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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
the updated document is here: http://www.b15u.com/general-maintenance/29264-lower-ball-joint-how.html

last edit: 6-18-2012 at 12:42pm

i would like to thank Fullah and anyone else involved here at b15u.com for great info and influence for this write-up.

this is a lazy/cheap way to replace the ball joint on your b15 sentra without removing the control arm or any wheel hub components. I did it this way since my sentra is over 10 years old, drives daily in northern climates (salty winters), and has over 257,000 miles. so, im trying not to remove/break/strip any bolts/nuts that i dont need to.

reference for this document
oem = OEM Precision Tools Inc.-brand of ball joint press and adapters
roll of masking tape marked control arm = imaginary control arm to show placement pieces and adapters

safety and precautions
first off, please everyone make sure and be aware of what youre doing. it is always good to have a friend to help, or an experienced friend if you dont know what youre doing. you need to lift your sentra off the ground which may involve using jacks and stands, never sit/lay/poop under the vehicle, make sure the vehicle is stable before wrenching. you will also need to use a press, which involves pressing metal pieces together at very high pressures, so wear safety gloves/goggles/vests/knee pads, whatever. if youre like me, you will get angry and break out grinders and torches, use them at your own risk. do not torch or grind anything unless you know what you are doing.

what is your lower ball joint?

how much will this cost?
napa chassis ball joint - part# 260-1581 - $27 each + tax
oem ball joint press kit - oem#27023 - $100 + tax, rental - full refund on return
total: $27 + tax + additional fluids or tools you dont have.

what are the specifications for your lower ball joint?

what are the tools i need to perform a ball joint replacement?
once you have your ball joints, you will need this ball joint press and the adapters. the cone adapter set oem#27163 will makes things 50x easier if youre pressing by yourself, but is not necessary. you will also need the basic tools in the pic below which includes a 22mm hand wrench.

do i need any additional tools?
2+ ton jack
2+ jack stands
2 wheel chokes
some 2x4s
wheel lug wrench

getting started:
1-park your car with room to work and apply ebrake and wheel choke

2-break loose wheel lugs and jack up the sentra

3-if necessary, carefully jack it up as high as your stands will go safely (at least one slot down from highest) and take the wheels off

4-identify your ball joint between the wheel hub and control arm, if its not within specifications, it will need to be replaced. otherwise stop here. while youre here, make sure to check the control arm bushings, mine were good so i did not replace them, you can get new bushings or the whole control arm with bushings and ball joint already. if you buy a new control arm and it comes with a ball joint, you dont need to press your ball joint, just swap the control arms.

5-there is a cotter pin/lockpin on the top of the ball joint, above the nut that prevents the nut from loosening. remove the cotter pin by bending it straight and pulling it out. if it doesnt come out, try to tap with small hammer and screwdriver or allen key, else drill it out, the cotter pin is very soft metal.

6-spray pb blaster on ball joint nut and threads, allow it to penetrate. this will be difficult use a torch if you know how to use it before you round the nut. now you need to loosen that nut on the top of the ball joint. it uses a 22mm wrench. there is very little room, i used a regular hand wrench with other close-ended wrenches for leverage. MAKE SURE YOURE LOOSENING THE NUT, not turning the threads or base of ball joint. IF YOU CAN NOT REMOVE THE NUT, DO NOT PROCEED FURTHER, seek a mechanic or other professional help. my right side was locked on and torch did nothing, so i broke out the grinder.

tip - from fullah - "One tip I do have is if the ball joint is really worn out, it will sometimes keep spinning when you try to loosen the nut. Basically the nut and the ball joint itself are both turning. What you do is place your jack under the ball joint and lift the jack to apply pressure to the ball joint. This will keep the ball joint from spinning and allow you to remove the nut."

7-once you got the ball joint nut off, the next step is to remove the snap ring. if it looked like mine, you ended up using a small flathead. you can also use the press to press in the ball joint more, it may expose the snap ring more.

8-you will need to disconnect the sway bar end from the control arm. you will need a 14mm socket for the nut and 12mm open-end wrench for topside.

9-use a mallet or pry bar to break loose the ball joint from the hub. use the pry bar to hold the control arm down enough for you to work the press.

· Registered
2,679 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
10-now you need to press out the old ball joint. do NOT use a torch if you dont know what youre doing. use a torch if you dont care about the old ball joint then shock the ball joint by pouring water on it slowly, just use it and dont burn yourself youll thank us later. you need to make sure everything remains in line and level with the other pieces of the kits. there are 3 ways to do this:
...the wrong way: -make sure all the adapters and press itself remain set in place and are in line with the other pieces you are using from the press kit.

...the 2 handed way: -using the cone adapter set, put the old nut back onto the ball joint, then the cone over the nut so it almost covers the ball joint. fit the cone into the press, it fits into the unthreaded side of the press.

...the bum buddy way: -using 3 hands, hold all these together and start wrenching that press. make sure all the pieces remain in line. this is using the middle sized sleeve with the circle adapter that has a small hole on the ball joint threads.

...here is an example:

11-you should look something like this

12-now you need to press in the new ball joint. put the ball joint so it leans towards the motor. make sure all the press pieces remain in line and that the ball joint presses evenly into the control arm. make sure the base of the ball joint is pressed completely against the control arm (look from underside of control arm).
...using the cone adapter

...using just the ball joint press kit, using the smallest sleeve

13-its time to start putting things back together. first put the sway bar rod end into the hole on the control arm, then put the ball joint threads into the hub. its tight to put the nut on when the ball joint is all the way into the hub, so try to just expose the ball joint threads and start threading the nut before pushing the control arm all the way up. make sure the ball joint seats into the wheel hub and torque the nut to specs.

14-place the new snap ring into the ball joint groove using snap ring pliers, snap ring shouldnt be touching the rubber, and make sure you place the cotter pin / lock pin into the ball joint to lock the nut in place as well. always tighten the bolt so you can insert the lock pin.

15-make sure you put the rubber bushings and washer back on the sway bar end link and then tighten the nut to specs.

16-start yanking on the control arm, then the wheel hub make sure there is no movement in the ball joint. refer to the specs for lower ball joint.

17-if you were planning to do additional fixes like tierods, brakes, etc. do them now.

18-put your wheel back on, tighten the lug nuts using the lug wrench as much as possible. lower the sentra so the tires just hit the ground. now really tighten your lugs, torque them down properly. drop the car til it holds its own weight, if you hear funny noises stop and check yourself and your work. roll or drive the car at least 2-3 wheel revolutions and re-torque your lug nuts to specs.

19-get yourself a fresh alignment and be happy, you just fixed your ball joints.
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