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justinhopper

How to replace ball joints on 1968 Riv?

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So I'm only 16, I bought this as a project, though now I can't seem to get the ball joint out of steering piece. Mine did come with a user manual except I can't seem to comprehend it very well, can someone just dumb it down for me? Thanks!

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Try a search on "GOOGLE" Justin - they  have 'How To's' on just about anything you want to know !

It may not be Riviera specific, but it will give you a much better pictorial idea if what is involved in replacing worn ball joints.

It is not a simple job, and the front coil springs must be removed,  to access the ball joints, which can be dangerous !

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What have you done so far......are you saying that you've already dropped down the lower control arm and just can't get  the ball joint

to come out of the arm?

Edited by Seafoam65 (see edit history)

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Yes, we need to see what stage you're at. Post a few pics. May help.

 

You'll need an alignment when all the pieces are back in.

 

 

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SO I'm guessing that you'll need to grind off the factory spot weld.  An serving the earlier posts will be helpful.

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13 hours ago, Seafoam65 said:

What have you done so far......are you saying that you've already dropped down the lower control arm and just can't get  the ball joint

to come out of the arm?

 

8 hours ago, PWB said:

Yes, we need to see what stage you're at. Post a few pics. May help.

 

You'll need an alignment when all the pieces are back in.

 

 

So I've taken off all the brake stuff, so it's just onto that steering piece that everything attaches to, then I disconnected the steering tie rods from it, and now I'm trying to get it off from the ball joint studs.

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If I read this right, you're trying to pull the ball joints off the knuckle with the spring in place.  If that's the case, STOP until you know what you're doing.  Those springs will mess you up if you do something stupid.

 

Have you taken out the shocks and reaction rods?  Everything needs to come off the lower control arm before you drop it.  And don't forget to loosen the lower control arm bushing before dropping the arm.

 

The way to separate the knuckle from the stud is to back the nut off the stud 2-3 turns, then rap on the knuckle with a BFH.  The spring pressure will pop them apart.  DO NOT take the nut off at this point.  After you have both studs loose, loop a chain through the spring and lower control arm.  You want a loop that's long enough to allow the spring to expand fully, but short enough to keep the spring from flying out if it cuts loose.  Put a jack on the end of the control arm and jack it up to relieve pressure on the nuts, then remove the lower nut.  Once that nut is off, pay attention.  This is where people get hurt.  Now, SLOWLY lower the jack until the arm is hanging free and the spring is expanded.  You can then pry or pull the spring off the lower arm.  Once the spring is free, get it out of the way and pull the control arms.  Press out the old ball joints (look for welds to see if they're tacked in) and clean the arms.  Seriously, clean them.  Who wants to work on dirty parts?  Inspect the LCA bushing to see if it's good.  Or just replace it anyway.  It's cheap, it only takes a few minutes, and this is the time to do it.  When you get it all back together (don't forget to chain the spring again), don't tighten the LCA bushing until the weight of the car is on the suspension.

 

Hints:

- Install the new ball joints so the cotter pin holes are facing front to back.

- When you're putting a spring back in, use a compressor to hold it in place against the upper mount. You only need to compress it enough to seat it on the lower arm, but the compressor will keep it from turning or dropping while you're futzing around.

- Make sure the spring is seated properly in the lower arm.  That is, put the end of the coil by the hole.

- Clean the parts you take off.  Degrease them, blast them, give them an acetone bath, then paint them. You'll be much happier working with clean parts.

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Now would be the time for new springs if yours (like mine) are looking a little 'saggy'...

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9 hours ago, EmTee said:

Now would be the time for new springs if yours (like mine) are looking a little 'saggy'...

+1.

 

To that end, Autozone has replacement front springs for a 68 Riviera without AC for $51.99.  Wait for one of their ubiquitous 20% off and free shipping sales, and you'll get them for about $40.  For $40, you can't go too far wrong.

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On 9/2/2017 at 1:05 AM, KongaMan said:

If I read this right, you're trying to pull the ball joints off the knuckle with the spring in place.  If that's the case, STOP until you know what you're doing.  Those springs will mess you up if you do something stupid.

 

Have you taken out the shocks and reaction rods?  Everything needs to come off the lower control arm before you drop it.  And don't forget to loosen the lower control arm bushing before dropping the arm.

 

The way to separate the knuckle from the stud is to back the nut off the stud 2-3 turns, then rap on the knuckle with a BFH.  The spring pressure will pop them apart.  DO NOT take the nut off at this point.  After you have both studs loose, loop a chain through the spring and lower control arm.  You want a loop that's long enough to allow the spring to expand fully, but short enough to keep the spring from flying out if it cuts loose.  Put a jack on the end of the control arm and jack it up to relieve pressure on the nuts, then remove the lower nut.  Once that nut is off, pay attention.  This is where people get hurt.  Now, SLOWLY lower the jack until the arm is hanging free and the spring is expanded.  You can then pry or pull the spring off the lower arm.  Once the spring is free, get it out of the way and pull the control arms.  Press out the old ball joints (look for welds to see if they're tacked in) and clean the arms.  Seriously, clean them.  Who wants to work on dirty parts?  Inspect the LCA bushing to see if it's good.  Or just replace it anyway.  It's cheap, it only takes a few minutes, and this is the time to do it.  When you get it all back together (don't forget to chain the spring again), don't tighten the LCA bushing until the weight of the car is on the suspension.

 

Hints:

- Install the new ball joints so the cotter pin holes are facing front to back.

- When you're putting a spring back in, use a compressor to hold it in place against the upper mount. You only need to compress it enough to seat it on the lower arm, but the compressor will keep it from turning or dropping while you're futzing around.

- Make sure the spring is seated properly in the lower arm.  That is, put the end of the coil by the hole.

- Clean the parts you take off.  Degrease them, blast them, give them an acetone bath, then paint them. You'll be much happier working with clean parts.

I managed to get the bottom ball joints off without needing to pull out the control arm, but I can't seem to figure out the top joints, I also managed to get the knuckle off with a hammer. How exactly should I get the top joints out?

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You aren't pulling the lower control arm because you need to; you're taking it off because that's part of doing a better job.  By doing so, you can inspect/replace the bushing, clean the arm, and have easier access to pressing in the new ball joint.  If you didn't loosen that bushing before you dropped the arm, there's a chance that you ripped it apart, anyway.

 

The uppers are likely tack welded to the control arm.  Look around the perimeter of the ball joint on both sides.  You'll want to grind those welds off before pressing it out.  Again, this is easier if you pull the arm.  Those bolts are likely going to need to be loosened to do the alignment, anyway.  If you do this, be sure to to note the number and position of the shims before you take it off.

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I would. ;)

 

Again, you don't need to pull the upper arm to change the ball joint -- but it's part of doing a refurbishment rather than a simple replacement.  Unless someone has had this all apart before, you've likely got 50 years of grease, goo, and dirt all over these parts.  Even if you don't want to go all-out (having them blasted and painted), use a putty knife to scrape off the junk, some straight degreaser and a wire brush to get the rest, and hose them down to rinse it all away.  Yeah, it's a messy job -- but any work you do will be much easier going forward.  After all, it's only two bolts to get the arm out.

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If you've got that much junk on the arms, you probably can't even see the welds. :D

 

FYI, this is what I started with:

 

before-removal.jpg.d70dde5447c6466628f697f9e21fd8c4.jpg

 

You just can't work like that -- and I've seen much worse.

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What are you using acetone for?  Acetone can react with some compounds, it it won't dissolve them instantly.  You should take a look at the various rubber parts you're playing with.  If they're cracked or brittle, replace them.

 

If you 're trying to degrease stuff, scrape of the chunks first.  You might then try a power washer or one of those DIY car washes to get even more of it.  Even at that, you'll probably still need a degreaser and brush, blaster, etc.  I'd think you'd use the acetone as a final wash before you paint.

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Alright so we pulled the top arms out, and we think we got the welds all removed, now we tried to press it out, and it started going out, and now it hit this point where it won't go any farther

 

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10 minutes ago, justinhopper said:

Alright so we pulled the top arms out, and we think we got the welds all removed, now we tried to press it out, and it started going out, and now it hit this point where it won't go any farther

 

You should supply pictures along with your questions to make answering them easier for the group.

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1. Make sure you're pressing it straight out.  If it's cocked it can bind.

2.  Make sure you got all the weld off the ball joint and there's not a metal goober or two sticking out.

3. Make sure your receiver is deep enough.  If you bottom out, it's not going any further.

 

You might try pressing it back in, then carefully inspecting the perimeter of the ball joint to make sure there isn't anything that would keep it from coming out smoothly.

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Alright, I managed to take it out and put the new joints in, a friend of ours came by with an entire set of press adapters and stuff, so I cleaned up the arm and painted it, I also did my best to clean the lower arm, I'm not 100% comfortable with taking the spring out however. I put the knuckle back in and the brakes, I'm pretty much finished. Thanks for all your help everyone!

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If you had a compressor on the spring, it's one more bolt to pull the arm to check/replace the bushing, and you should have loosened that bolt anyway.

 

Although I would still suggest taking the spring out rather than trusting the compressor not to slip while you're working around it.  That's the kind of mistake you might not ever get to regret.

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