How to: Replace Lower Ball Joint [Archive] - Honda Element Owners Club Forum

: How to: Replace Lower Ball Joint


asm
11-25-2010, 04:01 AM
Hi All,

This actually the part II of the compliance bushing replacement job. One of the step to replace compliance bushing is to remove lower control arm, which mean the lower ball joint needed to be separate from the LCA. Typical of me trying different "unapproved" method to separate the lower ball joint, I managed to completely tear up the thread. Since Honda will only sell you a ball joint with the entire steering knuckle for $130 ~ $170. And since the process of replacing steering knuckle would also destroy the wheel bearing, a new wheel bearing is also needed for $80 ~ $110. Needless to say, I begin to look for aftermarket replacement ball joint. Moog turns out to be only mfg to have a ball joint designed to work for Element. The part number is K500004. The price for one joint is around $40 ~ $70.

Tools requires for this job are metric sized socket set and other SST available from AutoZone Loan-a-Tool program. I'll mention the SST as we move along. Impact wrench is not required, but it does help in some steps, but only in turn on saving time.

Enough about the background. On with the dog and pony show.

1. Raise and support using the factory approved jack point. Be sure place wheel blocks on the back wheel.

2. Remove the wheel. If you do not have a impact wrench, slightly loosen the lug nuts before you put your E on the jack stand.

http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/1.jpg

3. Now remove the two screws that’s holding the rotor in place. I have replaced the OEM Philip with hex taper head. This is because on every Honda I have worked on, the OEM Philip screws almost always strips the when you try to remove them.

http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/2.jpg

4. Use a chisel or screw driver to undo the tap that was done at the factory to prevent axle nut to come loose

http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/3.jpg

5. At this step, you’ll need AutoZone Axle Nut socket 36mm (P/N: 27054) If you have an impact wrench, you can now remove the axle nut using this socket. And skip to step 8. If you do not have access to an impact wrench with at least 250lb torque, follow step 6

http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/4.jpg

6. If you do not have an impact wrench, you’ll need to pop out the wheel hub and reinstall the wheel on to the car. Then lower the car enough to allow tire to come in contact with the ground. You’ll then loosen the axle nut via the wheel hub opening with a breaker bar. It’s going to be tight, use 3 foot extension if need to.

7. Remove the 12mm screw that holds the brake line hose to the strut housing

http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/5.jpg

8. Since I’m not going to replace the brake pads, I decided to remove the entire brake with torque plate and caliper as one single assembly by removing the two bolts shown on the back of the torque plate.

http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/6.jpg

9. Once the two bolts are removed, be sure to hold the entire brake assembly with a zip tight to the spring. Do not let the brake assembly hang by the brake fluid hose. Also be sure the brake line is kink or twist in any way when handling.

http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/8.jpg

10. Now, moving on to the removal of the ABS sensor. You could either remove the sensor from the steering knuckle it self by removing the 10mm bolts show in the first picture, or you can disconnect the sensor wire assembly hidden behind the wheel well cover. I opt to remove the entire assembly as I ABS sensor sometime can be difficult to remove from the steering knuckle and often damaged in the process of removal. If you decided to do the same, first remove the 10mm bolt holding the connector in place and be sure to remove the two plastic tabs that’s holding the ABS wire to the strut housing. One of the plastic tabs is behind the strut housing and not shown in the picture

http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/10.5.jpg
http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/10.jpg
http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/9.jpg

11. Now comes to the next SST. Front Wheel Drive Hub Puller (P/N 27037)

http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/12.jpg

12. Install the SST on to the wheel studs. You won’t be able to use your lug nuts for this task. This is because most E comes with close ended lug nuts. You will need to thread this all the way in. It doesn’t have to be torque in, just tight to keep the SST from coming off. Be sure to lube the tool with some oil. Your motor oil work well for this purpose.

http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/11.jpg
http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/13.jpg

13. Once the knuckle is separated from the drive axle, remove the strut bolts and have some zip tight ready to hold the axle in place once you are ready to remove the steering knuckle. You’ll noticed the lower control arm has been removed in the picture. This is because my original job was to replace the bushing, and this little excursion is simply to fix my screw up. :) If your LCA is still in place, move on to step 14. Else you can skip to 15. By the way, if your CV boot is cracked, now would be a good time to replace the half shaft. CV shaft simply pulls out.

http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/14.jpg

14. Under the lower ball joint, remove metal clip that holds the castle nut in place. Then remove the castle nut. Using the following tool from HarborFreight (P/N:66686) to pop the lower ball joint lose. HarborFreight also have another tool that is similar, but since I didn’t use it, I can’t say if jaw opening is large enough for this job. For $20 only, you’ll welcome to try it. (P/N: 99849)

You’ll need two M12x1.25 nuts for this task to keep the ball joint shaft from bending when using this tool. Simply thread the first M12 nut all the in on the ball joint shaft. Then back it down about 4 turns. Now thread the second M12 nut on the shaft and tighten it against the first nut. When you are done, the thread of the ball joint should not protrude out further then the second nut. Preferably, the thread of the ball joint should be slight recessed. Of course, now begin to tighten the bolt on the SST and expect a laud pop when it does separate.

http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/a.jpg

15. I was going to use a press to remove the ball joint, but as it turns out, a light duty 8 oz hammer with a dozen taps was enough to remove the old ball joint. By the way, you don't have to remove the boot before tapping the ball joint out. I did it just because I wanted to see what's inside.... :)

http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/15.jpg
http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/16.jpg

17. This is the new MOOG ball joint. Notice the ”inboard” molded on the rubber boot. When installing the new ball joint, be sure this point away from the wheel. Also notice the grove beneath the boot. This is where the snap ring is going to attach to the ball joint. I especially like the snap ring as a safety feature. I remember one seeing one other member on this site with ball joint came lose wheel driving his E and tore up the outer CV boot.

I also did a quick measurement of the ball joint’s body size. The OEM is 40mm diameter exactly. MOOG made their to be 40.10mm. So, even if Honda ever release OEM ball joint as a replaceable part, it’s unlikely I’ll be able to go back to OEM without replacing the steering knuckle.

http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/17.jpg
http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/19.jpg

18. Grease the steering knuckle fitting for ball joint before pressing the ball joint in place. I know, I know, M1 grease is over kill for this task, but that’s only grease I can find in my garage now.

http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/18.jpg

Well, enough work done tonight. Since I just noticed strut mount of the steering knuckle is directly above the ball joint, I won’t be able to use my press to install the ball joint. I’ll either have to go back to Autozone tomorrow and get the Bushing/ball joint/bearing press kit, or make some kind adapter to allow me to use my press to get the ball joint back in….. Stay tune…. :)

--

By the way, if you find the information provided thus far in this "How-To" useful to, and feel the urge to help me out by off setting this unexpected ball joint repair expenses, :) Dollar or Dollars donation is accepted at my Paypal bchenk@gmail.com. By the way, to share my mistake when trying to separate the ball joint for the compliance job, I used various kind of pullers, ball joint separator, ball joint fork, sledge hammer, etc..... Even try the YouTube video here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISY8bGof3bQ)showing a trick that suppose to work. They have all failed. Only if I just followed factory service manual and use the correct SST.

--

ramblerdan
11-25-2010, 07:47 PM
Thanks for the writeup, Asm.

Because it's staked, the spindle nut (p/n 90305-SD4-003) is supposed to be a single-use item.

Honda ball joint thread protector: p/n 07AAF-SDAA100.

asm
11-28-2010, 12:02 AM
ramblerdan is correct.

The axle nut should be replace every time it's removed. The good thing is, it's only like $3.50 from Honda. Surprisingly, aftermarket replacement nut can go for as much as $30 a piece.

Little update here. Since my original project was to replace the lower control bushings, I got kinda hang up on the removal of the trailing LCA bushing. In any case, I finally got the old bushings out. But, not without making a few gouges on the LCA. So, in the interest of keeping the LCA from rusting away, I decided to paint the gouged area. All there is left to do now is to watch the paint dry for the next 24 hours....

http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/20.jpg

--

asm
11-28-2010, 10:43 PM
Alright, finally done. If you made this far, rest of it is just a walk in the park.

19. Install the snap ring to the new ball joint. You’ll need a snap ring plier, available from Harbor Freight (P/N: 3316) Notice the three lines on the ball joint are facing away from the wheel hub.

http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/21.jpg

20. Install steering knuckle back into its place in the strut. You should also insert the drive axle through the steering knuckle at the same time. The axle should go into the steering knuckle without much effort. If not, a little persuasion with rubber mullet may help. Now secure the big 22mm nuts on the strut housing to 116 ft-lb. You will need two wrenchs for this job. If you have an impact wrench, you can use it to get the bolts tighten, but I would still double check to torque with a torque wrench.

http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/22.jpg

21. Now on to installing the axle nut. Per factory manual, remember to grease the face, (not the thread) of the axle nut. Motor oil works great for this purpose.

http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/23.jpg

22. Install axle nut. Impact wrench would be very helpful as it would be difficult to tighten the axle nut without the wheel on the ground. In any case, do your best to get the axle nut as tight as possible. We’ll come back later to tighten the axle nut after the wheel is installed and E is lower to the ground.

http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/24.jpg

23. Reinstall the rotor and reinstall the taper screws. There is no torque value on the screws as they are only used to hold the rotor in place before wheel is installed.

http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/25.jpg
http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/26.jpg

24. Now install the brake caliper torque plate screws from the back of the steering knuckle. Those are torqued to 79 ft-lb.

http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/27.jpg

25. Install brake line hose to its bracket on the strut. The torque value on this bolt is 16 ft-lb

http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/29.jpg

26. Install two plastic wire holders for ABS wheel sensor module and reconnect orange ABS wheel sensor connector.

http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/30.jpg
http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/31.jpg

27. Finally insert the ball joint shaft back into Lower Control Arm and install the castle nut. The torque value on the castle nut is 43 ~ 51 ft-lb. You should tighten to 43lb first, if the hole on the ball joint shaft failed to lined up with the castle nut slot, continue to tighten up to 51 ft-lb to get the hold lined up. Install cotter pin.

http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/32.jpg

28. Remove the center cap on the wheel.

29. Install wheel

30. Lower the Vehicles.

31. Tighten the axle nut to 181 ft-lb.

32. Stake the axle nut.


Done!!!

Jackson49
11-29-2010, 07:42 AM
That was an outstanding step by step procedure for replacing the front ball joints. Great job!

asm
11-29-2010, 12:36 PM
Thanks!!

Oh, yeah.... last step, pop the hub cap back into the wheel.... :grin:

asm
11-30-2010, 01:21 AM
Had a few extra minute tonight. Looking at the used ball joint and got curios and decided to cut it open to see what's inside.

As expected, a highly polished steel ball held together by some kind of sleeve. The sleeve almost look metallic at first glance. You can see this in the first picture. As soon as I pop the ball and the sleeve off the housing, I realize the sleeve is made of some kind of plastic/nylon. Drawing from hobby experience with building various type of miniature machines, parts made of nylon can often put into use without any lube as nylon has self lubricating property. If you ever own or operate a 5th wheel trailer, you'll know what I mean. The lube plate where few thousand pound of pressure is bearing down is made of simply - nylon. Assuming the sleeve is made of nylon, it would explain why many of Honda's ball joint does not come with grease fitting, as nylon, in contact with a highly polish steel ball can probably function for a long time even without lube.

Of course, I may be complete wrong here. So, any of you with material engineering background, please feel free to chime in. :)

In any case, here are the pictures of ball joint, disassembled.

http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/b.jpg
http://helios.cs.csub.edu/~bchen/element/c.jpg

B

kdrram
12-19-2011, 12:20 AM
Thank you for your post... I followed on Dec 17th 2011, after purchasing 'MOOG' replacement at O'Reillys and your instructions and illustrations are excellen,\...Only thing is that I had to take them to a mechanic shop and they pressed them in using a pneumatic impact.. Thanks again

cdkrall
12-19-2011, 11:15 PM
Yep, thank you also, waiting for my parts to arrive and I'm doing it as well.

How did you get the Moog joints into the LCA? Hammer? :^)

cdkrall
01-27-2012, 12:38 PM
While Amazon has the Moog part cheaper, I had to return two of them with dented slots where the circlip goes. Boxes looked good on the outside, I can't imagine how they got that way other than horseplay at the factory or in the warehouse. For $15 more I got one locally.

The brake discs do not need to be removed to do this job, which is good because those screws were unmovable, broke one impact bit and twisted another.

Thomas Reynolds
01-28-2012, 05:43 PM
How did you get the ball joints pressed into the knuckle? I'm about to run out and buy the Moog's...Element is on stands in the garage as I was replacing the axles and discovered the factory ball joints were coming out of the knuckle!

Thanks

asm
04-02-2012, 03:03 PM
Sorry for not getting to your question sooner. I probably only visit this side couple of times a year. If any one have question, please do email me directly at bchenk@gmail.com.

For the record, I end up using a press to press the new Moog ball joint in place. I suppose hammer could work as well.

B

Island E
04-26-2012, 03:56 PM
How did you get the ball joints pressed into the knuckle? I'm about to run out and buy the Moog's...Element is on stands in the garage as I was replacing the axles and discovered the factory ball joints were coming out of the knuckle!

Thanks

A normal hammer with a ton of not quite so hard taps all around the top will get the job done. Just gotta have patience.

Legioss
07-01-2012, 07:55 PM
So no snap ring on Honda ball joint, right?

Island E
07-01-2012, 08:18 PM
So no snap ring on Honda ball joint, right?

Doesn't look that way.
I know for a fact that the ones in my Civic didn't have any, but the replacement ones did. I feel much better knowing that there's a snap ring in there.

Legioss
07-01-2012, 08:23 PM
Doesn't look that way.
I know for a fact that the ones in my Civic didn't have any, but the replacement ones did. I feel much better knowing that there's a snap ring in there.

I was fixing my wheel bearing yesterday, killed the ball joints BTW, and one of them just unseated itself. I was thinking maybe I didn't see a snap ring because it was missing, but I guess not. Probably going back in to replace the damaged ones with MOOG pretty soon.

lizzurd
07-01-2012, 08:30 PM
Honda stopped using snap rings on ball joints about 15 years ago. This was around the same time they stopped making them "replacable".

Legioss
07-01-2012, 08:45 PM
Honda stopped using snap rings on ball joints about 15 years ago. This was around the same time they stopped making them "replacable".

Honda would never get rid of something good... ;(

Maybe they are trying to be like SyFy...

Island E
07-01-2012, 11:35 PM
Honda stopped using snap rings on ball joints about 15 years ago. This was around the same time they stopped making them "replacable".

True. Because before I knew better I had to replace one on my first civic (a 98 hatch). Went to the dealer to see what I needed and was just going to buy parts and do it myself. They wanted me to buy an entire steering knuckle with the ball joint pressed in. Told me that this was the only way I was going to be able to get a new ball joint from Honda. Eff you Honda!!!!

lizzurd
07-02-2012, 10:47 AM
True. Because before I knew better I had to replace one on my first civic (a 98 hatch). Went to the dealer to see what I needed and was just going to buy parts and do it myself. They wanted me to buy an entire steering knuckle with the ball joint pressed in. Told me that this was the only way I was going to be able to get a new ball joint from Honda. Eff you Honda!!!!

That i find odd. The ball joint for the 96-2000 Civic has always been available seperate.

The 97 prelude followed by the 98 Accord where the first ones that you could not buy a seperate ball joint.

Island E
07-02-2012, 04:38 PM
That i find odd. The ball joint for the 96-2000 Civic has always been available seperate.

The 97 prelude followed by the 98 Accord where the first ones that you could not buy a seperate ball joint.

Might have been my 92 hatch then. I don't remember. I just know the dealer pretty much wanted to bend me over.

Legioss
07-21-2012, 07:08 PM
I just put in a pair of MOOGs today =) No problems. Not sure if it solved my noises because I did new strut assemblies at the same time. So one, the other, or both, solved my problems.

mig
03-05-2013, 10:56 AM
I was going to do the ball joint today, and couldn't help but notice the photos are down. Are they down for good? If there is another thread with photo's can someone please post a link.

Thanks

ramblerdan
03-05-2013, 11:32 AM
The server at http://helios.cs.csub.edu seems to be dead.

motoracer47
03-05-2013, 11:44 AM
Btw, I put this post in here because there has been some discussions on ball joints. If I need to start a new thread, can a mod delete this or move it to a new thread? thanks, and sorry if I should have started a new thread.

Quick question about ball joints. Im gearing up to do a full suspension rebuild, and Im trying to determine which ball joints I want to go with. I have had good luck with Moog parts before, and all in all, they are pretty affordable. However, whatever ball joint I get, I want to be able to add a zerk fitting to be able to add grease to it. Looking at a pic of the Moog unit, it looks to have a pressed-in cap in place. Does anyone know if that cap can be removed and is threaded underneath it?

First pic is of some generic brand. Notice it has a bolt in the center that can be removed to put a zerk fitting in. Second pic is of a Moog, notice it has what looks like a pressed in cap. Can that be removed?

mig
03-08-2013, 12:53 PM
It's a shame that a great thread is done for. I was thinking of doing it myself and post photos, but I don't feel confident enough to do it. Maybe someone can revive this thread with their own experience.

ramblerdan
03-08-2013, 01:55 PM
Service manual:
H&A (http://www.handa-accessories.com/elementselect/manual.html)
Helm Inc. (http://www.helminc.com/helm/Result.asp?Style=&Mfg=AHM&Make=AHM&Model=ELEM&Year=2004&Category=1&Keyword=&Module=&mscsid=XH17U7D4DV0W9JARKEFL2M57XKM1FTNA)

Other relevant posts:
http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?p=807130
http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?p=797942

motoracer47
03-09-2013, 03:55 PM
It's a shame that a great thread is done for. I was thinking of doing it myself and post photos, but I don't feel confident enough to do it. Maybe someone can revive this thread with their own experience.

Once I get all my suspension components in, I'm going to do a partial to full rebuild of the suspension. (everything on the front will be replaced, still deciding how much of the rear parts to replace) I plan on doing a writeup with pics and maybe a video too. I will also be doing a writeup on how to convert from 4wd to 2wd, but that will be its own thread. For the suspension writeup, I will probably start a new thread instead of using this one.

motoracer47
03-14-2013, 04:32 PM
I still have some stuff to order, probably will have to wait a week or so to build up some more cash, but complete suspension rebuild will be coming soon!

mig
03-14-2013, 05:53 PM
Wow! I'm looking forward to see the install.

barneco
07-11-2013, 07:13 PM
Motoracer, did you ever complete your suspension upgrade?

asm
02-15-2014, 08:33 PM
I didn't notice the picture links is dead until today. I will need to find an alternative solution to host those pictures. Any one got suggestion?

.

Island E
02-16-2014, 04:03 AM
photobucket. Not much traffic on this board, so I doubt you'll ever go over the bandwidth limit.

motoracer47
02-18-2014, 11:16 PM
Motoracer, did you ever complete your suspension upgrade?

I am so late on doing this, its beyond funny, and now kinda sad.

We ended up moving, I had a ton of work, and laziness got in the way.

I have done the complete right front suspension, as the compliance bushing tore completely through, and with how much movement there was from the entire front suspension, I was a little scared to keep driving it. I only did the right front because:
1. I was running behind on work and needed it done asap
2. It was 18 degrees in the garage!

I attempted to change the rear dampners while I had it up, but I could not get the damn bolts off from the control arm. I heated them, hit'em with PB Buster, put my impact on it at full torque..nothing. Tried a breaker bar, with multiple extensions that literally stretched the width of the E....broke my breaker bar, then broke the impact socket!!!! :shock:

However, either next week, or the end of next month I will finish the suspension rebuild. I was also not able to get off the inner steering tie rods, so guess they are going to stay on.

I know I am setting new records for tardiness on the write up, but it WILL be done. Hopefully. Maybe. Ok, Ok, i'm really gonna try!

asm
02-19-2014, 02:21 AM
Alright. I'm running into all kind of problems trying to update the original post.

So, for those of you that wants the full PDF doc, send your request to bchenk@gmail.com I'll respond with PDF doc. Please title your email something like "Requesting E Lower Ball Joint How to"

Thanks

brainneeded
05-15-2014, 04:48 PM
emailed!

if anything, i'll find a place to host it.

Devonte007
08-07-2014, 11:36 AM
brainneeded:

How have those moog ball joints held up? Have you had any issues with them so far?
Thanks!

brainneeded
08-14-2014, 04:52 PM
i've yet to change them. i don't have any movement when i check them, except torn boots they've held up okay. i'll replace them sometime before the year is over lol.

Legioss
08-14-2014, 05:09 PM
No issues.

Ebillg
09-20-2014, 09:28 AM
Just a note of thanks to the posters in this thread.

Last weekend I did lower ball joints and wheel bearings on both sides of my 2006 EX-p 2WD E.

I used the Moog ball joints and National bearings, everything went well, and here are some of my notes.

I had two of my ABS wire clips break during extraction, I would order them as they are very inexpensive. (I wire tied them temporarily and replaced them later) great tip not to try and remove the sensor as the service manual suggest as they are really stuck in there, it was not a problem to work around the wire.

Due to the helpful post here I ordered new screws for the tin shields I had to remove to place a support sleeve on the knuckle shoulder to press out the wheel bearing.

I also ordered new snap rings for the wheel bearings, glad I did as one side was rusted in the grove pretty good.

I would rate the ball joint replacement and especially the wheel bearing replacement for advanced (read competent) DIY mechanics, I had no issues but have been working as a mechanic/machinist for 40 years.

The surprise in the end was a significant reduction in a slight turning noise I thought was the tread on the last set of tires I installed 30 thousand ago, at 127,000 miles I was surprised at how much difference the wheel bearings made. I did them because I was "there" (and help of the forum members) and was glad I did.

Thanks -- Bill

My thanks go out to the great forum we have here and the help it has provided me while owning my E.