The rivets holding the upper ball joint on my 90 4x4 were a bear to get out.
The upper control arm is tubular instead of stamped... I think it's that way
on all 4x4s in that model range (88-98)? Guess the extra thickness made
them harder to get out.
Firestone quoted me $106 (1.3 hrs) labor to do that job... would have been
worth every penny. Of course they were ripping on the part - $80. Got a
lifetime TRW from Advance for $30.
The best way to remove GM factory rivets is: Use a flat bit in a Air
Chisel to break the heads off (some holes are tappered). Then use a
drift punch in a air chisel to remove the rivet body. Only use bits for
air hammers/air chisels in said tools.
You must be using a air drill with good quiality bits.
Some controll arms I might do that on, all depends on the set up. Some
controll arms I chisel both heads off before driving the shank out.
The key to ball joint service is to have good quality pnewmatic tools,
and bits/accessiors for them. Like my air chisel has a Mac Quick Change
Collet, instead of the stanard spring retainer. Not only does it make
the bits easier to change, I have far less incidents of bits coming out.
If I had the tools and equpiment I have now when I was 16, I could have
retired for life.
Grind the heads off with a good die grinder and it is a lot quicker
than drilling it then air chiseling it. With the grinder, you only
need to get it pretty thin and then use a good puch with a hammer and
it will shave the rest of the head off as you punch it through. I have
done this more than once too.
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