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Dana 44 ball joint replacement

 
  #1  
Old 12-03-2018, 10:18 PM
Mason R
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Dana 44 ball joint replacement

As some of ypu may already know I am restoring my 79 f150 4x4. Since it drove really well before o took it apart I assumed everything in the front end was good but I was wrong lol. When I was repacking the wheel bearings I discovered the lower ball joint on the drivers side was sloppy so I'm goo to replace them all. Anyway I've never replaced ball joints before so my question is that is the CORRECT procedure to replace them? At first it seemed pretty straightforward, press the old ones out and press the new ones in. But then I noticed the threaded adjustment Insert and read that some are offset and I'm just not 100% sure what's the correct way to replace them.

Heres the ball joint joint set in lookin at http://1976-1979 Ford F150 Ball Join...66 - PartsGeek
 
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:23 AM
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Make sure you use some Kroil or PB blaster on the nuts in the sockets first. You will also need a spanner wrench to gain access to the castle (keyed) nuts on the top joints. Here is the spanner wrench. I planned on doing mine as well, but the joints were still tight so I left them as they are. Be careful not to strip out the nuts on the top.



Spanner wrench
 
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:57 AM
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Napa had to order my spanner wrench, so check with your parts store ahead. It was also about 50.00.
 
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Old 12-04-2018, 03:58 PM
Mason R
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Originally Posted by John89 View Post
Napa had to order my spanner wrench, so check with your parts store ahead. It was also about 50.00.
A quick search turned up one off amazon for about $10. I might see of my uncle has one I can borrow
 
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Old 12-04-2018, 06:42 PM
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Once again I am out done by the younger generation. I am keeping up with your progress because my son that is 14 and I are working on a truck very similar to yours.

PM me anytime for advice (primarily what not to do) if you need it.
 
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:25 PM
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Originally Posted by John89 View Post
Once again I am out done by the younger generation.
Thats not how I meant it. I usually buy all my parts at Napa and keep my money semi local but I thought the ball joints were good so I hadn't planned on spending the money to replace then and $50 is a lot for a tool that might get used one a year at most. Actually I'll probably try and make one before I buy one
 
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Old 12-05-2018, 01:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Mason R View Post
Anyway I've never replaced ball joints before so my question is that is the CORRECT procedure to replace them?.
Do you have the book? If not we can walk through the relatively simple steps.
Might as well plan to replace the axle shaft u-joints too while you're in there, unless you have done them recently?
And though not necessary (because once you've done this, you can do it again in a pinch) you may consider just going all in and replacing the inner axle seals as well. It's way more involved, but does not require a full differential setup since you're not changing any of the hardware, so to speak. More of a "software" update!

Originally Posted by Mason R View Post
At first it seemed pretty straightforward, press the old ones out and press the new ones in. But then I noticed the threaded adjustment Insert and read that some are offset and I'm just not 100% sure what's the correct way to replace them.
The factory did not use offset adjusters, but yours could have been changed over the years. They've been in regular use by alignment shops for almost as long as the axles have been available.
Made in various offsets up to 1.5 most just opt for the full 1.5 and adjust as needed. This is to change camber primarily, but can also change caster depending on the positioning. Do you know what your alignment settings are currently? If not, is the rig still drivable so you can get it on a rack and get the printout or screen shot of the setup?
Knowing what you have before you dig in is priceless. Not a deal-breaker if you don't, but still very nice to know.

And while we're on this, do you have the official by-the-book wheel bearing adjustment procedure? As I like to say, "not the YouTube version" but the actual service manual step-by-step.

Paul
 
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Old 12-05-2018, 09:52 AM
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Good suggestion on U-joints, seals and bearings while it is all torn apart. Spindle bearings too. I did everything but the ball joints on mine. My old U-joints were a pain to remove, but I'm glad we did it all since it is a messy job.
 
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Old 12-05-2018, 11:46 AM
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No I do not have the book. It would be a great help if you could post pictures of the book. I'll check the u joints. The wheel bearings look fairly new so I just cleaned them thoroughly and repacked them. I will replace the wheel seals when it goes together
No the truck isn't quite drivable as of now


 
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Old 12-07-2018, 02:26 PM
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I'm doing this job this weekend. I've done it many times before on D44 fronts though. You need a ball joint press at minimum. A shop press is better though.

I will assume you know how to take the hubs apart and get everything down to the spindle, so I'll start there.
You'll need to remove the spindle itself so you can pull the axle shafts. Be careful here, especially when you replace them as not to knock out the inner grease seal a the diff.
Remove the castle nut and pin on the tierod at the steering knuckle
A few well placed smacks with that 4lb hammer right on the knuckle where the tierod stud goes through should allow that to pop right out. Pickle forks ruin grease boots - I don't like using them.
Remove the cotter pin on the upper BJ, and both the upper and lower BJ nuts.
I use a 4lb hammer on the upper stud and pound straight down on the whole works. Eventually the knuckle will pop loose.
The upper has a threaded sleeve that you need that 4 prong socket pictured above for. New balljoint kits will have a replacement. If you live in rust country, this might be the hardest thing you do - getting that out of there. I have found copious amounts of PB Blaster and an impact wrench work the best.
Both ball joints press in from the top of the knuckle, so you know how they need to come out. Having a couple big sockets around to fit over the ball joints makes using the shop press easier.

Press the new ones into the knuckle the same way the old ones came out.
Replace the knuckle on the truck and tighten down the lower balljoint nut.
Now thread that sleeve into the axle "C" over the upper balljoint stud and torque to 50 lb ft.
Now run the upper nut down to 100lb ft.
Then do your final torqueing on the lower nut.

From here, reassembly is the opposite of assembly. Axle shafts first (good time to do Ujoints and outer axle seals).
Then reinstall the spindles
Reinstall your tierods, castle nuts, and cotter pins
Repack your bearings and add new grease seals
Reassemble. The inner hub nut torques to 50lb ft, then back off 1/6 turn. (You'll need to adjust some to get the lock washer over the nipple on the inner hub nut
Torque the outer nut to 80-100lb feet
Reinstall the hubs, lock spring, lock washer on the outer shaft, and brake calipers.

Inspect your work. Make sure the steering works freely and doesn't have any weird play.
Grab that tire top and bottom when it's still jacked up. There should be no "Chuck" in the wheel bearings or balljoints - it should all be nice and tight.

Assuming rust, etc doesn't fight you too badly, it's about 2 hrs per side in a driveway.
 
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Old 12-10-2018, 12:02 PM
Mason R
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Thanks for all the good Info. I've got the knuckles off and the ball joints pressed out. I need to go ahead and order new ball joints and I'll update on how it goes
 
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Old 12-10-2018, 01:20 PM
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That's a good write up
 
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Old 12-11-2018, 10:46 AM
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I just did mine last summer, I would tell my tale but D-Rat has it covered to the T ! Remember they sit off canter just a hair, so they wont look flush when you press the new ones in... Drove me nuts until I realized thats how they sit.
 
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Old 12-30-2018, 11:01 PM
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Well I finally got time to put it back together tonight. I ended up going with cheap Acdelco ball joints. ($10 vs $25 apiece for any others). Hopefully they last. I also made a socket for the threaded inserts. I followed the above set of directions and everything went really well.

 
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Old 12-31-2018, 06:32 PM
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Nice work on the tool! I bought mine on Amazon also bought my Moog Ball Joints there as well as open box and paid about $50 for all four (Very lucky I know). Mine were tight but they are 38 years old so time to change them. That axle steers so easy by hand its crazy.
 

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