Popping/separating Ball Joint on '98 malibu - HELP!

steph_beer_mesteph_beer_me Member Posts: 8
edited March 2014 in Chevrolet
I'm trying to replace a front wheel hub assembly on my '98 Malibu. I'm having a heck of a time trying to separate the ball joint from the steering knuckle using non-ball joint destroying means (i.e. I have a pickle fork but don't want to wreck the ball joint).

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)?


  • wpbharrywpbharry Member Posts: 399
    Post this request also in the main Malibu Discussion, since at least one member that frequents there does work on his own car (his is a '97). I have a '98, but also have the extended warranty, so I let the dealer do this kind of stuff.
  • steph_beer_mesteph_beer_me Member Posts: 8
    I used the two hammer approach (the 4 lb mini sledge held on one side and a 24 oz ball pien hammering away on the other). I then had to use a pry bar to force the loosened stud further down into the knuckle, where I was then able to push down on the control arm (with my left hand) and completely pop the stud (off to the side) and out of the knuckle.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastMember Posts: 1,712
    yeah, but the real mechanics post in maintenance and repair.
  • wpbharrywpbharry Member Posts: 399
    Had forgotten that there was still an M&R board for the good old Bu.

    We're all gogga over the new one......

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