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Changing lower ball joint


hiljak

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So what is the trick to drilling out the rivets that hold the factory ball joint on? I have drilled through them and the heads are still stuck to the frame piece. I will try a grinder to take the heads off the bottom and see if that works, I just thought maybe someone has done this before and may have some insight. What a pain in the arse!

Thanks.

James

1999 STS 65k

1995 STS 127k

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I had to replace a ball joint on my Buick Park Ave. a few years ago. I used a prick punch to provide a positive locator for the drill. I drilled a 1/4" pilot hole in the rivet just deeper than the point where the head joins the body of the rivet. That made it much easier to follow up with a 1/2" drill. You don't need to drill all the way through - just past the point where the head intersects the body of the rivet. The heads were easily removed with a cold chisel and 3 lb hammer. The rivet shank could then be driven up and out with a punch.

Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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I removed the lower control arm and drilled them out on the bench.

I concur with drilling them out on the bench. The 1/4" then 1/2" drilling technique described above is right. My rivets were practically fused and were darn near impossible to get out. Its not like drilling off the 'head' will allow them to by punched out at times, you may need to struggle with them. They were not easy, buy new drill bits as you need sharp bits and use oil for cooling and lube as you are these are high hardness rivets. Mike

Early on sailors navigated by the stars at night and the North star became the symbol for finding ones way home. Once you know where the Northstar is you can point your ship in the right direction to get home. So the star became a symbol for finding ones way home or more symbolically even finding ones path in life.

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Did this recently on both sides and it is a ... ryhmes with rich ....

Some of the rivets were reasonable and came out after drilling one side, others absolutely would not be removed from the ball joint and had to be drilled from both sides (and I mean even with a torch and a sledge hammer on concrete!). If you have a drill press and can drill a near perfectly straight pilot hole through the bas%%rd then do so and then drill using a larger than the bolt bit from BOTH sides to release the joint, the controll arm will spring away from the joint enough for it to be persuaded out. Just don't egg out the hole in the control arms that the bolt will ultimately penetrate.

I did not have a drill press nor even a good work area and did it free hand from both sides. The difficulty is that one side has the center dimple, the other does not, so not having a drill press to drill all the way through accurately means you have to wing it on the other side. It can be done but has to be done with care.

Another issue is that the rivet is conical and the bolt isn't, so one side of the control arm is smaller than the bolt (as I saw it). I measured carefully and found that a 31/64 hole would accomodate the bolt on the side that was too small. (nobody mentioned this, am I hallucinating?). So a titanium drill bit was available for that size at the hw store (little over 20 bucks) and it did the trick.

So, with no precise tools it can be done if you are somewhat able and have cojones available.

Does anyone know what the nuts should be torqued to (for the replacement ball joint, not the cojones!) ???

:D

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From my recollection, the three replacement ball joint nuts should be torqued to 50 ft. lbs. and the castle nut should be torqued to 37 ft. lbs.

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Did this recently on both sides and it is a ... ryhmes with rich ....

Some of the rivets were reasonable and came out after drilling one side, others absolutely would not be removed from the ball joint and had to be drilled from both sides (and I mean even with a torch and a sledge hammer on concrete!). If you have a drill press and can drill a near perfectly straight pilot hole through the bas%%rd then do so and then drill using a larger than the bolt bit from BOTH sides to release the joint, the controll arm will spring away from the joint enough for it to be persuaded out. Just don't egg out the hole in the control arms that the bolt will ultimately penetrate.

I did not have a drill press nor even a good work area and did it free hand from both sides. The difficulty is that one side has the center dimple, the other does not, so not having a drill press to drill all the way through accurately means you have to wing it on the other side. It can be done but has to be done with care.

Another issue is that the rivet is conical and the bolt isn't, so one side of the control arm is smaller than the bolt (as I saw it). I measured carefully and found that a 31/64 hole would accomodate the bolt on the side that was too small. (nobody mentioned this, am I hallucinating?). So a titanium drill bit was available for that size at the hw store (little over 20 bucks) and it did the trick.

So, with no precise tools it can be done if you are somewhat able and have cojones available.

Does anyone know what the nuts should be torqued to (for the replacement ball joint, not the cojones!) ???

:D

Yes it was a very hard job getting those rivets out very hard! Your description reminded me! I just checked my manual and the ball joint bolts/nuts are torqued to 50 ft. lbs. Mike

Early on sailors navigated by the stars at night and the North star became the symbol for finding ones way home. Once you know where the Northstar is you can point your ship in the right direction to get home. So the star became a symbol for finding ones way home or more symbolically even finding ones path in life.

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I just did this job on a '93 van and the rivets drilled out rather well. Once the heads were drilled off, I pushed the shank out with an air chisel with a point. Had to be careful not to damage the control arm, but the chisel made the job quick and easy.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I replaced a ball joint last night and it was nothing like the van so I retract my previous statement. Druhl has the right idea; TAKE THE CONTROL ARM OFF! There are a couple of reasons for this. First, the car is just too low unless you are on a hoist. Also, the upper and lower holes in the control arm are not the same size. I found that the top holes were slightly smaller than the bottom, so you couldn't drive the rivet out from the bottom, the way I did with the van. That means you have to drill the rivet from both sides and then drill out the smaller hole to fit the ball joint bolts. That is a miserable job in place but once removed, it goes pretty well.

Anyway, thanks for the tip and ignore my previous remarks.

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