upper ball joint removal issue

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JamesR
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Joined: Sat May 11, 2019 7:47 pm

upper ball joint removal issue

Post by JamesR »

Having a real problem removing the upper ball joint from the upper control arm of my '65. Control arm is still on the vehicle, though the spring has been removed. The upper ball joint has already been removed from the spindle/knuckle on the other side. The problem is getting the top side of the ball joint pressed out of the control arm cup. Yes, I've researched the process on this forum and elsewhere both before and while doing the project. I have followed the procedure below, which is on a 3rd gen car, but has the same kind of setup/parts and uses the same kind of tool.

https://www.vintagethunderbirdclub.net/ ... nts#p51140

I bought the ball joint press tool and used the same size of receiving tube listed in the link above, which fits my existing ball joint. I did file off the corrosion around the lip of the ball joint flange so the receiving tube would fit with enough clearance. I've tried heating the upper control arm with a torch and I've tried NOT heating the control arm, but either way the pressed in ball joint won't budge. I went out last night and bought a breaker bar when I could not get enough leverage with my current wrenches/sockets, but the only thing that did was start to mushroom the threaded stud at the top of the ball joint (the one with the grease zerk, which yes, has been removed already.) The flange still doesn't seem to budge from the control arm.

Any suggestions are welcome. I wanted to get the ball joint out without removing the control arm, but I'm now contemplating removing the control arm and taking it to a machine shop or somewhere with a hydraulic press to press it out. But when I called one of the machine shops in town, they weren't sure they'd be able to do that. Thanks for any help you can provide.

dgalietti
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Re: upper ball joint removal issue

Post by dgalietti »

I tried all manner of balljoint kits... mine was in there so good it would actually bend them.

Using a propane torch and PB blaster helped get one side out..

then I eventually used a hydraulic press and they came out and went in much much easier.

I would save yourself the headache and try to find one you can use. You will face the same headache getting them back in.

JamesR
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Re: upper ball joint removal issue

Post by JamesR »

dgalietti wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:16 pm

then I eventually used a hydraulic press and they came out and went in much much easier.

I would save yourself the headache and try to find one you can use. You will face the same headache getting them back in.
Thanks for the response. Were you able to find a local garage that had one? Or a machine shop? And I'm presuming you removed the control arm from the vehicle to use the press on it, right?


I was almost tempted to forget the ball joints because they're so hard to get out, but my new replacement ball joints have such a better range of motion. I know I'll be able to feel the difference when I drive around with the new ones.
Last edited by JamesR on Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

gravelman
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Re: upper ball joint removal issue

Post by gravelman »

I saw on 'Garage Squad" the other night where Joe had someone on a long pinch bar and Joe took a 9 lb single jack and whack the side of the housing that held the ball joint. It took a couple of good smacks, but with the pressure from the pinch bar it popped loose/

He said the pickle fork can tear up the rod end. If you were replacing them then it doesn't make any difference what you did...

Mitch,

JamesR
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Re: upper ball joint removal issue

Post by JamesR »

I got the lower stud of the upper ball joint free with a pickle fork. Pickle fork won't work on the upper stud. The lower stud was a trial of it's own.

I looked at the shop manual, and they specified a designated press tool for getting the lower stud free of the spindle. I knew I wouldn't find one of those, but I did find a similar tool for that application, so I bought it and adapted it for the T-Bird...but it would NOT loosen the lower stud of the upper joint. So I used the pickle fork instead, but even that only worked with a three pound hammer. I don't know about rod ends, but I don't get the "don't use a pickle fork because you'll mess up the boot of the ball joint" warnings. Aren't most people taking ball joints off to replace them? And almost always the boot, as well??

Anyway, I need to get this upper portion of the ball joint free of the control arm, preferably without removing the control arm...but I will if I need to.

Cliff Rankin
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Re: upper ball joint removal issue

Post by Cliff Rankin »

I do a lot of suspension work on cars. I always take a big
Hammer and hit the side , in your case the steering knuckle. 1 or 2 big whack’s. Will pop it loose every time.

JamesR
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Re: upper ball joint removal issue

Post by JamesR »

Cliff Rankin wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:41 pm
I do a lot of suspension work on cars. I always take a big
Hammer and hit the side , in your case the steering knuckle. 1 or 2 big whack’s. Will pop it loose every time.
Thanks Cliff

#1 - I did that, many times, just as the shop manual and the videos said, but it wasn't till I used the pickle fork that the bottom stud came out.

#2 - The knuckle is water under the bridge...because the lower stud is removed. I need to get the top of the BJ out of the control arm.

dgalietti
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Re: upper ball joint removal issue

Post by dgalietti »

I run parts depts for car dealerships, so I have access to equipment. I took the control arms out. I really think its best so you can put new bushings on them and inspect the shafts.

I normally can get things loose with a few well placed whacks from the hammer as well, but I feel your pain on this one.

You will save yourself a ton of time and frustration.. And possible damage to the control arms by taking them out and using a press.

Some people have gotten them out fairly easily... But I dont think that is going to happen here.

dgalietti
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Re: upper ball joint removal issue

Post by dgalietti »

If I remember correctly I did use some of reciever cups and such from the balljoint kit with the press if that helps.

David Langhorne
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Location: England

Re: upper ball joint removal issue

Post by David Langhorne »

If this thread is purely about getting the upper ball joint out then I suggest you go to youtube search "1966 ford thunderbird repair channel" part 48
where joernone gets it out using a screwdriver or similar around the lower rim.
Dave Langhorne 65SL
UK

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paulr
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Re: upper ball joint removal issue

Post by paulr »

Any suggestions are welcome. I wanted to get the ball joint out without removing the control arm, but I'm now contemplating removing the control arm
That's way too much work; self-inflicted mission creep you don't want. Just stay with the tool you got. Crank patiently. When it comes, you're gonna know it. It'll sound like an M80 going off in the wheel well. Ear plugs, maybe. :smile:

Use one tool with correct sleeve to remove and install the new ball joint. Don't make this hard, guys. Good luck.
Removing old ball joint
photo 1-4.jpg
Installing new ball joint
photo 1-3-1.jpg
Paul
VTCI 12014
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'64 Landau HT
"Beer, now there's a temporary solution!" ~Homer Simpson

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sseebart
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Re: upper ball joint removal issue

Post by sseebart »

I don't often disagree with Paul, but if the method shown in his photos doesn't work (it did for me), I don't think it's a lot of extra effort to remove the arm and replace (the almost certainly worn out) bushing arm.

I can't imagine any machine shop not being able to press this out, but you might also try calling an alignment shop--my local one helped with a few stubborn parts when I did my front end.

~Steve

dgalietti
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Re: upper ball joint removal issue

Post by dgalietti »

I would imagine it's a difference between originals and different aftermarket balljoints.

Some people have an easy time with them... and some don't.

Mine didn't appear to be rusty or anything.. they were just impossible to get in and out without a press.

Shaft wear is very common as well.. One of mine was very worn, and one was fine. If you're already there and have the spring out.. I would definitely pull the whole thing out.

mitch0537
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Re: upper ball joint removal issue

Post by mitch0537 »

Use an air hammer. Works great.

JamesR
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Re: upper ball joint removal issue

Post by JamesR »

dgalietti wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:13 pm
I would imagine it's a difference between originals and different aftermarket balljoints.

Some people have an easy time with them... and some don't.

Mine didn't appear to be rusty or anything.. they were just impossible to get in and out without a press.

Shaft wear is very common as well.. One of mine was very worn, and one was fine. If you're already there and have the spring out.. I would definitely pull the whole thing out.


Thought I'd give you an update. dgalietti's suggestion was the route I took, and it seemed to work out for the best. Getting the control arm off the car was very easy. Took a couple of minutes.

I took the control arm into a machine shop and they got the old ball joint pressed out and the new one pressed in. For what it's worth, I should mention that the machinist who did the job said he was rather surprised, because it took almost 60 tons of pressure get the old ball joint out! I'm not sure how close to capacity that was for his press, but I know - in no uncertain terms - that I never could've removed that old ball joint using the tools at my disposal.

The machine shop was very big, and located next to the roundhouse yards, so I suspect they do a lot of railroad work. That means they likely have very large equipment. They also were very friendly, and guess what? They didn't charge me a dime to do the job. Some machinist is going to get a $25 gift card in the next week. It didn't take him very long - 10 minutes - but he saved me an enormous amount of time and headaches.

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