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1998 Range Rover P38A
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74 Posts
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Whew! That was a bit of messing around, but I'm happy to report that I finally found a day to install new upper and lower hub ball joints on my Range Rover last weekend. I purchased my 2000 4.0 over a year ago and knew it needed ball joints then, but it took me this long to get around to actually doing the job (105,000 miles on it now). Originally, I had a bit of a death wobble which got better when I replaced all the usual suspects; panhard bushings, front and rear track rods, new tires, etc. Even though the wobble went away, the front end never felt quite solid as it should to me, especially over rough sections of road.


Here are highlights of my long day:


1. The brake rotors seemed to be frozen on to the hubs for reasons unknown. The liberal use of penetrating oil and a 5 pound hammer finally helped eased those off after much pounding. They were so banged up by the time I got them off I had to get them turned. I didn't think about this ahead of time, but that's a great time to get this done.


2. The hubs and axles were extremely easy to pull out after removing the four bolts on the back of the hub housing.


3. I spent the bulk of my time trying to remove the swivel hubs. This consisted of mostly me standing around wondering why anyone would design something in this way. I was beginning to think I was doing something wrong. In the end, a pickle fork on the end of a pneumatic gun between the ball joint and the hub was more effective than simple beating, but was still a struggle.


4. To remove the ball joints, I rented the universal ball joint tool from my local Autozone that all the major auto chain places seem to have (as long as you bring it back in 90 days, it's free, how can you beat that?). The tool itself was great (very heavy duty, more than adequate for this job) but it only comes with three adaptors. I read the previous write ups and saw the recommended adaptor kit that runs about $75, but I just could not get over paying that much for a set of adaptors that I might not need again for years. I probably should have just ponied up and purchased the kit, but I ended up buying a giant socket for $24 to use on removing the bottom ball joint and grinding down another old Whitworth socket I found to fit the bottom of the clamp tool that I rented. This in combination with a couple old bearing races laying around did the trick of getting the old upper and lowers out and new ones back in. I put a lot of penetrating oil on everything over many hours, I really feel like this helped. Once I had the adaptors and the clamp figured out for each ball joint, it was very straight forward. It did take some muscle to move them out and back in, but no drama and sweating involved as removing the swivel hubs.


I spent about $120 on four new ball joints. For the tools, I had to rent the free ball joint tool, buy a giant socket to use as as an adaptor for the bottom ball joint to come out and borrow a friends compressor and air gun/pickle fork. I also had to buy a 19mm 12 point socket for $5 to remove the brake calipers. Everything else was common garage tools that I had. Including a can of PB Blaster penetrating oil, it was all under $150, which I consider a fairly inexpensive repair considering what a good shop or (gasp) what the dealer would charge for this, which is probably not something I want to know anyway.


The front end is super tight now and feels like I imagined it always should be, so I'm a happy camper. Thanks to everyone for their previous posts on the ball joints, that really helped get me motivated to do the job.
 

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2006-2009 Range Rover MkIII / L322
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230 Posts
I bought new ball joints like 4 months ago and never found the time to finish the job. I think you may have motivated me to tackle this and get it done. Nice work!
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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16 Posts
I just finish my ball joint replacement this weekend, 2001 p38. For anyone that wants to try this, Here are the tools you need.
1. 1 1/4 socket to remove the hub nut. 1 breaker bar with extension. I used my hydraulic jack extension. Stand on the breaker and jump away till it breaks. I bent my breaker bar but the nut finally gave way.
2. Remove wheel.
3. Remove brake calipers. 12 mm. You'll also need 8mm socket to remove sensors.
4.19mm to remove the two screws that hold the caliper
5. Remove rotors. I used a rubber mallet and banged the rotors a bit. I got a Philips place it on the screw and banged that as we'll. the screw came out easy. I banged the rotors again until it came out
6. Remove shield. 8mm
7.There is four bolts that hold the axles. The size slip my mind. If you have a standard socket set you should be ok.
8. Pull out the axle.
9. To separate the ball joint from the swivel hub. I used a pitman puller. $15. You will also need a 7/8 socket for top joint and a 24 mm socket for the bottom joint. Take off the upper ball joint bolt. Loosen the lower ball joint bolt and leave at the very tip of the thread. You will use that bolt for leverage because the pit man arm will be at a angle. Keep tightening the pit man arm till the swivel hub breaks from the ball joint.
10. I rented a ball joint removal tool from pep boys. The tool was inefficient because it only came with 3 metal cylinders. I just improvised . See pics
Hope this helps cuz I spent a lot of time going back and forth to the auto parts store. God bless!
 

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