Ball Joint (LCA) Replacement Guide

The symptoms of worn ball joints are loose steering and knocking or rattling sounds from the front end. You can check for a bad ball joint by jacking up the car, grasping the tire at the 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock positions, and trying to wiggle it back and forth. Play at this position will be due to bad ball joints.

You will need:

Lower control arms, either Moog K8577 (Driver side) or Moog K8579 (Passenger side)
Optional, recommended, Strut Rod Bushing Kit, Moog K8516
24mm Socket

1. Loosen the lug nuts, jack up the vehicle and safely support it with jackstands, and remove the wheel. Remove the nut from the LCA (Lower Control Arm) bracket bolt, where it connects to the subframe. You will likely need to hold the nut and back the bolt out with a rachet as shown here. Remove the bolt. You will have to pry/tap it out.

2. Remove the strut rod to LCA nut. The manual says to use an open end wrench on the flat area of the strut rod, but this did not work for me. I used a large wrench on the strut rod to subframe nut here

And then was able to loosen the nut here. However, if you may need to use a wrench on the strut rod if that doesn't work for you. Remove the nut and the metal plate.

3. Now remove the knuckle pinch nut and bolt. You probably have to hold the bolt still with a wrench and the remove it with a punch (or a screwdriver).

4. Then separate the ball joint from the knuckle using a balljoint separator tool. It is possible to separate it using a long prybar on the strut rod, but doing so doesn't always work. For the couple of dollars that you will pay for the tool it's worth it, and you will also be able to use it to separate tie rod ends.

5. Now use a prybar on the strut rod and pry the LCA down. This will allow the knuckle to swing free. Push the whole hub assembly towards the front of the vehicle. NOTE: Be careful not to pull outwards on the hub assembly because this could separate the internal parts of the CV-joint, causing it to fail.

6. At this point you may need to remove either the top or bottom sway bay link nuts for clearance. I believe this is only the case if you have the original cast endlinks on your car. Now using a prybar, remove the LCA from the bracket in the subframe as shown here. The LCA will now be loose. Now pull it off of the strut rod.

7. (Skip this step if you are not replacing the strut rod bushings) Now remove the strut rod to subframe nut. Here you will have to hold onto the flat part of the strut rod with a wrench to stop it from turning. Remove the metal plate and bushing.

8. The strut rod will no be free, but you will not be able to remove it. The second part of the bushing is inside the subframe and it tightly pressed onto the strut rod. You will be able to access it here. Most likely you will have to pound the old bushing and plate off with a hammer. This is the same place that you will install the new bushing.

9. Here is the new metal plate and bushing installed. You can see they have been liberally greased. This will prevent squeaks and corrosion. You won't actually be able to install the strut rod as it's shown here, you have to do it in the location shown in the above picture, however here is a good view of how they go together. Install the new bushing and plate.

Then install the front bushing and plate, and hand tighten the nut.

10. Install the grease fitting and grease boot onto the new balljoint. Then press the LCA onto the end of the strut rod and tighten the nut. Tighten the nuts at each end of the strut rod, in the pics above and below this text, to 70-95 ft/lbs. You will have to use a wrench on the flat parts of the strut rod to keep it from turning.

Install the LCA into the subframe bracket. You will probably have to tap it in there with a hammer.

Now line up the nut and bolt, which will take some wiggling around to get the bolt to go all the way through. A hammer and prybar will be helpful to position the LCA. Then tighten it up. You will probably find it easiest to hold the nut with a wrench and use a socket on the bolt. Tighten the bolt to 73-97 ft/lbs.

11. Use a prybar on the strut rod to press the LCA down, then swing the knuckle over and insert the balljoint into it. Then install the new pinch bolt and nut, and tighten them to 40-53 ft/lbs.

Now reinstall the swaybar link bolt if you removed it in step 6, fill the new balljoint with grease using a grease gun, install the wheels, lower the vehicle, and torque the lug nuts.