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Default Ball Joint Replacement 2nd Gen Ram 4wd (incomplete)
by Justin 05-12-2013, 06:23 AM

Here is a write up on how to replace ball joints in the 2nd gen dodge ram with the Dana 44 axle.

Tools needed:
Pickle Fork
Ball Joint Press

(more to come)





The first thing you will need to do is to loosen your lug nuts on both sides. You just want to break them loose, not take them completely off. Once broke loose, You will then proceed to jack up the front of the truck. Once jacked up, put your jack stands under the truck.






Once you have the vehicle up on the jack stands, go ahead and remove the lug nuts and wheels. Once you have removed those items, you will now be down to the brake caliper and rotor.





Now, you will want to remove the brake caliper from the knuckle. it is best to compress the brake caliper piston back as far as you can prior to removing it. This will help when you put everything back together. Once you have the caliper off, you will need to use a bungee or a metal coat hanger to hold it up on the frame. You DO NOT want to let the calipers hang down as it will put too much pressure on the brake line.




Once that is out of the way, the brake rotor just slides off. Set this to the side.


Now, it is time to take out the axle shafts. On the 1500 models, the axle hub is held in place by 3 bolts. The 2500 model has 4 bolts holding the hub on. Now, break these bolts loose, but do not take them completely out just yet. The hubs are more then likely rusted in if you have not had it apart before. Once the bolts are out about an inch or so, you will need to try and slightly hammer around the hub area. remember, you do not want to damage your hub bearing in the process. Some wd-40 or PB blaster may come in handy with this area.


Once you get it busted loose, go ahead and remove the 3 bolts that you had loosened. Now, you will want to pull out the entire axle shaft with the hub still attached. While you are doing this, remember that the axle has seals inside, so try to keep your axle shaft centered as much as possible to avoid tearing the seals in the axle.


Once you have the axle shaft out, lay it off to the side. You should now be down to just the knuckle, ball joints, and tie rod ends.





Now it is time to remove the tie rod ends from the knuckle. You will need to just remove the nut from the top, then pry off the tie rod end. Once you have the tie rod removed from the knuckle, you may want to support it up to the frame with a bungee or anything. just enough to keep it up.


Now it is time to remove the knuckle. You will want to first take the nuts off of both ball joints. once this is done, it is time to get the pickle fork out. This may require a lot of hammering in order to break them loose. Once you have broke them loose, the knuckle will fall off.





Once the knuckle is off and out of the way, it is time to start on the ball joints themselves. First remove the top ball joint. i was able to just hammer it from the under side and it popped out. this may or may not work for you. if it does not, then you will need to use the ball joints press to get it out.

When you finally have the top ball joint removed, you will then proceed to remove the bottom one. *NOTE, you will need to insert the press "shaft" through the top hole where the upper ball joint goes to be able to get a good angle on it.

Once the lower ball joint is out, you are now ready to put the new ones in.

Remember that the 1500 models DO NOT use the snap ring that is included with the new lower ball joints. When you start to put the new ball joints in, make sure to install the lower ball joint FIRST. This way the press shaft can be inserted through the upper ball joint hole. Once you have the bottom pressed in, then you will install the upper ball joint.

Of course now, everything will be in reverse order of how you took it all off.



Depending on how hard the knuckles and tie rod ends are to bust loose, the job should take around 2-3 hours if it goes smoothly. if not, then expect to be hammering some more.



Here is a video showing how bad my ball joints were on my own truck.


Last edited by Justin; 05-13-2013 at 03:42 AM.
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Old 05-14-2013, 02:36 PM   #2
psycobilly64
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Those were pretty bad there bud! Good thing you got them changed before anything bad happened
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Old 05-15-2013, 12:07 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycobilly64 View Post
Those were pretty bad there bud! Good thing you got them changed before anything bad happened
Well, I had them replaced one time at a local tire shop because I did not have the time do it myself. Well, the idiots did not grease them and also broke off the grease fittings in a couple of the ball joints, then did not even insert them into the lower ones.

So, I just ordered new ones from rockauto.com. Fit perfectly!!


BTW, those ball joints have been like that for over a year or more...lol
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1998 Dodge Ram 1500 qc sport 360 4x4
208,300 original miles (as of 9-25-10)
209,345 original miles (as of 9-20-11)
224,030 original miles (as of 5-13-13)
new transfer case, brakes, shocks, radiator, water pump(twice cause of faulty parts), front balls joints, trak bar, front u-joints, tires, heater core.
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Old 05-16-2013, 01:08 AM   #4
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I had an old twin I-beam ford that would have scared the crap outta you if you ever shook down the front end . Never did change them out though since you have to pull the entire I-beam out and press them out on the bench . Has to be one of the dumbest things they've ever done (aside from the Pinto of course )
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