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Is this safe? trying to remove ball joints with no engine in car

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Is this safe?  trying to remove ball joints with no engine in car Empty Is this safe? trying to remove ball joints with no engine in car

Post by 73 Guy on Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:34 pm

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Im trying to take off the front suspension with the engine out. I've never tried to break ball joints without the engine. I'm a little nervous, because even with the floor jack under the lower control arm, every time I loosen the nut little by little, I can see the whole spindle going down with the nut,, like you would expect would happen if you didn't even have a floor jack under the arm at all. I have the floor jack pushing up high enough that the frame of the car has lifted off the jack stand, so I cant do any more than that with the floor jack. I have those spring compressors but I've never used them, never had to. I can't get them to fit up in the inside of the spring or on the outside. This is just feeling a little dangerous, and I dont know if my extension cord "chain" is going to work.

any thoughts?

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Post by Landonus on Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:19 am

That's some scary stuff you got there. Do you have a good heavy chain to bind the spring while its got at least a small load on it? I rented some compressors from Advance and they fit ok for me. They looked a lot less sturdy than yours also though. I was uneasy to say the least.
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Post by 77mali on Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:00 am

If you plan to remove the lower control arm- Secure the spring with the compressors you have & use a good strong chain too. If the spring let's go, you could get seriously hurt of worse. Scariest moment of my restoration so far is when the spring popped.

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Post by 1973 454 MONTE on Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:19 am

I never seen a compressor like that. Mine has just one bolt with fingers that fit inside.

Becareful
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Post by dynchel on Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:07 am

If your not planning to reuse the springs cut them in two places. (Torch works best) that will relieve tension. Be be forewarned it will be darn near impossible to put the springs back in with no engine. Good luck happy bowtie
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Post by pila on Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:25 am

I installed the whole front suspension & steering on a bare frame. A good spring compressor did it fine.
Any time a spring is compressed, it can take your head off in an instant, so good tools are a must.
Fitting an engine is sure easier on a bare frame too!
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Post by 1973montec on Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:01 am

my oversized springs were done with no engine or front clip,and all we used was chris' spring compressor. looked like this
http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_coil-spring-compressor-for-up-to-5-5-8-springs-kd-tools_22988262-p?searchTerm=spring+compressor#
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Post by 77mali on Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:08 am

The chain in the pic I posted was a bit long & it made a big pop & hit a wood block I was using under the lower arm. The spring hit & moved the wood! (see pic) Good thing I was in the engine bay compartment. SO BE CAREFUL!!!

When I go to do the other side I plant to compress the spring just a bit to make it easy to get it loose from the lower arm. Will also put the chain on so it's tighter against the assembly. It's kind of hidden at the bottom in the 1st pic but it's threaded through both the spring and he lower control arm.

(Also 2nd pic is after compressors were removed)
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Post by 77mali on Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:11 am

1973montec wrote:my oversized springs were done with no engine or front clip,and all we used was chris' spring compressor. looked like this
http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_coil-spring-compressor-for-up-to-5-5-8-springs-kd-tools_22988262-p?searchTerm=spring+compressor#

I rented a set just like this from Autozone.
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Post by dynchel on Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:24 am

1973montec wrote:my oversized springs were done with no engine or front clip,and all we used was chris' spring compressor. looked like this
http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_coil-spring-compressor-for-up-to-5-5-8-springs-kd-tools_22988262-p?searchTerm=spring+compressor#
Ok, it must be the type of compressor I was using. The one I have (very old school moog) puts clamps on the spring to "bend" it for easy installation. The problem I had was getting the spindle back down on the ball joint, when ever we lifted the frame came off the Jack stand. I've done several sets of springs with my compressor, and honestly I've never used the kind you all are using. Maybe I need to look into a more modern compressor. Beer
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Post by 77mali on Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:47 am

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Post by 1973 454 MONTE on Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:39 am

[quote="77mali"]Forgot to mention Autozone loans a kit that will press in your new Ball Joints
http://www.autozone.com/autozone/accessories/OEM-Ball-joint-U-Joint-press-set/_/N-264q?itemIdentifier=557231_0_0_

i have this. i used it to pop out and in the lower joints. works wonders. Very Happy
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Post by LSANTI76 on Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:11 pm

A safer trick I've learned with the mentioned compressor from Advanced Auto is to actually not to use the finger/claw that floats up & down the shaft bolt & only use the threaded finger/claw. Insert the shaft bolt & washers(with a thin coat of oil)down from the top side from the frame where the top of your threaded shaft on top of your shock would normally be. Then place the threaded finger/claw inside your coil spring as close to the lower control arm as you can. This method is much easier than going up from the bottom side messing with both sets of fingers/claws. This way allows you to compress the spring back into the frame allowing the lower control arm to move freely without any tention & dealing with a coil spring/compressor in your way during the process. Resistance is held against the spring pocket within the frame. This also works very well for reinstalling as well.
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Post by 1973 454 MONTE on Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:23 pm

LSANTI76 wrote:A safer trick I've learned with the mentioned compressor from Advanced Auto is to actually not to use the finger/claw that floats up & down the shaft bolt & only use the threaded finger/claw. Insert the shaft bolt & washers(with a thin coat of oil)down from the top side from the frame where the top of your threaded shaft on top of your shock would normally be. Then place the threaded finger/claw inside your coil spring as close to the lower control arm as you can. This method is much easier than going up from the bottom side messing with both sets of fingers/claws. This way allows you to compress the spring back into the frame allowing the lower control arm to move freely without any tention & dealing with a coil spring/compressor in your way during the process. Resistance is held against the spring pocket within the frame. This also works very well for reinstalling as well.
What happens when the spring is longer than the bolt? Dont think i would want to find out.jmo
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Post by LSANTI76 on Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:56 pm

Great point...thats why its important to have the finger/claw at the lowest part of the coil during removal & reinstallation. I've used this tool both ways with past coil spring projects & have found going in from the top side has worked out better.
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Post by Brainstain on Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:01 pm

I didn't have any trouble getting my ball joints off when I parted out a 76. I did have a problem getting the lower arm down far enough to get out wtf-ever spring the guy put in that looks like its from a lifted pickup though.

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Post by Joe73 on Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:14 pm

LSANTI76 wrote:A safer trick I've learned with the mentioned compressor from Advanced Auto is to actually not to use the finger/claw that floats up & down the shaft bolt & only use the threaded finger/claw. Insert the shaft bolt & washers(with a thin coat of oil)down from the top side from the frame where the top of your threaded shaft on top of your shock would normally be. Then place the threaded finger/claw inside your coil spring as close to the lower control arm as you can. This method is much easier than going up from the bottom side messing with both sets of fingers/claws. This way allows you to compress the spring back into the frame allowing the lower control arm to move freely without any tention & dealing with a coil spring/compressor in your way during the process. Resistance is held against the spring pocket within the frame. This also works very well for reinstalling as well.

LSANT176 that is a great idea !!! I have to give you credit for that idea. I've done dozens of spring jobs and only twice have I used that spring compressor. It was always a pain to get back out after installation. All the other times I've never used a compressor getting them out or putting them in. I just checked my compressor, which is the same as the Auto Zone one, and it fits in the shock hole without interference. I was wondering how I was going to install my springs in my new chassis without the engine in it. And installing them your way will minimize scratching everything up. Thanks for the idea !!!!
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Post by 77mali on Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:35 pm

Brainstain wrote:I didn't have any trouble getting my ball joints off when I parted out a 76. I did have a problem getting the lower arm down far enough to get out wtf-ever spring the guy put in that looks like its from a lifted pickup though.

Next time you get to a junk yard look for a jack from a big dodge minivan. I used it under the frames front cross member where the engine mounts go. Lifts the front of car pretty far up- just make sure to have a good level base so it won't tip if you lift it off jack stands & such.
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Post by 73 Guy on Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:46 pm

thanks for all the responses guys. I did the upside down trick thru the frame/shock hole and that allowed me to get enough spring compression to lower the arm down. It did tweak my harbor freight spring compressor rod and I messed up the threads on the other one last night by running it with no oil or grease. Anyway, one side is disassembled without drama.

I just didnt have a spare chain around, so I added to my electrical cord a ratcheting tie down strap , and then I put a big huge pry bar down thru the spring and the lower control arm, thinking that if the spring did let loose, i doubt it would easily take the pry bar with it the way I had it wedged in there.

I even found guys on the net talking about in this scenario to put some kind of beam or 2 x 4 between the top of the frame and a rafter in their garage to enable them to do the standard floor jack method.

So on my other side I now have no spring compressors to use. I think I'm going to go with the pry bar thru the spring/ arm ,, and 2 or 3 tie straps wrapped thru the spring, lower arm and frame, still use a floor jack under the ball joint, and keep my safety glasses and mouth guard in!

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Post by Brainstain on Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:09 am

77mali wrote:
Next time you get to a junk yard look for a jack from a big dodge minivan. I used it under the frames front cross member where the engine mounts go. Lifts the front of car pretty far up- just make sure to have a good level base so it won't tip if you lift it off jack stands & such.

We had the frame out from under the car, on it's side and I was prying the lower down with a 4' bar with my big a$$ on the end.. They were literally so big they made the car look like it didn't have an engine in it when the car was a runner.

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Post by Sleddogg on Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:46 am

I was just gonna suggest putting the pry bar through the spring. Used to do that trick when changing springs, put a pry bar through the center and stick a pair of vice grips on the bar about halfway up...at least then the thing don't go flying out and decapitating anyone.

I. Hate. Working. On. Springs
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Post by 77mali on Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:46 am

73 Guy-
Autozone loans those spring compressors if you have one near you. Pay for them up front then 100 % refund when returned.
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Post by 1973montec on Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:56 pm

Get an inside compressor. Much much easier
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