How to Replace an Upper Ball Joint on a Dodge Stratusby Dan Ferrell
The ball joints are part of your suspension system. They help your vehicle's tires and wheels ride smoothly over bumps and holes on the road. However, the upper ball joint is an integral part of the upper control arm, connecting the outer part of the arm to the steering knuckle. Therefore, to replace the upper ball joint, you need to replace the upper control arm.
Remove the Upper Control Arm
Disconnect the ground battery cable using a wrench.
Loosen the front wheel lugs located on the same side of the upper ball joint you need to replace. Use a lug wrench.
Raise that same front wheel off the ground using a floor jack and support the vehicle on a jack stand.
Finish removing the tire.
Take the cotter pin off the upper ball joint stud holding the steering knuckle arm. Use a pair of nose pliers.
Remove the castle nut from the upper ball joint stud using a wrench or ratchet, ratchet extension and deep socket.
Loosen the two bolts securing the back of the upper control arm to the mounting bracket. Use a wrench to hold the bolt head as you loosen the retaining nut with a ratchet and socket.
Pull the control-arm ball joint off the steering knuckle arm. You may need to use a Pitman arm puller to free the ball joint.
Finish removing the two bolts from the back of the upper control arm and lift the upper control arm off the vehicle.
Install the New Upper Control Arm
Set the new upper control arm in place and install the two bolts and retaining nuts to secure the back of the upper control arm to the mounting bracket. Remember the bolt heads should point inward toward the shock absorber with the retaining nuts on the outside of the mounting bracket. Do not tighten the bolts yet.
Insert the control-arm ball joint on the steering knuckle arm and start the castle nut with your hand over the ball joint stud. Do not tighten the nut yet.
Tighten the two bolts on the mounting bracket to 67-foot lbs. (91 Nm) using a torque wrench. Hold the bolts with a backup wrench as you tighten the retaining nuts with the torque wrench.
Tighten the ball-joint castle nut to 45-foot lbs. (61 Nm) using the torque wrench, ratchet extension and deep socket.
Install a new cotter pin through the joint-ball stud hole using the nose pliers. If necessary, tighten the castle nut just a few degrees to clear the stud hole through one of the castle nut slots.
Mount the tire on the wheel assembly and install the wheel lugs using the lug wrench.
Lower the vehicle and finish tightening the wheel lugs.
- Chrysler Sebring & Dodge Stratus/Avenger Haynes Repair Manual for 1995 thru 2005; Haynes Manuals, Inc.; 2007
- You can rent a Pitman arm puller and torque wrench from your local auto parts store.
Things You'll Need
- Wrench set
- Lug wrench
- Floor jack and jack stand
- Nose pliers
- Ratchet and socket set
- Ratchet extension
- New cotter pin
Since 2003 Dan Ferrell has contributed general and consumer-oriented news to television and the Web. His work has appeared in Texas, New Mexico and Miami and on various websites. Ferrell is a certified automation and control technician from the Advanced Technology Center in El Paso, Texas.