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 Post subject: Easy way to break Lower Ball Joint loose!
PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 9:51 pm 
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I know many of the experienced guys will know this, but I wanted to post this trick for any new people. It'll come in handy if they ever have to pull a CV axle on the trail...

You can easily break the Lower Ball Joint loose with a Ball Joint Tool from any auto parts store. This will look like a silver fork with two prongs and be about 8 or 10 inches long. (cost about $10 - get the one with the narrow gap) It is intended to be used by putting the ball in the center. However, This trick is better on our Jeeps. If you notice on the lower control arm there is a tab that sticks up behind the lower ball joint. Stick the tines of the ball joint tool right in front of that and drive it in with a hammer. It breaks the ball joint loose and never touches the rubber boot on the ball joint. Works like a charm and it is much much much easier than any other method I've tried!

Feel free to add to the idea or point out better methods.

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DIY Frankie Lift, BBS Rims, Aussie Locker Rear, DTT Front, Renegade Rack & Light Bar, Custom Front Bumper w/ Warn XD9000i, Custom Rear Bumper, JBA UCA's, Full Skids(Mopar, Kilby and Super skid), CRS Rock Rails, CB, EVIC, Nav, power dim mirror, (2) 8" subs under front seats. http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2512777


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 9:54 pm 
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Placing a jack under the LCA and put a little tension on it(trying to lift it,just a little bit) and then a few well placed hits(man hits :wink: ) on the LCA next to the LBJ and it will separate real fast,just the basic idea for the UCA's.If you plan on re-using the LBJ/UBJ do not use a pickle fork like described in the post above.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 5:10 pm 
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Not tryin' to hijack but here's a related story:

'bout a month ago i decide to finally go ahead and do the clevis lift as i needed to fit my new tires (which still don't fit, but that's another story). So the passenger side gets done without a hitch and i move to the driver's side which fought me EVERY STEP OF THE WAY.

First i stripped the nut trying to disconnect the sway bar so had to BFH a smaller socket on it in order to get that nut off (i just got the socket back off last week). Then i couldn't get that friggin' LBJ to release to save my life! After trying to be nice w/it i resorted to . . . you guessed it . . . poundin' the life out of it w/my BFH. Granted, not a smart idea but at the end of the day and you're PO'd and just want to hit something anyway, well, you know. No success. :x

So next morning i awaken w/fresh resolve, lots of time and a case of cold ones and decide "i can do this"! So after about 10 more minutes of pounding, already sweatin' so hard i can't hold the hammer, i'm like "what i really need is a pitman arm puller". One beer later i'm like "hey, didn't i buy a pitman arm puller last fall"? Yep, sure did. :lol: Put the thing to work and the LBJ popped right outa' there. One more beer to celebrate . . . albeit prematurely. i get the clevis done, go to put the LBJ back together and realize that the work i'd done w/said BFH has mushroomed the bottom of the Moog so i can't just screw the nut back on. 'Nother beer as i'm lookin' at the grinder and deciding "i'll just grind the mushroomed portion off so i can get the blessed nut back on the ball joint". So after a bit of careful grinding i thread the nut back on (which took a good 10 minutes just to get started) and begin tightening only to have it bite and stop threading about an inch onto it. :? Best guess is that when the joint popped out it scraped the threads (at any rate i'm just sure they weren't damaged by all my surgical work w/the BFH). :oops: So now what? There's no way to grasp the bolt portion of the ball joint to keep it from turning whilst i tighten the nut so i start shopping tap & dye's.

In case anyone was wondering, there's no tap & dye large enough to fit the bolt of a Moog LBJ stocked in any store ANYWHERE! i checked NAPA, Auto Zone, Advanced Auto, Sears, Ace Hardware, etc. So with the tap & dye option gone bye bye i was left scratchin' my head.

In great desperation, i had a stroke of genius (or at least a last desperate idea). Went to Ace and bought a "Grab bit", you know those bits used to remove stripped screws, etc. i bored into the bottom of the ball joint just enough to tap the Grab bit in. i threaded the nut on then, using vice-grips to hold the grab bit and therefore the ball joint in place, i was able to s-l-o-w-l-y tighten all the way back on and get the ball joint seated.

So let this be a lesson and don't get to pounding things just cause you feel like it. :twisted: And remember "It may be that the purpose of your life is simply to serve as a warning to others"! :wink:

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:07 pm 
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Just out of curiosity, is the reason you state not to use the pickle fork due to damage to the rubber boot or to the ball inside? (as it is forced against the "socket" part of the ball joint) I'm no expert mechanic (obviously) but I would think that if the ball joint isn't strong enough to take prying it loose, you may not wanna re-use it anyway. And on the boot, The fork does not come anywhere near it using the method above (but that is only on the LBJ). You are actually prying between the Hub and the LCA behind the ball joint.

I tried a BFH on the lower ball joint in the past and it took an hour (w/ man hits) to get the thing to break loose. I put a floor jack under it directly on the threaded portion (with the nut off) so that all of the weight of the hub and suspension where helping break it loose and then hit the LCA hard for what seemed like all day. I think I even had come back on the next day to finally break it loose. Using the fork method, I can break it loose in 2 or 3 moderate hits.

I will admit that this could be due to the fact that the ball joint has been broken loose recently. The first time (mentioned above) it probably had not been broken loose in the entire 70,000 miles that were on the jeep.

Of course the absolute best method for dealing with ball joints is to replace them with steering knuckles :lol:

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2003 Liberty Sport 4X4
DIY Frankie Lift, BBS Rims, Aussie Locker Rear, DTT Front, Renegade Rack & Light Bar, Custom Front Bumper w/ Warn XD9000i, Custom Rear Bumper, JBA UCA's, Full Skids(Mopar, Kilby and Super skid), CRS Rock Rails, CB, EVIC, Nav, power dim mirror, (2) 8" subs under front seats. http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2512777


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:11 pm 
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rescu2000 wrote:
Just out of curiosity, is the reason you state not to use the pickle fork due to damage to the rubber boot or to the ball inside? (as it is forced against the "socket" part of the ball joint) I'm no expert mechanic (obviously) but I would think that if the ball joint isn't strong enough to take prying it loose, you may not wanna re-use it anyway. And on the boot, The fork does not come anywhere near it using the method above (but that is only on the LBJ). You are actually prying between the Hub and the LCA behind the ball joint.

I tried a BFH on the lower ball joint in the past and it took an hour (w/ man hits) to get the thing to break loose. I put a floor jack under it directly on the threaded portion (with the nut off) so that all of the weight of the hub and suspension where helping break it loose and then hit the LCA hard for what seemed like all day. I think I even had come back on the next day to finally break it loose. Using the fork method, I can break it loose in 2 or 3 moderate hits.

I will admit that this could be due to the fact that the ball joint has been broken loose recently. The first time (mentioned above) it probably had not been broken loose in the entire 70,000 miles that were on the jeep.

Of course the absolute best method for dealing with ball joints is to replace them with steering knuckles :lol:
That's odd,I've never had to wack a LBJ/UBJ or tie rod end more then 3-5 times to get them broke loose,and yes that includes KJ's and the 1000+ others I've done.


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 Post subject: Re: Easy way to break Lower Ball Joint loose!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:33 pm 
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