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Discussion Starter #1
I searched everywhere to find a step by step for replacing the upper ball joints and couldn't really find a simple what you need with photos so here you go. I have a 4WD truck and I don't know how different a 2WD drive is so those that have 4WD here you go. I purchased the Harbor Freight 2WD and 4WD Maddox Ball Joint Service Kit for $69 bucks with a coupon. I purchased the replacement ball joints from Rock Auto and decided to go with the MOOG because the had zerk fittings so I could grease them unlike the OEM. I had good luck with MOOG lower ball joints especially when there was an actual recall of the Toyota joints.

Torque numbers
Front Axil 173 ft. lbs
Upper Ball 77 ft. lbs
Calipers 90 ft. lbs.

Tools
Harbor Freight Maddox 2WD and 4WD Ball Joint Service Kit
35mm or 36mm socket for 4WD front axle nut
Sawsall with metal blade


Step 1 remove front wheel and jack up the front using a floor jack at the cross member that located at lower swing arms. You will need the trucks jack to raise and lower the lower control arm when you remove the axle nut. Remove remove the front axle. You will need a 35mm socket to remove the nut. I rented a 36mm socket from Auto Zone and it worked just fine.
151809


I found that by removing the axle nut that I could push the axle shaft in and allow the control arms to drop enough to allow the spindle to move outside the wheel well and get the ball joint tool attached.

I then removed the two brake line brackets and then removed the front brake calipers and hung them by a couple of zip ties.
151811

Remove the front axle nut and push the shaft in so the spindle can rotate out. I did use a jack stand to hold the hub from moving.

I removed the upper ball joint cotter pin and moved the nut towards the top of the threads of the ball joint. From reading other tutorials it says the upper swing arm will jump up and they recommend leaving the nut towards the top of the threads and I did the same. Some showed just hitting the upper control arm will allow the ball joint to release and since mine had over 200,000 miles it said no so I applied a little pressure and hit it and it worked. One side was easier than the other but they both finally released. You can see the tool I used to add a little pressure with a piece of steel.
151814

I then used a sawsall to cut off the top of the ball joint. I read that was the easiest and it too a few metal blades but they cut off with a little effort.
151815

here is where it cut it
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Then I could get the tool attached and press out the joint. I will say that I used my 3/4" torque wrench and my wife so I could hold the c-clamp.
151817

One side came out easy and one side was not fun but they both came out.
I reversed the press and pressed in the new ball joint.
151818

I attached the c-clip and dust shield then used the trucks jack to lift the lower swing arm so I could attach the upper nut. I then put the axle nut back on, cotter pin and dust cover.

I will say that my big 3/4" torque wrench made it easier/
151819
 

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Awesome thank you! Everytime I look at my upper ball joints I get queasy feeling just because of the angle they sit on ( like they are going to fold in like pics of catastrophic BJ failure) but then look at my lowers and realize that’s the way the uppers are suppose to look.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
A few things I might add. The upper original ball joints appeared to be just fine. They were smooth and well lubed. The truck is 20 years old now and while it has never been abused it has seen lots of dirt and gravel roads so I was concerned with wear and over 225K miles so changing them out seemed the smart thing to do. Removing the front axle nut is really the only way I can think of getting the upper swing arm into position that I could use the press. Removing the front calipers is easy and a good reminder to grease those pins. The Harbor Freight tool worked quite nice but I wish I had an impact hammer to turn it vs my torque wrench. The MOOG ball joints have zerk fittings that haven't been installed at the base of the ball joint in the photograph but I installed them and will give them a shot of grease every time I do my driveline.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You can also pull the ball joint with an OTC three finger gear puller.
I tried a few three finger gear pullers on one side and it wouldn't even think of moving. One side came off very easily but the other side didn't want to ever leave the truck. I think it thought I have been here for 20 years and this is my home ;-)
 

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Why not replace the whole control arm with ball joint already installed and save yourself the hassle, much easier to do, plus you will now have new bushings on your control arm since they do wear out.
 
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