How to Replace the Lower Ball Joint on Your Truck

Lead Image
  • 2 hours
  • Advanced
  • 200-2,000
What You'll Need
Ball joint press kit
Floor jack
Jack stands
Tie rod removal fork
2-pound sledgehammer
Allen socket
Flat head screwdriver
Ball joint

If you’re having problems, it might be the case that you’ll need to replace your ball joint, and part of this process is replacing the lower ball joint. Be aware that this is an involved procedure and you’ll need a good level of mechanical skill in order to do it. Expect it to take about two hours.

Step 1 - Access

Loosen the lug nuts on one of the front tires. Raise the front end on a hydraulic jack and then support on jack stands. Remove the wheel and then take off the brake caliper, making sure it’s properly supported.

With the tie rod removal, take out the tie rod. You will probably need to use the small sledgehammer to free it, but be certain that the control arm is completely supported. From there you need to free the upper ball joint. You’ll find that you can use the tie rod fork for this job, too. As you remove it, do your best not to tear the boot on the joint, or you can choose to replace the boot. You might also consider replacing all the upper ball joint or entire upper control arm.

Step 2 - Remove the Spindle

The tie rod spindle will be free and spinning. Loosen the nut that holds it in place and then remove it-be aware that it will be heavy, so ease it down into the floor with great care.

Step 3 - Remove the Hub

Using a flat head screwdriver, pry the dust cap off the hub (you might also need to use the small sledgehammer for this). At this point, you’ll see a nut that needs to come off. Remove the nut and then clean the spindle. A good tip is to cover it in duct tape while you work to prevent any accidents.

Step 4 - Remove the Ball Joint

Put the spindle in a vise and then use the sledgehammer on it, with the deep well socket to put out the lower ball joint.

Step 5 - Replace

The new ball joint needs to be pushed into place. A drive screw kit should accomplish this job. Once it’s in place you’ll need to put a driving cup over the hole and then the receiver cup, which is for the shoulder of the lower ball joint. You’ll have to make sure you slide the joint into the hole. Put your ball joint press kit around the lower ball joint and begin to turn it until the ball joint is fully in place.

Step 6 - Reassemble

Before you begin to reassemble the front end of the vehicle, use a grease gun to squirt grease into the lower ball joint. Put the new cap on the lower ball joint, then reverse the disassembly steps. Complete by putting the tire back on then lowering the car back to the floor and tightening the lug nuts.