How to replace upper and lower ball joints on a '99 4x4 Durango. - Dakota Durango Forum
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post #1 of 94 Old 03-15-2009, 08:26 AM Thread Starter
lvin4jc
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How to replace upper and lower ball joints on a '99 4x4 Durango.

Ok, everyone keeps asking how to do this and people try to explain but until now there hasn't been a technical article on it. Now there is

This article covers the removal and installation of;

Upper Ball Joints
Lower Ball Joints
Inner Tie Rod
Outer Tie Rod End
Shock Absorbers

Tools you will need;

Jack / Jackstand
Lug Wrench
Side Cutters/Pliers
1 1/4 Socket
18mm Socket
5/8 Wrench
1/2" Wrench
12" Crescent Wrench
Snap Ring Pliers
Angle Grinder - Grinding Wheel
Large Hammer/Small Mallet
Ball Joint Press
1 Large Washer - 3 Very Large Washers/Bushings


Step 1. - Jack and support vehicle, remove tire. (make sure and jack the vehicle up another few inches further than is required to remove the tire because you'll need that room to operate the press later)

http://i272.photobucket.com/albums/j...d/P1020997.jpg

Step 2. - Remove 1 1/4" Castle nut holding rotor/caliper assembly.

http://i272.photobucket.com/albums/j...d/P1030059.jpg

Step 3. - Remove the Castle nuts off of the upper and lower ball joints and grind the three (3) rivets off of the top of the upper ball joint. These can be ground down to flush and then beat out with a punch and a hammer.

http://i272.photobucket.com/albums/j...d/P1020995.jpg
http://i272.photobucket.com/albums/j...d/P1030001.jpg
http://i272.photobucket.com/albums/j...d/P1030002.jpg
http://i272.photobucket.com/albums/j...d/P1030003.jpg

Step 4. - Remove Castle nut on tie rod end and remove inner tie rod with the crescent wrench.

http://i272.photobucket.com/albums/j...d/P1020999.jpg

Step 5. - Remove Shock Absorber with the 5/8" Wrench (bottom bolt) and 1/2" Wrench (top nut).

http://i272.photobucket.com/albums/j...d/P1020997.jpg
http://i272.photobucket.com/albums/j...d/P1030060.jpg

Step 6. - Remove rotor/caliper assembly (usually by hitting the top of it with a mallet) and set it to the side. Move the axle out of the way and tie it up.

http://i272.photobucket.com/albums/j...d/P1030062.jpg

Step 7. - Grind the ring off of the lower ball joint until it is completely flush.

http://i272.photobucket.com/albums/j...d/P1030063.jpg

Step 8. - Start the lower ball joint on it's way with the hammer and/or punch. (try not to hit the A-arm or it will bend into the hole and make it harder to press the new joint in).

http://i272.photobucket.com/albums/j...d/P1030064.jpg

Step 9. - Continue to remove the lower joint with the press.

http://i272.photobucket.com/albums/j...d/P1030065.jpg
http://i272.photobucket.com/albums/j...d/P1030006.jpg

This is it as far as disassembly goes, now it's time to start installing the new parts.

- Press new lower ball joint into A-arm.

http://i272.photobucket.com/albums/j...d/P1030004.jpg

In my experience this was the hardest part until I figured out how to modify the press. I used the O.E.M. press from AutoZone's Loan-A-Tool program. The directions call for you to put all the adapters/rings/new joint and A-arm in the press, but there is not nearly enough room in the press for all of those things. You will see in the following photos that I had to start the press with a small chisel on top because it was thin enough to fit, but strong enough not to get bent by the press. Also, if you use this press or another like it, this is where the washers come in. http://i272.photobucket.com/albums/j...d/P1030066.jpg

Use the silver washer to put in between the ring from the press kit and the rubber boot on the new joint or else THE PRESS WILL CUT A RING ALL THE WAY AROUND AND THROUGH YOUR SHINY NEW RUBBER BOOT. And trust me, no one can get you a replacement

So start the press with the chisel (or flat piece of metal) until the joint is almost flush.

http://i272.photobucket.com/albums/j...d/P1030067.jpg

Turn the press with the crescent wrench until it gets harder to turn (it will be hard in the first place, but after a few turn it will get even harder) when this happens give the outside of the A-arm a healthy whack with the hammer, this will help guide the joint in straight and make the press easy to turn again. Once the joint reaches almost flush you can insert the adapter that goes with the press.

Ok, so here comes the next problem, while the old joint had a built in ring that we had to grind off, the new joint has to be pressed up further in order to accomodate a snap ring. This is where the three very large washers come in. I found mine at a hardware store labeled "Bushings." Depending on the thickness you might have to use more than one, in my case three (3). Use these to space the top of the press above the top of the A-arm. Unfortunately, in my case I had to use these spacers progressively one at a time. In other words, press it, release the press and insert a spacer, press it again, release the press and insert another spacer and so on until all three spacers have been pressed and the joint is high enough to accomodate the snap ring.

After that you're almost done, just install the new shock absorber, install the upper ball joint, bolt up the rotor/caliper asembly, re-install the axle, bolt up the new tie rod end (making sure that it is adjusted to be the approximate length of the one you removed) re-install the brake line, put the tire back on and drive it to a tire shop to get an alignment. You're done!

http://i272.photobucket.com/albums/j...d/P1030075.jpg

The first side took me a few days just to think up the washer idea to modify the press, but once I figured it out I timed the driver's side, not including getting the tools out/putting them away it took a hair over 3 hours for one side.

Another handy tip is even though AutoZone's Loan-A-Tool program is (in the end) totally free. The press costs $150 to rent while you have it and (of course) the money comes right out when you rent it, but takes a day or two to get back into your account once you return it.

TiresPlus quoted me $1,200.00 for this job not including shocks. I did it for $75. That's right, all these parts were $75 including shipping off of eBay

Good Luck and Happy Wrenching
- Joe -

1999 Durango SLT 4X4 5.2l - 2" Torsion Bar Lift - Two Tone Leather - CD/Tape Player - Infinity Sound System

Last edited by lvin4jc; 03-15-2009 at 04:19 PM.
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post #2 of 94 Old 03-15-2009, 03:21 PM
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+REP for a beautiful write up! i will be doing this in about a week or so so this helps alot!

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post #3 of 94 Old 03-15-2009, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by suprchgd99rango View Post
+REP for a beautiful write up! i will be doing this in about a week or so so this helps alot!
Thanks! I wish I had this info when I started it, it would have saved me a bunch of time, but saving $1,125.00 helps

1999 Durango SLT 4X4 5.2l - 2" Torsion Bar Lift - Two Tone Leather - CD/Tape Player - Infinity Sound System
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post #4 of 94 Old 03-15-2009, 05:05 PM
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AWESOME!! THANKS! I plan to do this before too long ...and this will surely help!

"If it has wheels, tubes or boobs...... You're going to have problems with it"
D.O.G.S Member # 42 "TROPHY DOG"
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post #5 of 94 Old 03-15-2009, 05:49 PM
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your my hero LOL. thanks alot!

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post #6 of 94 Old 03-15-2009, 10:03 PM
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Great write up ! This should be pinned to the top for future reference IMO.

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Just a few mods here and there, nothing special
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post #7 of 94 Old 03-16-2009, 04:11 PM
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one thing u forgot tho...the three bolts that replace the old rivvets...do u have to buy them or did they come with the joints?

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post #8 of 94 Old 03-17-2009, 01:50 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suprchgd99rango View Post
one thing u forgot tho...the three bolts that replace the old rivvets...do u have to buy them or did they come with the joints?
They come with it + the lock washers. Ya know for $75 this is just the best "too good to be true" product I have ever seen. The parts are good quality and include absolutely everything.

1999 Durango SLT 4X4 5.2l - 2" Torsion Bar Lift - Two Tone Leather - CD/Tape Player - Infinity Sound System
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post #9 of 94 Old 03-17-2009, 02:28 AM
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This article covers the removal and installation of;

Upper Ball Joints
Lower Ball Joints
Inner Tie Rod
Outer Tie Rod End
Shock Absorbers






^^^all that came for 75 bucks? where is the link?lol

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Dont put the Pussy on a Pedestal! J/K it is the best, now that I think about it, its like a snuggie for my penis


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post #10 of 94 Old 03-17-2009, 03:40 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suprchgd99rango View Post
This article covers the removal and installation of;

Upper Ball Joints
Lower Ball Joints
Inner Tie Rod
Outer Tie Rod End
Shock Absorbers






^^^all that came for 75 bucks? where is the link?lol
I bought the shocks seperately, but ask and you shall receive - http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/4-Bal...Q5fAccessories

1999 Durango SLT 4X4 5.2l - 2" Torsion Bar Lift - Two Tone Leather - CD/Tape Player - Infinity Sound System
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post #11 of 94 Old 03-22-2009, 03:05 AM
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Umm....is a mod going to sticky this or what?? There are not very many write ups on this forum hence the repeated questions on how tos. Great write up op. I just did the lower ball joints on my dads 99 explorer today, pretty similar.

From the write up on the explorer forum, i actually used my 3 ton jack to press the new ball joint back in, not the ball joint press. I believe i used the smallest ring in the ball joint press kit (same one in your picture from autozone) and put that on the bottom of the new ball joint, than the spacer ring, and the the largest ring and set that on my 3 ton jack stacked up, than raise it up into the control arm till it starts lifting the truck, than hit around the control arm with a mine sledge until it comes up enough to get the snap ring on and it went like butter. Ill take a pic of it when i do mine here pretty soon as everything sounds/looks perfect in my head but never comes out right...
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post #12 of 94 Old 03-22-2009, 04:17 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mt.Hoodlum View Post
Umm....is a mod going to sticky this or what?? There are not very many write ups on this forum hence the repeated questions on how tos. Great write up op. I just did the lower ball joints on my dads 99 explorer today, pretty similar.

From the write up on the explorer forum, i actually used my 3 ton jack to press the new ball joint back in, not the ball joint press. I believe i used the smallest ring in the ball joint press kit (same one in your picture from autozone) and put that on the bottom of the new ball joint, than the spacer ring, and the the largest ring and set that on my 3 ton jack stacked up, than raise it up into the control arm till it starts lifting the truck, than hit around the control arm with a mine sledge until it comes up enough to get the snap ring on and it went like butter. Ill take a pic of it when i do mine here pretty soon as everything sounds/looks perfect in my head but never comes out right...
I tried that on the D-go and all it did was lift the truck, no butter,

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post #13 of 94 Old 03-22-2009, 08:26 AM
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I tried that on the D-go and all it did was lift the truck, no butter,

Yah after looking at your pics now the LCA on a dango is alot smaller than on the ex, the ex has a lot of room to beat around on.....
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post #14 of 94 Old 03-22-2009, 08:27 AM
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No sticky yet, there must not be any mods on this forum.......
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post #15 of 94 Old 09-27-2009, 06:26 AM
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Talking

I have just finished looking for the how to for the lower ball joints. Your write up and pictures should be at the top of the forum, any forum, ALL the forums. It took me about two hours to find it on here. There were others that were meat and no potatoes, but yours was the entire stew.

Thank you for taking the time and making sure that I keep my Durango out of the shop. I have been holding onto by Balls for two weeks now unsure of exactly how to get them out.


It started with a Black 1999 5.2L Durango...
Upgraded to a Red 2002 5.9L Durango R/T...
Traded that in for a Red 2006 5.7L Hemi Durango...
Turned in that "Flease" and bought a Green 1999 5.9L Durango...It's all about the MOPAR!!
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