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WetSocks 04-19-2021 02:07 PM

Lower Ball Joint Stuck in Knuckle (4x4)
1997 Hardbody XE 4x4

Been reading threads here to replace a lower ball joint myself, but unfortunately, a few taps with the pickle fork has done nothing to separate the bj from the knuckle. I have even purchased a separator and have cranked that so hard that it blows off the knuckle before any movement occurs with the bj.

My process thus far:
  • Lift tuck, jack stands, remove tire;
  • Support lower control arm with jack;
  • Destroy lower bj grease boot with pickle fork, remove ring that was in the boot;
  • Attempt to separate bj from knuckle with separator without any luck

What am I missing? I haven't loosened the bolts that attach the bj to the control arm. Everything I've read says do that after separating bj and knuckle. I feel like the bj has nowhere to go, as if the knuckle has something stopping it from separating from the bj.

Any thoughts are very much appreciated.

Reserector 04-19-2021 02:41 PM

Wedge the fork in, and then try smacking the side of the spindle with a hammer to help jar it loose.
Use Kroil penetrating oil from Napa. Let that soak in a while.
Hit it harder.

WetSocks 04-19-2021 02:50 PM

I'm finding that the fork is completely useless because there is no bevel on the bj for it to get under to wedge itself against the knuckle. That's why I went with the press. I have given the spindle a good few taps too...

ahardb0dy 04-19-2021 04:51 PM

Harbor Freight sells the tool to remove the ball joints like is shown in the OEM service manual, the type where you tighten the bolt to pop the ball joint out.

If you can't use this type of tool than usually a couple good smacks to the side of the knuckle with a decent sledge hammer ( place another hammer on the opposite side you are hitting) will create enough shock to pop it out.

WetSocks 04-19-2021 06:34 PM

That is the tool I've been using. Had pop off a couple times with the force that it was applying to the spindle.

I finally separated the joint from the knuckle. Lots of heat, hammering and pressing. Came very slowly.

Looks like I'm going to have to pull the axle, there is nowhere near enough room to get this bj out of the knuckle.

WetSocks 04-19-2021 06:48 PM

Is it possible to remove the lower ball joint without pulling the axle? Pulling the axle looks like removing the knuckle which means I need to remove the upper ball joint as well... Something I'm not keen to do.

Reserector 04-19-2021 07:30 PM

Pretty sure you have to get the axle out of the way, but if memory serves, you can unbolt the upper bj from the arm.

WetSocks 04-19-2021 10:02 PM

That did it. It was a bit of a dance trying to get the mounting bolts through the lower control arm and into the ball joint bracket around the axle boot. The bolts that came with the Moog bj were longer than the original and I couldn't use them.

Putting everything back together now.

Thanks again.

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