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Ball joint replacement

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Joined: 29 Dec 2003
Posts: 2088
Location: Port St. Lucie, FL

PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 10:26 pm    Post subject: Ball joint replacement Reply with quote

Identifying a bad ball joint:

Clues to look for are uneven tire wear, a "clunking" noise at low speed during turns, physical damage to the ball joint boot, etc. Ball joints, unless theyre in very bad shape, are harder to detect in our cars since they exhibit many of the same signs as a bad upper strut bearing. The easiest way to verify they are bad, is to loosen the clamp that holds them to the lower strut mount and pull the control arm down and examine the part itself. If there is free play, and the ball joint end moves around easily without resistance, its time to replace it. OR you still have riveted in ball joints, these were done at the factory, they are nearly 30 years old , replace them.

Right side ball joints seems to fail twice as often as left sides, I have no idea why.

there are a few routes you can follow in the process, you can pull the control arm out completely, or leave it in put if you have to grind out old rivets, which are stout, control arm removal is easier imo.

Parts: ball joints-early cars may be 15mm, later are 17mm same as early 944, three 10 mm bolts/nuts (m7x20 1.0 thread pitch, with 10mm heads as pointed out by Smoothie)for each side if the new ball joint didn't come with them, replacement control arm bushings if needed which need to be pressed in by hydraulic press or other fancy device to save some headaches, or can be driven in , see post below.

remove the control arm (already safely lifted/supported car and removed front tire(s)):

1. If pulling control arm: Mark location of the rear control arm mounts, both on the car attachment points, and of the bolt position. the rear mounts allow for adjustment, so you want to make sure you can put them back exactly as you found them.

2. remove pinch bolt at bottom of strut assembly that holds ball joint end in, its a two wrencher, may need a breaker bar to crack it loose.

3. pull control arm down, to free ball joint end. examine, if its floppy, its gotta go..

4. if your removing the control arm, do so now, (you did mark the position right?) two bolts that hold the back up, on pin bolt up front, ans sway bar bolts or linkage.

5. If you have rivets, drill or grind them out , or unbolt the the bolts/nuts that hold the ball joint in. i found that drilling the old rivets out worked better than grinding, used a smaller bit first, then a larger one to finish them off. once removed, the ball joints will slide right out of the control arm.

6. hop into a different car with control arm, go to machine shop to have new bushing pressed in, clean & paint them , do a dance, have a beverage whatever...

7. bolt up new ball joints to control arms.

8. reinstall control arms if you removed them, and ball joint back into its housing. keep in mind the shaft has hour glass shape, so it must be pushed up and positioned properly before the bolt will go in. I used a jack to get it right and far enough up.

9. torque all bolts to spec (will add values later)

10. reinstall wheel, lower car, and Id recommend a drive to the alignment shop to have them check that your still in spec, or align car if needed.

more/better pics later:

78 924
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Last edited by 924guy on Mon Nov 17, 2008 10:58 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Rich H  

Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 2665
Location: Preston, Lancs, UK

PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 3:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can install the control arm bushes with a couple of big sockets and a bit of 10mm studding. Just lube up the bushes first and squeeze them in. No problem.

For those in the UK GSF sell a fitting kit for 15 which has one wishbones worth of bushes and bolts.

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Joined: 30 Mar 2016
Posts: 131
Location: Byron Bay, Australia

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My experience was that the supplied M7x20 bolts for the ball joint were quite cheesy (despite being marked as grade 8., so I drilled the holes out just a touch so a M8x20 bolt could be used instead. The original rivets were likely about 8mm anyways, so very little material was removed.

The bolt head and nuts are 12mm on these, so it's a tight fit against the rolled up edges of the control arm, but it works and should be even stronger to boot!
'81 Porsche 924 NA
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Joined: 25 Mar 2007
Posts: 2636
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did the same thing. BJ holes are tapered, slightly over 7mm one side but closer to 8 other side. Drill from smallest side. Used socket head cap screws instead, inserted from the control arm side.

Have replaced BJs subsequently and it does make it heaps easier & quicker for next time too.
World`s quickest 924 2L slushbox

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