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1986 Chevy C10 2wd Ball joint and Bushing replacement without a press

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So I took the 1986 Chevy C10 to get aligned and found out it needed lower ball joints.  The shop wanted $310 to do just the lowers so I figured I would do it myself a save some money.  I ended up replacing the lower and upper ball joints, lower and upper control arm bushings, tie rod ends, tie rod adjustment sleeves, and shocks.  The parts cost a little less then what I was quoted from the shop.  I also had the chance to repack the bearings and paint everything up nice.  I figured I would have to take the control arms to work and press the joints and bushings out and the new ones in but I ended up doing it all without a press.

So here is how I did it.

First make sure the truck is secured on jack stands.  I used two stands, one in front of the wheel and one behind the wheel.  I recommend only doing one side at a time.  I honed my skills on the right side so I will be showing the left in this article.

Spray everything down with PB blaster or some kind of penetrating fluid.  If you can let it sit over night and spray it again in the morning.. this will make things come apart much easier.

With the truck secured and the wheel off the ground, remove the wheel, brake caliper, and brake/hub.  Be careful not to drop the front bearing on the ground when removing the hub, they have a tendency to want to end up there. The inner bearing is held in place by a seal, I left mine in place in the hub since I had previously pulled them and repacked them a few months earlier.  A little tip on removing the inner bearing and seal if you choose to do so. Once the cotter pin, nut, and washer are removed, slide the hub forward and pull the outer bearing out, it should fall out easily, then slide the hub back into place and re-install the washer and nut. With the outer bearing removed and the washer and nut in place give the brake disc a sharp tug, the inner bearing and seal should be left behind.  I would recommend replacing the seal after doing this.  Clean the bearings and check for wear, if the rollers look good, repack and replace the bearing and tap the seal in place with an appropriate sized socket and hammer.

I completely removed the brake caliper to clean and paint it, however this is not nessesary.  Make sure you do not allow the caliper to hang by the brake line as it could damage the line.  Inspect the brake line since this is the perfect time to replace it if needed. Next remove the lower shock bolt. My lower shock bolt broke so be prepaired to replace some fasteners.

If you are replacing the outer and/or inner tie rod ends you will want to loosen the adjustment sleeve up before removing either of the ends as its much easier to do with them attached.  If you are not replacing the ends then you will only need to remove the outer tie rod end stud from the knuckle. Next remove the cotter pin and outer tie rod end castle nut.  If the cotter pin is rusted in place use a punch to try to loosen it and pull it out by clamping it with vice grips and leveraging it out.
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I used a Pittman arm puller to break the tie rod stud free from the knuckle.  This is how I would recommend doing it, a Pittman arm puller can be had for under $10 at most auto parts stores.  If a puller can not be had, you can pry up on the tie rod end with a pry bar or you can use a jack to put pressure on the bottom of the stud and tap around the steering knuckle with a hammer where the stud enters. Do not hammer on the stud as you will mushroom the end. Before you remove the outer end take a measurement from the center of the inner tie rod end joint to the center of the outer end joint.  You can use this measurement to get the new parts roughly back in line.  With the outer tie rod end and adjustment sleeve off move the inner end up and out of the way. If it does not stay up on its own then its probably worn and in need of replacement.


Next remove the sway bar from the lower control arm. Place a jack under the lower control arm and jack it up to take the tension off the sway bar before removing the bracket bolts.

IMPORTANT!  From this point on things must be done in the appropriate order.  There is a lot of spring pressure in the suspension, removing the wrong nut at the wrong time can result in damage to the vehicle and yourself.


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