Tapered ball joint shaft seized in - help!

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Guys -

'97 Mazda MPV RWD, 335K km racked up here in the moderate rust belt. I'm trying to remove a very stubborn ball joint shaft from the steering knuckle. The cotter pin and castellated nut came off OK. The shaft is tapered and is a friction fit. (Likely a rust fit at this point.)

Factory Recommendation:
Use the SST (special service tool) to press out the stud. (The Mazda SST is similar to the Harbor Freight one.) I was unable to find one locally, but doubt it would exert enough force anyway.

Recommendation from my professional mechanic friend from church:
Soak with penetrating oil, and beat on the knuckle proximate to the tapered shaft to deform the metal around the shaft, allowing the penetrating oil to work in. Better yet, shock the metal around the shaft with an air hammer.

What I've done so far:
Lots of penetrating oil, lots of beating with a heavy hammer (can't get to both sides, so one hammer only), air hammer, pickle fork jammed in and beaten on.

No go so far! This is the good (unbroken) side. I had to take the knuckle on the other side into a machine shop. They drilled or pressed it out, not sure. Would love to not have to remove the knuckle on this side.

On the one I had out, I had a ball joint press in place, and wailed on it with a hammer without success, before taking it to the machine shop. (Can't get the press in place when the knuckle is still on the vehicle.)

Any thoughts? I'm a wit's end. Thanks!
 
Factory recommendation in combination with your mechanic friends recommendation.

You need a balljoint/tie rod tool that works like this (properly sized)

image_12294.jpg


https://www.harborfreight.com/3-4-quarter-inch-forged-ball-joint-separator-99849.html

I’d be really surprised if that failed to remove it. I have never encountered one that it wouldn’t work on and I used to do this for a living.
 
Yes, use the tool that DuckRyder posted. Make sure it is fully engaged on the joint otherwise it won't work and you'll bend or break the tool. Use a hammer to tap the ball of the joint (not the stud) as you apply pressure with the tool. It will pop apart and be careful and ready when it does.

I used that tool and method to remove some large taper joints on my old BMW's control arms. Those joints hadn't been separated in over 20 years and the surface area of the taper was about twice that of a typical ball joint. Tapping (hitting) the ball as pressure is applied is key as that will help it to come apart much earlier than just tool pressure alone. Make sure you lubricate the threads of the tool screw as the instructions will indicate.

That tool works very well, as opposed to wailing on the stud which never worked for me.
 
+1 on the Harbor Freight ball joint removal tool. On my ES300, after an hour of useless banging with a hammer, it shot out like a bullet with that tool. Though first I had to widen the fork with an angle grinder for it to fit.
 
Originally Posted By: Chris142
I have never met a ball joint I could not beat out. Bring it to me!
smile.gif


But why? Beating on suspension components just seems like an invitation to bend or break something, especially when it isn't needed.

The Cro-Magnon approach to auto repair isn't always required.
 
Stack another nut or two on top of the nut you have to remove to get it out. Then remove the original nut. The pressure is against the steering knuckle and it pops out. Have done this many times.
 
Originally Posted By: Eddie
I never had a ball joint that my old pickle fork did;t remove.


X2 and I live in the rust belt
 
Originally Posted By: DuckRyder
Factory recommendation in combination with your mechanic friends recommendation.

You need a balljoint/tie rod tool that works like this (properly sized)

image_12294.jpg


https://www.harborfreight.com/3-4-quarter-inch-forged-ball-joint-separator-99849.html

I’d be really surprised if that failed to remove it. I have never encountered one that it wouldn’t work on and I used to do this for a living.
I found the Princess Auto equivalent on line, phoned the store, and bought it this evening.

https://www.princessauto.com/en/detail/ball-joint-separator/A-p8004135e

What a great tool, it worked like a charm!!! Thanks so much to all who had suggestions - I'm soaking the bolts and fittings in Evapo-Rust, and should be able to reassemble everything tomorrow in under an hour.

Wow, after all that banging ... the tool looks so insubstantial, but it sure did the job! I heard the BANG, the tool dropped off, I thought it had just come loose, and then realized the shaft had broken free of the knuckle. I now fear no ball joint.

Interestingly, there seemed to be no rust at all, just a very tight fit. I guess because the cone narrows toward the top, the fit gets tighter and tighter with bumps and potholes vs. loosening up. Anyway, thanks again everyone!
 
The outer tie-rod end boots were shot, so I changed them as well (that is, the tie rod ends, not just the boots). Got the aging veteran back on the road yesterday - it feels good, with tight steering. Might be good for awhile yet.
 
Quote:
Wow, after all that banging ... the tool looks so insubstantial, but it sure did the job!

These days I don't even attempt any service unless I have the proper tools for the job. This is a perfect example.

Ask yourself was it better to waste all of that time and effort banging away with a hammer or just buy this and get it over with? I know which one I would choose.
 
Originally Posted By: ron350
Is there any chance that Auto Zone rents one of those ball joint separators?
I don't know, we don't have AZ up here. Canadian Tire, and its auto parts affiliate, PartSource, do lend out tools, but apparently not this one.

It was cheap enough anyway (regularly about $45, on sale for $22) and I'm glad to have it in my tool stable!
 
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