How to Replace the Ball Joints on a Silverado

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The ball joints on a vehicle are essentially the main hinges of the suspension, similar to the joints in your shoulders and hips. If the ball joints wear down, it can make the vehicle shake while turning and you need to replace them. On a Chevy SIlverado, the ball joint can only be removed from the lower control arm; replacing an upper ball joint would require completely replacing the upper control arm.


This procedure can vary due to a number of issues, like the exact year of the truck and whether it has four-wheel drive or a torsion bar front suspension, so talk with your mechanic first.

Things You'll Need

  • Floor jack
  • Jack stands
  • Wrench
  • Rope
  • Ball joint separator tool
  • Bench vise
  • Hammer and chisel
  • Ball joint press tool

Removal

  • Raise the truck's front end and support it on jack stands, then remove the wheel.

  • Disconnect the stabilizer bar from the control arm, removing the link bolts with a wrench.

  • Remove the lower mounting fasteners for the shock absorbers with the wrench.

  • Tie the upper control arm and steering knuckle to the top of the shock absorber with a rope or wire to support it.

  • Loosen the upper ball joint by a few turns using the wrench without removing it. Break the ball joint away from the knuckle with a puller or ball joint separator and remove the nut.

  • Remove the upper control arm's bolts with the wrench, making sure you know which way the bolts are installed, and remove the control arm.

  • Place the control arm in a bench vise and knock back the ball joint's crimped areas with a hammer and chisel.

  • Press the ball joint out of the control arm using a ball joint press or hydraulic press with the correct adapters.

Installation

  • Install the new ball joint into place using the press tool. Crimp or stake the joint into place with the hammer and chisel.

  • Place the lower control arm into the frame brackets and install the bolts and nuts; do not tighten them all the way. Connect the ball joint to the steering knuckle and tighten a new nut in place.

  • Untie the upper control arm and steering knuckle and reconnect the shock absorber's lower mounting fasteners. Connect the stabilizer bar link with its bolts.

  • Lower the truck off the jack stands, then tighten the pivot nuts and bolts for the upper arm using the wrench.

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References

  • "Chilton General Motors Full Size Trucks Repair Manual"; Mike Stubblefield; Haynes North America; 2009
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