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Discussion Starter #1
I'm gonna start this first by saying that this is a pain in the backside. Times ten. If you think you're ready to tackle this, be ready with patience, a friend, and lots of time.

Also- this is on a 2001 XE. This may or may not be the same for other first gens.

Whatcha Need?
Two Moog Lower Ball Joints. Part#K80591

A 1-7/8" socket or open end wrench. NOT CHEAP and you'll never use it again. so borrow one if you can.


also- the standard mix of sockets and wrenches you normally need for our trucks. 22mm, 17mm, 12mm,
a sawzall or angle grinder with cut-off wheel.

i rented a ball joint press- but it was definately not needed. save your money and time.


Start by removing your wheel- obviously.
if you look closely- you can see that my lowers are wrecked.



next is to remove the holding pins on your upper ball joint, lower ball joint, and tie rod end. proceed to remove the castle nut on the lower ball joint.
this will be a 1-1/16 socket- which i think is also a 27mm- but don't quote me on that.



With that out of the way- remove your upper ball joint and tie rod end. a 22mm open end wrench and pickle fork come in handy here.




now this is where the rust from michigan slowed me down. A lot. so this is just the method i used. you may not need to do this. sit back and look/think for a second first.

Take your jack and support the LCA
Using your sawzall/angle grinder- cut the lower ball joint in half BETWEEN THE KNUCKLE AND LOWER CONTROL ARM.




now that the knuckle is hanging there- remove auto hub and split ring holding the knuckle to the spindle. this will require a 6mm hex/allen and a pair of split ring pliers.


remove the 2 12mm bolts attaching the speed sensors and your knuckle should pull right off the spindle.

I stopped taking pictures here cuz i was mad as hell.

with the knuckle face down on the ground- take your BFH and hit the THREAD side of whats left of your LBJ. should pop right out.

now use your 1-7/8" socket to remove the top nut on the LBJ. Couple swings with the BFH and it will pop right out. provided you still have the LCA supported.



NOw clean up your LCA real good and then blast it with some white lithium for good measure.


Insert the New ball joint in the LCA from the bottom and with the flat side of the nut UP draw the ball joint into the lca. loosen, flip the nut and proceed to tighten that bad beeotch up.



here's where a buddy is handy. all at once- you need to get the knuckle back on the LBJ while getting the spindle through the hub.

From here- it's all re-assembly.

Good Luck!
 

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Jeebus, that looks like a nightmare. How much money did you save by not buying new LCA's with the ball joint already installed?

Actually, come to think of it, I bet replacing the ball joint in the control arm was the easy bit, wasn't it? Would it have been easier to do with the LCA removed from the truck?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
new lca's are like-380 each. two ball joints are about 130 out the door.

it may have ben easier with the lca's off- but labor intensive to get them off. plus everyime i work on my x at least one bolt shears. didn't wanna risk it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
in order to use it- you have to pull the drive axle.
 

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Stu's one patient dude, If I was doing that I'd be throwing tools and cursing like a sailor...

Basically it looked like a bitch of a job... I hope to never do it.

You da man Stu!
 

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I have 2 wheel drive so I do not have to worry about that, I think while I am in there I will go ahead and change the upper one's too.
 

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removing the lower Arms is a bitch. I helped kyle do it one night and we barely got one side off after a few hours. that bolt that holds on the rear seizes in there and takes heat to get out. I wouldn't suggest removing the LCa's unless you have the time and tools to do so. A different DD wouldn't be bad either.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
i haven't really looked at a 2WD- so yeah- there might be room.

just be ready to curse a lot. i pretty much bent a c-clamp in half trying to press out the remainders of the lbj after cutting. damaging a rented autozone tool could be way more expensive than a cut and a swing with a bfh. just my 2 cents.
 

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Dumb question: what does an LBJ do and what made you need to replace it?

Thanks for sharing the writeup btw.
 

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That is a pimp ass shop you got there dude! Looks like my apt. complex. Haha.

After thinking about this more, the right amount of pickle forks,

a deep socket 27mm, (lower BJ)

a shallow 22mm, (tie rod nut)

and a ratcheting 22mm,(upper bj, and tie rod end)

a cotter pin puller (3 pins need to pull-upper BJ, lower BJ, and tie rod end)

a jack,

a jackstand,

a 1/2" drive 21mm w/extension (for lugnuts)

A 6mm hex socket (hub)

snap rig pliers (outers)

small phillips screwdriver

hub locknut socket

90 degree pick, (for pulling off lock shim)

a large punch (or an air hammer with a long chuck)

and defintely a BFH

you could do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
LBJ basically connects your lower control arm to your knuckle. but lets everything move just enough.

Kevin? care to field this?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
booyah
 

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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....
 

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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.

Done!



 

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Any of you guys have issues with the BJ spinning or rotating in the arm while tightening?

I think the tapered hole in my arm is a rather loose fit. Causing the clunk and pop I hear now and then. Possibly I wasn't able to tighten it enough? Does the nut bottom out on the arm when at full torque? I couldn't seem to get mine to touch the arm fully. Turning the nut with a large adjustable wrench was causing the whole ball joint tapered section to turn in the arm. I noted the factory BJ had slits cut for a wrench to stop the spinning but the Moog did not.

Ive ordered a new arm to try it again. I'm thinking possibly my factory BJ was bad enough that it spun in the arm causing the taper to wear.
 

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All ball joints will spin if using a socket wrench. It's going to be really hard with an adjustable wrench. With an impact gun, it's not normally a problem since the rotation of the gun overcomes that of the ball joint.

To do it with hand tools, often you can carefully hammer the ball joint into the taper enough that it seat and you can tighten it. If not, you can tap the top with a hammer while you tighten the nut...a friend helps here. Or you can clamp the ball joint into the taper with a C clamp. This can be tricky, but it will work.

Also, you can use your jack, up or down to put pressure on the joint so you can tighten things up.
 

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That looks like a bitch to do.

I'll leave that to the professionals considering I'd probably screw up and end up having to take it to a shop anyways.
x100
 
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