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DIY: Do It Yourself
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Old 12-03-2007, 08:09 PM   #1
Hopz
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Unhappy ok guys, SERIOUSLY need your help!

Im workin on taking the outer ball joint of the LCA on the passenger side. I've been whacking it literally for HOURS with the pickle fork and a 3lb hammer. Ive sprayed half a can of wd-40. I've even used a 5 pound sledge hammer and NOTHING. ZIP. NADA. I really don't think im doing anything wrong. This damn thing just won't come off! The butt of the pickle form has deformed from being hit constantly (took a mushroom like shape).

I don't get it why this side is being so hard. I really thout it wulda came off by now. Ive got the other inner ball joint off already and the carrier off too. Shuld i screw those back up and do the outer, maybe it'll be at a better angle? Any help, tips, suggestions will be much appreciated
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Old 12-03-2007, 09:12 PM   #2
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I wouldn't put things back actually I had a similar problem and found that having the inner and bushing off allowed me to pivot the steering knuckle and get a better angle on it. Problem is it slops around, as you've no doubt discovered. Get a helper to hold the rotor to steady things and pivot it to the left (as though you were turning the car to the left). This will expose the outer ball joint to the best advantage. Once you've got the thing steady and turned try to get the pickle fork under the nut and keep it as straight as you can, relative to the knuckle/Control arm. If you have it at an angle what happens is you wind up driving the fork into the raised part of the aluminum of the control arm which is why it doesn't go anywhere. Look at the front of the fork and it should have a clear path. Hit it firmly but not too hard until it's set in the right direction, have your helper hold on tight and then strike it hard as necessary, checking periodically to make sure it's still clearing the high spot of the CA. It'll take some doing, but it'll come off. I had the same issue and it took me quite awhile and ultimately my wife holding the damn thing. Good news is the other side came off without a fight. Good luck.
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Old 12-03-2007, 09:32 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by grafiksguy View Post
I wouldn't put things back actually I had a similar problem and found that having the inner and bushing off allowed me to pivot the steering knuckle and get a better angle on it. Problem is it slops around, as you've no doubt discovered. Get a helper to hold the rotor to steady things and pivot it to the left (as though you were turning the car to the left). This will expose the outer ball joint to the best advantage. Once you've got the thing steady and turned try to get the pickle fork under the nut and keep it as straight as you can, relative to the knuckle/Control arm. If you have it at an angle what happens is you wind up driving the fork into the raised part of the aluminum of the control arm which is why it doesn't go anywhere. Look at the front of the fork and it should have a clear path. Hit it firmly but not too hard until it's set in the right direction, have your helper hold on tight and then strike it hard as necessary, checking periodically to make sure it's still clearing the high spot of the CA. It'll take some doing, but it'll come off. I had the same issue and it took me quite awhile and ultimately my wife holding the damn thing. Good news is the other side came off without a fight. Good luck.
Thanks. I'll try all of that. I know exactly what raised part ur talking about. I also needa have someone hold the rotor thou since its flingin around every time I whack it so it kinda loses the force. But yea such a PITA. My ears are ringing from all the hammering. The driver's side came off pretty easily on mine too, thats strange
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Old 12-04-2007, 05:23 AM   #4
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Let us know how you make out. Good luck with it.
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Old 12-04-2007, 08:04 AM   #5
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I've been there...

Here's all I can offer in the way of tips:

1. Bigger hammer. It took two of us with a 10lb sledge the first time we did it. Once we moved to the big boy, it took one shot.

2. I'm guessing you're replacing the arms, as the boot on the ball joint is FUBAR by this point. You can try putting a nut on the top of the ball joint stud (nothing you have to re-use) and try tapping it on the top. It may break free enough to let the pickle fork work better.

3. Alternate positions/angles with the pickle fork. If you've been hitting the same spot for the whole time, it may just not have the right angle to push the stud straight down.

4. PB Blaster is my penetrating lubricant of choice. Works better/faster than WD 40, which won't help as much with stuck on parts.

5. Sometimes you need a ball joint separator like we sell. Honestly, I've had mixed results with these. Sometimes they work instantly, sometimes they struggle. It's just another tool to alternate with. My favorite method is still the pickle fork and BFH, though.

Good luck!

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Old 12-04-2007, 09:45 AM   #6
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How are you putting any force on the ball joint if you have the inner joint off? There is nothing holding the knuckle in place so I'm sure it is just flying all over the place, right?

Put the inner joint back into the sub-frame and try again. Plus get some PB Blaster.

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Old 12-04-2007, 11:04 AM   #7
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Like Ken said, try using a heavier driving force. I remember I had a problem ball joint, too.

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How are you putting any force on the ball joint if you have the inner joint off? There is nothing holding the knuckle in place so I'm sure it is just flying all over the place, right?

Put the inner joint back into the sub-frame and try again. Plus get some PB Blaster.

Tim
That's what I was going to suggest. I think everyone should have a can of this in their garage. Theo, if you don't have a can, get one.
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Old 12-04-2007, 12:51 PM   #8
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Oil it, heat it with a propane torch for about 2-3 minutes, hit it 5-6 times, oil it again, wait 2-3 minutes, oil it again and heat it for 2 minutes, and hit it again. The oil expands in the joint on the second heating. This should work for you. Good luck.
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Old 12-04-2007, 01:03 PM   #9
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It would be easier to start the job with the proper tools first. You can try to rent a autozone ball joint puller and use that. I used puller on my dads car from pelicanparts.com. My father bought it for his e39 and we did all of the control arms, tie rod ends, and sway bar links on the front end no problem. Here is a entire kit, really usefull and worth the money. http://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/cata...AT500_pg17.htm

You can buy them seprately and they are not very expensive. The kit pays for it self in one use vs. paying someone to do it.

Now if you dont have the time to get these you can try what Tom Busby mentioned. If you do have time to spare you will see how easy it is with the right tool. If I lived in your area I would give you a hand. Good Luck
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Old 12-04-2007, 03:18 PM   #10
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Ok guys thank you for all your responses. The ball joint is still not wanting to come out I used a good amount of PB blaster; still no improvement. Here are some pictures of my current situation...


As you can see, I've tooken off both the carriers and inner joint. I found that if i left the inner joint in and worked on the outer joint, the fork would hit on the raised part of the control arm, so I took everything off and pivoted it so the fork's end were in the clear. The jack is there to keep the CA from drooping and taking everything along with it..



This is the progress of the fork. It's in pretty far, but it doesn't want to go in any further.



those are the hammers im using. The smaller one is a 3lb and I'm not sure what the bigger one is, it was laying around my garage. It is fairly heavy thou (7-10lb ' ish)



again, this is showing how in the pickle fork is in so far



and thats to show how much the end has deformed. It probably lost like a 1/4 inch length I'd say

I've been hitting it on one side mostly. If I try the other side, the fork starts pressing against the tie rod and thats putting pressure on it so idk thats a good idea.

I don't really have time to order those tools. And propane torch should probably be my last resort since I don't feel too comfortable working with it, especially under a car. But yea, really I'd take any other advice you guys have to offer. Thanks
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Old 12-04-2007, 07:11 PM   #11
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Ball Joint Removal

I have also removed the outer ball joint by placing a punch on the top of the threaded end (it has a valley in it) and wack it down 5 or 6 times. That has worked for me a few times.

And if that doesn't work, heat up the stuck end with a torch and then hit it!
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Old 12-04-2007, 07:24 PM   #12
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Looks to me like you might have used all of the taper on the pickle fork. Can you get one from someone with more wedge?

I seem to remember this was the first one I took off.

Have you tried bolting the bushing back into place and the inner bushing (like tim suggested above)? With these in place you should be able to leaver or whack the thing loose with some aiding stiffness.
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Old 12-04-2007, 07:38 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by b777_uk_2000 View Post
Looks to me like you might have used all of the taper on the pickle fork. Can you get one from someone with more wedge?

I seem to remember this was the first one I took off.

Have you tried bolting the bushing back into place and the inner bushing (like tim suggested above)? With these in place you should be able to leaver or whack the thing loose with some aiding stiffness.
yup i tried that. it did give more stability, but put it at an akward angle

If I dont find a thicker pickle fork tomorrow, im gunna go with the propane torch. what part exactly should I be looking to heat up? The ball joint itself?
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Old 12-04-2007, 09:41 PM   #14
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Wow dude that's a tough one.

I'm inclined to agree with b777 that a fork with a more severe incline would help as you've clearly got this one on almost all the way. If you can get one of these, do that first. Don't waste your time with looking for one of those expensive ball joint tools. I had one and I broke it trying to get mine off. They probably work fine with the easier pieces, not what you're up against.

I haven't used a torch and wouldn't feel comfortable about working in that tight space with the plastic ABS sensor, etc. but if you do use one, I'd think you'd want to heat the knuckle since heat causes metal to expand I suppose that might cause the hole to open up. Could close up also though. Again, I've not done it so I'm not inclined to give advice on that.

What I'd try first is Twright's suggestion of a punch on top of the threaded end of the ball joint. Leave the fork in since that's probably helping put downward pressure on the thing, even though it hasn't broken free, yet. Re-attach the bushing to get it stable, then set the jack under the knuckle to support it from below, then set a blunt end cold punch (like the pix attached) on top of the ball joint and hammer straight down on it from above. If this doesn't do it by itself, try alternating between the pickle fork and the chisel. Let us know how it goes.
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Old 12-05-2007, 08:21 AM   #15
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Like others have said, try a different fork. If you have an autozone store by you, go and get their loaner forks. They should have 2 different kinds - shorter and the longer one. I rented both from them and one did not work at all just like your situation, but the other one dropped the arm in 3-4 blows with a 10lb hammer. I don't actually remember which one (shorter or longer) worked for me, but one of the two should work for you.

If you don't have the autozone by you, bring the fork that you have to whereever you are getting the other one from and make sure that the angle is a little different.
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Old 12-05-2007, 02:43 PM   #16
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Yea, I'm actually using the shorter one which is the thicker one. I just tried with the chisel from the top and that's not working either. The fork is literally ALL the way in so it only makes sense that a thicker fork is required. I can't seem to find one thou. I'll try looking for one tommorrow. I've been advised against using a propane torch because of all the rubber lines and such, so I'm trying to avoid that now.

Man this sucks, this is one of my first DIY's and its pretty demotivational haha.
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Old 12-05-2007, 03:08 PM   #17
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Ok - that entire piece is screwed now, so I can't see what this will hurt. Pull out the pickle fork, as that's not doing anything for you at this point. Take your sledge hammer and come down on the top of the stud.

Somethings gotta give.
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Old 12-05-2007, 04:11 PM   #18
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I cant really do that Ken, the top of the stud is behind the rotors and all those lines and stuff, and the bottom of the strut is over it also. this ****ing blows
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Old 12-05-2007, 04:13 PM   #19
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Do pickle forks with thicker wedges even exist?
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Old 12-05-2007, 04:48 PM   #20
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Ok - next idea -

Find yourself a pry bar. Put it in place where the pickle fork now is. Then, take the pickle fork and insert it again. This will give you a little more material to use as a wedge.
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