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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The vehicle on which the upper knuckle ball-joint was replaced, was a 4WD, 2003, K2500 Chevy Suburban.

The repair manual indicated to elevate the vehicle, then remove the wheel. Easy so far. At this point the manual indicates to release the torsion bar suspension (no coil suspension) and remove the brake caliper, followed by the rotor and axle. Seeing that this would increase the number of hours for servicing the upper knuckle ball joint, I opted out to not disturb the these respective parts.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/2996978903/



Instead I positioned a small hydraulic jack beneath the lower wish bone, http://www.flickr.com/photos/1375381...n/photostream/
and proceeded to remove the lock nut on the upper knuckle ball-joint.


Then using a pickle fork and a 5 lbs hammer, separated the upper wishbone from the steering knuckle.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/1375381...n/photostream/


At the moment the ball-joint released, the knuckle assembly dropped down towards oneself with the weight of the brake caliper and rotor. However, the lower ball-joint prevented the entire assembly from falling down. So be prepared to catch and secure it. In hindsight, it would be practical to attach a safety wire around this assembly before dislodging the ball-joint, with enough slack, thus preventing the assembly from dropping.
www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/2996978301/in/photostream/

Now using a ball-joint press tool, the worn upper ball-joint was removed,
http://www.flickr.com/photos/1375381...n/photostream/

then after a new ball-joint was installed. (The new ball-joint had a marking indicating which side needed to be positioned inboard).http://www.flickr.com/photos/1375381...n/photostream/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/1375381...n/photostream/

Then using the small hydraulic jack, the lower wishbone was raised up along with the knuckle assembly , and meshed onto the upper ball-joint stud. The ball-joint’s stud was torqued to 50 NM. (Needle nose vise-grips® were used to hold the ball-joint stud from rotating, while tightening on the nut.)

The wheel was then reinstalled and the vehicle was ready to roll. Total working time was about 2.5 hours.

Some of the tools needed: Ratchet set, preferably with at least an 18 inch long ratchet wrench for added leverage, torque wrench, ball-joint press, vise grips, 5 pound hammer, pickle fork, two hydraulic jacks and safety tripods, grease gun.
 

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Here is a better idea...Visit your local auto parts store...I prefer O'Reilly Auto Parts.....For the 1/2 ton Suburban/Tahoe/Silverado/Sierra 4X4's...The upper control arm is available as an assembly, PN CB50026. Most vehicles that need the ball joint replaced are also in need of Upper control arm bushings as well. I replaced both control arms in less then an hour.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well its about four years later and the upper ball joint has failed. :(
At the time, the replacement was a "top of the line" NAPA brand upper ball joint. (Yah right, :rotf:)

This time around I am trying the Moog brand upper ball joint
(made in the USA, No. K6696) $82Cdn. (Supposed to be top of the line too :rotf:)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/in/photostream
 

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Well its about four years later and the upper ball joint has failed. :(
At the time, the replacement was a "top of the line" NAPA brand upper ball joint. (Yah right, :rotf:)

This time around I am trying the Moog brand upper ball joint
(made in the USA, No. K6696) $82Cdn. (Supposed to be top of the line too :rotf:)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/in/photostream
Moog and Federal Mogul are the way to go with these kind of parts. Surprised to hear that the upper ball joint failed... the lower joint is the one generally under more stress, as it holds the vehicle up... the top really only has to hold the knuckle vertical under cornering. Whenever I've done ball joints, the lowers were in much worse shape.

BKNJ

BTW, I usually freeze the ball joints in a ziplock baggy (to keep them dry) before I install 'em. Easier to get in.
 

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Surprised to hear that the upper ball joint failed... the lower joint is the one generally under more stress, as it holds the vehicle up... the top really only has to hold the knuckle vertical under cornering. Whenever I've done ball joints, the lowers were in much worse shape.
It is odd that it failed twice. My S-blazer has ~185K on the original uppers while the lowers were replaced once. The 3500 silverado has 135K on original ball joints.

Good advice on freezing a press in joint.

PS, I find it much easier to reconnect the knuckle to the upper ball joint after releasing the torsion bar tension. To do this I back off the torsion bar bolt 10-12 turns and it makes life much easier. Then when everything is reconnected you just turn in the same number and your back to OE ride height.
 
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