Homemade ball joint puller - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
LinkBack Thread Tools Rate Thread
post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-30-2012, 08:33 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
reddrexx's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: New England
Car: 1999 obw 2.5l Auto 194,000 mi
Posts: 80
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Homemade ball joint puller

Hello everyone. I recently replaced both the ball joints on my 99 OBW. One had been replaced before, the other appeared original. With 172,000 New England miles I knew that side would give me trouble so I researched as many tips from any forum I could. I found a puller on line that no longer appears to be available so I set out to make my own. I thought I would share my creation with everyone. In the pictures you may notice two different pullers, the first one I made is what I used with great success, however it required special tools and parts to build. I designed a second one that was easier to build with off the shelf parts and common tool so it could be built easier.

Parts List

1ea Black Iron 1 1/2” pipe coupling
1ea Black Iron 1 ˝ “ to 1” bushing
1ea Black Iron 1” to 3/4” bushing
1ea 3/4”x 3” grade 8 bolt and nut (fine threads are better but coarse will work)
2ea 3/4” heavy fender washer


drill press
bench grinder
drill bits up to 27/64”
12m x 1.25 tap

First screw together the coupling and two bushings, just snug them up and you’ll get the body of the puller.

Now go to the grinder and flatten off the lip so it can clear the dust shield and the ball joint wont hang up on the edge. If your dust shields are removed skip this part.

While your at the grinder put a flat on opposite sides of the threaded end of your 3/4” bolt like this.

carefully remove metal until a 9/16” wrench fits snugly on the end. I got it close and the evened out the flats with a hand file until the wrench fit nicely.

Next find center of the bolt head by marking across the head from point to point and center punching the middle. Set the bolt up in a drill press ( a vice and hand drill could work ) and start with a 3/16” pilot hole about 1” deep.

Open the hole with progressively larger bits until you reach 27/64”. Lastly use the 12m x 1.25 tap to cut the threads in the 27/64” hole. Congratulations you are done building the puller.

note: I removed the bolt head but later realized it was unnecessary so I eliminated the step from the instructions.

Tip: The tap will be difficult to start square so before removing the bolt from the drill press, put the tap in the chuck lower it into the hole and turn the chuck by hand cutting the first 2 or 3 threads. Then remove the bolt and tap and hand tap the rest normally. CAUTION Do not turn on the drill press you will destroy your piece, snap the tap, and probably injure yourself. And for crying out loud wear safety glasses for this part.

Using your home made ball joint puller.

Put vice grips on shaft of ball joint and screw on the threaded portion of the puller. Then remove vise grips.

slide the base and two washers onto the shaft and secure with the nut.

make sure the tool is sitting flush on the bottom of the knuckle and tighten down the nut.
Hold the shaft with the 9/16” wrench and use a 1 1/8” wrench, pipe wrench or whatever you have to slowly start cranking down the large nut.

When I did it It got real hard, made a cracking sound and then started pulling right out. Victory!!

All told once at the pulling stage it was probably 10 – 20 min. to remove the joint and that includes all the picture taking my wonderfull wife did so I wouldn’t get her i phone greasy. Well that’s it, hope this helps someone out there. Good luck with it. Reddrexx

Right smart purchase, this vessel! Treat her right, she’ll be with ya for the rest of your life!

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
reddrexx is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-30-2012, 09:16 PM
Registered User
Timberwolf99's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Car: 2000 Outback Limited, Dual Range 5 Speed
Posts: 715
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Wow nice write up. May not help me as we here don't get salted roads but I can see how this will make the job a lot easier for you guys.

Don't follow me i may be looking for a cache!
Timberwolf99 is online now  
post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-05-2012, 06:10 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Central NJ
Car: '01 Outback H6 LL Bean - 170,000 miles
Posts: 52
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Hey Red,

I succeeded in removing the balljoints using your puller tool, so I wanted to thank you and share my success story!

I found out the hard way that 3/4" bolts available in hardware stores around here are all soft -- not even grade 5. I had to order grade 8 bolts and nuts from McMaster, but Im glad I did. I don't have a drill press, so I had a machinist friend drill and tap the bolt. Since these bolts are tough, I wouldn't count on doing this with a hand drill. It's worth investing in a drill press, though -- I will be looking into that.

After I put together the three pipe iron pieces listed in the original post, I realized that the bolt head really needed to be ground down, so that there is no obstruction from the 3/4 pipe bushing as the ball joint travels downward. So I ground down the bolt head. I also used a few grade 8 washers between the 3/4 nut and the pipe iron to adjust the length of the puller.

On Red's advice, I bought a bull pin to separate the ball joint from the control arm, and I am really happy I did. It did a great job separating the joint and the control arm and will not harm the rubber of the joint, unlike a pickle fork! Thanks for that handy tip!

To help the pulling operation, I gently hammered in a thin chisel into the split in the steering knuckle where the ball joint bore is. I left the chisel in there and applied PB Blaster liberally as I tapped the chisel in. I left the chisel in there as I commenced the pulling operation. I went little by little, observed my process through the pinch bolt hole, and kept reapplying PB Blaster.

The ball joints came right out with this tool! That was the first repair in a while where there were no surprises and no need to improvise. Of course, a lot of prep went into this, and it paid off. I could not get my ball joints out any other way (even using a socket bit wedged in between the control arm and the steering knuckle).

I inspected the bores and scraped a little rust buildup from one of them. The new ball joints went right in. To fully seat them, I put a flat screw driver against the balljoint rim (carefully avoiding the rubber) and gently tapped it with the hammer all around.

One ball joint was REALLY bad. And it was replaced only 2 years ago, and it was an aftermarket ball joint installed by a local shop. I think the people who did it for us didn't do it correctly on the right side because it was not fully seated. Heck, it didn't even fully clear the hole for the pinch bolt. So needless to say, I bought two new pinch bolts from Subaru and decided to take no chances with the old bolts.

Replacing with the OE Subaru balljoints cured steering vibrations, and the car feels tight now. I'm very pleased.

Thank you again for the help, the pointers, and putting together this awesome tool.
beenaroo_01 is offline  
post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 05:35 PM
Registered User
outbackendurosx's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: DC area
Car: 05 manual XTL stage 1
Posts: 345
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Very good job OP! You basically inspired your tool from this tool which I have:

That's awesome!

Couple mods done:
---> LCP Perrin.
---> K&N panel filter.
---> Whiteline rear swaybar.
---> AVO adjustable rear endlinks
---> AVO reinforced brackets
---> Rallitek overload springs
---> 00-04 KYB rear struts
---> U-Haul hitch.
---> Big 3 done (1/0 gauge)
---> MMATS PRO AUDIO D3000.1 amp
---> MMATS Dreadnaut 15
---> LA amp for mids/highs S2.300.1
---> Soundstream pre amp
outbackendurosx is offline  
post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-01-2012, 11:38 AM Thread Starter
Registered User
reddrexx's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: New England
Car: 1999 obw 2.5l Auto 194,000 mi
Posts: 80
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Originally Posted by outbackendurosx View Post
Very good job OP! You basically inspired your tool from this tool which I have:

That's awesome!
same Idea except inverted just a basic puller

Right smart purchase, this vessel! Treat her right, she’ll be with ya for the rest of your life!

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
reddrexx is offline  
post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 10:35 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 2
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
An Awesome Idea, I just did my ball joints on a 2003 Subaru Outback with 200,000 miles. I had a hard time finding the Pipe fittings in the Buffalo NY Area, Also the tap would have to be ordered online since none of my local stores had it. My soloution was - using a small pipe wrench on the ball joints after spreading the socket a bit after the bolt was removed - (one bolt broke) that was a several hour job to drill it out. The pipe wrench worked awesome, I swiveled the ball joint around a few times, spraying it with some PB Blaster, and used a small chisel to pry on the ball joint rim as I was swiveling it....they came right out no problem. (they were very rusted).... I then cleaned out the sockets with a wire wheel and put some Never Sieze is the sockets before inserting the new ball joints... re-tightened everything up.
Worked great.
Westwood is offline  
post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-07-2013, 11:52 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 75
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
This is very good idea!
But I remove a ball joints another way - а screwdriver help me to unclench a housing axle.

But sometimes i use this puller:
Vitaliy is offline  
post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-07-2013, 06:32 PM
Registered User
jogosub's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Rolling Hills/PV-CA displaced in NW Florida.
Car: 2005 3.0 R LLBean 4Dr Wagon - totaled
Posts: 7,435
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Vitaliy: I like the way you secure hoisted car with a concrete brick...sure beats the jack stands on these shores...LOL

Quidquid agis, prudenter agas et respice finem.
jogosub is offline  
post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-08-2013, 11:43 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 75
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
jogosub: I know, but the wooden blocks behind a jack... Don't worry
The front block fixes a housing axle only. And a concrete brick is a wooden too.

At the picture "ЛОМ" is a device for firefighter, "Отвертка" is a screwdriver, "Брус" is the wooden block.
Vitaliy is offline  
post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-29-2013, 05:06 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 2
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
I was going to build this but after pricing components I went with this, hope it helps anyone.

Subaru Ball Joint Removal Tool STI Limited Edition | eBay

V8 don't tease FXT is offline  
Sponsored Links

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome