How to Replace the Lower Ball Joints of a Corvette C4by Keith Perry
The C4 Corvette was produced from 1984 though 1996 by Chevrolet with a control arm-based front suspension. This suspension incorporated both upper and lower ball joints. Ball joints require replacement over time. Ball joints cannot be repaired and should be replaced when the rubber boots are split or worn out. Signs of wear can include uneven tire wear, poor handling and movement of the front wheel when inspected.
Engage the emergency brake and place wheel chocks behind and in front of the rear wheels. Raise the vehicle using the floor jack, place the jack stands and lower the Corvette to securely rest on the jack stands.
Remove the front wheels with the assistance of the metric socket and breaker bar.
Place the floor jack under the front control arm and raise the jack to compress the shock absorber. Remove the two bolts securing the shock absorber to the lower control arm with a ratchet, extension and socket. Remove the cotter pin from the lower ball joint with the aid of pliers. Remove the nut securing the lower ball joint with a metric wrench. Gently tap on the lower ball joint with a hammer to disconnect it from the suspension mounting point. Lower the floor jack and pull it away from the car.
Remove the four bolts that secure the control arm to the cross-member. Use a wrench on the nut side and the ratchet with a socket on the bolt side to loosen each bolt.
Remove the two carriage bolts that secure the lower control arm to the chassis. Use a ratchet and socket to turn the bolt and a wrench to secure the nut. Pull the
Remove the lower control arm from the car and position it in a hydraulic press. Use the hydraulic press to apply pressure to the top of the lower ball joint. Press the ball joint out the bottom of the control arm.
Apply a thin coat of oil on the control arm, in the hole for the lower ball joint. Insert the new ball joint into the control arm. Use the hydraulic press to seat the ball joint into the lower control arm.
Replace the lower control arm into the brackets attached to the chassis. Insert the two carriage bolts securing the control arm to the chassis. Tighten the bolts to 96 foot-pounds of torque with the torque wrench.
Insert the remaining bolts used to secure the control arm to the cross-member. Tighten each bolt to 96 foot-pounds with the torque wrench. Raise the control arm with the floor jack to install the shock absorber mounting bolts. Tighten the mounting bolts to 22 foot-pounds of torque.
Insert the shaft of the lower ball joint into the steering knuckle. Install the nut securing the lower ball joint to the steering knuckle and tighten to 33 foot-pounds of torque. Insert a cotter pin into the lower ball joint and secure the cotter pin using a pair of pliers.
Install the wheels on the hubs and secure using the lug nuts. Tighten each lug nut to 100 foot-pounds of torque with the torque wrench.
Use the floor jack to remove the jack stand and lower the Corvette. Remove the wheel chocks and release the emergency brake.
- "Haynes Chevrolet Corvette 1984 - 1991"; Mike Stubblefield; 1991
Things You'll Need
- Wheel chocks
- Floor jack
- Jack stands
- Metric sockets
- Breaker bar
- Ratchet and extensions
- Metric wrench
- Hydraulic press
- Lower ball joint
- Light lubrication oil
- Torque wrench
Keith Perry has been an employee and contractor for several large companies in various information-technology jobs. He holds an executive Master of Business Administration from Jacksonville University with an undergraduate degree in computer science from University of North Florida. He began writing for Lotus Notes Advisor and Mobile Advisor publications in 1998.