lower ball joint change

General information about the first-generation Nissan Maxima in the US. What was the Datsun 810 became the luxury leader Maxima in the US in 1981.

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kassim503
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Location: Stony Brook, NY

lower ball joint change

#1

Post by kassim503 » 14 years ago

today i finally got around to have the car aligned and the guy at my local freindly sears informed me that my lower ball joints are shot and they will not align my car until they fix it.

so i want to save the 300 dollars and fix them myself, does anybody know if i need a c press to press the ball joints out or if i can just unbolt it? how exactly does it come out? is it like most mac pherson suspensions? i just dont want to spend several days on a one day project



-83 max

Dr. Jones
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Location: Raleigh NC

#2

Post by Dr. Jones » 14 years ago

I not sure what a McPherson strut is, but you do have to remove the bottom of the strut from over top of the ball joint. After that I place a jack stand under the control arm and knock the ball joint out with an engineers hammer (4lb.) Then I place a piece of wood from the top of the control arm to the shock tower housing and use the jack provided with the car to pop them into place. Replace bottom end of steering knucle that is contected to the tie rod end over top of balljoint, torque and place pin. Next I use a pipe to pry the controll arm down after removing the stabilizer arm bushings from control arm(now is a good time to replace bushings and bolt) to fit the top of the control arm over the ball joint. It takes me roughly 3 to 4 hours and I'm a novice mechanic and I take my time. These directions are from my memory, so beware. Do you have a manual yet? If not Al has a good search on here somewhere for the FSM. Oh yeah make sure you either put in the grease nipples afterwards or place them in the negative space of the jack.
'82 Maxima Sedan x2
'92 Saab 9000 Griffin Edition Wrecked
'80 Ford E100(twisted tranny) SCRAPPED

Carimbo
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#3

Post by Carimbo » 14 years ago

I did this job last summer, shortly after purchasing my '82. The steering wheel would jiggle at 40MPH, it would clonk over bumps, felt skittish in the turns, etc.

The manual says a press is needed; I did not have access to one, so I trekked to my local Pull-a-Part and Lo! They had 4 Gen.1 Maximas there! I removed the entire lower arms (Transverse links) assemblies that had good balljoints & bushings. Cleaned them up and swapped them into my car. Used anti-seize for an easier "next time," paid attention to the torque specs, and tightened things up after settling the car on the ground. Made a huge difference. Car is much quieter and sure handling.

Made the mistake of thinking this was a common occurrance at the Pull-a-Part. A few weeks later the Gen1's were gone and they haven't had any more since. Wish I had pulled some more parts off 'em while I had the chance. Could use a rear halfshaft.

glenlloyd
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Location: Des Moines, Iowa
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#4

Post by glenlloyd » 14 years ago

I replaced my lower ball joints in November. I didn't have access to a press, nor was I willing to remove the lower control arm just to get the joint out. The FSM suggests that the ball joint is not a replacement item but you can buy the ball joints separately so I would say it is.

This is what I did:
remove strut assembly as mentioned before. This includes pulling the brake caliper off and hanging it with a wire, preferably above where you're working.

Next you'll have to brace the steering linkage, or the thing the strut assembly bolts to, suspending the ball joint and control arm in the air. Then tap or pound on the stud to break it out of the taper. Once the steering linkage is free move it out of your way.

Next remove the circlip from the top side of the ball joint. Now if I were you I would liberally spray lubricant around the base where the circlip was, it'll help with the ball joint. Next, get rid of the remnants of the rubber boot for the joint, or if it's good just save it.

Now, you'll have to brace the control arm with blocks of some kind. I found wood to be the best for this and the potentially the least harmful to the control arm.

If there's goop around the base of the ball joint where it enters the control arm scrape it out with a pick or dental tool of some kind so that your spray lube can get in there.

Next, if you have a piece of steel pipe that will slip over the swivel, but sit on the rim of the joint housing that the swivel sits in, that's the best, otherwise you'll have to pound on the joint itself, which is what I ended up doing.

I had to use a baby sledge to get both of them out, and the first hits have to be pretty abusive. Keep watching under the control arm to see if the joint appears to be moving down (out). If they're rusty that's another problem too, they could be rusted on.

Mine were rusty and I still managed to pound them out.

Now, on the install you have to pay attention to the alignment of the joint. There's a cavity in the joint for movement, it always has to point inward, and there should be a score in the rim, that score should run perpendicular to the control arm. Any new joint should have a small instruction sheet included in the box. If you need to see it I can snap a photo when I'm at my parents in a couple days and post it for you.

For the reinstall you must be careful not to damage the new joint, or the control arm. I used a 36mm socket that fit nicely around the edge of the new ball joint. Then I used wood blocks and a floor jack to hold the socket in place while I jacked the control arm up a ways. When I had the ball joint under tension I then used a wood block and the baby sledge to pound the control arm down onto the supported ball joint. It's a little awkward, and you'll have to constantly monitor the socket / ball joint and it's progress, but they did go on ok. This method is kind of hoky but it was getting cold out and I was in the driveway...and wanted it done. The car had been sitting for several weeks while I was debating this job.

anyway...if this isn't at all clear let me know. :)

Steve A
97 Jetta TDI, 86 VW Golf D
89 VW Fox diesel, 92 MB 300SD W140

gir - won't the sploding hurt?
zim - silence!

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kassim503
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Joined: 14 years ago
Location: Stony Brook, NY

thanks

#5

Post by kassim503 » 14 years ago

thanks for the help, ill probably get around to doing the change sometime next week, i looked at the old joints and im pretty positive on what i have to do

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kassim503
Posts: 1027
Joined: 14 years ago
Location: Stony Brook, NY

#6

Post by kassim503 » 14 years ago

thanks for all the help, mine where rusted on and wouldnt come off with a hammer so i wound up taking the control arms out and having napa press them out, but im happy it only took around 6 hours to do the job, including presssing it out
'83 maxima sedan, l24e, a/t, black

227K SOLD 6/7/2012

glenlloyd
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Location: Des Moines, Iowa
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#7

Post by glenlloyd » 14 years ago

kassim503 wrote:thanks for all the help, mine where rusted on and wouldnt come off with a hammer so i wound up taking the control arms out and having napa press them out, but im happy it only took around 6 hours to do the job, including presssing it out
If I recall, I ended up helping one of mine out by using a dremel on the underside to try and relieve some of the tension. It took me a while to extract them as well, not an easy job and not something I want to have to do again either!

Glad it's taken care of.

SA
97 Jetta TDI, 86 VW Golf D
89 VW Fox diesel, 92 MB 300SD W140

gir - won't the sploding hurt?
zim - silence!

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