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Frozen ball joint

Discussion in 'E36 (1992-1999)' started by kevinheap, Dec 31, 2008.

    kevinheap guest

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    Lower control arms on my 1995 318ti (161,000 miles) went smooth. I saved the outer ball joint for last and it is a real bear. I have banged with the pickle fork after 4 hours soaking with pb blaster and tried to push it out with the nut and a spacer against the strut housing but that just deformed the housing. Two pickle forks do not work and I have used up all the width of one pickle fork.

    I suppose I am looking at buying or trying to get a loaner ball joint puller of some type, right.

    My beloved M3 (1995) is going to get snowed on soon so I want to fix this ASAP.

    I just joined the club today and want to thank Mr. Langenwalter and Mr. Nelson for the advice they were kind enough to share with me today.

    Any comments would be appreciated.

    Thanks, Kevin Heap, Parker Colorado.
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    mooseheadm5

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    Unfortunately, the only way to get a puller on it is to remove the strut, and if you are going that far, you can easily pull the whole knuckle and take it to a machine shop. Here are a couple of things you need to know. Make sure your pickle fork is not bottoming on anything that prevents it going further into the joint. If it is, consider getting one with a different wedge profile. PB blaster may not help, but brute force, and maybe some heat will. If you can heat the knuckle a bit with a MAPP torch you might just get the knuckle to expand enough to free it up a little. If you don't like the smell of burning rubber, get a bigger hammer. I have never had any problem with E30/36 outer ball joints that could not be solved with a bigger hammer (though I have a lift.) Give the knuckle itself a couple of quick raps, then go after the pickle for with all you have. It may be helpful to actually reattach the other joint and the bushing lollipop. Hitting it with those loose really wastes force, which is why I break the joints loose first before removing the nuts and lollis.

    kevinheap guest

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    Thanks, I dont have Mapp so I could try propane. If I do not find a bigger wedge profile I plan to shim the gap to give the pickle fork more gap.

    I read somewhere heat will damage the temper on parts?
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    mooseheadm5

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    Heat can damage the temper on parts, but the knuckle is not hardened steel, so it won't matter that much. Just don't go for glowing red, only enough heat to help the cause.

    kevinheap guest

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    I wanted to get back and let you know they came off just fine. I needed a cut out washer on the frozen joint and picked up a 3 lb hammer, it was pretty easy. It had been soaking in pb blaster for about 24 hours too.

    The other side did not even need an extra washer to take up space and came off real fast.

    Thanks for the help.

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