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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 12-09-2012, 08:19 AM   #1
76m2002
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Rochester, NY
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My Ride: 2001 325xiT
Ball Joint separator?

Has anyone found a good tool for removing ball joints? I want to reuse the ball joint on my e46, so don't want a pickle-fork, and don't want to use a torch. I tried smacking the control arm with a BFH, but could not get the ball joint to drop from the steering knuckle. I tried the the Horror Freight ball joint separator (http://www.harborfreight.com/3-4-qua...tor-99849.html), but it wore out after removing one tie-rod. The threaded driving bolt for the HF tool started grinding into the soft metal of the receiving arm of the tool, instead of forcing the two arms apart. This is for an outer ball joint in a control arm of a 325xiT, so I don't have much room over the top of the threaded rod of the ball joint, and can't use the larger tools that look like giant "C" clamps.
Thanks for any suggestions.
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Old 12-09-2012, 04:53 PM   #2
MINIz guy
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Did you soak the ball joints in some type of penetrating oil?

I've used that same tool for ball joints on an E39 and it worked fine. I did soak my ball joints in WD40 for at least 20 minutes and the joints just popped out without much pressure at all.
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Old 12-09-2012, 07:40 PM   #3
TurnersInOz
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+1 on soaking.
When I did my FCAB's I beat the heck out of the outer and it just wouldn't budge. Soaked it with some oil, let it sit over night and it came right out.
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Old 12-09-2012, 08:15 PM   #4
76m2002
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Soaking didn't with penetrating oil didn't help. Must have been 10 years of salty NE winters. I ended up removing the control arm/steering knuckle assembly intact instead.
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:56 AM   #5
Brobby87
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Location: Minneapolis, MN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 76m2002 View Post
Has anyone found a good tool for removing ball joints? I want to reuse the ball joint on my e46, so don't want a pickle-fork, and don't want to use a torch. I tried smacking the control arm with a BFH, but could not get the ball joint to drop from the steering knuckle. I tried the the Horror Freight ball joint separator (http://www.harborfreight.com/3-4-qua...tor-99849.html), but it wore out after removing one tie-rod. The threaded driving bolt for the HF tool started grinding into the soft metal of the receiving arm of the tool, instead of forcing the two arms apart. This is for an outer ball joint in a control arm of a 325xiT, so I don't have much room over the top of the threaded rod of the ball joint, and can't use the larger tools that look like giant "C" clamps.
Thanks for any suggestions.
I can attest to this tool being absolute crap. Same thing happened to me.

Luckily I was upgrading my control arms to the ZHP kind so I didn't care if I shredded the old ones. Just used a pickle fork, hammer, and a good soaking like mentioned above.
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