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Popping/separating Ball Joint on '98 malibu - HELP!
The real problem is that there's only about 1/2" clearance between the top of the ball joint stud and the axle. That leaves no room for any of the universal pullers or screw type ball joint separators. I've tried striking the steering knuckling with a 4 lb. mini-sledge to pop it loose but that hasn't worked (although maybe I haven't hit it hard enough). JC-Whitney has a hinge type separator but I'm not even sure that that would fit in the confined space.
This has got to be a fairly common problem since this configuration is used on many Pontiac, Oldsmobile, and Chevy platforms. Is there some trick to this that I'm missing or does everyone just destroy and replace the ball joint when replacing the hub assembly (it's another $40 by the way)?