First Generation Nissan Xterra Forums (2000-2004)
Old 10-03-2009, 02:05 PM
Daggerdoggie Daggerdoggie is offline
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 75
Default How-to Replace Lower Ball Joints

After doing this before, I changed my strategy by taking more stuff off, which really saved me time. A big 1 7/8" socket and a good impact wrench really help. One side took me just over an hour start to finish. Last time I did this, it took all day to do both sides. Replacing the whole LCA is a two-day project, so avoid that if you can.

First remove just the outer part of your manual hub with 5/32" Allen wrench. If you have auto hubs, you will have to remove the whole hub.

Using a pair of snap ring pliers, remove the snap ring from the half shaft.

Since I planned on taking off the entire knuckle and hub assembly, I removed the ABS sensor line. You don't have to do this, but this is what saved me time in the end. Remove the outer TRE by removing the cotter pin and the nut with a 22mm socket. Put the not back on until the bolt of the ball joint is almost to the end and whack with a BFH. It will pop out with a few blows. Do not use a pickle fork as you will ruin the boot and possibly the ball joint. If you have aftermaket UCA's, unbolt the four bolts. This makes it easy. If you have stock UCA's you will probably have to use a pickle fork here due to lack of room for hammering. Personally, I almost never use my pickle forks or ball joint puller. I almost always pop them out with a hammer.

This is not a good thing to see: A completely torn inner CV joint bellows. Luckily, I have a cashe of extra half shafts.

Either way, remove the half shaft to make room. Again, you don't have to, but it will save you time in the long run.

You now have a clean shot at that big nut on top of the lower ball joint.

...................Continued.....................: D
2000 SE & 2002 SC Both fully locked and loaded
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Old 10-03-2009, 02:05 PM
Daggerdoggie Daggerdoggie is offline
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 75

You can see the four dimples knocked into the bolt.

Using a cold chisel or punch, knock the tabs back. With every thing out of the way, this was really easy.

This is what made the job a cinch:

With the big nut off, a few whacks with a hammer and the complete brake /hub assembly is removed:

I had loosened the lower ball joint before, you could do it at this point only if you have an impact wrench using a 27mm socket. I put the nut back on, almost to the end of the bolt and whack a few times with a BFH and it will pop right out.

Now remove the nut and the ball joint is out.

I greased the flange and thread of the new ball joint:

Sliding the new ball joint from under the LCA, I was able to get a few turns of the nut from the top. I then slowly tightened it using a big socket. Don't use your impact wrench at this point. You don't want to mess up the threads and this will slowly pull the press-fit flange into the LCA.

Final torque was done with my impact wrench.

Replace parts in reverse order.


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Old 10-03-2009, 04:16 PM
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dezurtrat dezurtrat is offline
Senior Member
2008 Xterra OR
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 363

Nice job! The pics are awesome!
Back to the Next Gen Future - "Diffs, you better hope we don't need Diffs where we are going"
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Old 10-03-2009, 06:54 PM
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RIXterra RIXterra is offline
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2002 Xterra SE
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: R.I.
Posts: 230

Awesome Scott!!
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