Dakota Durango Forum banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
147 Posts
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 :banana2:

This article covers the removal and installation of;

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

Tools Required:

  • 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

[CLICK PICTURES TO ENLARGE!]

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)

P1020997.jpg

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

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.

P1020995.jpg
P1030001.jpg
P1030002.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
147 Posts
(Step 3 Continued)

P1030003.jpg

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

P1020999.jpg

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

P1020997.jpg
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.

P1030062.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
147 Posts
Step 7. - Grind the ring off of the lower ball joint until it is completely flush.

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).

P1030064.jpg

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

P1030065.jpg
P1030006.jpg

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

·
Registered
Joined
·
147 Posts
Pressing new lower ball joint into A-arm.

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.

P1030004.jpg

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.

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 :rant:

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

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! :banana2:

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 :drive:

Good Luck and Happy Wrenching
- Joe -
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
533 Posts
Would this vary on a non-4x4 RWD 2000 Dakota like mine? I am guessing the ball joints are essentially the same?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,487 Posts
The ball joints themselves should be similar but its gonna be different getting there because 2wd has springs.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
533 Posts
Hmm... What if I just did them when I did my drop on it? The springs will be out, as will the shocks.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,487 Posts
That would be the perfect time to do it! :)
 

·
What tha duece?!
Joined
·
254 Posts
Just keep in mind, it may not be this easy. I had to remove the lower arms from my 2000 and take them to a shop. It took them 2 days to get the old ones out and the new ones in. A 10 ton hyd press would not budge them. Ultimately they had to heat the arms and hammer the joints out with a 20# sledge. And on install, the jackwagon tore the boots on the new joints. They replaced the boots at no cost though. Fortunately the arms are cast iron so they didnt get screwed up. Also be careful with aftermarket joints. The one on my drivers side sticks up just too far enough for it to make contact with the outter CV joint boot clamp. Had my 3 month old axle sling all the grease out it. Just pay attention to that. You MIGHT have a small clearance issue.
 

·
The Anti-RUB
Joined
·
1,752 Posts
It might be worth noting that on my 2003 4x4 I don’t need to grind the top of the lower ball joint. The top of the stock ball joint wasn’t held in with a snap-ring. The top lip of the ball joint was crimped over the control arm to hold it in place. I simply took a chisel and bent the top lip inwards. Once it was out of the way I was able to press the ball joint out. Worked like a charm.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Just curious which ball joints people are using as replacements. I just did the ball joints on my 07 JK Rubicon last weekend and the OEM joints are crap, so I spent $100 a side to get good Poly Performance joints.

It looks like the Moogs are about twice the cost of OE replacement joints for the Durango. This truck has 177k on it, still runs strong and my boys drive it to school and I use it for hauling.

Thanks for this write up though. Ball joints and shocks will help with drive ability. Any thoughts on replacing the tie rod ends or is that overkill?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Awesome Article

New to this site. Googled up the article. I had failed the state inspection, bad passenger side lower balljoint. combined with the brakes/rotors i knew i needed and the shocks, was about $2k at a shop. I'm not much of a mechanic, couldn't have attempted the BJ without this excellent article. But...

Pounding that OE BJ out was a nightmare. i ground it flat, beat on it with a 10# sledge and short length of steel pipe for a punch, couldn't budge it. I hooked up my massive BJ press, and used a 28" breaker bar, and actually bent the press (Harbor Freight gets credit for its liberal return/exchange policy) without budging the BJ. so i torched the LCA until the PB penetrant was smoking and grease was dripping out the bad BJ then put my jack under the LCA and pounded away. Still took over an hour to knock that sucker out - had to heat it twice more. :huh:

There's a lesson here - don't drive through salt water. And eat your wheaties before you try removing a 12 year old ball joint.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
533 Posts
I did all four of mine and let me put it like this... the first one took five hours... fml. The last two took thirty minutes a piece. I learned a lot. One, air hammer saves a hell of a lot of time. Tight on money? Husky is coming out with a new line of air tools and the old ones are extremely cheap at Home Depot. I paid like $26 and it comes with a two year warranty. Chisel the tops off in about five minutes, chisel the bottoms of the rivets too in about the same. Spray each on down and between them with PB Blaster or WD-40. Hit them with a center punch so you have an indent to place the pointed air hammer punch and push them straight through. If you still do not have much luck, strike the ball joint enough to try and break it loose a tad. Spray again and repeat with the air hammer. Worst case scenario, just drill them out with a drill bit just barely smaller than the rivet. It will more then likely catch and begin to spin and push the rivet out, rather than having to actually drill it all the way through. Hope this helps save you guys some time.
 

·
Grab life by the horns
Joined
·
1,033 Posts
What saved me alot of time was to take the lca's to pep boys. Cost me 70 bucks but was worth it. I used moogbut the trw's at advance auto are really good. Ive installed those in alot of other suv's without a problem
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
just finished up mine, or so I thought. cv clamp ripped off when spinning the wheels putting the lug nuts back on. I replaced the stub shafts with newer updated c clip location and appropriate cvs, input pinion seal, stub shaft bearings and seals and upper and lower ball joints. What can be done about the lack of clearance between the lower ball joint and the cv boot clamp?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
good article I found an easier way but it cost a bit more than replacing just the ball joints. for $129.00 apiece you can get the whole upper a frame assembly which includes the ball joint and upper bushings, 2bolts (included) and nut and its in. same deal on lower $224.00 apiece at autozone 2 bolts and the ball joint nut, plus the 2 bolts that hold the sway bar and of course the torsion bar and its back in you make up the cost in labor and no press needed i hope this helps...
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top