Useful Tips

Do-it-yourself ball joint replacement: instructions with photos and videos


Each car owner felt and heard extraneous, non-harking car sounds and knocks. There are many reasons for the occurrence of excess knocks, but one of the most common is wear on the ball joint of the car. And do not immediately despair and go to the service station, there is an option to replace the defective part yourself.

The ball joint is a very valuable suspension component that connects the wheel hub and the suspension arm, which allows the car wheel to rotate. Its design consists of a mushroom-like finger and a polymer body.

In its ideal form, the replacement of the support should be carried out every 100 thousand kilometers, since it does not have a particularly complex structure and mechanism. Due to our poor-quality roads, poor-quality material, ball replacement occurs much more often than it should. And you can not neglect it in any case.

Causes of Ball Joint Problems

Ball bearings during vehicle operation carry a large number of loads, since they are located in the main part of the car. In most cases, the wear of the ball joint is due to an increase in the gap between the finger and the polymer body.

The increase in clearance occurs for the following reasons:

  • finger or body wear
  • high-speed driving on poor and bad roads,
  • rupture of the anther housing that protects the finger from environmental influences,
  • installation of low-quality and used spare parts,
  • lack of lubrication as a result of anther breakthrough.

Change the ball joint yourself

Initially, replacing this part seems to be a difficult and time-consuming task. Since not all of us have locksmith skills or even the slightest idea about the arrangement of the chassis of the car. But all skills appear only with experience. In today's crisis time, more and more car owners are wondering every day how to replace the ball joint in a more economical way. After all, car repair at specialized service stations is far from cheap, and you do not want to and do not recommend visiting an unknown master.

In order to independently determine whether replacement of a part is required, the car owner needs to carry out diagnostic work. Below are a few simple options for work, by which you can determine the presence of malfunctions of the ball joint and understand whether it is worth the repair.

First option. Using a jack, raise the wheel from the right side, stagger the wheel forward and backward. If a wheel free wheel movement is detected, the ball must be replaced immediately.

The second option. You need to take a good mount or a thick rod, lie under the car and insert the mount between the lever and the ball joint. Use a strong downward pressure on the mount to check for any play on the ball joint.

Third option Suitable for those who have some understanding of the suspension device of the car. It will be necessary to completely remove the ball bearing, hold the metal finger with one hand, and with the other hand the bearing housing and make pulling movements up and down, as if you want to break the support. If there is a finger stroke in the body, the ball bearing has become unusable.

After identifying defects, it is necessary to immediately carry out its replacement parts.

Ball joint selection

The choice of ball bearings must be approached carefully and with extreme caution. Today, we have a huge number of auto parts manufacturers. When choosing a part, you need not be mean, but buy an expensive spare part. Since the time of its operation and comfort during the trip directly depends on the quality of the product. Also, the production technology of spare parts and the quality of the materials used affect the operational period of the use of the supports. Reinforced spare parts are often sold in car dealerships - those that have an increased resource of use and are made of more reliable materials.

It is important to remember that the safety and life of all passengers of the machine depend on the condition and performance of the ball joint.

Replacing the ball joint itself

Having successfully purchased spare parts, you can begin the process of replacing the desired part.

To carry out this type of work, we will need the following tools that are available to each owner of the machine:

  • jack,
  • balloon wrench
  • a set of keys, if any, it is better with a cap
  • a special puller, if this is not, then an ordinary hammer,
  • grease.

Replacement using a puller

Before lifting the car, the wheel mounting bolts break down, but they do not need to be completely unscrewed. Under the remaining three wheels, ordinary bricks or other devices are placed to prevent the vehicle from rolling back in any direction.

Then the car rises, using a jack, on the side from which the ball joint will be replaced. To comply with personal safety measures and avoid damage to the car, we substitute a stump or other item of special strength under the car body. This is necessary so that during the work carried out with the use of force, the car does not accidentally fall off the jack. Additional support must be placed as close as possible near the jack, to the appropriate height.

  • After that, the fixing bolts are unscrewed, and the wheel is carefully removed. Then we take the key we need, a nut is twisted from the finger of the ball joint,
  • then the other two nuts that hold our ball bearing are unscrewed,
  • the next process will require a special puller. Since all of our nuts are unscrewed, you must insert a puller between the support housing and the lever. In order to install it correctly, you need to make a little effort. Then rotate the support

  • we take a new spherical time and we remove from it a rubber boot. We apply a large amount of grease to the anther, using a pressing method that completely fills it and leaves no voids in the anther itself. The ball joint itself, from above near the finger, is also treated with grease. After processing the ball and anther, we collect everything in one piece, and remove the excess grease that has come out, remove it with a rag,
  • remaining grease on the surface of the anther can cause a rapid failure of the anther itself.

Replacing ball joints with a hammer

We take a key and we unscrew a nut from a support finger until that moment when it will be equal to a finger axis. Next, with the help of the mount, we pull the lever down and make small taps with a hammer on the lever until it moves down from the ball finger.

After the lever lowers on its own onto the support nut, you can safely twist it. Then we unscrew the remaining nuts and dismantle the ball joint.

The process of installing a new part occurs in the reverse order. But you need to remember that when fixing the ball joint with a finger, it tends to rotate as the nut moves. In this case, to secure it, it is necessary to hold it with a mount.

Since the quality of the goods in our market wants to be the best, and the quality service of the car will not lead to breakage, it is better to see the damage in advance than to eliminate the consequences of a ball break.

Lubricant residues on the boot of the ball joint can lead to an early failure of the boot itself.

That's basically it. Now we have the knowledge and will be able to independently replace the ball bearing on our car, which will significantly save the family budget. The work that we considered feasible only by professional craftsmen is actually quite simple, and if you follow this instruction and safety measures, it is feasible.

Symptoms of Ball Joint Failure

First of all, you need to make sure that it is the ball bearing that is faulty. Initial verification is very simple. We remove the steering lock - insert the key into the ignition and unlock the steering wheel. On an unfinished car, swing the steering wheel from side to side. The movements should be short and rather sharp. We pay attention from which side the knock is heard. If the wear of the ball joint is negligible, such loads may be insufficient, and noise may not be. In this case, steering rods and tips can also knock. This method is rather preliminary - it helps to determine the problem side, but does not give accurate statements.

Checking ball bearings

We drive the car into a viewing hole or overpass. We apply the parking brake, engage the first gear of the gearbox, set the steering wheel in neutral. We leave the car and put wheel chocks under the rear wheels. Jack the car from the sound of knocking. Do not forget about insurance - we use stands under the threshold. In their absence, put a spare tire. The resulting clearance between the wheel and the ground should be sufficient for unhindered access to the inside of the wheel.

We swing the wheel, applying force to its upper and lower point vertically. At this moment, a partner who can visually determine the presence of play at the junction of the ball joint with the steering knuckle will not hurt. If you hear a knock, but visually the defect cannot be determined, put your hand on the support and repeat the action. The presence of play can be felt.

When there is nobody to help, we use a mount or a large key or a piece of reinforcement. From the side of the inspection pit, we mount between the suspension arm and the steering knuckle, after examining the boot for breaks.

Gently shaking, we observe the presence of play. It is important to distinguish the working stroke of the ball finger from the malfunction. If, when exposed to the assembly, slight displacements of the suspension arm are visible without extraneous noise and knocks, while the design does not lose rigidity, this is a working move. If under load the distance between the lever and the fist increases, a knock is heard, and vibration is felt through the mount - this is the output in the ball itself. All the same actions, if necessary, are repeated on the other hand.

You can watch more details about checking the ball joint in the video:

What you need to replace the ball joint

To carry out repairs, you will need a set of tools and keys, a hammer and installation. For convenience, it makes sense to acquire a special ball bearing puller. Before buying, it is better to consult with the seller.

It is also recommended to purchase a brush for metal, which will clean the bolts and nuts from adhering sand and dirt. And “Liquid Key” is a penetrating lubricant with a rust converter. We will facilitate the loosening of acidified threaded joints, we will make the bolt room less likely.

We buy spare parts

The selection of spare parts is carried out according to the VIN code of your car, which eliminates the selection error. But it is not superfluous to play it safe and pay attention to the ball bearing during diagnosis. On some vehicles, the left support is different from the right. Choosing a manufacturer, we follow the recommendations of the seller. Value for money should be satisfying. Ball bearing is an important element of the suspension, affecting the safety of movement, so you should not save on it.

Front left and right ball bearings on the Toyota Corolla EE90

Depending on the manufacturer, a set of new mounting bolts and nuts may be attached to the ball joint.

A very important point! Old fasteners quite often “sour”, which causes difficulties during dismantling. Sometimes, it turns out to unscrew them only by deforming. Cut threads, broken bolts, broken edges can make you go to the store in the middle of repair work, leaving the car disassembled. In the absence of new hardware in the set, we are interested in where they can be purchasedwhether it is possible to return the goods in case of uselessness.

1. The support is pressed into the suspension arm or bolted

First and foremost, do not forget about safety: handbrake, transmission, wheel chocks. We use a wheel wrench to tear off wheel bolts or nuts. We lift the car with a jack. We place racks or a spare wheel under the threshold. We turn off the wheel fasteners and remove the wheel. With a metal brush, we clean the fasteners of the ball joint and the bolts of the silent blocks of the suspension arm. We process the "Liquid key." We are waiting 10-15 minutes.

Processing of silent block fasteners with "Liquid key"

Unscrew the nut securing the ball joint to the knuckle. If space permits, use the head and knob. If not, we use the cap side of the key so as not to break the edges. The nut is tightened tight enough.

In the presence of a special puller, we remove the finger of the ball joint from the eye. The U-shaped part of the puller is placed under the eye of the fist above the boot boot. We wrench the puller nut with a key, press the L-shaped part onto the ball finger.

The process of removing the ball joint together with the suspension arm from the steering knuckle

If there is no puller, use the mount as a lever. Poke between the suspension arm and the axle shaft, push down to create tension in the assembly. With a knocking hammer in the place of attachment of the ball joint with a knuckle. Tension and shock should be strong enough. The finger should pop out.

In case of fixation with a locking bolt, unscrew the nut and remove it. If necessary, help ourselves with a hammer. In order not to spoil the thread, we bait the nut and knock on it.

We unscrew the bolts of the suspension arm to the subframe. If the nuts on the back side turn, hold them with a wrench. We get the bolts. The bolt of the longitudinal silent block can abut against the axle shaft. In this case, we use improvised stands for the steering knuckle. Raise to a height that allows you to get a bolt. Remove the lever.

The process of removing the suspension arm (together with the ball bearing) from the subframe

If the ball joint is attached to the suspension arm on the bolts, then unscrew them. The factory support can be fastened with rivets. In this case, we drill them. For fastening a new part, we use purchased bolts.

If the ball bearing is pressed in, then remove the retaining ring (you can also remove the boot, if it interferes) with the finger. It is enough to pry them with a flat screwdriver.

Removing retaining ring and boot from ball bearing

Using a special puller, we press out the support. There is no such thing - we knock it out with a hammer. The heavier the hammer, the easier. For convenience, we hold the lever in a vice, or put it on two bricks so that the ball does not interfere with the exit. For accented blows with a hammer, use the extension on the ball finger. The ½ extension cord from the tool kit is ideally suited for these purposes. The ball finger can be cut off with a grinder, it will be easier to knock out. Since the force of the blow will not be extinguished by an unfixed finger, but will be on the body. If the support does not give in, we try to heat it with a gas burner. The metal will expand, should help.

Pulling the ball joint out of the lever

Pressing is carried out in the following sequence. We process a seat with a liquid key. After drying, lubricate with soapy water. Do not forget to lubricate and support for better glide (unless the new ball has already been lubricated by the manufacturer). In the absence of special. tool for pressing in, we select a mandrel that is suitable in diameter. It can be a bearing cage or a head from a tool kit. Pressing with improvised meansdo not strike at the center of the new support. The load should be distributed evenly along the edges of the ball. Avoid distortions. With light strokes in a circle, we drive the part into the seat.

Mounting ball joint

From the side of the finger we put on a ball a boot, if we removed it with a new ball, and a circlip, helping with a flat screwdriver. It is important to be careful not to tear the boot. An indicator that the circlip is in place is free rotation along the ball. The lever is installed in the reverse order.

You can watch more details about replacing the ball joint in the video:

2. The support is pressed into the knuckle

On the assembled car, unscrew the central hub nut. To do this, you may need a special head and handle that can withstand heavy loads. To make it easier for yourself, you can put on a pipe with a suitable diameter pipe.

Removing the central hub nut

If your car has alloy wheels without a central hole, start by removing the wheel. We observe all safety measures. We post the problematic side, remove the wheel. Unscrew the hub nut. To fix the hub, we ask your partner to press the brake pedal. If the brake discs are ventilated, we insert a powerful screwdriver into the central air channel and rest against the caliper, thereby stopping the hub. This will allow you to perform this operation yourself.

We unscrew the ABS cable mount and the sensor itself from the knuckle. Unscrew the brake hose mount. We unscrew the bolts of the guides of the caliper. We insert a flat screwdriver into the inspection window of the caliper between the brake disc and the pads, we separate them. Remove the caliper. Подвязываем его веревкой или проволокой к пружине — не оставляем висеть на тормозном шланге Датчик ABS можно подвесить таким же образом.

Отсоединение ABS и суппорта

We unscrew the nut securing the upper ball joint with the knuckle, the lower support with the suspension arm. We unfasten the nut for fastening the steering tip with a knuckle and unscrew it. The cotter pin lends itself quite easily, if necessary, we help ourselves with pliers. We remove the fingers of the ball bearings and the steering tip from the eyes with a puller or hammer, by analogy with the first case.

The process of knocking out the ball joint rod from the seat of the knuckle

We get the knuckle. We change the support to a new one by analogy with paragraph No. 1. The knuckle is mounted in the reverse order.

Removing the old and mounting a new ball joint

You can familiarize yourself with this work option in the video:

Additional tips

Tighten bolts and nuts with a certain force using a torque wrench. Information on tightening torques can be found on the Internet on thematic sites. If you do not have such a key and do not plan to buy it, just be careful. Excessive force can break the threads, and loose screw connections can affect safety. Feel the measure.

If necessary, clean the removed bolts and nuts with a metal brush, treat with the "Liquid Wrench", lubricate with graphite grease. This will prevent acidification and facilitate future work.

After any intervention in the suspension system, it is recommended to do the alignment at specialized service stations.