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Discussion Starter #1
Hopefully a dumb question: I need to replace the upper ball joints on my '89 Esprit. Obviously they simply bolt to the wishbone (I'm aware of the spacers/shims, so I'll be sure to keep track of where everything goes when I pull it apart). I have the torque specs, too, so all set there.

The question: does the shaft of the ball joint just "drop" into the vertical link before installing the nut, or is pressure required to get it connected?

Any and all hints, tips, and advice would be welcome!

Thanks in advance -

Steve.
 

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The question: does the shaft of the ball joint just "drop" into the vertical link before installing the nut, or is pressure required to get it connected?

Any and all hints, tips, and advice would be welcome!

Thanks in advance -

Steve.
Steve,

You'll need a narrow Pitman Arm puller and a long handle ratchet or breaker bar to remove the faulty joint shaft from the upright. You may have to thin down the jaw ends little bit using a bench grinder.
To install the new part, there is no need for any special tools. Just insert the shaft, thread in the nut and torque it to spec.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Perfect. Thanks for the detailed info - it should make the job go much easier. I also got to treat myself to a set of pitman arm/ball joint tools, so it's a good day! :grin2:

I'll try to snap a few photos along the way just in case it helps anyone else when it's their turn.

Steve.
 

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Another technique is to hit the side of the upper spindle really hard and fast with a heavy hammer. Leave the nut on, but loose. The shock forces the tapered joint apart. Sometimes that or even a puller won't work and you have to heat the joint up with a torch to get it apart. Be careful swinging that hammer!
David Teitelbaum
 

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Another technique is to hit the side of the upper spindle really hard and fast with a heavy hammer. Leave the nut on, but loose. The shock forces the tapered joint apart. Sometimes that or even a puller won't work and you have to heat the joint up with a torch to get it apart. Be careful swinging that hammer!
David Teitelbaum
Thanks for the tip, David ... I think I shall keep the hammers in reserve in case other techniques fail. Hopefully it'll come apart easily - it's one of the cleanest examples I've seen, so no corrosion to deal with. It's also one of the more unusual ball joint failures that I've seen:
 

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It isn't a matter of cleanliness. It is a tapered joint and it can lock up really tight. That and it has been together for a long time. I have had cases where a puller didn't work as well as the hammer trick, sometimes you need the shock to get it apart, not the slow pressure of a puller. if you do use the hammer you can't "hold back", you have to really smack it hard and fast. Works like magic but sometimes it takes several smacks to get it.
David Teitelbaum
 

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It isn't a matter of cleanliness. It is a tapered joint and it can lock up really tight. That and it has been together for a long time. I have had cases where a puller didn't work as well as the hammer trick, sometimes you need the shock to get it apart, not the slow pressure of a puller. if you do use the hammer you can't "hold back", you have to really smack it hard and fast. Works like magic but sometimes it takes several smacks to get it.
David Teitelbaum
Ah. Thanks for the clarification ... good to be prepared. Hammers are now at the ready! The new ball joints and hardware were delivered from RD Enterprises today, and the tools arrived today too, so fingers crossed I'll get the work completed this weekend.

Thanks again for the hints and tips!

Steve.
 

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Assemble dry. You DO NOT want that joint to come apart easily. That's why it is a taper in the first place! If you do anything you wipe the parts as clean as you can and apply light machine oil to the parts and then tighten to spec. No lubricant on the threads or you don't get the nut to the right torque. Be sure to lock it with a fresh cotter pin.
David Teitelbaum
 

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why in world wouldn't you want it to come apart "easily"? it's not going to fall off when you turn the wheel. if there is a difference at all it is a 2 lb sledge vs a 5 lb sledge.

like most things you will find extreme opinions offered for and against. Google some research and decide for yourself.
 

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Assemble dry. You DO NOT want that joint to come apart easily. That's why it is a taper in the first place! If you do anything you wipe the parts as clean as you can and apply light machine oil to the parts and then tighten to spec. No lubricant on the threads or you don't get the nut to the right torque. Be sure to lock it with a fresh cotter pin.
David Teitelbaum
Thanks David ... I did a little reading elsewhere on this topic, and it'll be assembled dry.

why in world wouldn't you want it to come apart "easily"? it's not going to fall off when you turn the wheel. if there is a difference at all it is a 2 lb sledge vs a 5 lb sledge.

like most things you will find extreme opinions offered for and against. Google some research and decide for yourself.
You're correct that there are opinions for and against, but from the reading I've done the majority say "don't do it!" I'll stick with the dry installation since there's at least anecdotal evidence of damage to the vertical link (enlarging of the taper hole).

I still appreciate the input!

Steve.
 
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