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Thread: upper/lower ball joints stuck in steering knuckle

  1. #1
    Senior Member Henrik's Avatar
    Join Date:  Sep 2011

    Location:  Frisco, TX

    Posts:    640

    My VIN:    #1283

    Club(s):   (SCDC) (DCUK)

    upper/lower ball joints stuck in steering knuckle

    How do you separate the upper/lower ball joints from the steering knuckle? I have of course removed both of the castellated nuts but both ball joints are jammed into their respective knuckle attachments pretty good. I tried by tapping the UCA upwards (hammer + piece of wood) but it wouldn't budge. It was suggested that I used a "pickle fork", which is basically a steel wedge. Do you suggest using penetrating oil; if so, would it harm the ball joint?

    Your input and suggestions are appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Henrik
    VR6 engine (367 rwhp/377 ftlb); Type T4 turbo; A/R=0.70/0.68; Air-to-air intercooler, Megasquirt MS3 Pro, Manual tranny w/ HD output shaft; Remote mounted oil filter.
    Adjustable dampers and ride height springs from QA1/DriveStainless; SS triangulated LCA brackets, boxed in LCAs, PU bushings, ventilated front brake rotors - all from DMCEU
    http://deloreanvr6conversion.blogspot.com

  2. #2
    Not a DeLorean Guru
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Rochester, NY

    Posts:    1,962

    My VIN:    01049

    If they're that stuck in, you're probably going to tear the boots removing them regardless. Get a pickle fork separator and hammer it in real good and they'll pop out eventually.

    If you have an air compressor, get an air-hammer tool with a pickle fork attachment.
    -Mike
    1981 DeLorean, heads/cams/exhaust, EFI
    1999 Corvette, heads/cam/exhaust, 440 BHP
    2005 Elise, stock
    2016 Chevy Cruze

  3. #3
    LS1 DMC Nicholas R's Avatar
    Join Date:  Jun 2011

    Location:  Orlando, Florida

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    My VIN:    01643

    Club(s):   (DCF) (DCO) (DCUK)

    Consider a ball joint separator:
    61Jfgz4l7JL._SL1100_.jpg
    I was trying to separate the ball joints on my wifes Civic last year with my pickle forks and couldn't get it to work at all. Finally picked up an OTC Front suspension tool kit which included the ball joint separator shown; could not have been easier. Admittedly I have not yet tried it on my DeLorean (haven't needed to) but I'm assuming it will work just as well.
    Last edited by Nicholas R; 03-24-2017 at 02:00 PM.

  4. #4
    Guy with a DeLorean Mark D's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Stevens Point,WI

    Posts:    1,890

    My VIN:    6125

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas R View Post
    Consider a ball joint separator:
    61Jfgz4l7JL._SL1100_.jpg
    I was trying to separate the ball joints on my wifes Civic last year with my pickle forks and couldn't get it to work at all. Finally picked up an OTC Front suspension tool kit which included the ball joint separator shown; could not have been easier. Admittedly I have not yet tried it on my DeLorean (haven't needed to) but I'm assuming it will work just as well.
    I rented one of these separators from Auto zone and it worked like a champ on the DeLorean upper and lower ball joints. I've also successfully used pickle fork but it wasn't ideal....I think the pickle fork with the correct width was a little too short in height so I had to wedge a steel plate below it. The next size up was taller in height but too wide.

    Alternatively, the trick I always see on TV car shows is to leave the castle nut partially installed loose on the threads of the ball joint, then just smack the outside surface of the steering knuckle with the hammer to pop the taper lock free. When the ball joint pops loose the castle nut stops the parts from flying apart. It's also a good idea to leave the nut partially installed with a pickle fork or separator too.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Henrik's Avatar
    Join Date:  Sep 2011

    Location:  Frisco, TX

    Posts:    640

    My VIN:    #1283

    Club(s):   (SCDC) (DCUK)

    Great feedback you guys! Thanks!! I'll see if any of my local auto part stores have a ball joint separator in their loaner program.
    VR6 engine (367 rwhp/377 ftlb); Type T4 turbo; A/R=0.70/0.68; Air-to-air intercooler, Megasquirt MS3 Pro, Manual tranny w/ HD output shaft; Remote mounted oil filter.
    Adjustable dampers and ride height springs from QA1/DriveStainless; SS triangulated LCA brackets, boxed in LCAs, PU bushings, ventilated front brake rotors - all from DMCEU
    http://deloreanvr6conversion.blogspot.com

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