ball joints


hi guys, couple questions for ya.

lately my truck ( 84 GMC 3/4ton 4x4 w/350) has been making a bang when i pull out from a stop while turning the wheels. i have been told this is a sign of bad ball joints. do ball joints do that when they go?
also, anyone who has done balljoints on this truck, do you need a press to install remove balljoints? my front axle is a dana 44 w/disc brakes and 8 lugs.
any replies appreciated,

mike reeh

Senior Member
Not 100% sure what the sound is, but the ball joints (at least one per side anyway) are definately a pressed fit.. was going to change mine out (same frontend) a while back but I put it off until I can do it with the axle removed from the truck.. for what its worth, autozone rents the tool you need. good luck let us (me) know how it went when you're done..


Alan Addict
They're not all that hard to change. Worst part will probably be getting the stub carrier out of the steering knuckle.

Jack up the truck, get jack stands under the front axle and pull wheels, hubs and rotors. There is a stub spindle/carrier that supports the hub on the outside and the axle shaft on the inside. Six studs from the steering knuckle (if my memory is right), take the nuts off, then put the spindle nuts back on and start thumping back and forth with a soft hammer. It may be hell getting the carrier off if it's been on since 84.

Once you get the carrier off, pull the axle shaft out of the differential. Take off the nuts on the shanks of the ball joints (they're not really ball joints, more like and interrupted kingpin, as they only swivel in one plane). Get a BIG hammer and whack hell outa the end of the upper stud. The axle HAS to be on a solid stand for this to work. The whole steering knuckle should drop free.

There is an adjusting sleeve in the hole where the upper joint connected to the axle. You need a special tool to remove it and it has to come out. Owatonna tools has one, as does Snap-On. Not terribly expensive and you can't do without it, so find that item before you open things up.

At this point you either take the steering knuckles to a shop and have them press old/new out and in or it gets a bit difficult. I burn the old ones out and made a driver to let me install teh new ones with my favorite BFH )Big F&%$#&g hammer).

To reinstall the steering knuckle you put the bottom nut on and tighten it to specs, should be a spec sheet in the package with the new parts. Then you install the adjusting sleeve (upper joint comes with a new one), torque IT to specs and then install and torque the upper nut.

Job takes about 4 hours per side, I'm not sure just what the flat rate book does allow for it, but probably more, so brace yourself if you take it to a shop. While you're in there, it's wise to change the axle U-joint and the seal in the back of the carrier. There are also needle bearings inside the carrier that could stand in inspection. If anything is even remotely bad, change it now, as getting there is WAY over half the fun.

Good luck.


thanks for the info, I'm going to try to work on it this weekend, as long as the weather allows. I'll let you know how it goes.

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