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Old 03-26-2009, 10:41 PM
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Control arm trouble

Trying to remove the control arms on my 80 z/28 to sand blast and paint everything. First time working with ball joints too.

I loostened the nut holding the LCA onto the ball joint and then I used a pickle fork to beat the ball joint apart.

The LCA fell until it hit the nut, now when I try to take the nut off the rest of the way it just spins the ball joint. When I try to jack up the control arm to take weight off the nut everything stays as one peice. The entire weight of the car is sitting on the LCA but it wont move and if I loosten the nut again the whole ball joint rotates.

This worries me about reinstallation, but how do I get this apart so that I can just simply take off the UCA?

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Old 03-26-2009, 10:56 PM
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Nsomnia,

You have a big problem here. How are you compressing the spring so it does not come flying out at you?
Before you do another thing you need a spring compressor on the spring and compress it so it rattles around in the space. Then jack the control arm back into place. You should end up with a little space between the nut and the control arm. Put your pickle fork in that space and pry the control arm and ball-joint back together. At the same time try and loosen the nut. If that doesn't work then wrap some wire around the tapered shaft on the ball-joint. Then try taking the nut off again. You may need to use an impact gun. It will twist the nut fast and I am sure that will do the trick. BUT if all else fails use a torch and cut the nut off and replace the ball-joint and nut.

Once you get the ball-joint apart the spring and the spring compressor will fall out so be alert.

Scholman
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Old 03-26-2009, 11:35 PM
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Im only trying to remove the upper control arm theres only the one ball joint. The spring is still the problem?
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Old 03-27-2009, 07:59 AM
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The vision I get is that there is a floor jack under the lower control arm, raised to the point that the weight of that corner of the vehicle is supported by the jack. If that is the case, I would have had the frame sitting on a jack stand for just in case, with the weight all but off of the jack stand. how are you going to remove the other side? At the same time or after the first is reinstalled?
Under compression that spring stores a lot of energy, enough to do serious injury if it comes out unexpectedly. If you are leaving the jack in place you should be OK, but still be very careful.
If you are only wanting to remove the upper control arm, I would have separated it at the upper ball joint, instead of the lower. Are you going to remove the knuckle also?
A cut off wheel in a grinder or a cold chisel to split the nut will get things free. I would use the cut off wheel, saves me from beating up my knuckles. Just make sure the lower control arm is properly supported.
If you used a separator on the lower ball joint, it may need to be replaced now, usually the boot gets torn when forking one apart.
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Old 03-27-2009, 08:26 AM
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I am also trying to understand ultimately what you are trying to achieve..If you are only replacing the upper ball joint, then I wouldn't have messed with the lower..And I know it was said earlier, but I have to reinforce..BEFORE you do anything else, you really need to compress that spring...I was working with a guy who was replacing his upper ball joints, he was using a jack under his lower control arm to keep the spring from flying out..It sounded like a good idea to me (I was younger, and even more clueless then) Well, long story short, the jack broke away and slid outta the side of the truck, slamming into his shins. The outcome, as you can imagine was not good...

better safe than sorry, and it is a free rental from a parts store...

my 2 cents
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Old 03-27-2009, 11:45 AM
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you dont need a compressor for the GM cars and trucks. you can put a small chain throguh with a bolt and nut to feel safe in case it tries to do anything, but its not going to

not like the tall narrow ford springs like on the mustangs etc where you have to compress them or they wont go in.

balljoint spinning with the nut is a pain, we usually torch them off if they do this and the weight of the car witha floor jack under it wont make the balljoint catch in the spindle enough to remove the nut



good luck
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Old 03-27-2009, 02:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fast68
balljoint spinning with the nut is a pain, we usually torch them off if they do this and the weight of the car witha floor jack under it wont make the balljoint catch in the spindle enough to remove the nut


good luck
That makes sense thank you. So how do I reinstall the UCA after ive got it painted jack the LCA up onto the spindle of the new ball joint and then put a new nut on and put the pickle fork on the nut and drive the LCA onto the ball joint?
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Old 03-28-2009, 06:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nsomnia
That makes sense thank you. So how do I reinstall the UCA after ive got it painted jack the LCA up onto the spindle of the new ball joint and then put a new nut on and put the pickle fork on the nut and drive the LCA onto the ball joint?
I wouldn't beat on it, or use the fork for the reassembly at all.
Do any part stores near you have a tool loaner program? A ball joint press is the way to go for the lower. If replacing an upper they bolt onto the UCA.
Both the upper and lower ball joints simply install into the knuckle, use new castle nuts and torque to spec, slightly back off nut to install the cotter pin if the nut and hole in the shaft of the ball joint do no line up.
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Old 03-29-2009, 10:17 AM
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Wow, a couple of answers here made me cringe a bit. I have done many of these and I have learned to do them safely. If that nut would not have been on the ball joint you could have had a serious prblem with that spring hurting you or anyone else in the immediate area. I have done the chain method for removing and its semi safe. The best way is an internal spring compressor. Then put your floor jack under the lower control arm loosly, just so it doesnt swing all the way to the floor. Then use the pickle fork to separate the ball joint from the spindle.
Reassembly is the oposite but here is where I use a chain. I chain the floor jack to a secure place on the chassis and place the pad of the jack under the ball joint. The spring is still compressed. Then I jack the ball joint as far as I can into the spindle and then using the nut pull it all the way in. Then I release the spring compressor.
Be safe with these things. I am an old guy and been doing this for 40+ years and still have all my fingers and toes and shinbones. Mostly by dumb luck and the good Lord looking after this fool, but hopefully I can pass on some of my experience to others
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