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Virtual Wrench
Virtual Wrench, Chevy Mechanic
Category: Chevy
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Experience:  35 years Master Mechanic
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1986 chevy blazer: 4x4..the tie rod end..ball joints..easiest

Resolved Question:

hello, i bought a 1986 chevy blazer 4x4 as a fixeruper. i replaced the tie rod end, and was planning on replacing the upper ball joints. i looked at it and i couldnt figure out what the easiest, if any to replace them would be. it seemed impossible to get them out and the new in without some major work. could u please help me out, adam
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Chevy
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 10 years ago.


See Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4

Click image to see an enlarged view
Fig. 1: Removing the steering arm nuts, 4WD models. Replace the nuts with new ones when installing.

Click image to see an enlarged view
Fig. 2: Removing the ball socket retaining nuts on the 4X4 model

Click image to see an enlarged view
Fig. 3: Pressing the lower ball joint out of the knuckle

Click image to see an enlarged view
Fig. 4: Lower ball joint removal, 4X4 models

All Except K30 Series

The steering knuckle pivot ball joints may need replacement when there is excessive steering play, hard steering, irregular tire wear (especially on the inner edge), or persistent tie rod loosening.

This procedure requires the removal of the steering knuckle before the ball joints can be removed. K30 models with kingpins have their own knuckle removal procedure later in this Section.

  1. Support the front axle on jackstands.

  2. Remove the axle shaft as detailed earlier.

  3. Remove the steering linkage. The best method is to use a tie rod end puller.

  4. If you remove the steering arm from the top of the knuckle, the nuts cannot be reused.

  5. Remove the cotter pin and ball joint stud nuts.

  6. Remove the knuckle from the housing yoke by forcing a wedge between the lower ball stud and the yoke, then between the upper ball stud and the yoke.

  7. If you have to loosen the upper ball stud adjusting sleeve to remove the knuckle, don't loosen it more than two threads. The soft threads in the yoke are easily damaged.

  1. Remove the lower ball joint snapring. Press the lower ball joint out first.

  2. Press out the upper ball joint and unscrew the adjusting sleeve. A spanner wrench is required for the sleeve.

  3. Press the new lower ball joint into the knuckle and install the snapring. The lower joint doesn't have a cotter pin hole.

  4. Press the upper ball joint into the knuckle.

  5. Position the knuckle to the yoke. Install new stud nuts finger tight.

  6. Push up on the knuckle and tighten the lower nut to 70 ft. lbs.

  7. Using a spanner wrench, install and torque the upper ball stud adjusting sleeve to 100 ft. lbs. and install the cotter pin. Don't loosen the castellated nut, but make it tighter to line up the cotter pin hole.

  8. Replace the steering arm, using new nuts and tightening to 90 ft. lbs.

  9. Check the knuckle turning torque with a spring scale hooked to the tie rod hole in the steering arm. With the knuckle straight ahead, measure the right angle pull to keep the knuckle turning after initial breakaway, in both directions. The pull should be 25 lbs. or less.

  10. Replace the axle shaft and other components. Tighten the steering linkage nuts to 45 ft. lbs.



If you have further questions on this, please feel free to reply.

Thanks for asking!



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Customer: replied 10 years ago.
so i do have to remove the axle shaft, thats what i was worried about, is that as hard as it seems?
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 10 years ago.

Yep got to get the knuckle out,,,It's a work out for sure, but you can do it :-)

You can rent a press at a lot of different parts stores like Autozone, you will need some kind of press.

Best of luck my friend!