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2003 chevy trailblazer_lt_ext
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Every once in a while, you will attempt a repair that you haven't tried before. You may have experience with fixing other things, but this one is new to you and you are going to need some support. Before doing the upper ball joints, I did as much research as much as I could, but some things still weren't clear.

This job CAN be done without having to remove the steering knuckle, but if you haven't used a ball joint press before, things can be pretty confusing. I wasn't able find any suitable pictures of how to set up the pieces of the ball joint press on the Trailblazer and I ended up wasting a lot of time getting frustrated trying to figure it out. Once I finally got it figured out, I thought that it would be good to share, because this will always be new to someone else out there.


This is the HF 4WD kit that I have (not an endorsement, just a fact). Some of the things shown are common to their smaller set, but this one has a couple of extras that will be used. Disregard what their manual calls these parts, these names here are more understandable.

line 1.jpg


Because the curvature at the top of the steering knuckle would cause interference, I had to grind a flat spot on one side of the C-frame adapter.

line 2abc.jpg



Chock the wheels, jack the vehicle up, and use jack stands. Remember, you only have one head, so use it wisely!

rev step 1,2.jpg


Remove the wheel.

rev step 03 copy.jpg


Protect your fender. If you don't have a protector, make one, you will need it.

rev step 08 copy.jpg


Disconnect the speed sensor wire from the knuckle and remove the brake hose bracket. Use a 10mm wrench to remove the brake hose mounting bracket screws. Be sure to soak them with penetrating oil because they are are easy to twist off.

rev step 4,5.jpg


Use two 15mm wrenches to remove the pinch bolt that holds the upper control arm to the ball joint.

rev step 06 copy.jpg


Use a 1/2” chisel to open the joint, then tap upwards on the control arm to remove it from the ball joint stud. Find the C-clip around the top of the joint and remove it. The original one will need to be driven off.

rev step 07 copy.jpg



REMOVAL

Tilt the steering knuckle out from the vehicle. It may be easier to have an assistant help hold the knuckle to keep it from moving while the press is being assembled in place.

This is a closer view of the press. The frame adapter for removal is being used at the bottom to receive the balljoint.

rev step 10 copy.jpg


Here you can see why the fender protector is so important. I had to put a pipe through the clamp to keep it from turning while I turned the wrench. Yeah, there is that much torque applied here. (Disregard the clamp setup, I forgot to take a picture until I was already putting things back together) Go slowly and the joint will begin moving.

rev step 11 copy.jpg


Clean any rust from around the hole in the knuckle. Apply a little bit of grease around the hole and on the new joint so that it can move easier. Push the new ball joint up into the hole as squarely as possible by hand until it remains in place.

Assemble the clamp as shown. The frame adapter for installation is placed above the knuckle and the C-frame adapter is shown at the bottom. Turning the screw will force the ball joint up into the knuckle.

rev step 12 copy.jpg


Turn the screw until the joint is fully seated and you can clearly see the groove for the retainer. I had to reuse the old retaining clip because the new one was circular and my retaining ring pliers weren't large enough to spread the ears apart. The old retainer was C shaped and could be driven back on.
rev step 13.jpg


After the ring is in place and the clamp is removed, push the steering knuckle back into place. Push the upper control arm over the stud and insert the pinch bolt. Tighten the nut to 30 lb-ft.

Reattach the brake hose retainer and the speed sensor wire in its clip.

Insert and tighten the grease fitting.

rev step 14 copy.jpg


Grease the ball joint and any other points while you're at it.

Put the wheel back on and tighten the lug nuts to 100 lb-ft.

Remove the jack, stands, and chocks. If you only replaced the upper joint, you will not need an alignment, this is done by moving the lower control arm bracket and adjusting tie rod ends.
 

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2005 gmc envoy_slt_xl
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Thanks for the great post.

I replaced upper ball joint today and just one minor thing I did:

When I install the new ball joint back, I did not use the C-Frame adapter at the bottom since the steering knuckle would cause interference. I use the C-Frame directly at the bottom to push the joint in - sorry I did not take a picture, basically the same picture below but without the adapter at the bottom.

 

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2003 chevy trailblazer_lt
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Dang it.. I got one to do.. thanks for a great how to.. just have to decide if I want to buy the press kit or rent it.. :undecided
 

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2003 chevy trailblazer_lt
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... so tis done.. PIA.. but done.. and bought the tool in Harbour Freight Tools only cos I was geting summat else. The only thing I did different was to cut a piece if tubing with a 5/8'' inner diameter same length as the ball joint stud, cut length ways and hammered it onto the stud to stop the ball moving while i was trying to align the press. Also, when it came to refittin.. I used painters tape to hold the new ball joint and press reciever in situ while setting the press. All in all.. the press is fiddly and takes some man efort to press out and press in.. but boy.. feels good now finished.. lol

That said... :coffee or a beer.. :thx for the info man.. it helped.. :yes:
 

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2005 gmc envoy_slt_xl
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Using impact wrench makes the job much easier/safer.

I was surprised how easy it was to drive the C-cramp screw using impact wrench. Consider air compressor/impact wrench as a long term investment if you are going to use it for different projects.
 

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2006 gmc envoy_sle_xl
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:iagree: I used my impact when doing the upper and lowers on my e350...I had so much torque that when I forgot to remove one of the clips before pressing it out I actually stripped the threads on the c-frame (not easy to do).

I will be doing the uppers this week on my envoy. Thanks to your pics, I'm gonna take back the ones I bought and get ones with a grease fitting...the ones I got don't have em.

Thanks for the great write up!
 

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2007 chevy trailblazer_lt
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Do yourself a favor and get your hands on an electric impact before doing the job. You will thank yourself!!! So easy and effortless with the impact. Also the directions on the push out kit are useless:suicide:. Use what makes sense. Great step by step:thx
 

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2006 gmc envoy_denali
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Great Post

Just did my 06 Envoy Upper Ball Joint and finished in less than an hour with clean up. This was the most helpful information I had found. The YouTube Video was lame at best.
Thank You.:)
 

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Using impact wrench makes the job much easier/safer.

I was surprised how easy it was to drive the C-cramp screw using impact wrench. Consider air compressor/impact wrench as a long term investment if you are going to use it for different projects.
Just replaced my upper passenger side ball joint, was very easy with my impact wrench! :thumbsup: (once you got the damn clamp together :hissy: lol.)
 

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Just did my 06 Envoy Upper Ball Joint and finished in less than an hour with clean up. This was the most helpful information I had found. The YouTube Video was lame at best.
Thank You.:)

Is there any significant benefit or difference between sealed or greased? What would you recommend?? Let's get a little poll goin' here ??
 

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7 piece rental from Autozone woes

I changed my lower balls, I did tons of reading and watching. when I felt confident enough, I rented the 7 piece OEM kit. All the parts stores in my town had the same kit. This piece of junk didn't have any of the correct pieces to do the job. I got the joint out, but the new would not go in. The closest fitting was just too large. Luckily my neighbor had a set that was just close enough to
get them back in.

So information on the correct tools to get the joints back in is CRITICAL in completing the job.

The only way I may have found the correct set is to google "envoy ball joint press" and maybe the resulting 4 piece adapter set could be right. I have another envoy to do soon, and don't know exactly if I am going to buy that set or not.

What is the actual correct part number?
 

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02 TB 2wd

I have this one to do once I get the P1515 code mess cleared up. Great job on directions. I have never done this stuff before but now I do it to save the money and get some cool tools! Everyone here has been great with all the info.
 

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Thanks for the great post.

I replaced upper ball joint today and just one minor thing I did:

When I install the new ball joint back, I did not use the C-Frame adapter at the bottom since the steering knuckle would cause interference. I use the C-Frame directly at the bottom to push the joint in - sorry I did not take a picture, basically the same picture below but without the adapter at the bottom.

Like this? Did mine last night. Here's a close up of the c-clamp directly on the bottom of the ball joint. I made some adjustments along the way as the bj wasn't going in straight. :)
Recommend placing grease on the ball joint surface to be pressed and in the knuckle hole. Made pressing in easier. Also an impact wrench made this job significantly easier. You wouldn't need a second person to press these ball joints in. I did have my wife help me install the circular snap ring. I used needle nose pliers stretched out as much as I could while the wife use a flat screwdriver and a hammer to seat in the clip in.
 

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Hey guys I just wanted to add to this post to anyone that would prefer watching a video on how to to the job vs. pictures. I watched this video to do my upper ball joints. He walks you through step by step. Super easy job. I got a loaner ball joint tool from Advanced Auto Parts. Cost nothing, you leave a deposit and get it back in full once you bring the tool back.

Here's the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0Gr6RDtz34

P.S. I didn't have an air impact gun but it isn't necessary. I used a long breaker bar instead, worked fine.
 

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2008 chevy trailblazer_lt
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Every once in a while, you will attempt a repair that you haven't tried before. You may have experience with fixing other things, but this one is new to you and you are going to need some support. Before doing the upper ball joints, I did as much research as much as I could, but some things still weren't clear.

This job CAN be done without having to remove the steering knuckle, but if you haven't used a ball joint press before, things can be pretty confusing. I wasn't able find any suitable pictures of how to set up the pieces of the ball joint press on the Trailblazer and I ended up wasting a lot of time getting frustrated trying to figure it out. Once I finally got it figured out, I thought that it would be good to share, because this will always be new to someone else out there.


This is the HF 4WD kit that I have (not an endorsement, just a fact). Some of the things shown are common to their smaller set, but this one has a couple of extras that will be used. Disregard what their manual calls these parts, these names here are more understandable.

View attachment 19966


Because the curvature at the top of the steering knuckle would cause interference, I had to grind a flat spot on one side of the C-frame adapter.

View attachment 20001



Chock the wheels, jack the vehicle up, and use jack stands. Remember, you only have one head, so use it wisely!

View attachment 19989


Remove the wheel.

View attachment 19990


Protect your fender. If you don't have a protector, make one, you will need it.

View attachment 19995


Disconnect the speed sensor wire from the knuckle and remove the brake hose bracket. Use a 10mm wrench to remove the brake hose mounting bracket screws. Be sure to soak them with penetrating oil because they are are easy to twist off.

View attachment 20002


Use two 15mm wrenches to remove the pinch bolt that holds the upper control arm to the ball joint.

View attachment 19993


Use a 1/2” chisel to open the joint, then tap upwards on the control arm to remove it from the ball joint stud. Find the C-clip around the top of the joint and remove it. The original one will need to be driven off.

View attachment 19994



REMOVAL

Tilt the steering knuckle out from the vehicle. It may be easier to have an assistant help hold the knuckle to keep it from moving while the press is being assembled in place.

This is a closer view of the press. The frame adapter for removal is being used at the bottom to receive the balljoint.

View attachment 19996


Here you can see why the fender protector is so important. I had to put a pipe through the clamp to keep it from turning while I turned the wrench. Yeah, there is that much torque applied here. (Disregard the clamp setup, I forgot to take a picture until I was already putting things back together) Go slowly and the joint will begin moving.

View attachment 19997


Clean any rust from around the hole in the knuckle. Apply a little bit of grease around the hole and on the new joint so that it can move easier. Push the new ball joint up into the hole as squarely as possible by hand until it remains in place.

Assemble the clamp as shown. The frame adapter for installation is placed above the knuckle and the C-frame adapter is shown at the bottom. Turning the screw will force the ball joint up into the knuckle.

View attachment 19998


Turn the screw until the joint is fully seated and you can clearly see the groove for the retainer. I had to reuse the old retaining clip because the new one was circular and my retaining ring pliers weren't large enough to spread the ears apart. The old retainer was C shaped and could be driven back on.
View attachment 19999


After the ring is in place and the clamp is removed, push the steering knuckle back into place. Push the upper control arm over the stud and insert the pinch bolt. Tighten the nut to 30 lb-ft.

Reattach the brake hose retainer and the speed sensor wire in its clip.

Insert and tighten the grease fitting.

View attachment 20000


Grease the ball joint and any other points while you're at it.

Put the wheel back on and tighten the lug nuts to 100 lb-ft.

Remove the jack, stands, and chocks. If you only replaced the upper joint, you will not need an alignment, this is done by moving the lower control arm bracket and adjusting tie rod ends.
After all this Is done and everything assembled, the man who replaced my ball join didn't use any grease during the entire process and didnt mention anything to m about getting my ball joint greased and its been several days since the new on has been put on and I never knew that I had to grease it. Did that affect the new one or mess anything else up or would it?
 
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