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Drop arm ball joint change insitu

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As it's quite common for the drop arm to refuse to budge, it's fairly common to have to replace the ball joint from under the vehicle while the arm is still fixed to the steering box. Any L/R that has this type of joint has the same method of repair. The vehicle in this thread is a 1996 110CSW. The vehicle failed the MOT on excessive play in the joint, and nearly always this is attributed to the boot splitting and letting the grease out and water in. The subsequent rapid corrosion quickly wears the joint away, causing vague steering and wandering.

Raise and support the drivers side front of the vehicle.


If you have the castellated nut type - remove the split pin.

If you have a nylock nut, then a 19mm spanner or socket.


Strike the housing a few times and the joint will pop apart. Pull the link rod/steering damper down and away.



Remove the split rubber boot and you will see the problem.


A circlip holds the innards, spray some WD40 or similar over it, tap each eye of the clip to loosten it, then remove the clip with a pair of circlip pliers




Once the circlip is off, the guts of the ball joint will come out. This is normally what you see.


The top cup is still inside the housing, and is usually quite difficult to get out.



Use a small wire brush to clean the inside, and this is the method I used. A 14mm socket fits just nicely in the top and is just a bit smaller in diameter to the cup. A strong G-clamp and something to spread the load/protect the arm. By alternately tightening the clamp and hitting the bottom of the clamp with a hammer, slowly draws the cup out.

You must keep it all in line or the cup will bind in the housing and then becomes more difficult to remove.



The remains of the old joint.


The new ball joint kit.


Clean the inside of the housing and use almost the same method to fit the new cup. The socket size is bigger though - 20mm. Put a smear of grease around the inside of the housing and also around the lip of the new cup, then press it in as shown. Again make sure the socket stays nice and square.


The new cup in place. Check from the top to make sure it's all the way in.



Dunk the ball end of the joint in some grease, put it up from the bottom and keep it in place with a cable tie or a similar method.



Bottom cup next - a small amount of grease will stick it to the bottom of the ball.


Add a small amount of grease to the bottom of the cup, then stick the spring with the thinnest part downwards, then the thin O-ring, and then the bottom plate - this may have just one chamfered edge, and this should be on the inside.




The bottom plate needs to be pressed inside the housing far enough to put the circlip on. I use a jack, extension bar, and socket to do this. Note that if you use a thicker bar, the circlip will have to be put on it before the jack is raised.


Make sure that the plate is pushed in evenly and then fit the new circlip - making sure it's in the groove all the way round (tap it in all the way round to make sure)



To the top now, fill the gap with grease, then put the new boot on and secure it around the bottom.



Fit the smaller ring to the top of the boot, this is a right fiddly swine of a job.


Put the steering rod back on, washer, castellated nut, and then secure with a split pin (or just tighten the nylock nut.



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