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DIY Guide for Lower Ball Joints

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Old 03-05-05, 04:20 AM   #1
oversteer
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Default DIY Guide for Lower Ball Joints

Disclaimer I have been working on cars all my life but I am not a professional mechanic. I am attaching these instructions as a resource for those who are capable of doing the replacement job and would like to see photos of the procedures. Attempt the job only if you are qualified and always use appropriate safety measures.

Step 1:
Jack the car up and put it on safety stands. Remove the wheel.

Step 2:
Remove the two caliper bolts and secure the caliper either behind the strut or from a coat hanger off the spring. Do NOT let the caliper hang from the brake line and do NOT let the caliper rest on the steering tie rod (it will be moving around later). Below is a picture of the two caliper bolts.
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Old 03-05-05, 04:21 AM   #2
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Step 3:

Remove the Cotter Pin from the tie rod joint. Remove the nut.
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Old 03-05-05, 04:22 AM   #3
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Step 4:
If you do not already have one, purchase a tie-rod separator. I got this one from AutoZone and it was $9.99. The specs are that it has a 1 1/16th (27mm) opening and 2 1/8th (54mm) travel. I do NOT recommend using the fork type separators as they will almost always tear the rubber boot.
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Old 03-05-05, 04:22 AM   #4
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Step 5:
Attach the puller to the tie rod and slowly screw down the pin until the rod separates from the arm.
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Old 03-05-05, 04:23 AM   #5
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Step 6:
Now its on to the actual ball joint. Remove the Cotter pin from the bolt.
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Old 03-05-05, 04:24 AM   #6
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Step 7:
Remove the nut. This is a large 27mm nut so make sure you have a socket this size handy.
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Old 03-05-05, 04:25 AM   #7
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Step 8:
Remove the two bolts that secure the ball joint assembly to the knuckle. This view is from directly below the ball joint looking up.
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Old 03-05-05, 04:26 AM   #8
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Step 9:
With both these bolts removed, the knuckle will easily lift off the ball joint. In order to secure the tie-rod puller to the ball joint to separate it, you will need to use a flat head screw driver to pry the rubber boot away from the lower control arm. This will allow you to slide the arms of the puller onto the ball joint for removal.
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Old 03-05-05, 04:27 AM   #9
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Step 10:
With the rubber boot loosened, slide the puller on. With the puller in place, slowly screw down the pin until the ball joint assembly separates from the lower control arm.
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Old 03-05-05, 04:28 AM   #10
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Step 11:
If you are also going to replace tie-rod arms, use nail polish to mark on the tie rod where the current end screws onto then use two wrenches to twist the end off.
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Old 03-05-05, 04:29 AM   #11
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Step 12:
Assembly is the reverse of the removal. When you are re-inserting the tie rods, the bolt will sometimes rotate so it is hard to get pressure on it. If this is the case, use the tie rod puller in the reverse manner and try to use a little pressure to seat the bolt back into end.

Lower Bolts to hold new ball joint to knuckle: 83ft/lb torque
Lower Ball Joint: 112 ft/lb torque
Tie Rod End: 48ft/lb torque
Caliper Bolts: 87ft/lb torque

Here are the before and after Ball Joints:
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Last edited by oversteer; 03-05-05 at 04:50 AM..
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Old 03-05-05, 04:35 AM   #12
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Hope this helps! It's always a good idea to have the right tools. My wife gave me a DeWalt 18V cordless impact gun for my birthday and it makes short work of breaking all those nuts and bolts. If you have not tried working with an electric impact gun.....do it. They have more torque than air guns and you don't have to have a compressor near by. I keep mine in my car in case I need to change a tire....and look like a Nextel Cup guy in the process
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Old 03-05-05, 08:07 AM   #13
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Great post Oversteer, Thank you very much. One question is, where did you purchase the ball joints from and what was the cost. Again thanks for your help.
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Old 03-05-05, 09:45 AM   #14
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Bought them here: http://www.olyonline.com/Lexus/lexus_catalog.htm $44.19 each. I ordered on Saturday and received them on Thurs.
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Old 03-05-05, 12:49 PM   #15
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Great write-up
Thanks!
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Old 03-05-05, 12:49 PM
 
 
 
 
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2002, axle, ball, diy, es300, front, joint, joints, lexus, lower, ls400, lube, replace, replacement, rx

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