ball joints

Daughters 98 Jimmy just had a ball joint go out and the drivers side. She was driving and as luck would have it no one was in the other lane when it
caused her to cross the center line. She had it towed and the repairs came to $220. They said the other side needs to be repaired, the idler arm, and of course an alignment. Money is very tight with her being a single mom. I have repaired the wheel bearing hubs and wonder how big a job is the ball joints and idler arm.
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Tim wrote:

Idler arm is easy. mark the frame with the location of the old one. Remove the nut and break the lower end loose. Then unbolt the upper end and remove it. Install the new one and line it up to the marks you made. The ball joints are not that difficult if you have a die grinder or similar to grind the heads off the rivets. Then you knock out the stems and bolt the new one in place. Upper one is easier than the lower one because you don't have as many parts to work around. When you get it back together take it in for alignment. If you used good parts you shouldn't be that far off.
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Steve W.
Near Cooperstown, New York
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Steve, test time, why is it important to mark the frame where the idler arm was mounted. ( something about center link parallelism?) LOL

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Yeah it is REAL easy to screw up the Ackerman geometry if you aren't paying attention. More than a few have learned that the hard way. At least with the marks it won't be a shot in the dark when the new one goes on.
Shep wrote:

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No idea what you said but it scares me.

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Tim wrote:

Tim, Ackerman is the guy who figured out that the front steering on a vehicle has to do more than just turn each wheel at the same angle. He's the reason there are alignment shops in the world. http://www.smithees-racetech.com.au/ackerman.html has a LOT of information about it.
As long as you mark the location of the old idler arm and install the new one using the same marks you won't have a problem. Don't let a thing like that keep you from working on the beast.
The holes for a lot of the parts on that vehicle are designed to allow you to move the part around as adjustment. Some folks find that out just after they loosen the bolts up and the part drops 1/2" and tilts. Then it becomes an OH Sh#$ moment! However you will be smart enough to mark the location first.
If you want to see the adjustment holes really easy just look at any of the bolts holding the fenders. Notice the large washer that doesn't quite cover the slotted hole? Same thing on the idler arm bolts where they go through the frame.

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Steve W.
Near Cooperstown, New York
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I have a 4 1/2 inch side grinder.

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Is a separator tool needed for the lower ball joints?

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Yes.
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