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Author Topic: Ball joints and Tie Rods Replacement - Preferred order to change them?  (Read 351 times)

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oih82w8

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I am about to change the Ball Joints (Upper Control Arm w/ Ball Joint and Lower Ball Joint) and Tie Rods (Inner and Outer) this weekend.  Is there a preferred order to change these out?  I have a 2008 2WD LT Avalanche with the parts and the tools to accomplish this.  Just curious if anyone has any feedback recommendations after they did theirs.
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oih82w8 = "oh I hate to wait"

2008 LT 5.3L; K&N air filter, Magnaflow muffler, so far...

redheadedrod

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Re: Ball joints and Tie Rods Replacement - Preferred order to change them?
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2018, 05:32:42 AM »

I did the same thing along with the lower control arm bushings. Although if you don't have a decent press available the LBJ and the bushings are interesting to change...

The parts store "ball joint press" aren't deep enough to work on the them. At least not the ones I did.  If you are doing all that work I strongly suggest replacing the bushings in the lower control arm too. At 274k miles mine were toast. I had to use the 50 ton press at work to get mine done.

I found it was easiest to disconnect the tie rod and sway bar first. (Don't be surprised to have to replace the sway bar links.. They corrode together then you can't remove them).

If your 08 is like my '03 I had to remove the axle shafts when removing the LCA because the bolts for the front bushing hit the axle shaft.

With the tie rod and sway bar disconnected it makes much easier to move the knuckle around to get at the ball joints. I also found in my truck that it was much easier to work around the top ball joint with the axle shaft removed but I also pulled and replaced the hubs so if your not doing that you may not want to do that.
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2003 Cladded Black Z71 - PC installed otherwise mostly stock.
4 Light Brake/Turnsignal
All on high and FTDRL (BCM friendly version)

tx03z71dave

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Re: Ball joints and Tie Rods Replacement - Preferred order to change them?
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2019, 11:46:03 AM »

how difficult was it to pull the torsion bar? I am thinking about just replacing both the upper and lower control arms. That would get me new bushings and ball joints all the way around... Chevy shows a special tool to release tension on the torsion bar adjuster... can a C-clamp be used?  I originally was going to just replace the ball joint but if the bushings also need replacing I might as well just buy the moog LCA and be done with it.
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redheadedrod

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Re: Ball joints and Tie Rods Replacement - Preferred order to change them?
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2019, 09:06:59 AM »

I didn't use any special tool to release the tension.

I first jacked up the truck and placed the FRAME on jack stands allowing the suspension to just hang in the front. I then adjusted the torsion bars until they were all the way loose. (Painted the bolt so I had an idea where it was before I loosened it but in the end I measured at the fenders so it really didn't matter.)

I then removed the sway bar and tie rods. (The tie rods are cheap so I replaced inner and outer. My truck really needed it..)

I removed the UCA but the bolts were a PITA. I ended up cutting my UCA into pieces so I could access the bolts easier to cut them off. The Ball joint came out pretty easy.

I removed my axle shaft and the knuckle leaving just the lower control arm. I believe I used my jack to support the lower control arm and put some upward pressure so it didn't totally "pop" when I released the upper ball joint. When it was JUST the LCA left I released the pressure on it and let it pretty much hang. I removed the bolts holding it in place and with a 3lb hammer I was able to hit the LCA a couple times to get it to release from the torsion bar.

I did not need any special tools to accomplish any of this. But I do suggest removing the axle nut before raising the truck in the air. One side was on very tight and I ended up using a special tool we have at work. (A 1" drive ratchet that has about a 24" handle and torque multiplier. Even with that it didn't want to pop loose easy at first. I believe this is a 4:1 ratio torque multiplier. Without it I would have needed heat and patience.)

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2003 Cladded Black Z71 - PC installed otherwise mostly stock.
4 Light Brake/Turnsignal
All on high and FTDRL (BCM friendly version)

tx03z71dave

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Re: Ball joints and Tie Rods Replacement - Preferred order to change them?
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2019, 14:09:17 PM »

wow thanks for the reply... alldata seems to show some sort of tool that is used to make it easier to unload the torsion rods... its good to know I can just unscrew the bolts to release tension.  I have since crawled under mine and determined by biggest issue is not the ball joints but the pitman and idler arms... as well as a little movement in the tierods.  I am currently ordering both inner and outer tie rods, the pitman arm, idler arm as well as the mount. I may still have ball joint issues, I just need more leverage to have them move.  Thanks for the reminder about loosening the axle nut... the has bit me before...
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redheadedrod

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Re: Ball joints and Tie Rods Replacement - Preferred order to change them?
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2019, 09:59:12 AM »

Well I kept the LCA loaded by lifting up on it with a jack when I unbolted the rest of the stuff from it. Probably just needed to disconnect the lower ball joint and hang the knuckle some how if just doing the LCA but in my case I rotated the LCA to get the torsion bar off after removing the bushing bolts. I am not sure if I would have been able to do that with the knuckle and other stuff in the way. I did adjust my tension on the LCA by raising or lowering the jack. It wasn't bad.  It was the last thing I removed on my truck though. The UCA were cheap so I didn't mess with trying to rebuild them. Cutting them off was fine. the LCA were like over $200 apiece so I rebuilt each one. But I have access to a 50ton press and accessories that allowed me to do that. Without that stuff I would suggest just replacing it. The bottom ball joint is too big for the normal ball joint tools you can rent from the parts store. I ended up using some thick walled pipe with the press at work to get mine to come out. Using that I didn't have to worry about the tabs on the ball joint that were bent over to keep it in place. I just kept pressing the ball joint until it popped out. The control arm steel was much stronger than the steel holding the ball joint in place.

I ended up burning the old bushings out and then prying out the old metal pieces. Sand blasted the arms then painted them. Buying new LCA's would have been much easier.
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2003 Cladded Black Z71 - PC installed otherwise mostly stock.
4 Light Brake/Turnsignal
All on high and FTDRL (BCM friendly version)

tx03z71dave

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Re: Ball joints and Tie Rods Replacement - Preferred order to change them?
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2019, 12:31:23 PM »

thanks again for the reply, sounds like I will go the full uca/lca replacement as I do not have access to any kind of press. going to get the pitman/idler/tierods done in the next week and then determine if the ball joints are something that needs immediate or can be planned down the road.
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