Header
1999 Chevy Tahoe 4x4  4 Door Old Body Style
Ball Joint Replacement Tutorial

The Ball Joints I replaced on my 1997 Z71 Silverado had the same
installation procedure as the Tahoe tutorial below.
I just don't remember if the part numbers were the same.
So be sure you have the correct parts for your vehicle..


Tools Needed

Parts Used 

Air Tools

  • Air impact gun

  • Air hammer with fork, chisel and punch attachments 

  • Air ratchet 

  • Air Die Grinder 

Jack and Jack stand 

3/8" Allen socket or Allen wrench

36mm Socket for axle nut

Sockets

  • 7/8 for Lug nuts

  • 18mm

  • 15mm

  • 13mm

  • 12" Long extension 

  • swivel socket 

Wrenches

  • 18mm

  • 15mm

  • 13mm

  • 3/8 (for grease fitting) 

Small Sledge Hammer 3lb

Needle nose and diagonal pliers (for cotter pin removal/installation)

Ball Joint Press (highly recommend using one)

Light Lithium Grease

Antiseize Compound

 

  • Moog Problem Solver Upper Ball Joint Part# K6292  --- Amazon.com $27.50 x 2
  • Moog Problem Solver Lower Ball Joint Part# K6477 --- Amazon.com $37.15 x 2
  • AC Delco Ceramic Brake Pads Part# 14D369CH --- Amazon.com $23.69 set
  • AC Delco Brake Rotor Part# 19241852 --- Amazon.com $25.75 x 2
  • Driveworks Suspension Sway Bar Link Kit Part# DW-K8987 --- Advanced Auto $8.99 x 2

 

 


 This is the vehicle that will undergo surgery

First I start off by unloading the torsion bars. use an 18mm socket and an impact gun.

Loosen the bolt until the torsion bar key bottoms out on the bolt bracket.

Next, Jack the truck up and place a stand under the frame rail. Remove the center cap and remove the front wheel. Use a 7/8" socket and an impact gun to remove the lug nuts. Here is the upper ball joint. As you can see the previous owner wasn't very good at getting grease INTO the grease fitting. The grease boot being cracked didn't help much either

Unbolt the brake caliper using a 3/8" Allen head socket and an Air ratchet. There will be a bolt on the top and one on the bottom.

Lift the Caliper off the rotor and bungee to the frame rail. Be sure the brake hose is not twisted or under tension.

Remove the brake rotor and this is what's left.

Next, Remove the Axle nut and washer using a 36mm Socket and an impact gun.
Place a long 1/2" extension thru the hub hole and wedge it against the spindle so the axle does not turn while removing the axle nut.

Next, I use a die grinder and just cut the sway bar end link off. You can unbolt it if you want, but I've found they usually
just strip or snap if you try to unbolt them. I recommend replacing them anyway so just cut them off and make your life a little easier.

Once that is out of the way it's time to remove the axle. But first unbolt the bottom shock absorber bolt (18mm socket and wrench)
and move the shock to the outside of the control arm. This will give you a little more room.
I used a 15mm socket, a long extension and a swivel with the impact gun to remove the axle bolts.

Once the bolts have been removed, lightly tap on the axle flange and the axle should separate.
Rotate the axle so the flat side of the flange on the axle mates to the flange on the differential.
 Compress the axle and slip the axle behind the differential flange.

Tap the end of the axle lightly to slip the axle out of the hub and allow the axle to stand on the ground.

 

Now with that out of the way, we can get to work. Remove the cotter pins on both ball joints.
Loosen the ball joint nuts(do not remove). I used a 1-1/16" wrench because I didn't have the metric size.
It worked fine. Loosen the nuts until they are at the end of the ball joint stud.

Next, Remove the ABS cable retaining bracket using a 13mm wrench and socket.

Before you separate the ball joint, shear off the rivet heads on the upper ball joint.
Do yourself a favor and use a good air hammer. Rent, buy or borrow a real good air hammer.
No Harbor Freight air hammers will work on this job.

Once the rivet heads have been sheared off I use the chisel and loosen the ball joint from the control arm just to get the rivets loose.
(you wont be able to remove it because the ball joint is still stuck in the spindle.) I just want to get it moving a little and get a little gap in there.

Ok, now to get greasy. Using the air hammer and fork attachment, hammer between the spindle and the control arm
to separate the joint. Yes, go right thru the grease boot. Don't be shy.. If it's being a little stubborn like mine was,
 you can also hit the spindle with a hammer to assist in the separation.

Once separated, remove the ball joint nut the rest of the way and slide the spindle to the side.
Use your air chisel and separate the ball joint from the control arm completely. This will leave the rest of the rivet in the control arm.
Use the chisel and shear the rivets flush with the control arm. At this point, I use my die grinder to make sure the rivet is flat
on top so the punch wont slide off. I place a block of wood under the control arm so
the control arm doesn't bounce around while using the air punch.

Locate the center of the rivet and drive them out!

Once all the rivets are out, it's time to move on to the lower ball joint. Do not install the upper ball joint yet.
(you'll see why later) Note the location of the grease fitting in reference to the depression in the control arm.

You really don't have to, but I sprayed some penetrating fluid around the ball joint.

Put the jack under the control arm to give it support.

Now take your BFH and whack the center of the ball joint. C'mon Hit it!!! 5-6 whacks and it'll pop right out.

Alright, you're halfway there... Now, go to your freezer and get your ball joint.(No, I'm not kidding).
A frozen ball joint will allow it to press in a little easier.

Spray the ball joint opening with some cleaner and wipe the mounting area down to remove any debris.
Rent, beg, buy or borrow a good ball joint press. Locate the grease fitting hole with the depression in the control arm and
press that baby in using the impact gun. If you look at the photo you will see why I told you not to install the upper ball joint.
And no, the abs cable isn't stretched, it just looks like it is.

Press it in until the ball joint is fully seated

Notice the grease fitting location.

Apply a little grease to the grease boot rim. Use the ball joint press adapter and just tap boot onto ball joint.

Using a 3/8" wrench, install the grease fitting.

Moog Part #K6477 Bottom Ball joint

Bottom is done, now just bolt in the top ball joint. only use the 3 bolts for now until you install the spindle.
Be sure the bolts face up and the nuts are on top. If you put the bolts facing down, the nuts will interfere with the spindle geometry.
Install the grease fitting. I didn't get a photo, but slide the grease boot on the ball joint.

Moog Upper Ball joint Part# K6292

I forgot to take a photo of the installation also. but just slide the spindle onto both ball joints and install the castle nuts.
Tighten nuts down and then locate the cotter pin hole. tighten the nut(do not loosen) until the cotter pin is able to slide thru the hole
and spread the cotter pin. Install the last upper ball joint mounting bolt with the abs cable retainer and tighten.
Be sure to place cable into the clips on the control arm. Ball joints are done!! Let's finish.
Clean the axle flange area and apply a light coat of grease to the flange and the axle splines. Also, grease the hub and hub splines.

Slide the axle back into the hub and install the washer and the nut.

Slip the axle past the differential flange and bolt the axle to the differential flange.
Once the axle is in, you can bolt the shock absorber back up.

Install the new sway bar end link

Almost there!! Remove old brake pads and compress brake caliper.

Clean caliper mounting pins and apply a coating of grease to the pins and the slide holes.
Install bolt/pins into caliper and install new dust boots..
Apply antiseize to bolt threads

Take your new brake pads and install them onto the caliper. AC Delco Part#14D369CH Ceramic Pads

Unpack your new rotor and install it onto the wheel studs AC Delco Part#19241852

Install caliper/brake assembly and tighten bolts.

Now is the time to grease the front end. Grease the upper and lower ball joints.
While you're there, you might as well grease the tie rods, idler arms, and pitman arms.

Apply antiseize to bolt threads and reinstall the wheel/tire.... Yes, I torque all my lug nuts.

Remove jack and jack stand and place truck on ground. Adjust the torsion rod bolt to your preferred ride height.

Start the truck and depress the brake pedal a few times to acquire brake pedal pressure.
Take truck for a test ride and you're ALL DONE!!!! Go back to your driveway and admire the mess you made.
Clean up and beer time!!!!!!