Ball Joint Stud/Castle Nut "Froze"

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Cotter pin's out. How can I free the castle nut from the ball joint stud? They currently move as one.
Please help as soon as possible.

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The ball joint taper has broken its adhesion. Stick a jack under the control arm and lift enough to put the weight of the car on the taper to jam it again. You may need to give the joint a whack on the base with a hammer to help.
GENTLY try turning the castle nut. If it all starts turning again, give the joint a whack again to lock it. Once its out, clean the taper and upright hole with solvent to remove any grease.
Stewart DIBBS
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Stewart DIBBS wrote:

what he said...
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Thanks. I will try this Thursday when I resume work on my car.
Helluva day with a control arm bolt, but got it without disassembling the ball joint, after all.

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wrote

According to the Haynes manual,the upper BJ is not replaceable,and the entire control arm is supposed to be replaced;is there any method of replacing the BJ in the original control arm?
--
Jim Yanik
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I should have clarified that my post above concerns the lower control arm, which is bolted via the castle nut and ball joint stud to the knuckle... The knuckle for my Civic contains the lower ball joint. The UK site's Civic CRX manual has a procedure for replacing just the lower ball joint. The first step is to remove the knuckle...
Not sure what you're asking, otherwise. I don't plan to replace the lower ball joint at this time. I am going to install new lower control arm bushings within the next week (God willing) and see if this remedies my car's un-levelness from pass. side to dr. side. I need to disconnect the lower ball joint to remove the control arm. I ran into trouble removing the inboard control bolt and for a little while thought my best bet was to disconnect the ball joint, yada... Anyway, managed to remove the inboard control bolt in its entirety without doing the BJ right now, so I can drive the car today and resume work tomorrow.
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wrote

I'm sorry,I was thinking of my Integra,and the Haynes manual says -to replace the lower BJ,you remove the whole steering knuckle and take to to a shop to have a new BJ pressed in,and the UPPER BJ is -not replaceable-;you must replace the whole upper control wishbone. I was wondering if anyone offered a kit or service for replacing that upper BJ without replacing the upper wishbone.
since you were working on your suspension ,I thought you or other readers might know.

Have you tried two new springs yet? ISTR you were going to swap the unequal height springs;evidently that failed.

--
Jim Yanik
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Jim Yanik wrote:

I've replaced an upper ball joint on my '88 Civic. The suspension is very similar to the Integra. I replaced the whole upper arm. It's pretty easy. If I remember correctly, the upper ball joint is welded into the upper arm and it's not worth the hassle trying to replace it as a separate unit.
Eric
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All that's the same for my 91 Civic, except the service manual (at least for the Civic CRX) describes the process for replacing the lower BJ. Three special tools are listed. Maybe the special tools are one reason why Haynes directs people to a shop.

My recollection from my reading is that it's still customary (or mandatory) to replace the whole upper arm to get a new upper ball joint.

Yes to all. Here are the differences in car heights, right and left sides, through my investigation:
Before doing anything: 3/4-inch Old springs swapped: 3/8-inch New springs: 1/2-inch.
The old springs uncompressed had a height difference of 1/4-inch, so there is some consistency here.
The new springs uncompressed were actually a little shorter than the old ones. As expected, the car does sit a little lower, overall, with the new springs.
I suspect the bushings are behind the 1/2-inch difference at this point.
I won't quibble if I get the right and left sides within 1/4-inch. (I wonder if there's a spec on that.)
I am measuring from the ground to the top of the front wheel wells here.
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The factory manual for my Integra indicates NO specs at all for ride height.
My car currently has half-inch difference driver's to passenger's side. When new, both front springs already had more than 1/4" difference (both front springs were replaced about 9 years ago).

To determine ride height, you're supposed to measure fron the wheel well to the center of the wheel. Measuring ground-up introduces the tire as a variable.
You must also be certain that the ground is actually level, and you'd be surprised how little pavement is *really and truly* level. When I check, I jack up the necessary wheels only enough to shim under the tires with old books. I use a line and a spirit level to level the car.
--
TeGGeR

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
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Thanks for the tips. I am very careful about tire pressure, for one thing.
Right now, my main interest is getting the castle nut off and my new bushings installed, if only to improve handling.
At this point I am trying to cut the castle nut off with my die grinder, a nut splitter and anything else I can find. I haven't read reports of anyone else having this sort of problem. I guess the fact that the other day before trying to get the castle nut off, I unwittingly (despite Michael's warning) PB Blastered the control arm tapered hole didn't help. I brake-cleanered the taper several times today and tried again and again. I couldn't get a C-clamp or vise grip on the ball joint and arm to wedge the stud into a fixed position. No luck putting all the weight on the control arm, using a jack beneath it.
About mid-day, I started trying to cut the castle nut off without damaging the stud threads.
So it goes. Very discouraging...
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A suggestion: Use the die grinder to cut off one side of the nut. Don't go deep enough to actually get down to the ball-joint stud threads, just enough to get very, very close.
The heat and vibration may just be enough to shock it loose so you can wrench it off.
--
TeGGeR

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
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If you cut enough off,the nut will split when you try to turn it.
I've also used cold chisels to cut thru a frozen nut.
Of course,if you're replacing the BJ anyways,just cut thru the stud -above- the nut.Use a drift to ppush out the remaining taper.
--
Jim Yanik
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Re using the die grinder

Tegger and Jim: Unfortunately I found the space so tight that I couldn't get vertical cuts with the die grinder. I cut some with it, but was concerned about cutting into the threads and so was conservative.
I did find the nut's metal fairly soft (in contrast with the control arm bolts I tackled recently). An ordinary hack saw turns out to be pretty effective, though angling it ideally is also a challenge.
Because I forged ahead, thinking with enough pounding etc. this little nut would come free, now no nut is left to get a hold of with any kind of wrench. Thus I can't try grinding a slot in the stud and holding it with a screwdriver somehow. That does sound promising next time around.
About half of the nut remains in place, and I still can't pound it out with a hammer and chisel (applied to edges). I applied PB Blaster to the exposed edges; it certainly seemed to be sucked into the crevices, at least, per its advertised capillary action. Still an hour or so later, no doggone luck.
It seems more than a coincidence that I had much less trouble with the pass side inboard control arm bolt and no trouble with its castle nut. Could the fact that the car routinely carries a driver and his/her extra weight pounds on the driver side bushings and castle nut (among other drivers' side suspension components) that they are more likely to "weld" in place?
Or, like I mentioned before, I screwed up this second castle nut from the get-go.

The way it's going, I certainly may be replacing the BJ. I know there's a procedure for removing the knuckle (and then the BJ), but I have been holding off, fearing that's another can of worms (= rusty nuts and bolts).
Going to recharge overnight and see if I can't get the last bit of castle nut off tomorrow.
Thanks again, Jim and Tegger, for your suggestions. Next time I'll know more.
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wrote

No vertical cuts! Just hold the grinder wheel parallel with the horizon, and grind away up and down until that side of the nut is mostly gone.
--
TeGGeR

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
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Oh, I get it now. I was focused on cutoff wheels (for my air die grinder) and forgot about the grinding wheels I can use with it as well.
Michael, "school of hard knocks" is my middle name when it comes to my car's repairs.
Oh well. It's always easier the next time.
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Elle, you are setting new standards in defining "sweat equity!"
Mike
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Happily, either the effects of PB Blaster or driving a little with the car (carefully) took their toll. The remains of the castle nut came off within ten minutes with just a little tapping with my new chisel. The threads seemed to be in good repair, but I chased them with a new die (only $4 for the 12 mm, 1.25 mm pitch one at NAPA) to be safe.
The ball joint separated so easily probably a good blow with a small ball peen hammer would have been sufficient. I suppose the taper was really lubed up, or else the driving around loosened everything in, I confess, a seriously risky way.
The boot was a bit dried out and beat up from the brake cleaner. I applied PB Blaster, for now, since it's said to restore rubber. Probably have to replace it soon after the rough treatment it saw in the last couple of days.
I note I also priced new lower ball joints at NAPA today. These were part of my backup plan.They had two types, one with a lifetime warranty, one without. One $27, one $52, IIRC.
Forward to full control arm removal, then bushing replacement. More update on this in another thread.
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wrote

Something that occurred to me;cut a SLOT in the BJ stud with a Dremel,and use a screwdriver to hold it from turning,Or grind a couple of flats on the end of the stud,and use a wrench to hold.(if there's enough room.)
--
Jim Yanik
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///snipped for brevity///

Are you sure? Wouldn't measuring from the wheel well to the center of the wheel also introduce the tire as a variable? The tire would determine, in part, the height of the center of the wheel, wouldn't it?

I would think that once you had the car level with the ground as you outline above, one should measure from the top of the shims to the center of the wheel. Any difference between the two tires of interest could then be eliminated by adjusting air pressure until the centers were equal. Then a measurement from the wheel well to the center of each wheel would disclose any difference in ride height. Perhaps I didn't grasp the whole of your procedure....
Dave D
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