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Lower ball joint replacement

 
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00pathySE



Joined: 12 Aug 2009
Posts: 130
Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2018 9:19 am    Post subject: Lower ball joint replacement Reply with quote

I need to replace my lower ball joint and was wondering if you can replace just the ball joint? If so, does anyone what needs to be done to get to the ball joint for replacement? If you NEED to replace the entire control arm, anyone have a step by step for this repair? Thanks
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2006 R51 Pathfinder LE
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kevinthefro



Joined: 27 Aug 2013
Posts: 81
Location: Torrance, CA

PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I replaced my rear control arms last weekend.
From memory, this is how I did the lowers:
* Note that many of these bolts will be corroded and a nightmare to remove. I got lucky and didn't have to cut any out. Coat the bolts liberally with grease when reinstalling to keep them from seizing in the future.
* Raise car, support with jack stand, remove wheel.
* Support the spring arm at the spindle with your jack and remove the bolt.
* Lower the jack to separate the spring arm from the spindle - removing the spring tension will make it easier to maneuver the spindle. No need to loosen or unbolt the toe adjusting end.
* Unbolt sway bar link from LCA.
* Unbolt shock absorber from LCA.
* Remove ball joint bolt from spindle - after the nut is off, you will probably have to drift it out.
* Use a gear or pulley puller to press the ball joint stud up from the bottom out of the spindle.
* Take a picture of the camber bolt position.
* Remove the LCA mounting bolts.
* Clean and grease the spindle stud hole to make it easier to get the new one in.
* Drive a cold chisel or big screwdriver into the spindle clamp slot to spread the stud hole slightly.
* Put the new LCA in place and drop the stud until it is fully seated - much wiggling required and I had to smack the chisel in pretty good to get the stud to go in freely, but I left no marks or gouges on the spindle so it's not too aggressive.
* Look through the ball joint bolt hole to make sure the stud groove is aligned with the hole - if it's too shallow or too deep the bolt won't go through
* Pull the chisel out - wiggle it up and down and it will squeeze itself out
* Install the new ball joint bolt - the Meco LCA come with a new bolt and nut, note that the stick bolt has a 17mm head but Meco bolt has an 18mm head. Don't force it! The bolt will lose the fight against the hardened stud if the stud groove is not aligned.
* Reinstall the LCA mounting bolts, ballpark the camber setting from your picture.
* Reinstall Sway bar link and shock bolt.
* Jack up the spring arm to the spindle to align the bolt holes to get the bolt started - it won't go all the way through.
* Jack up the spring arm higher and higher until the other holes align up and you can push the bolt the rest of the way through.
* Reinstall the spring arm nut.
* Put wheel on etc.
* Get a 4 wheel alignment. Make sure they adjust the rear to "nominal" not just "in spec". Pathfinders are very twitchy.
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smj999smj
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Joined: 22 Jan 2012
Posts: 4656
Location: Prospect, VA

PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2018 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The sell replacement ball joints on the aftermarket, but they are not available from Nissan. Nissan recommends replacing the entire control arm. So, you can if you wish, but need to be careful not to elongate the whole during the pressing process or it could come loose later. My recommendation is to replace the control arm; many come with a limited lifetime warranty.
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2006 Pathfinder LE VQ40DE AWD, Nitto Dura Grappler P265/65R17, aftermarket radiator, Airlift 1000's, Bilstein HD rear shocks
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00pathySE



Joined: 12 Aug 2009
Posts: 130
Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks and good write up. I beat you to it by about a day unfortunately. The biggest issue I had was getting the old ball joint pin out of the spindle. I tried prying the spindle open a bit but that did nothing despite leaving some marks. Eventually took the impact hammer to the bottom of the pin and it slid out pretty easily. Live you learn I guess. the actual pressing in/out of the LBJ was pretty straight forward and without issue. Also, I removed the wheel bearing and pushed the drive shaft back to get good access to the ball joint. I didn't remove the control arm bushing bolts as I am sure they are seized in there good and would require cutting. On a side note, I noticed my pathfinder only has the non adjustable straight camber bolts.

Steering is nice and crisp now with no more darting over bumps in the road. Cost me all of 30$ for the Ball Joint and some work gloves so I'm happy.
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smj999smj
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Joined: 22 Jan 2012
Posts: 4656
Location: Prospect, VA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Only some of the 2005 models came with the eccentric camber/caster bolts in the control arm from the factory. After that, they were all regular bolts and had to be replaced if alignment fell out of spec. From my experience, the left sides on these vehicles as well as the Titans seem to fall out of spec first, for whatever reason.
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2006 Pathfinder LE VQ40DE AWD, Nitto Dura Grappler P265/65R17, aftermarket radiator, Airlift 1000's, Bilstein HD rear shocks
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00pathySE



Joined: 12 Aug 2009
Posts: 130
Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do they tend to fall out of spec to the negative or the positive?
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