The ball joints on the Pontiac Grand Prix are part of the suspension system. When you begin to feel play in the front end of the car, chances are you need to replace the ball joints. You should inspect the ball joints each time you change the brakes on the car. When you raise the front of the Grand Prix using an automobile jack, try wiggling the tire from side to side and top to bottom. If you find that you are able to move the wheel even a small amount, it is a good idea to change the ball joints before you experience a breakdown while driving the car.
Things You'll Need
- Wheel chocks
- Automobile jack
- Jack stand
- Lug wrench
- Socket set
- Rubber mallet
- Ball joint press
- Drill bit set
- Torque wrench
Place a set of wheel chocks behind the rear wheels of the Grand Prix. Raise the front of the Pontiac on the side on which you are starting using the automobile jack. Place a jack stand under the car near the jacking point and raise it to the frame of the vehicle. Do not support the vehicle at the control arms. They need to hang free.
Loosen the lug nuts using a lug wrench. Remove the wheel from the Grand Prix. Remove the cotter pin from the tie rod end using a pair of pliers. Remove the castle nut from the tie rod end using a socket and ratchet. Separate the tie rod end from the wheel knuckle by tapping it with a rubber mallet until it separates.
Remove the stabilizer bolt from the control arm using a socket and ratchet. Disconnect the ABS wiring harness by unplugging it. Remove the bolts from the control arm using a socket and ratchet. Remove the cotter pin from the ball joint using a pair of pliers. Note the direction of the cotter pins because when you reassemble, they cannot interfere with the ABS sensor.
Loosen, but do not remove, the nut from the ball joint using a socket and ratchet. Separate the ball joint from the wheel knuckle using a press-type ball joint tool while the nut is still loosely on the threads to protect them. Do not try to pry it apart with a forked-type tool. Remove the control arm from the Grand Prix.
Drill out the three rivets securing the ball joint to the control arm using a drill and a drill bit. Install the new ball joint. Torque the three retaining bolts to 50 foot-pounds using the torque wrench. The bolts must face down. Install the control arm on the Grand Prix and hand-tighten the bolts. Do not completely tighten the bolts and nuts yet.
Guide the ball joint into the wheel knuckle and tighten the nut. Torque the ball joint nut to 40 foot-pounds. Make sure to align the slots in the nut so that you can install a cotter pin. Never loosen the nut to allow for inserting the cotter pin; always tighten it. Spread the cotter pin open using a pair of pliers.
Connect the tie rod to the steering knuckle. Install the castle nut and tighten it with a socket and ratchet. Insert a cotter pin and spread it open with a pair of pliers. Install the stabilizer bolt to the control arm. Torque the bolt to 17 foot-pounds using the torque wrench. Connect the harness to the ABS sensor by plugging it in.
Tighten the control arm bolts using a torque wrench to 83 foot-pounds. Install the wheel on the Grand Prix. Tighten the lug nuts using the lug wrench. Remove the jack stand from under the Pontiac and lower the car to the ground. You may have to have the wheel alignment checked when the project is complete.
Tips & Warnings
- Wear safety glasses when working under the Pontiac Grand Prix.
- Never attempt this project without using a jack stand for additional safety.
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