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1986 Chevy C10 Front End Refresh

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Took the truck (1986 Chevy c10) to get aligned only to find out it needed front lower ball joints.  I was quoted $319 to have the shop replace them.  Since I like a good mechanical challenge and have access to a press I figured I would save myself a few bucks and do it myself. After All, they are only $30 each from the parts store. Once I got in there and started poking around I figured I would replace a few more things as well.  So my lower ball joint replacement job turned into replacing the upper ball joints, upper and lower A arm bushings, tie rod ends, and adjustement sleaves as well.  Heck, might as well paint everything up while its off there as well.  I have been working on it off and on a couple hours after work each day.  I have all the parts, everything has been cleaned and painted and I am almost ready to assemble the right side.  I managed to get the ball joints and bushings out without running to work and using the press.  I may be able to reassemble with out the press as well.. which would be great.  I am planning on writing an article on doing the work and since most people don't have a shop press this would be good news for them.  I figure I will get everything set up and worked out on the right side and then do an article on the tare down and rebuild of the left. So if you have a 1974 to 1986 Chevy C10 and you want to tackle a ball joint and/or bushing replacement.. keep and eye out for the article. 

A few tips I did learn along the way. 

If you are planning to replace the bushings as well as ball joints, make sure you loosen the a arm bushing retaining nuts while the a arms are still attached to the vehicle.. its a heck of a lot easier to get them broken loose while they are bolted up to the truck. If you are not planning on replacing the bushings then don't even worry about removing the a arms.  Go rent a ball joint press, or support the a arms from underneath while still attached to the vehicle and press or pound out the ball joints.  

If you are replacing the bushings one of the quickest ways to get them out of the a arms, aside from a properly set up shop press, is with an air chisel. If you don't have access to either you can try your hand at pounding them out as is, but, I found that if you torch the rubber out first it makes it a lot easier. This is also the case when using the air chisel.  On a truck this old most of the time the inner metal of the bushing is rusted fast to the a arm shaft making removal of the bushing nearly impossible.. even with a press.  Yes.. its messy and stinks.. but once the rubber is out you can remove the a arm shaft and pound the outer metal of the bushing out quite easily.  This is the same for both upper and lower a arm bushings. 

Unless previously replaced, the upper ball joint is rivited to the a arm.  A lot of proceedures call for grinding the heads of the rivits off and pounding them out.  First off.. you must remove the heads on the bottom (opposite of the grease fitting) not the top.  Second.. instead of grinding.. just center punch them and drill them out.. the ball joint will practicly fall off at that point. 

Anyway.. this entry is getting quite wordy.. I'll do a step by step in the article. 

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