Ball Joint Tools

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I would like to get a decent ball joint lifter tool for under $30. Tegger's site http://www.tegger.com/hondafaq/disconnect.html describes several. I am aiming for the second category. Here are two
in that category:
http://www.jcwhitney.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product?storeId 101&Pr=p_Product.CATENTRY_ID%3A2004158&TID0&TID0&productId 04158&catalogId101
http://www.thetoolwarehouse.net/shop/TA-61900.html
Both the separating tools at the above link seem to be "single stage" whereas the ones at Tegger's site are what I think are called "two stage." The single stage ones tend to be around one-fourth the price of the two stage ones. Will I get a lot more for the money with the two stage ones? Seems like the single stage one sure prevail when googling for "ball joint lifter."
Also, do I need a "ball joint press kit" of some kind for putting the ball joints back together? My Chilton's manual isn't too good on these points. The factory service manuals at the UK site seem a little better and I'm studying them now.
I am prepping for a major rebuild of my 91 Civic's suspension.
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Elle wrote:

http://www.jcwhitney.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product?storeId 101&Pr=p_Product.CATENTRY_ID%3A2004158&TID0&TID0&productId 04158&catalogId101

================================= MAN, those are cheap looking crap. I only paid CAN $18.00 (on sale at Princess Auto) for the one pictured on tegger's site. (last picture)
http://www.tegger.com/hondafaq/disconnect.html
That's about $15 US. Notice there are two hinge points too.
'Curly'
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I was looking for this at the Princess Auto site and couldn't turn it up, even after downloading the two catalogue sections (Automotive and "Shop and Garage").
I'll try their 800 number tomorrow and see if they even sell to people in the U.S.
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http://www.jcwhitney.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product?storeId 101&Pr=p_Product.CATENTRY_ID%3A2004158&TID0&TID0&productId 04158&catalogId101

I spent twice as much as you are looking at, but it is a single stage much like the less expensive ones. I haven't used it yet but my son said it worked like a charm. I think the lower priced ones would work as well - this one just had the advantage of being adjustable for small or large ball joints. Unless you're going to work on trucks I doubt that really matters to you.
Putting the joint back together is simple enough, but it really helps if the taper pin and socket are free of oil. (Don't ask me how I know!) If there is oil the pin tends to rotate before it is tight, making it very difficult to either tighten or loosen the nut. Proper torque on the nut is important, since that determines the wedginess (technical term).
Mike
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Mike, thanks! I'll put this in my notes.
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Elle wrote:

I have one of these http://www.asttool.com/html/cars/general/129_1.html It works well and it's very dependable.
With any ball joint press tool such as this, there's one thing that you have to be careful with. That is, it's possible to put enough force on the end of the ball joint stud before it releases such that the end of the stud collapses due to the holes drilled in it for the cotter key. To avoid this scenario, put a nut on the end of the ball joint stud such that the end of the nut is flush with the end of the ball joint stud. The nut will then provide support via the stud threads and prevent the end of the stud from collapsing.
Eric
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I'll call Assenmacher tomorrow and see how much they want for this. I couldn't find the price at the site.

Eric, thanks much. I put this in my notes.
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Eric wrote:

------------------------------------------
That sucker is gorgeous. Good tools are nice to have, eh? As you can see, I already own two identical ball joint puller tools. :-(
'Curly'
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Flip the castle nut upside down and reinstall it. Same result.
--
TeGGeR

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
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The cheap ones are not the best and easiest to use but they to get the job done. I'd rather use a cheap one like this rather than banging on the LCA to get the ball joint out.

http://www.jcwhitney.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product?storeId 101&Prp_Product.CATENTRY_ID%3A2004158&TID0&TID0&productId 04158&catalogId10101

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That's the kind of thing I need to know. Thanks, John.

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Elle wrote:

Yeah, I've been using "the cheap-looking piece of crap" tool from JC Whitney for years and it works like a charm. In fact, I used it to remove the upper balljoint and outer tie rod ends(to replace the aging dust boots) on my '98 CRV several weeks ago.
BTW, here's a little tip on how to keep the pin from spinning when you're trying to put the nut back on. I use one of my vise grip wrenches to hold the two pieces together(which puts pressure on the joint) and that holds the pin steady.
--
Message posted via CarKB.com
http://www.carkb.com/Uwe/Forums.aspx/honda-cars/200604/1
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Headknocker and Tegger: Your tips are now in my notes. Thank you.
Updates:
Canada's Princess Auto--Does not ship to U.S.
Tool by Colorado based Assenmacher--$70, plus shipping. Order by phone.
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I bought a tool like those sold at Princess Auto - it worked very well. I ground it out a bit with a die grinder to make sure it wouldn't tear the boots on my Legend, and it still had more than enough strength. Another source for these is a tool company that sells them on eBay for $29. I figured this would be easier than dealing with an international order. The URL for the tool is below:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/J-1727-Universal-Ball-Joint-Separator-Brand-New_W0QQitemZ4626902945QQcategoryZ35625QQssPageNameZWD1VQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
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Yesterday I thought I'd scoured e-bay. Thanks, this tool may be the one!
This morning I ordered new front suspension spring coils and stabilizer links and stabilizer bushings from the "Team Honda" in Colorado, www.cheapesthondaparts.com , which Tegger's site references. If all goes well with Team Honda, I will add it to my site. Team Honda had the best price, taking into account shipping: OEM coils at $48.25 each, with a shipping charge of 10%. List prices are similar to Majestic, but Majestic's shipping charges are more (at least for my location). Majestic does now have an online shipping estimator.
Then I'm onto the ball joints. One step at a time...

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/J-1727-Universal-Ball-Joint-Separator-Brand-New_W0QQitemZ4626902945QQcategoryZ35625QQssPageNameZWD1VQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
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The JTC Auto Tools ball joint separator #1727 that I purchased on Ebay (specifically suggested by Ryan Biggs here) arrived this past Thursday (four business days after purchase). Cost: $25 + another $10 for shipping. Today I used it to successfully separate my Civic's front pass. side ball joint. This is in preparation for replacing the front control arm bushings on both sides. The tool worked great. Tips:
-- Diagrams for positioning the tool appear in several of the manuals at http://www.honda.co.uk/car/owner/workshop.html . The factory service manuals and my Chilton's manual are a little vague about using any particular special tool on the lower control arm ball joints (as compared to other ball joints in the front suspension). Nonetheless, it works perfectly.
-- Per Curly's suggestion, I ground a shallow hole where the bolt pin pushes against the tool's arm.
-- I found I did not need to grind the "claws" so as to fit around the rubber boot better. They are actually pretty smooth already on this particular version of the tool. It seems to have been made carefully so as to preclude a torn boot. I did tap a little on the tool to push the claws firmly into place.
-- I only used one stage of the two stages on this particular tool. The ball joint separated with a loud pop about mid-way through the bolt advance. I used a 1.5 foot breaker bar and 15/16-inch socket. But not too much force was necessary to get the ball joint apart.
-- I flipped the castle nut and reinstalled it until its bottom was flush with the bottom of the ball joint bolt, per Eric's and Tegger's direction. Worked great. No damage of anything from all I can see.
-- Reinstalling was a cinch, as Michael indicated. I lifted the control arm (just a little inboard of the ball joint bolt) using a scissors jack against the weight of the car, and I heard the joint snapped back into place. The joining snap was more muted than the separating snap. I installed the castle nut about where I thought it should be, then fully removed the jack. I torqued it to spec. (only 32 ft-lbs for my Civic). Then I advanced it a bit more to line up the cotter pin holes and installed the pin. Then I put the wheel back on and removed the jack stand.
-- I think the cheaper version of this tool one sees online (the one that is "single stage") might very well work fine, except I'd double check that the claws didn't tear the boot rubber.
Thanks everyone for the input. I am quite pleased with the progress. The last hurdle in my front suspension renovation project is now actually pressing the new bushings in place. My new Mugen bushings arrive Wednesday. I start trying to install them, per the tips here, on Thursday.
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"Headknocker via CarKB.com" wrote:

If I remember correctly, the manual states that the suspension should be raised up to its normal ride height before tightening the ball joint castle nuts (and also before tightening the lower control arm pivot and strut attachment bolts). I usually find it easiest to raise the lower control arm with a floor jack (it's fast, easy, and takes care of multiple steps at the same time, i.e., the ball joint and the lower control arm).
Lastly, never loosen the castle nut to align the cotter key holes. Always tighten it to the next one.
Eric
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I usually just use a hammer for a few sharp blows on the side of the joint which ususally dislodges it.
JT
John wrote:

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In three shops I've worked in no-one has had this tool. Looks neat; but by the time I dig it out and set it up a sharp blow from the hammer already has the joint loose.
--
Stephen W. Hansen
ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician
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The advantage to the hammer technique is that the joint is not stressed and the possibility of damage to the boot is reduced. It's an old time practice and best of all, it's free! Of course, flipping the castle nut and applying loosely prevents the joint assembly from dropping completely.
<G>
JT
Stephen H wrote:

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