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Discussion Starter #1
so heres what my ball joints look like on both sides.


When i recently had some tranny work done at the dealer, they told me after the test drive that they noticed both ball joints were pretty shot. Now if you see my pictures, its obvious that the top screw (what is this called?) and the pin are both brand new, or atleast, a lot newer than the ball joint which is clearly beattttt up.





lets rewind back to when i bought the car. my mechanic took a look over it, and decided the drivers side axle needed replacement. the boot was torn, grease everywhere. As far as i know, this means they gotta take off the ball joint assembly (is there a better term?) to get to the axle. my guess is that when the mechanic went to remove the ball joint, the bolts rusted or broke off and so he replaced them with new ones. Now my question is, can I blame him for using force, braking bolts, and damaging the ball joints? Or maybe that he should've replaced them at the time of the axle, knowing they were shot. Just seems fishy that before the axle job, they were okay, now they are not. this was about 3k miles ago. then my mechanic noted that the passenger side needed to be replaced too, so that was done.


now you can see in my pics (drivers side shown) that the axle is spitting grease. just by touching the boot it looks to be a little loose. is my axle ******, now that theres been grease spewing all over? Should i attempt to just re-tighten the boot clamp? or should i go for the mechanic saying he never tightened it right, and that i now need a new axle?


just looking for some ideas here, I'm a bit lost in the bolt names on the ball joint pieces, so a little explanation as to which bolts to undo first and last would be awesome.
 

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Hi coult45 the pinch bolts (top ones) can be very difficult to remove having them snap off is not uncommon I broke one of mine and the other was allready thru bolted like yours. I was very carefull and used pb blaster for days ahead of time a luxury your mechanic does not have and they still snapped! So I would be hard pressed to say he was overly forcefull. It would be even harder to prove he dammaged the ball joints while removing them and if normal removal procedure did damage them then they needed replacing anyway. Why he didnt say anything who knows? Maybe they looked good enough at the time and he didnt want to run your bill up (I know haha but it could happen)
there are some awsome how to's in the diy section on how to replace your ball joints. including one by me on how to make a puller to get a stuborn balljoint out of the knuckle (shameless plug I know :rolleyes:).
as for the loose boot, most likley your axle is ok but your mechanic should see if it needs regreasing and reband it. be aware, from your post it sounds like he replaced the whole axle so the band would have been pre assembled from the factory and not something he tightend so maybe its not direcly his fault but would hopefully be covered under some warrenty.

good luck with it all Red
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the info! I will call the axle mechanic and see if I can get some warranty info. I want to do the bal joints myself to save some $. Found beck/andly for great price online. So remove the pin, remove castle nut, and then the cinch bolt? What are the chances mine will break off, or since they are new, should I be okay?

I'm about ready to order the new joints, these things are fried!
 

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Thanks for the info! I will call the axle mechanic and see if I can get some warranty info. I want to do the bal joints myself to save some $. Found beck/andly for great price online. So remove the pin, remove castle nut, and then the cinch bolt? What are the chances mine will break off, or since they are new, should I be okay?

I'm about ready to order the new joints, these things are fried!
http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/99-do-yourself-illustrated-guides/46826-homemade-ball-joint-puller.html
Get yourself a manual from the part store it will have good instructions and all the torque specs you need to reassemble everything properly, but here is the short version. Remove the rollbar end link from lower arm. Remove cotter pin loosen castle nut but do not remove, pop balljoint tapered shaft out of lower arm. I use a 1" thick bull pin between the knuckle where the pinch bolt is and the lower arm, drive pin in gap, rap arm a few times and repeat. the shaft will pop out from the arm. remove castle nut and pinch bolt. yours wont likely break because it is thru bolted and does not appear to have been on too long. even if it did you will probably be able to drive the remaining pin out with a punch. Pull joint out of cup in bottom of knuckle. This can be tough if its rusted. Use penitrating oil and resist the urge to spread the ears, you could snap one off and then its new knuckle time:confused:. The puller I mentioned earlyer http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/99-do-yourself-illustrated-guides/46826-homemade-ball-joint-puller.html is well worth the time especially if you are doing both sides.:29: I used a dremel to clean out the cup and painted it with anti sieze then reasembled everything.
 

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Thanks for the info! I will call the axle mechanic and see if I can get some warranty info. I want to do the bal joints myself to save some $. Found beck/andly for great price online. So remove the pin, remove castle nut, and then the cinch bolt? What are the chances mine will break off, or since they are new, should I be okay?

I'm about ready to order the new joints, these things are fried!
Maybe the bolt and the cotter pin are stainless steel, rather than being new. They just look new....
 

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The bolt is new, because it is installed with a nut. The factory bolt broke and was drilled out. The ball joint boot appears to be mangled up as a result of improper removal procedure. But maybe it isn't torn up and can be adjusted. The CV boot appears to be missing its clamp.
 

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I spent two days trying to remove the passenger-side ball joint, spraying PB Blaster on it, heating it, spraying, heating, absolutely NOTHING I did loosened that cinch bolt. Finally, I figured it must be loose by now, and ended up breaking the bolt in half (just shy of the threaded part).

I then spent another day drilling-out the old broken bolt, drilling-out two broken easy-outs and drilling-out two broken-off left-hand hardened bits. After several hours of drilling, I was able to finally remove the ball joint, carefully re-tap the hole and install a new ball joint and new bolt, torqued to spec.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The bolt is new, because it is installed with a nut. The factory bolt broke and was drilled out. The ball joint boot appears to be mangled up as a result of improper removal procedure. But maybe it isn't torn up and can be adjusted. The CV boot appears to be missing its clamp.
Okay, that's what I thought, seems very mangled doesn't even resemble a boot really. The dealership told me it had enough free play to fail a UT state inspection. I'm totally fine with buying 2 new ones.

Is the clamp on those cv boots like a hose camp, metal with the screwdriver or socket fastner? Smeone else suggested they are not tightened but set that way at the factory. Should it be just like the clamp on my air box?
 

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Those boot clamps are much narrower and are apparently tightened using some special tool, however, it seems that a regular stainless hose clamp to which you're referring should work, if there isn't a flat spot where the tightening-screw is located.

If there is a flat spot, grease may work its way out of that small boot opening and fling all over the place. The boot clamps don't have any flat spots at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
to saint j vt, did you need a special tool to remove your ball joint from the knuckle housing? I would love to build my own with red's write up, but im stuck with very limited tools. anyone know if autozone or oreillys has a good BJ puller?
 

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No, I used a large-diameter iron plumbing Union half and a large diameter 1/2" drive socket and put the bolt back on top and hit the bolt with my impact wrench, it sucked that old, rusty ball joint out slicker than anything!:17:

I should add, that, there was a lot of rust as we live in "rust-bucket" country, here in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom! When I Installed the new one, there was really no "cleaning" of rust necessary from the ball joint opening in the lower arm, I pretty much just installed the new ball joint and just bolted it up and torqued-it.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
waiting for those ball joints to come in the mail, picked me up a new hand held sledge hammer, need some sand paper to clean up the knuckle once i get it out. we'll see how this goes
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Ball joints have arrived, thanks to rock auto.

my plan of attack, anyone that thinks i should revise, LET ME KNOW!!

Tools I have:

sockets and wrenchs for pinch bolt, castle nut
pliers for the pin
anti seize for the new joints, or should it be for the pinch bolt?
jack stands
stock scissor jack
new 3 lb hand held sledge hammer
liquid wrench (already applied a couple days ago, will do more before the works)
free pickle fork rental from autozone


I plan on jacking up the car, using the center cross member jack plate, placing the jack stands behind the wheels and a couple wheel blocks for the rears.

using probably whats left of my liquid wrench, spray the **** out of both pinch bolts and castle nuts.

i'm thinking i'll try and pop the stud out of the control arms first. might try and use the jack method using the spring in the control arms to put it out. remove pin and castle nut and break that loose.

then i'll take out the pinch bolt, hoping its not too rusted. using my new sledge and the pickle fork try get that sucker out the joint. dont want to spread the knuckle ears, but if its still super tight my wedge a thin screw driver in the gap.

if all goes well, anti seize the new joints and/or bolts? install into the knuckle, then into the control arm with the castle nut and pin.




sound good? Im hoping i wont find toooooo many rust issues as these bolts are definitely new as of about 3 months ago.

any ideas?

any one think i should remove the ball from the joint and then the control arm?
 

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tips:

the control arm will have much less tension if you disconnect the sway bar end links. later when you want to reconnect, one side should be easy, but the last one will line up perfectly as you lower the car to the ground. do it very last.

remeber, the threads for the pinch bolt are on the far end, not the hex head end.

you are better off not doing the job rather than busting the pinch bolt. once busted you probably should not drive it. go slow and be careful.

do not bang on the castle nut unless you are 100% sure you no longer need it. you can booger both the nut and the threads on the spindle.

careful jacking on the jack plate, it could slip.

good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks a lot for the tips man. I forgot to include the sway bar end link part. The subaru service manual says to disconnect the stabilizer brackets on that sway bar. Whats better, the stabilizer brackets or the endlinks?

also, jack the car up then disconnect? or disconnect then jack?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
well that didnt go so well..



it was going great. i got everything jacked up, stabilizer bars off and the endlinks disconnected. the pinch bolts came out no problem. i tried giving the hub/knuckle a good whack to see if the joint would fall out...no dice. i ended up taking a pickle fork and placing it between the knuckle and control arm, some force got the control arm end of the stud to come out and loose, but could not get that ball joint out for all my life. I tore that sucker's boot up real bad, but the actual ball joint was shiny and looked good, well, now besides the fact that the boot is tore and grease is all over.....

i put it all back together, i'm going to take it to a shop and get their opinion about what I need done to my axle, as that boot clamp is loose and im not sure if i just need it repacked with grease or if i need a new axle. see if they can find out of my ball joints do need replacement, as I never tested with a 2x4 myself, just heard it from the dealer that they had too much play. steering is a bit looser than my old OBS, so i wouldn't be surprised.


see what comes from this...
 

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What kind of transmssion work did you have done at the dealership?

Just asking because if it had anything to do with removal the dealer could have put that bolt in when they broke it.

I've broken plenty of rusted bolts on a lot of cars. It happens. They seize up and snap when you try to loosen them. What's interesting is that the boot on the axle is leaking within 3k miles.

Again, did the dealership perform work requiring removal of the transmission?

Personally, I have never had to remove the spindle from the ball joint to change out an axle. I just remove the upper spindle to strut bolts, tie rod end castle nut and end, caliper and swing it all out of the way to back out the outer end then pop out the inside. Reason being is that the pinch bolt tends to break off when the others don't.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
The dealership did some serious tranny work. They replaced all clutch parts, put it back together and still heard some bad noises. They then pulled the tranny, split the case, and replaced 2 of bearings within that section that were shot. So maybe they were the ones that broke the pinch bolts, and then decided I need new BJs. Not sure, my axle mechanic in NY has not told me whether or not he broke the bolts
 
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