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ReverendDexter
ReverendDexter Dork
3/7/10 9:33 a.m.

Yay for 5-lug swap parts

Any tips for separating the spindle from the balljoint without doing as little damage to the balljoint as possible?

This'll be on my '90 Mustang GT that has ?43k miles on (either a really hard life of 143k miles, or any absolutely babied 243k, I'm guessing the former), so we're talking inboard spring McFearsomes.

I do have a pickle fork, don't have an air hammer, do have a small propane torch, and do have money to invest if there's a magical tool that makes life WAY easier (though I'd rather not that tool be my mechanic, to anyone that feels like being a smartass )

I don't care if I mangle the old spindle (though I doubt I could).

If it really comes down to it, I can get a set of new A-arms, but I'd really prefer to not drop the coin if I don't have to (not for this season, at least).

ansonivan
ansonivan Reader
3/7/10 9:46 a.m.

My only trick involves an air hammer with a pointy bit installed although a hammer and punch may work.

Method one: give the ball joint a little blast on the threaded end using the rounded pointy bit - works best when the shaft has a dimple in the end.

Method two: give the spindle casting where the tapered ball joint shaft goes through a few little burps with the pointy bit - this can make a mess of the spindle assembly and is best used in moderation

zomby woof
zomby woof HalfDork
3/7/10 9:50 a.m.

Give the spindle casting (where the tapered ball joint shaft goes through) a couple of good smacks with a hammer, while pulling on the balljoint/control arm.

Should pop right out.

Jensenman
Jensenman SuperDork
3/7/10 9:58 a.m.

Pickle forks generally damage the ball joint boot so I stay away from them. I do this instead:

Step 1. Loosen the nut but don't take it all the way off. This protects the threads during step 3.

Step 2. Turn the knuckle where you can get good aim at the casting that the ball joint stud goes through. You need a good wide open arrea.

Step 3. Whack the CRAP out of the side of the casting with a hammer. I have a 4 pound drilling hammer which works perfectly, a smaller one will work but you just have to not be afraid to SWING THAT THING. It will probably take a few licks but the stud will pop loose. What happens: hitting the casting from the side momentarily deforms the hole so the tapered stud will pop loose.

slowcamaro
slowcamaro New Reader
3/7/10 10:27 a.m.

Not that theres anything wrong with a big hammer, or two. But they do make a tool called a 'ball joint seperator"

ReverendDexter
ReverendDexter Dork
3/7/10 10:30 a.m.
Jensenman wrote: Step 3. Whack the CRAP out of the side of the casting with a hammer. I have a 4 pound drilling hammer which works perfectly, a smaller one will work but you just have to not be afraid to SWING THAT THING.

Hahaha. The SO just bought a 4-lb cross-peen hammer that she used for a costume, so I'll use that

Thanks for the heads up on the pickle fork. I knew there was a good reason it was in the kitchen and not out in the garage (other than it being handy for pulling roasts out of the crock pot).

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair SuperDork
3/7/10 11:16 a.m.

+1 for zomby / Jman method, but pulling on the ball joint is not necessary. the temporary deflection of the spindle will spit the ball joint right out. leaving the nut on does two things: 1. protects the threads of the ball joint from collateral damage, and 2. keeps things from flying all over when the taper is freed from the spindle.

btp76
btp76 Reader
3/7/10 11:27 a.m.

J man is right. Remember on this car you have the spring pressure on the ball joint. On the fox Mustangs specifically the sway bar will keep the springs in if you're just doing spindles, so you can leave the everything else in place.

thatsnowinnebago
thatsnowinnebago Dork
3/7/10 12:45 p.m.
slowcamaro wrote: Not that theres anything wrong with a big hammer, or two. But they do make a tool called a 'ball joint seperator"

I guess you would use this if hitting it with your purse doesn't work?

(I keed, I keed)

ditchdigger
ditchdigger Reader
3/7/10 1:29 p.m.

I must be one of the few who hates the "bash it with a hammer" Technique. It just seems like a careless hillbilly way to do it. It is loud and potentially damaging to the car. Ball joint/tie rod seperators are cheap, quiet and take just as little time to use plus you can use them at 1:00AM without fear of the neighbors calling the cops on you.

My car may be a piece of crap but I like to treat it with a bit of respect. I just cannot see any high end car restorer going after the tie rod of a 60's ferrari with a 4 pound hammer.

ReverendDexter
ReverendDexter Dork
3/7/10 1:47 p.m.
ditchdigger wrote: I must be one of the few who hates the "bash it with a hammer" Technique. It just seems like a careless hillbilly way to do it. It is loud and potentially damaging to the car. Ball joint/tie rod seperators are cheap, quiet and take just as little time to use plus you can use them at 1:00AM without fear of the neighbors calling the cops on you. My car may be a piece of crap but I like to treat it with a bit of respect. I just cannot see any high end car restorer going after the tie rod of a 60's ferrari with a 4 pound hammer.

You did see the part about this being done to a foxbody Mustang, right?

And besides, this careless hillbilly works on his cars while the sun still shines, so no worries about waking the neighbors at 1am :)

Trans_Maro
Trans_Maro HalfDork
3/7/10 6:24 p.m.

I've broken a few of the screw type tie-rod and ball-joint separators over the years but I've never broken or deformed a spindle or steering arm by hammering.

The hammer method has been S.O.P. for professional mechanics for many years.

I'd think twice before hitting an aluminum piece but all the detroit iron I've whacked with a club hammer has had no trouble taking it.

I've never once had a pickle fork work to remove a balljoint or tie-rod-end. I think they're a gimmick tool designed to make money for the tool compaines.

BTW, I have aircraft maintenance manuals that have "bash it with a hammer" as a recommended procedure. Hamilton Standard Propllers is one of them. That's how you torque the Jesus nut.

Shawn

eastsidemav
eastsidemav Reader
3/7/10 6:40 p.m.

I hope the ball joint separators work well - I just bought one to use on my current challenge project. In the past, I've used pickle forks, and the wack it with a hammer method. On one car, neither one worked. Thankfully, I was doing a swap from drum to disc brakes, and had a disc brake spindle to put on, and a new control arm. The wack with a hammer method mushroomed the castle nut to the point it wouldn't turn, and I actually bent a pickle fork trying to seperate the pieces.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy New Reader
3/7/10 6:46 p.m.
eastsidemav wrote: I The wack with a hammer method mushroomed the castle nut to the point it wouldn't turn,

You are doing it wrong. Don't hit the nut- Hit the side of the knuckle where the taper goes through it.

Second- figure out whether you can use the spring to help you. Typical double a arm suspension, or Fox body type struts, let the suspension hang un-supported. The spring on the lower control arm will help to push it out.

Third- No wimp wristed tapping. HIT it!

Jensenman
Jensenman SuperDork
3/7/10 6:56 p.m.

This picture shows where to aim your weapon of bash destruction.

It's not real likely that a tapered stud will go into an aluminum casting. If I were to come across such an animal, no I would not use the hammer method, I'd go back and look for some other non-bashing method.

FWIW, I have never seen an aluminum knuckle. Even on 3rd gen rx7's where they used stuff like hollow carpet fibers and aluminum jacks to save weight, the knuckles are still steel.

Trans_Maro
Trans_Maro HalfDork
3/7/10 7:09 p.m.

A hammer from each side, at the same time works the best if you've got the room to swing them both.

I've never seen aluminum spindles either but the newest thing I own is a 1996 Ford and it's a truck!

Shawn

audifan
audifan Reader
3/7/10 7:09 p.m.

Try using two similarly weighted hammers using one on one side and the other obviously on the other (provided Reverend Dexter has some dexterity) swing both hammer at the same time impacting the knuckle at the same time this should instill enough shock and vibration to start the process.
As for the aluminum knuckle lots of German companies are heading or have headed that way Audi and BMW are two examples (speaking from experience I pound on the audi ones all day long at the shop and they can take it trust me even with a 4 pound sledge you can't come close to exerting the force of a 3500lb car hitting a pothole and those aluminum knuckles survive that!)

Good luck if all else fails rent/steal/borrow someones air hammer and have fun!

audifan
audifan Reader
3/7/10 7:10 p.m.

trans_maro great minds think alike!

Tyler H
Tyler H Dork
3/7/10 7:28 p.m.

Ball joint separators are for tie rod ends.

I've destroyed 3 ball joint separators (bent shafts, mushroomed shafts, etc.) My trusty 3lb shorty sledge is still going strong.

This is one of those cases where you're not going to come close to approximating the strain of hitting a pothole at 60mph. Whack it like a man.

I bet the Ferrari mechanics still break out their trusty hammers while owners of said cars are swilling cappucinos in the lobby.

wbjones
wbjones HalfDork
3/7/10 7:40 p.m.
audifan wrote: Try using two similarly weighted hammers using one on one side and the other obviously on the other (provided Reverend Dexter has some dexterity) swing both hammer at the same time impacting the knuckle at the same time this should instill enough shock and vibration to start the process.

dang, I have lots of problems even imagining the amt of coordination it would take to do that...

Trans_Maro
Trans_Maro HalfDork
3/7/10 11:33 p.m.

I'm ambidextrous

Shawn

friedgreencorrado
friedgreencorrado Dork
3/8/10 12:14 a.m.
Trans_Maro wrote: I'm ambidextrous Shawn

I thought that meant you could only use one hammer at a time...

WilberM3
WilberM3 New Reader
3/8/10 12:41 a.m.

i've found a combo of constant pressure like those seperators with a good hammer hit on the stud works great, sometimes with a little bit of heat persuasion on the spindle if its really stuck. that helps prevent mushrooming threads from full hammer hits on the stud, unless you know its being replaced then bash away.

SkinnyG
SkinnyG Reader
3/8/10 1:14 a.m.
Trans_Maro wrote: A hammer from each side, at the same time works the best if you've got the room to swing them both.

Popping ball joints is like squeezing a zit - pressure on both sides, and the taper has nowhere to go but out.

Ian F
Ian F Dork
3/8/10 7:30 a.m.

I usually try the hammer method first since when it works it's faster. It usually helps to have a second hammer on the opposite side. Sometimes it works... sometimes when you can't get a good swing on it (like with the BJ is buried behind the disc brake shield), it doesn't and I break out the separater.

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