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Is It Possible To Change Just The Ball Joints?


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#1 bbnate804

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Posted 08 May 2010 - 07:23 PM

was rotating the tires on my rig the other week and noticed some play in the driver side ball joints. have been shopping around and looking online trying to figure out what its gonna take to get it fixed. local gm dealers are telling me i can't buy/change just the ball joints. i'd have to buy all new control arms, alignment keys.... when i look around online i see some guys saying they've pressed in new joints and i've been able to find just the joints for my application. why is the dealer saying i have to change out control arms and all?
Nate
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#2 shocktrp

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 01:10 PM

was rotating the tires on my rig the other week and noticed some play in the driver side ball joints. have been shopping around and looking online trying to figure out what its gonna take to get it fixed. local gm dealers are telling me i can't buy/change just the ball joints. i'd have to buy all new control arms, alignment keys.... when i look around online i see some guys saying they've pressed in new joints and i've been able to find just the joints for my application. why is the dealer saying i have to change out control arms and all?


I would think you could drill out the rivets & bolt in a set of replacements just like any other GM car.

You could always call Goodyear or Firestone & ask them how much for a ball joint replacement - see if they tell you the same thing as the dealer.

#3 bbnate804

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 03:53 PM

as far as i can tell the only thing holding the joints in is the joints themselves. i've had the wheel off and cleaned all around the cap of the joint. i can't find any welds, rivets, or bolts. a quick search online turns out about a 50/50 mix of places selling ball joints versus the whole upper arm assembly. i've tracked down a few posts on the diesel forums where guys say they've pressed out just the joints. anybody i talk to around my area about doing the work is saying the whole upper arm has to be swapped. gmpartsdirect.com seems to say something of the same. i can't really find anything solid one way or the other.....
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#4 bossier62guy

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 04:07 PM

as far as i can tell the only thing holding the joints in is the joints themselves. i've had the wheel off and cleaned all around the cap of the joint. i can't find any welds, rivets, or bolts. a quick search online turns out about a 50/50 mix of places selling ball joints versus the whole upper arm assembly. i've tracked down a few posts on the diesel forums where guys say they've pressed out just the joints. anybody i talk to around my area about doing the work is saying the whole upper arm has to be swapped. gmpartsdirect.com seems to say something of the same. i can't really find anything solid one way or the other.....


According to www.rockauto.com you can buy just the ball joints and they show part numbers for AC Delco as well. They are a press in fit.

#5 See Ya

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 05:35 PM

Both upper and lower ball joints are replaceable, had both upper and lower replaced on my 2500 last year and year before.
Moved on.

#6 bbnate804

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 09:49 PM

finally some straight forward yes's. 180 for 4 ball joints its a lot easier on the wallet then 600+ for control arms and all the parts. any idea why the other guys wanted to change out the whole upper arms?
Nate
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#7 hockeypro1411

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 10:45 PM

finally some straight forward yes's. 180 for 4 ball joints its a lot easier on the wallet then 600+ for control arms and all the parts. any idea why the other guys wanted to change out the whole upper arms?


$$$$$$$$

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#8 See Ya

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 07:27 AM

finally some straight forward yes's. 180 for 4 ball joints its a lot easier on the wallet then 600+ for control arms and all the parts. any idea why the other guys wanted to change out the whole upper arms?


$$$$$$$$


Yep, definately sounds like they wanted to take full advantage. Unless control arms were some how bent or rotted, doesn't make sense to replace them.
Moved on.

#9 59ih340

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 06:31 PM

They press in. they can be a little tough,but you can do it on the truck or pull the arms off and have them pressed in. The upper arms can be bought with the new joints @ Napa for under $150.ea.
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#10 bbnate804

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 07:23 PM

They press in. they can be a little tough,but you can do it on the truck or pull the arms off and have them pressed in. The upper arms can be bought with the new joints @ Napa for under $150.ea.



is it easier to swap out the whole upper? do you have to buy new alignment cams and parts? how hard is it to put it back together properly? getting the alignment parts back together was more intimidating to me then pressing the joints. if the alignment thing isn't too much trouble then it could be worth the extra beans to save grief and aggrivation of pressing the joints.
Nate
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#11 59ih340

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 08:18 PM

You should be able to re-use the bolts and cams. if you mark the parts and put them back lined up they should be close,but I would still have a front end alignment done.Swapping out the arms will save time and trouble. but will cost a litttle more cash.There is probably nothing wrong with your control arms. it's just faster for the dealer to do it that way.
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#12 bbnate804

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 03:44 PM

just wanted to post back an update for you guys since you were nice enough to get me going. i was able to press out the old ball joints and press in the new ones. no major issue other then busting one ball joint press. with the truck jacked up a good bit and the suspension unloaded there was just enough room to work the press tool in the wheel well. had the truck back together working a couple of evenings after work. the truck now has new ball joints, tie rods, tie rod ends, jounce bumpers and shocks all for about half the money that i was quoted to have new control arms installed.

tools other then standard sockets and wrenches.... gear puller (unloading the torsion bars, gm has a tool for this but its pricey), ball joint press (rented from autozone, $100 deposit but you get the full $100 if you return the tool), one big socket to undo the nut holding the cv joint in (36mm i think)

parts used...
moog ball joints k6693 & k6696
ac delco/gm tie rods & ends
gm bump stops
skyjacker nitro 8000 shocks

Edited by bbnate804, 15 June 2010 - 03:45 PM.

Nate
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#13 NorthernAlberta

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 09:57 PM

The reason the dealer will tell you to replace the upper control arm as well as the lower control arm, is because its possible that the upper and lower balljoints being press in style can egg out the hole that the new ball joint fits in. This causing a poor fit, there fore causing the new balljoints to wear out faster. We notice that more in Oil Patch with the brutal roads we drive on.
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