will send it (it's about 2.5 MB).



This is the END of the Article
 
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