Thinking about doing ball joints & SB links

Discussion in 'V8 - Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by 98SF19, Jun 6, 2017.

  1. 98SF19

    98SF19 AlphaKennyBuddy

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    . . . but I don't own air tools. I know they make all medium to major jobs easier, but as for ball joints and sway bar links, is it a bit foolish getting into this job without them? Need to do these before Konis go on.
    Father's Day is around the corner, so dropping hints may yield the tools I need. :rolleyes:
     
  2. gamefanatic

    gamefanatic SHO Member

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    Eh. If it makes you feel better, I almost never use air tools.... :eeeeeek:
    *Kids don't read my post*... :p
     
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  3. 98SF19

    98SF19 AlphaKennyBuddy

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    :laughcry:
    Seems like, at a minimum, having a breaker bar, c-clamps, a rented ball joint puller kit, and maybe a vice-grip are needed.
    I think I'll just roll up my sleeves, grab my nuts, and get 'er did.
     
  4. stephen newberg

    stephen newberg Moderator Staff Member

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    :) Me either. We are headed toward being the last of a dying breed, I suspect...

    pax, smn
     
  5. 98SF19

    98SF19 AlphaKennyBuddy

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    Hitting some snags and haven't even gotten started. You'd think ACE hardware would have a 1/2"x3/8" socket adapter right? They didn't, nor did they have ANY socket adapters. It was quite befuddling. Found one at Advance though. Also had to take car to my mom's garage to avoid upsetting retired old fart neighbors who frown on anybody doing car work in their driveway . . . deed restrictions suck.
    Anyway, question: Do the center caps on the stock Gen 3 wheels pop off with lug nuts still on?

    It looks like they can, but I wanted to be sure before prying it and possibly having it crack. They are over 19 years old now. I'd considered saying "screw it" and just prying away, thinking if it cracked, it might be a good excuse for getting new wheels (and tires) to accommodate larger breaks. But I have enough to deal with doing the suspension, so I'd prefer to keep it clean for now.
    FYI, I DID get a nice Ingersoll Rand air tool set for FD, but as I don't yet have a compressor or hoses, I'll be doing the job without them (hence the need to get 30 mm spindle nuts loose with tires on the ground)

    Do I really need new 30mm spindle nuts and castle nuts as the v8sho write-up states?
     
  6. gamefanatic

    gamefanatic SHO Member

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    It's recommended to get new 30mm nuts, but I have rused them with years of success. I am sure it has something to do with how much they have to be torqued. The castle nuts will be fine so long as they are in good condition...

    The center caps could come off, but just depends on how much they bind against the lugs. They aren't technically held in by the lugs.
     
  7. 98SF19

    98SF19 AlphaKennyBuddy

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    Considering the age of the wheels and that I'm in a high UV part of the country, I wasn't comfortable prying too hard on the caps to get them out. I wound up just removing tires and popping cap out from the back side. But then I had to put tires back on the car for . . . the spindle nut . . .
    My breaker bar's only 18" long, maybe a bit more. I put the 30mm socket on and not only stood on the end of the wrench, but BOUNCED a few times - no dice. That mofo is ON there. Sprayed some penetrant and that was 2 days ago, so hopefully this weekend will be a different story, and I do plan on putting an iron pipe over the wrench handle. I don't think they've ever been off. I think you're right about the high torque being the reason the nuts should be replaced. Anti-seize applied upon reassembly might allow future reuse.
     
  8. zak

    zak SHO Member

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    That is what your floor jack handle is for.
     
  9. stephen newberg

    stephen newberg Moderator Staff Member

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    LOL. I used to use a long chunk of 2" iron pipe. Maybe 4 feet long. Had it spring back at me once. That hurt. It was long ago. Now I tend to let the more nimble younger guys at AutoCheck do it when things like this come up. Just call me chicken shins... ;)

    pax, smn
     
  10. 98SF19

    98SF19 AlphaKennyBuddy

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    <:MIND BLOWN:>
    Who'd a thunk it, I've only been using it to lift the car all these years. :bonk:
    JZ, you ready to dump those long body rears? :naughty1:
     
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  11. 98SF19

    98SF19 AlphaKennyBuddy

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    I'm midstream on this job, and more than any other time since I've owned the car, I can say THIS FREAKIN' SUCKS! I really shoulda waited till I got a compressor to go with the air tools before getting into this. It's proving to be a *royal* pita with hand tools. Even with the breaker bar AND floor jack handle for added leverage, removing the spindle nuts was a CHORE the whole way off. When each one finally came off, it was too hot to hold for more than a couple seconds as a result of the friction. Are the spindle bolts (threading) replaceable apart from the whole shaft? I didn't see much oxidation, but I guess over time, the material began to pit.
    Then there was the sway bar links - holy SHOOT dude. Whereas the spindle nut removal allowed for 180+ degrees of rotation with a breaker, the sway bar locations allow very little room, unless you're using a stubby wrench, which wouldn't provide enough leverage. Once I discovered that I could put a crescent on the top inner sbl nut and use the strut for leverage, those were done. But the bottom sb nuts were the same as the spindle nuts - hard cranking the whole way off (lying on my back with a foot up in the wheel well, trying to stop short of getting a hernia). It almost seemed like they were cross-threaded, which they may have been - couldn't get nuts on cleanly afterward. The passenger side was especially nasty. Is this an indicator of sway bar links that have been on too long? The next hurdle will be how to remove the passenger side pinch bolt which appears to have been rounded off, most likely by the shop that did transmission rebuild. Not sure how to go about that one. Suggestions are very welcome . . .
    Sorry for the book!
     
  12. 98SF19

    98SF19 AlphaKennyBuddy

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    Oops. My rant was misplaced into another thread . . .

    Re: ball joints, I think I've found the best solution for ball joints that don't want to come off: The Harbor Freight jaw clamp. $14. I also bought a pickle fork but as the first one worked very well, I might just take it back. The good thing with the jaw clamp is that, with the right prep (gently wedging rubber boot up and away from control arm), you can actually save the ball joint. There's a great video on YouTube where a guy tests it out, the main take-aways being to lube the bolt before using the device, and also not to try to pop ball joint loose with the device alone, but to crank the bolt down a bit (+/- 30 ft-lbs), and if THAT isn't enough to pop it loose, whack the control arm right next to ball joint. This was the answer for me. Came off with 2nd hit (wd40 played a role as well no doubt).

    Getting hub bearings free of knuckle (after removed from strut) was a different story. Basically just set knuckle on floor with lug bolts down, sit down with strut pinch bore toward you and a put hooked end of a pry bar into it, resting other end against left side of your torso. Start breaker bar with handle pointing left and pull it toward you. Just like the sway bar links and spindle nuts, it took some torque to get them off, not just loose. I noticed some blue stain on bolts after removal, but surely the blue Loctite would have required much more than hand tools could provide. I think these were original bearings and considering how stiff they were, I expect to get at least 1 or 2 mpg with new ones.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
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  13. pjtoledo

    pjtoledo 'ol man in the SHO

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    the spindle nuts need a good friction fit to prevent loosening, the outer lip has been swaged (bashed) to push it inwards. that's what provides the friction to keep it from backing off. hit them with a big punch or something to keep that big dimple.
    using a 3/4 drive socket and breaker bar really helps in extreme torque situations, you don't waste any torque bending the bar.


    on the rounded off pinch bolt,, if you elect to drill it out start from the back where the threads are. begin with 1/8" and go up in steps.
    when the head of a bolt is twisted off it creates hard and soft areas in the shaft. while drilling by hand the bit will follow the soft routes and you get a crooked hole.
    that results in only half of the bolt being drilled out, and usually too much of the knuckle threads being destroyed.

    EDIT
    oops, it was a little too late in the evening when I typed this.
    this applies to the 89-95 SHOs that have threads in the iron knuckle. I kind of forgot the 96+ has a nut & bolt thru the aluminum.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017
  14. 98SF19

    98SF19 AlphaKennyBuddy

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    Turns out the rounded off pinch bolt head was a non-issue since they have a hard set keeper tab, so the only critical part was the nut, which was in good shape on both sides. It was actually very easy getting it off. But I appreciate the info on spindle nut and materials science - I may very well need it in the future!

    Now I'm looking to get Gen 3 SLO strut housings on the cheap as the user who sold me the Konis sent them with Gen 2 struts (which have a different sway bar link bore geometry). Wish I'd have know this before I cut one down . . . :bonk:
     

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