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Re: changing ball joints on 1997.
Upper ball joints are really easy, but you can't buy them without the a-arm, I just did one if the a-arm bushings are ok, just change out the ball joint and bracket, lower ball joint is harder, but I will help you if you need it
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You could do these yourself. But, you would need a good mechanical knowledge and a decent tool kit. The most difficult of these is the ball joints. Just because they are always fiddly. The fuel filter is either screw on or plug in. and the sway bar is dirty and awkward. Ideally you would use a car lift to do these jobs.
sound like lack of lubrication at the steering joints, your ball joints need greasing and make sure you bleed power steering system, check power steering fluid level.if low more like power steering system full of air need bleeding.
If you don't unload the coil springs correctly you can kill yourself or hurt yourself very bad.If you have never done this before you will need someone to show you how to do it correctly because it has the potential to be deadly.The ball joints are easy to change if they are bolt on but getting to them is the hard part.So be very careful!!!!!!!!!!
replace the entire CV axles. Support vehicle with jackstands by frame. Remove front wheels. Remove axle nuts. Remove lower balljoint nut. Separate balljoint from nuckle by banging hard with ball peen hammer on knuckle on spindle assy. Remove outer tie-rod nut. Separate tie-rod from steering nuckle by bangin on nuckle with ball-peen hammer. Use long pry bar to hold lower control arm down while simultaneously pulling hub/spindle assembly away from vehicle and pushing axle through hub toward transaxle. Go under vehicle and pry inner cv joint away from transaxle while holding axle assembly.
Install new CV axle in reverse of the disassembly.
Okay, more than likely you are going to need to take the upper and lower arms in to have the old joints pressed out and then pressed in. If you can buy the replacement joints and take them in, you will save a WHOLE lot of cash. You could also do this yourself if you have a hydraulic press or, if you can swing by an auto parts store that rents out tools......it looks like a modified c clamp.
The only parts you need are the ball joints, upper and lower, a total of 4, if you need all 4. As far as tools, you'll need wrenches, a removal and installer tool, the ball joints are pressed into the control arms, and a ball joint to steering knuckle seperator tool.Without those special tools, you will never get them changed, if you do it yourself.
Doing this job requires a special tool set called a ball joint press, u also need a good 2 ton floor jack and a wide assortment of hand tools and a good dead blow hammer, the ball joint press alone can cost $75-200 and the others tools are not cheap either, if u have never done any work like this it can be very dangerous if u don't have the right tools, so this is not a job for most do it yourself mech's One note u must also disable the air suspension system or u can blow the air bags out.
Not hard, you'll need a special socket to get the axle nut off and getting the bearing out of the spindle is usually a real chore. Since it sounds like the spindle is already out, you might be able to do it in a press.
To get the ball joints out of the spindle, drive them out with a hammer. If you need to get the ball joint out of the axle, strike the axle next to where the ball joint taper is with a large hammer. That will usually distort the axle material enough (for a split second) to let the tappered section loose.