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ball joint nut stuck - help

Old 03-07-2009, 08:56 AM
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ball joint nut stuck - help

Trying to replace my 4th gen ball joint and I can't get the nut off the top. Looks like we replaced the control arms 50k 6yrs ago so they're not welded on but the shop that did it used a regular flange nut rather than a castle nut. There's not much room beneath the drive shaft. It's too tight to get a regular box wrench in there and both open end or crescents just slip off. I've got a little butane torch if you think heat will help. Or are there low profile box wrenches available? I'd rather not pull the arm or shaft off if I can help it. Maybe dremmel the top of the bolt off to make room?


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Old 03-07-2009, 09:00 AM
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If you don't have any experience with it I promise you will be surprised at how much easier a little heat can make things. Definitely heat it. Nuts and bolts that you have no prayer of removing without heat are often very easy once heat is applied, it really does make a huge difference. Just be sure to be conscious of that CV boot.
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Old 03-07-2009, 09:16 AM
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def heat it. should expand it enough to get a little momentum goin
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Old 03-07-2009, 09:18 AM
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P.S. dont shear the top of the bolt, because ur actually supposed to have a cotter pin in that hole to prevent the unlikley event that the bolt loosens and comes off on its own while ur driving
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Old 03-07-2009, 10:04 AM
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Ok, we'll try heat. That cotter pin's probably been gone for years and it aint budging The joint is bad so whatever I do to it doesn't matter. Dealer found joint play during an oil change and quoted me $500+ for a new arm installed. I replied I've got a couple extra arms in the basement. Got the press, got the right separator, now this stupid nut...
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Old 03-07-2009, 11:03 AM
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Heat should do the trick. I've always been able to get to the nut using an open ended wrench. If heat doesn't do it, you could always cut it.
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Old 03-07-2009, 08:01 PM
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1. use a high quality wrench. try a snap on or proto wrench compared to a crescent or craftsman. better wrench has stronger head and won't open up like a cheaper wrench will.
I was in your situation a couple years ago. neighbor had a proto wrench and told me to try it. worked fine. huh. learned something new!


2. pull the axle nut loose and shove the axle as far in as you can without removing strut bolts. if you're lucky, the axle will slide back far enough to give you the clearance needed to get a box end wrench on the nut.

3. grind down the box end of a wrench so it's thin enough to fit between the axle and ball joint.

4. FIRE!!!
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Old 03-07-2009, 08:19 PM
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1. No high quality here - only budget Craftsman.

2. Don't got a socket that large (yet)

3. Don't have a bench grinder either

4. Yeah, at my head if this don't work.
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Old 03-08-2009, 11:08 AM
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any luck with that thing brian?

btw there's a 2 day lapping event that myself and a couple other maxima buddies (and other buddies without maximas) are doing this summer if you're interested. I don't know if you already have your autoX schedule planned out or not.

http://www.wmhm.org/

Last edited by Nealoc187; 03-08-2009 at 11:11 AM.
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Old 03-11-2009, 05:39 PM
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what you have will definatly not get that hot enough to make a difference.
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Old 03-11-2009, 05:46 PM
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"What you have?"

How do you know he doesn't have a blowtorch? It would do the job fine.
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Old 03-11-2009, 07:26 PM
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he said...."a little butane torch" my dude.read
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Old 03-11-2009, 08:58 PM
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I hate this nut!
When I have run into this problem, I pulled the spindle off the axle and use my impact driver. I'll have to try the heat technique next time.
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Old 03-11-2009, 09:34 PM
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Rust is so bad up here that balljoint nut is hell. I think one time I've removed it with a combo wrench. Though many times I've ended up having to remove the control arm and hub togther. Sometimes the impact gun gets the nut off other times I've had to cut it off cause the nut and balljoint just spin together. Usually im replacing control arms or balljoints so I don't mind removing the control arm but it does suck.
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Old 03-14-2009, 10:08 AM
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Update - still no good

No luck today either. Can't fit a Dremmel in there to cut off the top of the bolt to fit a box wrench. Little torch only get's nuts up to 125deg (worth a try). 25" breaker can't take the axle nut off. The axle slip spins when I get to 150-200lbish torque. Open end wrench rounding it off. Thinking a box wrench isn't gonna be enough even if I ground it down to fit. Seems I need hotter fire or a real shop.

Got the axle nut to 150deg and wedged a crowbar into the lugs. Stopped the spinning but when pulling upward the car lifts from the jacks. Down seems safer.

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Old 03-14-2009, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by 98SEBlackMax View Post
Rust is so bad up here that balljoint nut is hell. I think one time I've removed it with a combo wrench. Though many times I've ended up having to remove the control arm and hub togther. Sometimes the impact gun gets the nut off other times I've had to cut it off cause the nut and balljoint just spin together. Usually im replacing control arms or balljoints so I don't mind removing the control arm but it does suck.
the trick to not spin together is put a jack under bottom of ball joint socket but arm has to obviously be on car and a wrench would have to be used.
There is a special SST for that nut. I forget who makes it something like kenworth.
It is very low profile slips right in as a closed box end and u put half inch braker bar on it.
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Old 03-14-2009, 11:02 AM
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Oh this nut has to be the biggest time waster ever. Its in the worst location ever, always has rust on the threads which makes the BJ spin, and no matter what you pretty much end up taking the whole suspension apart. Some how I squeezed in my 4 1/2" angle grinder in there to cut the nut off.

The best way to break the axle nut loose by hand is car on the ground with a donut spare on. I used a 6' pipe as a cheater. Make sure the car in in gear and ebrake on.

Has anyone tried a nut splitter on this nut? Probably not enough room....
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Old 03-14-2009, 11:42 AM
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Have your friend/wife/whatever step on the brakes while you tackle the axle nut.

I personally have had no problems removing the BJ nut to remove the spindle.
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Old 03-14-2009, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by JSutter View Post

Has anyone tried a nut splitter on this nut? Probably not enough room....
I've tried that before.

Even with the axle removed there is not enough room for the splitter I have to go around the nut and not bump into the hub body.
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Old 03-21-2009, 05:02 PM
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Success!!

3rd weekend was the charm. Since minor heat didn't work I decided to try cold instead. CRC Freeze-Off combined with inverted canned air solved it.
http://www.crcindustries.com/auto/co...x?PN=05002&S=Y

The Freeze-Off droped temps only about 20deg, but combined with a dust off can I got the temps down over 40deg in all. That combined with Morpheus brakes suggestion got the axle nut off. (shoved a stick between the seat and brake pedal). Once the axle was free I had plenty of room for a socket and the balljoint nut is history. Pressed in the new one and all seems good.

P.S. Couldn't loosen the other side axle nut using the same trick so that'll be a shop favor.

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Old 04-29-2009, 11:56 AM
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I had to cut the nuts with a 3 lbs hammer and a chisel. The nuts was really in bad shape like it was all rounded. It took me like 10-15 min of hammering, I hit the wrist few time but that was the price to pay to get this done a 2:00 am.
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Old 03-03-2014, 09:32 PM
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I'm in this exact same situation right now. The nut is rusted onto the ball joint, and the ball joint spins when I try to turn the nut. Hate this.
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Old 03-04-2014, 10:32 AM
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I had to find another way to keep the car lifted (a tire and a donut since I only have one jack) and i lifted the jack underneath the ball join and it STILL spun when I tried to break the nut loose. How in the world am I supposed to do this? Would it be ok to just break it since the new control arm came with its own nut? I don't know how I would break it, but it's looking my car will be parked until I can get it broken loose.
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Old 03-04-2014, 10:47 AM
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A jack underneath the balljoint is not going to do anything to keep it from spinning.

You can certainly cut it off with an angle grinder. You'll have to remove the axle to get a good position to cut it off.

Why not just put everything back together and have a shop do it?
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Old 03-05-2014, 09:33 AM
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Well I have done this before, but not with this much trouble and not on the same car. Today I am going to put a vice grip onto it in one spot and try to turn the nut with a wrench.. once I get it spun, it's smooth sailing.
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Old 03-05-2014, 10:02 AM
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What I sometimes do is just beat a smaller socket onto it. The metal is soft enough so an impact socket that's 1mm smaller goes on with a little bit of work (and a BFH), then you can spin it right off as per usual.
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Old 03-05-2014, 11:45 PM
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when my threads were messed up and rusted up on my balljoint, tried everything. took out drive shaft, but couldn't get enough leverage when using impact wrench was still spinning the bj and other things, scary. tried box wrenchs, double ring spanners but not much space or leverage where nut is so difficult to get breaker bar or simple .

looking back, could of saved alot of hours/days if i would have dremeled first. don't need dremel, per se, but need tool with similar rotational speeds and you need metal cutting wheels, i ended up using 2 for one nut. with more experience, you'll get better, that was the first time i ever used something like that. if you never have, get ready it's powerful and loud but easy to handle and you will be cutting metal asap and watch those sparks. make sure you have protective glasses, i wore a mask melting metal smells gross.

watch out for the knuckle, i ended up putting a couple of slice marks on it but it's dense/strong metal. you want to split the nut, in couple places, however you can ie. horizontal, vertical or diagonal cuts, then just use a hammer and flathead screwdriver to tap the remains of the nut off, it's a great moment to see-- something so small cause so much pain:i
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Old 07-23-2015, 10:35 AM
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I was replacing the part anyway so I wrapped a piece of tin over the boot to protect it. and took a small grinder to the ball joint nut. ground it off 1/2 way hit it with a chisel and it broke lose. On my 98 Maxima.
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